“Ikorodu Master Plan Should Be About The Division And Not A Particular Town” says Obateru
After series of failed interview appointment due to busy nature of nature of Obaship position, HRM Oba Adeoriyomi Akem Oyebo, the Obateru of Egbin Kingdom recently granted our reporter, Olatunji Anani, an interview, where he spoke on many issues concerning Obaship position, relationship with Ijede, government position on Egbin-Ijede relationship, Ikorodu Master Plan, challenges of Obaship and his plans for his kingdom among others. Excerpts:
THE IMPACT: Kabiyesi, can you please introduce yourself sir?
Oba Oyebo: I am His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Adeoriyomi Abdul-Akeem Oyebo, the Obateru of Egbin Kingdom.
THE IMPACT: Its been awhile since you have mounted your ancestor’s throne. How can you describe royal life?
Oba Oyebo: Royal life is a good thing. It is a good life indeed, but it’s quite challenging. Its entails a lot of things, traditionally, spiritually, socially even and even education wise.
THE IMPACT: How can you describe the social, economic and political developments in Egbin since your ascension?
Oba Oyebo: Socially, the community had never witnessed any tar road, the first one happen in 2011, few months after my coronation, that is the major road that entered the community from Ijede. Apart from the one that was constructed between 1982 and 1985 by federal government for the purpose of the thermal station. The construction of the mini-stadium, by Lagos State Ministry of Youths, the jetty terminal in the community and the timber market all came after my coronation.
Since my ascension, the community have also been experience the re-emergence of a particular specie of a fish, called Eja-Ijagba in the community’s which was very scarce before my ascension. Fishermen are now seeing this in large quantity in our lagoon. People are coming from Kwara State and other parts of the Northern parts of the country for the fish, which has created job opportunity. Also, I personally engage in sand mining with my license, which has also created job for tipper drivers, suppliers. I currently have over 70 workers, including foreigners. have been giving out scholarship to students up to University.
Considering the religious aspect, we have built a new mosque, repositioned the Awopa fraternity, the renovation of Oshogbo shrine is on-going. We have also been holding Egbin festival, Obateru celebration and revived Igbala odun festival. Socio-culturally, we have also established a football team named, Obateru International FC and we organize competition annually. We are the current champion of Lagos State league and this has expose our players.
THE IMPACT: What is your view on the new cooperation among Obas in Ikorodu Division?
Oba Oyebo: When the issues arise, I was one of the Obas that stood up and we moved round to discuss with some leaders. I went personally to both Ayangbure of Ikorodu and the Ranodu of Imota and both both listen to me and agreed that on the cooperation and thank God that we are all working together today. Today we are doing things in common. We are like brothers to each other. I just want us to emulate other Divisons like Ikeja and Badagry Divisions. Presently, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu is trying his best to carry everybody along.
THE IMPACT: How can you describe the relationship between Egbin and Ijede since the Lagos State Government intervention in the crisis?
Oba Oyebo: The relationship between Ijede and Egbin had been there from immemorial and has been cordial. We have been doing things together, except Remireke festival. There is an annual football match between the two communities and the marital relationship establish long time ago has cemented our relationship. Honestly, the relationship is not that smooth now because what I am getting is not what I am expecting between Ijede and Egbin. No matter what, we family and one and indivisible entity. Like I said when the Commissioner came to address us at the council, that anybody who is Ijede than I do should come out despite the fact that I am Obateru of Egbin. My Grandfather is of Itun-Olowu and Okegbeyin clans and he was the head of the clan. We have our house in both clans. My father’s house is in Ayegbami quarters in Ijede. There is a popular saying that ” if you are a true born of Ijede you must have one thing or the other with Egbin, and if you are a true born of Egbin you must have one thing or the other with Ijede.” So, why should we see each other as enemies? We are brothers.
THE IMPACT: We hear that government has released its report and issued a white paper on the findings and recommendations of the panel of enquiry. Can you tell us some of its findings and recommendations? We will also like to have a copy of the report.
Oba Oyebo: It is sad that the present generation are very greedy and due to want to recognize other people’s claims. I want to say that the relationship is not perfect, yet there is nothing that they do in our clans in Ijede that I don’t support. With time, I believe we will have everlasting peace.
One of the findings was that, the two communities has been in existence for so long without one having controlling over the other. Another finding is that the entire land was acquired from Egbin by federal government 1981. There is gazette to that effect.
We don’t have to bring politics into the traditional institution. If we have the Council Secretariat in Ijede, it does not mean Ijede is superior to Egbin, or the council should be predominantly populated by Ijede people. Politically, the government White Paper have also taking care of so many issues with politicians and council officials ben cautioned against favouring a section at the expense of the other. One should not say because I am from Egbin, I should not do things that will favor Ijede, or If I am from ijede, I should consider Egbin people inferior (a copy of the government views and decisions on the panel of enquiry into the civil disturbances between Egbin and Ijede was given to our reporter)
THE IMPACT: Aside government intervention, what other ways are the traditional, political and social leaders in both communities ensuring that the unfortunate events of the recent past are not allowed to be repeated?
Oba Oyebo: Thoughy, we are still having one or two issues coming up between us, but we have been allowing maturity to prevail and the need to have peace and harmonious relationship to prevail and we have been resolving issues due to these factors.
THE IMPACT: A major issue between the two communities is the Ipakan question. What is the Egbin stand on this settlement?
Oba Oyebo: One of the findings was that, the two communities have been in existence for so long without one having controlling over the other. Another finding is that the entire land was acquired from Egbin by federal government 1981. There is gazette to that effect.
We don’t have to bring politics into the traditional institution. If we have the Council Secretariat in Ijede, it does not mean Ijede is superior to Egbin, or the council should be predominantly populated by Ijede people. Politically, the government White Paper have also taking care of so many issues with politicians and council officials ben cautioned against favouring a section at the expense of the other. One should not say because I am from Egbin, I should not do things that will favor Ijede, or If I am from ijede, I should consider Egbin people inferior
THE IMPACT: Kabiyesi, you recently made presentation on behalf of Egbin Kingdom at the Ikorodu Master Plan Summit in Igbogbo. Can you tell us some of the features of your presentation and we will also like to have a copy of your paper presentation if any?
Oba Oyebo: You see when we talk about Master Plan, we are not talking about a plan that will affect a particular community, Ikorodu master plan will affect the entire Ikorodu division. We should focus on what will affect us as a division rather than subjecting it to a personal interest. I will be looking forward to the development of our roads, water-ways, schools, hospitals, stadia and so on. Like the 114 road construction across the state, despite the fact that none is located in Egbin, we are being affected by them. Such is the effect of the Masterplan.
When we talk about Master Plan, we should be talking generally about what that will affect us as a division not what we are going to be beneficial to individual town. Like when we are talking about Ikorodu-Lagos road which was originally achieved through collective efforts and today serving generality of Nigerian people. If we are talking about such plan, it is not what is going to be immediate or advantageous to a particular community, but which will serve so many communities and bring about social, economic and political developments to the generality of the people. Ikorodu Master Plan will not only affect residents of Ikorodu division, but people in Epe, Ijebu-Ode and other states. So, the Master Plan should be something that we should all embrace, with one voice and by sitting down together to plan. Though, some other issues like delineation of boundaries and others may also come up for discussion.
THE IMPACT: What are your immediate and future plans for social, economic and political developments of Egbin?
Oba Oyebo: Presently, our plan is to first establish primary and secondary school in Egbin, Re-open our water way market Ebute – Oja and create employment. We are also looking forward to have 24 hours electricity supply in Egbin because we are the host community of the largest thermal station in Nigeria and possibly in Africa. In all, we also plan to continue on our achievements so far.
THE IMPACT: If you have to ask the Lagos State Government for anything what would that be?
Oba Oyebo: That would be construction of Egbin roads because Egbin is the only town that has no exit road. Whenever there is anything in Ijede, it will affect the people of Egbin, particularly the Oro festival. We need a way in and out of Egin which can control ourselves. We are also need other social amenities.
THE IMPACT: What are your hobbies?
Oba Oyebo: I enjoying driving, cruising on water, love playing football, table tennis and reading. I also study more about my people, and writing about them and other areas of life.
THE IMPACT: What are the challenges being faced as an Oba?
Oba Oyebo: Always busy attending to issues, funding and Obaship also makes one to live the life of an elderly person.
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