New Soun of Ogbomosoland: ‘Let Ghandi be’

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Let Ghandi be
Olaniran AFOLABI

The period 1978/1979 when Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye entered the prestigious University of Ife, Ile-Ife and 1981 when I graduated from the same citadel of learning, presented a striking relationship/contact between me and the Oba-in waiting. I was his senior by one year! Ghandi graduated in 1982.
There is no doubt, Ghandi is well connected both nationally and internationally and his achievements in life are legion. Evaluated in terms of knowledge, wisdom, fame and financial fecundity, Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye is “stinkingly” rich. Assessed in terms of exposure to public life and experience in management and administration, Ghandi will comfortably occupy a professorial chair. He is already a king in his own right even before his imminent coronation as the next Soun of Ogbomoso land. He is a technocrat of competence and distinction. Undoubtedly, Ghandi is an asset to humanity.

Prince Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye

Ogbomosoland is in dire need of growth and development and not stagnation rooted in the vestiges of squalor, disease, ignorance and poverty, and there is urgent need for a liberator, an overcomer and a redeemer to reverse the ugly situation and trend. This is where Ghandi’s relevance is situated. If an individual is exposed and well travelled, his/her environment will never be limited by indecision, compromise and lack of vision and mission. For such an individual, his revolutionary ideas and apostolic foresight will not be paralyzed by fear and timidity because he will always be motivated by courage and bravery. These are some of the values inherent in Afolabi Ghandi.
The installation of an Oba who is not well exposed is tantamount to putting a wood inside water, for 100 years it can never become a crocodile! An Oba who cannot relate effectively with government, colleagues and his subjects for reasons not unconnected with sterility of ideas, and communication deficiency is a passive object of history. He is a mere robot on the throne and an instrument of history in his palace, a problem creator rather than a solution profferer.
The economy of Ogbomoso seems to be on a downward trajectory. The only readily available industry in Ogbomoso now is okada riding. The solution to this apparent chronic unemployment is rapid industrialization which an enlightened and exposed man like Ghandi can facilitate. We should take a close look at the super business structures that the late Oba single handedly erected before and during his reign which are economic conglomerates that facilitated and are still facilitating employment. I strongly believe that the choice of a right candidate will liberate Ogbomoso from the conundrum of underdevelopment and other economic figuratives like penury, squalor, abject poverty, unemployment/underemployment etc. All these are unfavourable financial indices which can only be fought with financial weapons and national/international connections which I strongly believe are within the reach of Olaoye Afolabi Ghandi.
The collateral benefits derivable from the enthronement of an enlightened Oba cannot be quantified in terms of physical growth and development. While an exposed Oba will always maintain stability of character in the face of adverse situations of life, an unexposed Oba is submerged by the exigencies of life in his palace.
To rebuild Ogbomoso land is a task that must be done, nothing happens until an action is taken. We must all unite to rebuild the city and the starting point is the choice of a right and rightful Oba, the process which Chief Otolorin and his group (the kingmakers) have started. I salute their bravery and courage particularly above the myriads of confusion created by divergent opinions as far as the choice of a new Soun of Ogbomoso land is concerned. The kingmakers should stand firm on what they believe is right and righteous and should not put themselves in unnecessary and avoidable severe psychological torture, should they allow their conscience to be manipulated by intense pressures from quarters populated by people with selfish negative minds and thoughts.
Professional critics should please desist from maligning and disparaging the kingmakers or criminalizing their actions chiefly because they are doing or have done what they believe will usher in an era of prosperity in the land.
We should give the kingmakers freedom to make their choice in line with extant rules and regulations. Perennial critics should stop their emotional vituperations and allow Chief Otolorin and his group to do their job. Those antagonizing the kingmakers’ decision for reasons not unconnected with primordial and parochial sentiments are at best victims of ad-hoc, non-utilitarian, and inadaptive education system which do not allow them to think outside the box. These uninformed antagonists have nothing to offer humanity in general and Ogbomosoland in particular because their integrity has been completely eroded or undermined by selfish political and religious exigencies. The baseless antagonism is tantamount to incivility and moral, political and spiritual dishonesty and bankruptcy of the highest order.
While disenchantments from other aspirants on the choice of the kingmakers are expected and normal, it is unfortunate that the enemies of progress orchestrating the delay and creating the lull in the choice of a new Soun are not from Laoye family. The family should collaboratively take appropriate action(s) to dislodge, silence and frustrate them before they inflict the family with irreparable division that may be very difficult to salvage. The solution is very simple: resolve your differences, align with the choice of the kingmakers and present a common front to cage all outsiders fanning the ember of discord, disharmony and disunity in the family and subject them to a state of absolute disgrace, disesteem and debasement.
There is need for collaboration and integration of efforts to ensure that the processes and procedures leading to the choice of a new Soun, which are purely traditional, are not truncated by unreasonable and infantile sentiments from mentally colonized critics who delight in fake or negative rumours to achieve personal objectives. In a city seriously plagued by high misery index and bedeviled by deteriorating indices of wellbeing and development, we should search for competence, capacity, capability and character (cccc) in the choice of the next Soun. These are the qualities that the kingmakers are prioritizing in the choice of a right candidate for the benefit of Ogbomoso community which is the critical, desideratum. Unconventional scheming and moves to dislodge the equilibrium and stability of the due processes and procedures in the choice of the right candidate for the throne should stop.
We are no longer in the stone age, therefore, we cannot afford to install an uninformed Oba who would be inclined towards the reintroduction of rigid anti-development feudal system and retrogressive monarchical structure capable of drawing us back to the primitive era of human existence. That era is gone and is gone forever!
Honestly speaking, all the twenty three (23) aspirants whose names were submitted to the kingmakers are eminently qualified to be Soun of Ogbomosoland by virtue of their birth and tradition as far as aspiration to the throne is concerned. Most of them have basic traditional requisites and monarchical pedagogy to mount the throne. The unfortunate thing is that the throne can only accommodate one person at a time. If that person is chosen, others have the right to show discontentment if they so desire but this has to be done through the normal process and procedure of the law that will not generate rancour and violence. This being completed, the losers must team up with the winner to foster peace and tranquility for the physical growth and development of the city. I urge other aspirants to depopulate their hearts with bitterness and work with the kingmakers’ choice for the emergence of the much needed peace and progress in the land.
In his book ‘An Enemy called Average’, John L. Mason said if you achieve your desired objective, always “remember that what you now have was among the things you hoped for.” If Ghandi is the choice of the kingmakers, and the choice is approved by government, what he is about to have now was what he had hoped for and is what the other twenty two (22) aspirants are hoping for. He should therefore build bridges rather than burn bridges. People who burn bridges always remain isolated and would end up dealing with enemies throughout their life time. The axiom that ‘winner takes all’ should be confined to the dust bin of history.
Let me use this opportunity to congratulate Laoye family for another golden opportunity to occupy the throne which was last occupied by the family officially from 26th of October 1944 to 29th of March 1952. May your reign be peaceful and prosperous. The apparent but avoidable lull in the choice of a candidate for the throne should be arrested by the family and the family needs to expedite action on the process of the evolution that will usher in the next Soun so as not to create the impression that the family is not ready to occupy the throne. It will be in the genuine interest of the Laoye family to support and be loyal to the choice of the kingmakers as approved by the state government before, during and after his installation. The loyalty should be total and absolute. The throne is for Laoye family and not that of the one occupying it, because the family will be liable for the torts of the new Soun on the throne and there lies the danger inherent in the doctrine of ‘vicarious liability.’
If Ghandi’s name was submitted to the kingmakers by Laoye family for consideration and he is the choice of the kingmakers, let Ghandi be!

Afolabi sends this piece from Ogbomoso

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