Oba Ghandi’s first six months: Setting the framework

Oba Ghandi’s first six months: Setting the framework




It is six months since His Imperial Majesty Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye Orumogege III happened in Ogbomoso.


His reign as Soun of Ogbomosoland began amid tempest on September 8, 2023, when he was installed by the kingmakers at the Abata section of the palace. He immediately went into seclusion to undergo the mandatory seven-day traditional rites to prepare him for the humongous task of “ruling” the kingdom. It ended on September 14. His reign thus officially began on September 14 when “Ikije” ceremony was held amid offertory of prayers and fanfare.


His expression of interest, application, nomination and governmental approval all unfolded under tempestuous circumstances but like an indomitable warrior, indefatigably, he contended with the battles with undiminished courage. Then Prince Ghandi Olaoye fended off the various darts aimed at upturning his date with history.


The day he came out of seclusion, Oba Olaoye gave indication of the kind of reign that will unravel, when he declared publicly he was “bringing light.” Making clarification later he explained he did not imply darkness previously pervaded the land so it is a metaphorical phrase for newnes, a more rapid transformational agenda that will unfold at the speed of light. By that he set the pace to surpass himself. In private life, he made immense successes, building massive amount of connections with the people that matter. This factor in fact was what whipped magnificent support in his favour. It’s believed it would be brought to bear in the task of building a greater Ogbomoso everybody is yearning for.


The question is, can he sustain the tremendous goodwill?l Its sustainability however lies in how much and how fast (for people are impatient) he can conceive, translate and actualize the vision that will transform the kingdom and usher her into a new dawn of prosperity and development.



Expectedly, avalanche of courtesy visits, outpouring of goodwill messages marked the onset of his reign. He warmly received well wishers and began to create excitement and hope when he started to unveil his plans embodied in an inspiring 25 year-development plan. He enunciated this with much energy and fervour. He charged indigenes and residents generally to cooperate and partner in his aspiration to turn the vision into reality. He harped on the involvement of Ogbomosos in diaspora to join in the task.


But amid the spiraling enthusiasm, a High Court ruling sent shock wave across the land as he was sacked from the throne. But swiftly, the setback was overcome (of course in the interim) when he filed an appeal at an Appellate Court and subsequently secured an injunction against his removal pending the determination of the substantive suit. Status quo ante was ordered to be maintained and life returned to normal. He returned after he initially vacated the palace.


The coronation was held with presentation of staff and certificate of office by the Oyo state governor Engr Seyi Makinde on December 19, marking the culmination of a week-long event.


What has the monarch achieved? His majesty has succeeded in renewing hope that the drive to achieve a greater Ogbomoso can be accomplished. People are galvanized, eager to support and waiting to see its realization.


Meanwhile, some new normal have emerged (or in the process of being catalyzed). These include not throwing open the doors of the palace for all comers to bump in (impenetrable, opaque security doors in layers now barricade the path to the palace chamber and shield the Oba, ostensibly for enhanced security); discontinuing Friday free meals for royals; the new Oba is always business-like without room for banters, unsmiling; rise of new King’s men which is igniting some level of rivalries among others.

Nevertheless, the Oba had inspired hope and inculcated can-do spirit in his subjects.


But most significantly, his conceptualization of a twenty-five year-development plan, put together by a consortium of firms in accordance with his aspiration, stands out.


He demonstrated uncanny ability and strong faith by this singular act. When approval for his nomination was delayed, which naturally should have made him all worked up running from pillar to post, begging, reducing himself to a wreck he maintained prudence, dignified calmess and sanity, going ahead to commission the articulation of his blueprint for development. He was egged on by unwavering belief that he is going to be king whatever the shenanigans. In fact, he reportedly once said in the build-up to the selection that “I have not come to contest but to assume the throne.” (Mi o wa du oye mo wa joye ni). His faith has paved the way for him. Such faith is what is propelling him. He told members of Ogbomosoland Consultative Council (OCC), which came to invest him as the association’s Grand Patron, after his installation, when reservations were expressed by some over the feasibility of the development plan, that, “I don’t believe in its impossibility. It’s what l have done all my years. This will succeed, it must succeed. All l need is your support and everyone’s support.”

The refurbished entrance porch

The monarch is now walking the talk.


It’s learnt the 25 year-development plan will soon be unmasked though it will continuously be tinkered with to incorporate new ideas. It’s the framework for birthing a new model city through communal, corporate, private initiative.

The new spirit is catching on. A private real estate firm, Hastom Properties Ltd, has unveiled a bold initiative to develop a new thriving city in the outskirts of the city dubbed “Valor City.” The proponents perhaps stimulated by the positive vibes from the palace are now buoyed in their robust goal and have visited the Kabiyesi who enthusiastically embraces the idea and promises support. There is also the Ogbomoso GRA being built by another private firm, which it is learnt had been visited by the Kabiyesi. Apart from being a potpourri of ideas himself, he is cuddling and encouraging birth of beautiful ideas.

With Olu of Warri

He appears to be detached from primordial sentiment that encumbers progress. He might say Soun is the paramount ruler but that is where it ends. He won’t fight to prove it. He is not engaging in frivolities that will serve as distraction. For Oba Ghandi, leaving a huge mark in history is what is paramount. Undue rivalry, supremacy battle doesn’t seem to catch his fancy. His heart appears to be divested of such. Meeting vision with action is what is of essence. He is a new breed, who wouldn’t pander to matters that take his mind off the real deal. New heights must be conquered, by the present generation, to prove real supremacy, and not merely gloating or savourng the glories set by the ancestors.


In his stride, he warned chiefs and Baales under his suzerainty to steer clear of land grabbing mess warning of dire consequences. On his own he assured he would not take anybody’s land, if he needs land it will be paid for. He asserts he has no intention of dispensing power with crude domination or marginalization of anyone.


He is showing leadership in many fronts. On the national stage, he is exploring bilateral relations – he visited the Olubadan of Ibadan Olu of Warri in Delta state and another monarch in Akwa Ibom state. Then, the manner he comported himself during a visit by the Oyo state Obas to the governor Engr Makinde recently, where he stood out admirably, is another reference point.


More profoundly, he is taking the bull by the horns. He has been making crucial visits to sites of critical amenities in the city for on-site assessments. Such places are the water dams – Eku Dam at Oke-Owode and Oba Dam off Ikoyi road, with the aim of facilitating their resuscitation. To demonstrate his resolve of making pipe-borne water as of old available he is said to have personally made money available and rallied stakeholders to contribute to the project in partnership with the state government. In fact, sources claimed over N60 million had been paid to a contractor to fix the moribund Oba Dam. The target is to get water to the large concrete reservoir at Osupa area. Excitingly, the contractors have been working devotedly on the project. We wait to see how this works out.

The issue of the modern market completed and commissioned about twenty years ago but under locks and keys is another mystery Oba Ghandi is qqstriving to resolve. He met with the Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Commerce on the matter, he visited the market several times, spoke to stakeholders, now, the market is gradually coming to life.


Also, it had been revealed how he travelled to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, to meet with the Minister for Power, Adebayo Adelabu, on how to rejuvenate electricity situation in his domain through completion of the abandoned 132kv power substation at Ajeja/Temidire. The Minister had returned the visit assuring on its completion soon.


He is a pastor but he does not seem to be borne by religious prejudice; he does not make attempt to relegate any religion thereby allowing the sustenance of the existing religious harmony in the community.


In addition, towards his coronation he got several intra-city roads repaired, he has also rehabilitated a number of boreholes just as a multi-million naira empowerment programme was held in his honour and multi-million naira medical equipment donated to Bowen University Teaching Hospital in his name. He upgraded the entrance porch of the palace, refurbished the interior and provided new set of furniture to bolster the palace outlook. He is conscious of the weight of history, and despite the whittled power of the traditional institution in the face of constraints imposed by constitutional parameters he is stamping his footprints.


Therefore, one can acknowledge that under him, in the first six months, Ogbomoso has not diminished. It is rather being reenergized for greater stake.


Yet, there is room for more, the fundamentals need to be reset such as being seen as a unifying and rallying figure in the zone, through initiating a harmonious relationship with other traditional rulers especially to forge a working relationship and harness everyone’s potential to the maximum for greater efficiency and effectiveness. There is need to draw strength from this, everybody has a role to play.


The first six months of Oba Orumogege III has reflected his aspiration and a strong lurch towards its actualization. It’s still early days into his reign but the flashes are auspicious.


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