Obada: Who owns the land?

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Adelani OLAWUYI
The good thing about history is the incorruptible nature of its verdict. The above heading is culled from Sonny Okosun’s album during the struggle for the emancipation of South Africa from the cauldron of Apartheid. He had sung, “We want to know who owns the land, father’s land, father’s lands.”
Again the late Alhaji Yusuf Olatunji Babalegba in his volume 13 album, unarguably the best, sang “Orisa ile ore eni ko gbodo hunni” – The deity in one’s friend’s family must, I repeat, must not hypnotize one to spiritual action.
There are monarchs and there are monarchs, unfortunately, politics has continued to wane the authority and power of Obas. Many times, Baales are made superior to an Oba for political expediency. The result is that today, those Baales who usually cleaned the shoes of Obas are promoted to the rank of Obas. Some are even promoted higher than the aboriginal kings. They distort history to their own advantage. The crony is that many of the Obas do (did) not know their history from the cradle probably because they are (were) illiterate. Those with little education were able to silence them. Today, the drum beat has changed.
There are many learned Obas on their father’s thrones. In fact, many of them are professors, seasoned administrators, lawyers etc. They have been able to exhume their history. They have documented it for public consumption. One of such Obas is Evangelist Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran, Olagbami Osekun III, Onpetu of Ijeru Kingdom. He has taken Onpetu royal dynasty higher. In over twenty years he has conquered in many battles. He has used his idiosyncratic mien to make the Oje people at home and in Diaspora to identify themselves and be proud of their hegemony. In fact, those who hitherto went astray are beginning to come back to their root. Kudos to the king.
On October 2, 2020, the news went viral that a chiefdom had been created in OBADA. People began to inquire by who? How? Who was installed? Who installed him or her (as the case in some Ondo communities where female (or princesses) are installed as regents). Onpetu indigenes especially those who live in Obada were mocked and it almost degenerated into pugilism. To them, only a bastard would have a handshake with the man who cursed his father. Calls were made. Meetings were held. Reflections were done. Regrets were physical on the faces of princes, princesses and their admirers. As it were Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran, Olagbami Osekun III, Onpetu Of Ijeru Kingdom’s palace was flooded with barrages of enquires. But a good leader is known by the action (s) he takes when angered. The Oba remained taciturn, calculated and sure of victory. His only words were that his people should remain peaceful when challenged and provoked. He said “he who laughs last, laughs best”.
Anyway, one can win all wars, he cannot win the war of pen. The Oba, a believer in the rule of law, articulated his facts, put them into writing and forwarded them to the appropriate quarters. He said “It is always good to err on the side of caution. Yet, his people were apprehensive hoping for a quick fix. Again, Oba Oladapo Oyediran told them that government’s action is not a parlour affair, where the “Olori Ebi” would castigate his sons and daughters before passing judgment. He enjoined them to be patient. That if they embark on act capable of disrupting peace there may be no solution. They all agreed with their king, their authority. Note that, this authority is different from the erstwhile “Constituted Authority” that was loquaciously haughty.
The acerbic critics of Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran are now out to curry favour from him when the wind blew and we have seen the proverbial anus of the hen.
Oba Oladapo is a person of little words who detects the ostentation of an average Nigerian personality. To be frank, I have to say this, this attribute singularly endears him to me. He respects intelligence.
Back to Obada matter, those with little or no knowledge about the town take it for granted. They believe they can extend their pseudo-tentacles to the town. It is not possible. Surely, if there is a vacuum in a family such must not be filled by a person in servitude. That is the fact!
The simple interpretation of OBADA is OBA-LOO-DA, it is the king that created it. In one breath, “Oba” is king and Yoruba equally call God “Oba,” God created the town through His representative here on earth and that representative was OLUFERE/ADEIFE/OBANDI. Its market was established by Onpetu Oyinkansola Akano Adedoyin. ODOOBA that has now become popular and almost overshadowed OBADA is a mere appellation made popular by the early customers who patronized Oja Oba (king’s market) in Obada. It needs cleared that this was due to its proximity to OBA River. For anybody to now lay claim to OBADA other than Onpetu and his sons and daughters is an aberration. And if a man under servitude would create market it must not be in his master’s territory. Nemo dat quo non habet.
Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran is a thinker, strategist and achiever. Sad enough this is a paradox in our own clime. I commend him for winning another battle. The victory has sent jitters down the spines of many who illegally turned themselves into emperors in their utopian empires.
I salute the taciturnity of Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran. I commend Onpetu/Oluoje princes and princesses as well as their admirers for remaining calm while the battle raged.
In synopsis, all the princes, princesses, lovers and admirers of OBADA which some people refer to and call ODOOBA should collectively say a prayer of longevity for Oba Evangelist Sunday Oladapo Oyediran, Olagbami Osekun III, Onpetu Of Ijeru Kingdom, for his efforts at creating a chiefdom for OBADA. What Olurefe/Adeife started centuries has been consummated by him.
Fillers from the palace of ONPETU indicate that the title of the new kingdom shall be BAALE OF OBADA. Just as Adeife created many camps while coming to found OJE and the camps have now become big towns. One of such camps, OBADA is today a town. Not an ordinary town but a cosmopolitan community with a King. A dupe o!

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