Humility personified: 10 takeaways from Prince Ghandi of Ogbomoso
I am not a (partisan) politician but politics interests me for l realized that it’s the springboard for development. So, l keenly follow political events. The position of leadership is key in human existence. Leadership is the pivot, it is the hub. Therefore, leadership in any congregation of humans is very germane. In the traditional setting, the position of leadership is no less important. Though traditional rulers have been somewhat relegated in authority, they still occupy vital position in setting agenda for the progress and development of their domains. The political leaders cannot practically do away with them. Traditional rulers are the custodians of our customs, traditions and values and can set the pace for growth.
It’s why l am much interested in who emerges the new Oba of my hometown, Ogbomoso in Oyo state, Nigeria. I am Lagos based but l am never cut off from happenings in my beloved city. l must confess my interest was spiked in the topic when l learnt of the emergence of Prince Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye as the choice of the kingmakers in the filling of the vacancy created by the exit of Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III on December 12, 2021. I didn’t know Prince Ghandi from Adam, in fact, that name – Ghandi – initially put me off but reading about him and listening to his videos subsequently made me develop interest in him. And l have seen in him the Oba we need in Ogbomoso. If appearance will translate into reality, he is one of the right men to take the mantle from the late Oba, who made giant contributions to the evolution of Ogbomosoland.
In the following paragraphs l present my deductions of him by making extrapolations from his utterances. On Monday, his address to the members of his congregation in the United States of America surfaced online and l have listened to it several times to analyze his statements. And l could conclude on these ten takeaways:
1. He did not hold his members in unnecessary suspense: According to him, upon the demise of the last Soun, people far and near who are close to him made several attempts to make him see reason to contest for position. He knew his members would have been hearing about it and in order not to keep them in suspense be took time as someone accountable to explain the matter to them in simple and clear language with no pretense or attempting to pull a wool over their eyes Thus, he is a simple and not complicated.
2. He is straightforward and plain: This further buttresses the above. He said plainly he found it unimaginable that he would leave Washington DC to start residing in Ogbomoso. He says his dream formerly is to retire from being Lead Pastor of the Church, involves himself in other aspects of the Ministry and importantly travels the world. Thus, for him taking up the throne is something being propelled by a higher force.
3. He is a man of means: In his explanation, he made them realize that what he enjoys is enough for him and contesting for the Soun stool is tantamount to avarice. This shows he is contented and abhors greediness thus he has something to offer and not being borne by what he will gain.
4. He is humble enough to admit the failure of his father in the same contest in the past: His father late Prince Oladunni Olaoye keenly contested the throne in 1940 too when it was the turn of Laoye Ruling House to produce the Oba. But he lost out. Ghandi did not try to adduce reasons why his father lost out or lay the blame at the feet of anyone, unashamedly he said his father was rejected.
5. He submits to higher authority: He said he contacted the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, where he is a Pastor, for direction on the matter and also not to create confusion in the fold. This is another indication of humility. In plain and single language he recounted how he called Baba Adeboye, whom he called “My Spiritual Father,” to seek his counsel. His own little success did not make him swollen headed. He is rather clear-headed.
6. He is a man of conviction: He said Pastor Enoch Adeboye asked him to fast and pray on the matter but since the prospect did not synchronize with his ambition he did not. He didn’t lie he prayed and fasted for days before he received from God. But that he succumbed when without soliciting God spoke to him to go ahead. In fact, he told the congregation he had planned to, by the turn of the New Year, tell his people who wanted him to be the king that he would not aspire for it. But to his utmost surprise, in the wee hours of the second day in the month of January, 2022, he heard from God that the purpose for his birth was to become the king. He asserted that having learnt the principles of obeying God for the last thirty years of his adult life, he said he could not but accept this fate. He revealed he told God that if it was not Him however, the process should not proceed to a logical conclusion.
7. Not an overzealous man: In another forum while reacting to the insinuation that he had resigned as Pastor of the Church he leads by grace, he was simple enough to say why would he resign when the Governor had not ratified his choice. No bombastic words, no arrogance.
8. He is conversant with Yoruba proverbs: In the same forum as above, he responds to the insinuation that he had resigned by driving home the point with a proverb – Se eeyan ma a ngbo kuku ojo ko da omi inu agbada nu (does one pour water in pots away just because one hears the rumbling of rain)?
9. He recognizes higher authorities: He recognizes that it’s the Governor of the state that would approve his choice and that the state’s helmsman can grant approval or withhold it. Mr Olaoye emphasizes that he is yet to be confirmed as the new king and that the final ratification lies in the purview of the Executive Governor of the state. He didn’t suggest the Governor is bound by the decision of the kingmakers.
10. He understands the virtue of development and honesty as bedrock of leadership: On how he intends to reconcile being a Pastor and a traditional ruler, he responds by hammering on the principle of honesty, love for humanity and vision for a great society, assuring this would be his guiding principle.
On this note l pray for the will of God to materialize.
Oyeleke sends this piece from Lagos.