Today, July 1, 2021, marks exactly 52 years of the transition of His Royal Majesty, Oba Emmanuel Olajide Olayode II, the Soun of Ogbomosoland. Oba Olajide Olayode was hacked to death during an Agbekoya uprising that engulfed Ogbomoso culminating in the storming of the palace at Oja’gbo by the peasants. He was doomed. At the time of his assassination on July 1, 1969, he was 48 years old (having been born in 1921). He was on the throne for about three years, July 22, 1966 to July 1, 1969.
He was a victim of circumstances; the new world unveiled by the advent of the European colonialists was his nemesis, he failed to balance his loyalty between the government and his subjects. It was lopsided; he was overcome by unrestrained devotion to government, the borderline faded, so obscured that he inadvertently but so animatedly overstepped the bounds penetrating deeply to rub off wrongly on the public nerve. Power had slipped from the Obas, government had become the de facto ruler and it operates on the levers of absolutism. Oba Olayode was killed by government. His sin was not adequately determining when to be subtle in dealing with his provoked subjects who were writhing in pain and misery over high income tax imposed by the government. Well, he belongs to the ages now, ogbomosoinsightonline.com spoke with his first son, Prince Stephen Ilufoye Layode, who is now the Mogaji of Odunaro ruling house of Soun royal Dynasty. He dwelt on a number of issues, how the children survived the carnage and made it through life, the kind of man the Oba was, and other sundry matters. Read excerpts:
Following the assassination of kabiyesi, your father, how did his children survive, particularly in their academic pursuit?
Some of us managed to complete our West African School Certificate through the assistance of the Ogbomoso local government, who gave two of us, myself and Festus Olaseni Olayode, scholarship to complete secondary school. Later, it was discovered that I might not be opportune to utilize the five-year course because I was in Form Three in 1969 at Ogbomoso Grammar School; at this instance, Omorinola Agbeke Olayode was made to replace me. In essence, Festus Olaseni Olayode and Omorinola Agbeke Olayode completed their secondary school at Ejigbo Baptist High School and Ogbomoso Girls’ High School respectively.
Did you see the assassination coming?
The occurrence was expected but not to the extent of his assassination.
What did you miss about your father?
I missed his paternal advice and guidance about his experience of life.
What kind of man was your father, his character, attitude etc?
He was a disciplinarian, highly principled and a foresighted person.
Tell us his educational background, because we learnt he was the first educated Soun of Ogbomoso.
His educational background can be traced to Osupa Baptist Day School, Ogbomoso. Later, he became a sanitary inspector after which he undertook health programme course at the School of Hygiene, Eleyele, Ibadan, between 1963 and 1965 that qualified him as a health inspector.
Was his killing due to Agbekoya uprising or chieftaincy crisis? What can you really say caused the incident?
Whether or not the killing was due to Agbekoya uprising or chieftaincy crisis; all I know is, it is destiny.
What were his achievements and his vision as Kabiyesi?
There were very many achievements of which some can be enumerated, including approval of Higher School Certificate Course for Ogbomoso Grammar School in the year 1968; Ogbomoso Junior High School (Ogbomoso High School) was upgraded, wherein you can complete school certificate; establishment of shoe factory by the Western Region of Nigeria in Ogbomoso; establishment of Rest House along Ilorin road, Ogbomoso; he was a secretary to the House of Chiefs in Western Region of Nigeria; establishment of day markets at Oja Igbo and Oja Ajagun and taking Oyo community to court on land rift.
If he was not killed, what do you think the history of Ogbomoso would have been like with him in the saddle?
If he was not killed, it could have been possible to bring some other developments to the city e.g. wearing of beaded crown might have been achieved for the Soun, so also proliferation of secondary schools as it is now.
Did he know he would become Soun?
Nobody is sure of becoming anything, all depends on destiny.
Sir, we knew the late Oba was aware that an invasion of the palace was imminent, but he decided not to flee, if you were older and he would listen to you, what would you have advised your father in the circumstances, to stay or to run away?
As a brave and courageous Oba, he could not have fled in order not to repeat the same story. His staying in the palace made him to be a martyr.
After his murder, were the lives of his children threatened?
Our lives were threatened but the great architect of the universe intervened.