Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, in this interview with FEMI MAKINDE accused the Oluwo Oke of Iwo Oke, Oba Kadiri Adeoye, of being used to tarnish his image
Is it true that Oluwo Oke is senior to the throne of Oluwo?
If it is true that Iwo Oke is not under Iwo, the plausible question to ask is why Iwo Oke is within Iwo land? Why is it not a separate town? Iwo Oke is under Iwoland just like Ogbaagba, Telemu, Ile ‘gbo, Asamu, Ikire Ile Ile, Ajaga Aase. I have more than 29 kings under me and Oluwo Oke is one of them. He is part of Iwo Traditional Council; he is under my authority. The Oluwo gave him the land and the crown. I am the consenting authority. He became an Oba in 2008 and it was through the Oluwo, Tadese.
What is the relationship between Iwo and Iwo Oke?
In those days, there were wars all over the land. Stronger kings would raid others and conquer their land and capture their people as slaves and take their possessions. Owu was the first to break then. There was war in Oyo and other places. But Iwo was the only place that was never ravaged by any war. The Fulani war, as fierce as it was, never got to Iwo. This was as a result of divine arrangements and we had warriors.
So, when the great towns broke up and the people saw that Iwo was peaceful, they were attracted to Iwo. As the people came, they were given lands by Iwo leaders to settle. Ilemowu is one, Kuta, Ile ‘gbo, Asamu, Telemu, Ogbaagba, these are all Owu people.
So, are you saying Iwo Oke people are from Owu?
Let me explain to you. The peace attracted many people. We used to appoint Olubadan from here in Iwo. It was not that we would ask them to nominate a candidate but we would appoint somebody from here and send him to Ibadan to be the Olubadan. The first Baale in Ibadan, Baale Olugbode, was sent from Iwo to be baale in Ibadan. Orowusi, Oderinlo were sent to rule in Ibadan. It was so because Ibadan people believed that Iwo people were very powerful. Bashorun Ogunmola went from Feisu here in Iwo to Ibadan. Balogun Ali Iwo also went from Iwo to be king in Ibadan.
Many people were not happy with the way I traced my origin back to Ife early this year. Our mother, Luwo Gbagida, who was the 16th Ooni of Ife, got married to Obaloran. Obaloran was a chief in Ife. Obaloran just became an Oba under Oba Sijuwade. Luwo gave birth to Telu and Luwo later became the Ooni. But Telu became a prince by the virtue of his mother becoming the Ooni. Obaloran had so many wives and the person who later came to the present Iwo Oke was one of the many wives of Obaloran. Obaloran was not an Oba then so he had no crown so also Telu did not have any crown.
But Luwo gave a crown to Telu, her eldest son, and asked him to proceed to a place where a creature that talks like humans live. That creature is the parrot. Telu, the first, did not get to the present day Iwo. He died at Igbo Orita just like Moses also did not get to the Promised Land in the Bible.
So, to put simply, Oluwo Oke is not a son of Luwo Gbagida. He is a son of Obaloran, he was given birth to by one of the wives of Obaloran and not Luwo Gbagida, who was the 16th Ooni. They came when they learnt that their step brother had become a king and we settled them just like we settled others, who came for help. So, where did he bring his crown from? He can’t say that he brought his crown from Ile-Ife and still be under Iwo land. Iwo Oke is just like Iyanfoworogi and other communities under Ife. Iwo Oke is not like Ila Orangun and Oke Ila. His own is quite different from that. Oluwo Oke prostrated before Oba Tadese that he should help him talk to ex-Governor (Olagunsoye) Oyinlola so that the state government could give him recognition as an Oba. He is a third- class Oba while I am a first-class paramount ruler.
Is it true that you and some thugs went and vandalised Oluwo Oke’s shopping complex in Iwo town?
That is a lie. Do you see me as a violent person? Don’t you see the people on my entourage? Have you ever seen a thug among them? Oluwo Oke was rude to me in Ife. We were at a function and some of the Obas present asked him to greet his father (me) but he became angry. They told him that Oluwo was his father, being the paramount ruler in Iwoland.
Is it true that you travelled to the United States and was deported because of a crime?
That case is in court and I don’t want to comment on any case in the court. It is all a calculated attempt to bring me down but I cannot be brought down.
How about the allegation that you are into advanced fee fraud?
I have said I don’t want to comment on any case before the court. Is it reasonable that a first- class paramount Oba will be involved in yahoo yahoo? How much do I want to gain from it? Even if I am hungry, I have goodwill and influence, so I can never think of that. Oluwo Oke is using all these to seek cheap publicity. He and those using him are baffled by the kind of media attention I get. But this did not come by tarnishing people’s image. It is through service to the people.
I brought medical equipment worth over N1.5bn for a hospital in Iwo land . I brought them from Canada. The equipment will be moved to the hospital as soon as the state government completes the renovation of the hospital. The governor has been of assistance in most of these programmes I am doing for my people.
So, if I need money, can’t I sell part of this equipment instead of getting involved in fraud? It is all a calculated attempt to bring me down but they will fail.
Is it true that you can no longer travel back to Canada?
I am a Canadian citizen. Why won’t I be able to travel to Canada? Canada is my second home. It is like you are telling a Nigerian outside the country that he or she can no longer come back to Nigeria. It is not correct. Let me tell you, Iwo will soon become a renegade province of Canada.
People just fabricate all kinds of lies to tarnish my image. They are using him to tarnish my image but I am not bothered because this is one of the prices I have to pay for being a leader.
I feed my people three times in a week. I rehabilitated the road linking Iwo to Osogbo from Ibadan. The road was abandoned for many years and within one year I came and rehabilitated it, now motorists are plying the road day and night.
How much did you spend on that road before it became motorable again?
I don’t have it here but we have spent millions. We used cement to patch the potholes and the ditches on the road. It is the same technology that was used overseas. The maintenance of road constructed with cement is very easy. It doesn’t break. I heard Dangote used it for the road he constructed.
Why was Oluwo Oke’s SUV vandalised by your people?
That is another lie. But the case is also in the court. However, he lied and said the vehicles were attacked. The SUV had an accident. He went and told the court that the car was vandalised by thugs. Do I have thugs? I don’t! Let us leave this case also because it is before the court.
Will you appear in court now due to the court order?
I have said that I don’t want to comment on the case before the court. The commissioner of police was also represented in court but no warrant was issued against him. My lawyers are always in court and one of the kings under me represents me.
Aside these facts, my lawyers have filed applications for stay of proceedings, notice of appeal and application on jurisdiction of the court. The court should have heard the application on jurisdiction but this did not happen.
What informed the empowerment programme for 10,000 youths?
We gave those who have been trained but who do not have tools to work with the right tools. Those who don’t have training will be trained before they will be given various tools for their jobs, that is what I want to be known for and not a king who grabs the land of his subject or snatches their wives. Obaship position is about service and all of us ( Obas) must begin to use our thrones for that purpose.
You recently traced your root to Ife and said Oluwo could become the Ooni of Ife. How possible is this?
I told my children that they can become the Ooni in the future. I wish the present Ooni of Ife long life and good health. He will reign for long. But what I said is true. This should not cause any crisis.
We should see ourselves as one and not fighting among themselves. It’s like you are using a weapon to beat yourself, people will think you have gone mad.
We need to use our position to better the lives of our people and not to be selfish and show off our wealth while our people are suffering. I am redefining monarchy with all I am doing. Oduduwa was neither the first Yoruba man nor the first king. He became the greatest through service to the people. He played a fatherly role.
Kings should not be about snatching your subject’s wife or grabbing their lands, because they are your children. I am embracing the practice of Oduduwa. We have not seen a leader in Yoruba among the kings since the exit of Oduduwa.
There are some kings who go to a town and use lesser kings to bring the prominent ones down. They try to bring down other kings.
I am not fighting the Oluwo Oke or Iwo Oke. He is the one telling lies and being used by others to bring me down. I don’t have thugs. I don’t have miscreants. I cannot be brought down. All I am doing is for the development of my people.