How Ghandi transformed into Oba Orumogege III Friday Sept 8 – blow-by-blow account
Friday, September 8, 2023 has gone down in the annals of Ogbomoso, Oyo state, as yet another important and memorable date. For this day, a new King, styled Soun of Ogbomosoland, mounted the exalted throne of the city.
From Prince Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye he swiftly and gallantly transformed into His Imperial Majesty Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye Orumogege III.
It was to be. It was not to be. Then it came to be. It took 18 months of anxiety, longing, struggle before it came to be. It was a hectic journey, “long walk to” the throne. Yes, it came to be!
How did it come to be – on Friday? First a grand entry!
There was anxiety in the land, when will we have a new Oba? The throne had been vacant for some 22 months following the demise of its last occupant, the illustrious Oba (Dr) Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III JP CON CFR, who transited on December 12, 2021 at the age of 95 after ruling for 48 years.
Before Friday, September 8, the usually locked palace became a beehive of activities with a minor refurbishing being undertaken giving an indication something big was in the offing. Several people who saw the activities especially the painting must have conjured the idea of installation of a new Oba in the horizon but very few knew actually it was for the inauguration of a “brand” new Oba. Activities spiked up behind the scene since the official recognition granted (then Prince) Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye on Saturday, September 2. The Yoruba say, “Owo o ki npe ni isa akeke” (You don’t allow your hand to linger in a scorpion’s burrow), perhaps that is what triggered the ramp up of activities for the epochal event. Yes, this epigram of the finger and the scorpion’s burrow could be borrowed to illustrate the scenario. Also, when one tarries long on stool (faeces), you are perched on by all manner of loathsome flies.
The humming of a chopper (marked 5N DAE) in the early morning of that Friday at about 8:30am first gave the public an inkling of what might likely happen. In many neighbourhoods the sound of the white-colour chopper pierced, the shout of “Ghandi is in town” rent the air, inexplicably breaking forth from among the children. It is still not known how they knew it was “Ghandi.” They were children but what broke forth from their innocent mouths was “Ghandi is here, our king is here!” The little whirlybird, yes, was flying low, manouvering through high rise structures like telecom masts.
And when it finally headed towards Ogbomoso Grammar School’s football pitch, legs raced towards the landing ground too. Within few minutes the playground the same playground which held the recent crusade of Pastor D.W. Kumuyi had been taken over by a massive crowd again, eager to have a glimpse of the “August” visitor. Yes, it was truly “Prince Ghandi” and his entourage.
Swiftly, they entered waiting vehicles and headed towards the palace at the centre of the city – Oja’gbo/Oja’jagun. Within seconds, a huge crowd had gathered and so, the gate was locked, albeit temporarily.
Ghandi, tall (about 7 feet), hefty, elegant, graceful, with spring to his steps, decked in white agbada, became the cynosure of all eyes and they all headed to the mystical Abata (pronounced – do mi mi), which is the burial ground of all past Souns from Ogundiran Ogunlola to Oladunni Oyewumi and also hosting the ancient chain designed by Ogunlola and his wife, Lorungbekun as place of refuge for the woman whenever they had quarrels – should the woman make it to the chain she’s pardoned.
Quickly, the “ritual” commenced with four of the kingmakers (which formed a quorum) – the Areago, Jagun, Bara and Ikolaba – other traditional chiefs as Alapo and the representative of Aremole, the Mogajis of the five ruling houses (save that of Gbagun who was said upon inquiry to be unavoidably absent), already on ground taking charge. There were also African Traditional Religion, Islamic and Christian religious leaders and some other community leaders on ground.
Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s is an instruction by Jesus Christ, not to denigrate Emperor Caesar but to teach submission to certain tenets of the world to stave off unnecessary conflicts. Rites such as passing of calabash over (the then) Soun-elect, and other traditional rites like dance-peregrinating round the white-painted, grove-like structure holding the mysterious chain at the centre of Abata were observed.
Also, he was introduced to the graves of his predecessors; was given honey to lick and offer blessings upon the city and its people praying earnestly that all will be well during his reign that bird will chirp normally that rat will squeak according to its kind and humans speak routinely; he as well observed the symbolic three-time prostration for his subjects (the last he would ever make).
The installation ceremony was led by the Areago, High Chief Sobalaje Otolorin.
After the final process of the installation was completed and he was proclaimed Oba of Ogbomosoland, His Imperial Majesty Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye Orumogege III, Abata was exited, now as a transformed being – “A fiery Orisha.’’ Traditional drummers upped the stake with various beats wafting from their drums.
The new King immediately proceeded, very fleet-footed to take his seat on a prototype stool to receive homage. All prostrated with the shout of “Kabiyesi” rending the air. Then, he walked into the palace court to mount the throne, with people flying over one another to catch a glimpse. He took a stroll round the palace premises – he is now the new owner, the new custodian of all that is embedded in the Ogbomoso legendary King’s abode.
Thereafter, he took leave of the palace to pay homage to the Mogaji of his ruling house – Prince Amos Olawole Olaoye – at his residence off Stadium road, from where he retired to observe the traditional seven-day seclusion rites (Ipebi).
At Ipebi, the process will continue but most importantly the new king will be re-inculcated with the traditions, customs, mores and values of his ancestral home, as well as the dos and don’ts, certain histories, all that will make him the King in actuality.
Even after the ceremonies were over at the palace, ecstatic people continued to throng the palace even though merriment is slated for a future day.
The legend has begun to weave. A late comer to the palace who spoke with ogbomosoinsightonline.com in the evening asked, “Is it true someone made an attempt to thrust dagger into the new King while sitting but that before he could strike the daredevil blade, the Oba had sensed the danger and stirred forth?” He had believed the story which he relayed he heard people discussing with seriousness at a corner in the palace. But there was nothing like that at least in the physical realm.
As people receded from the palace towards evening the sonorous beat of “a mo ye yi je ewo npapa ewo nna” persisted to waft from the air of the palace.
In the evening, shower of rain covered the city with many concluding it’s a sign of goodies to come – a good omen.