Interview by Godwin Onyemaechi, Sam Fadipe and Regina
His Majesty, let us meet you properly sir?
Thank you very much. Welcome to the ancient Owu kingdom in Okuta palace. My names are His Royal Majesty Oba Dr. Hamid Adekunle Makama Oyelude Tegbo
sun III, the Olowu of Okuta and Chairman Supreme Council of Owu oba and chiefs.
With this great personality of yours, you’ve really influenced nation building. What drives you into doing this?
Thank you very much. As you are aware, traditional rulers in the south-west are appointed or selected or chosen specifically to maintain culture and tradition. If you look at the letter of appointment of every traditional ruler in the southwestern part of the country according to chiefs law that every state still use, what is inscribed there is ‘you are hereby appointed to maintain culture and tradition. So, we are not religious leaders because no traditional ruler in the southwest is being enthroned in the church or in the mosque. Now, out of sheer patriotism, I look at how I can contribute to national development. That is why I have chosen that path that apart from maintaining culture and tradition, I could still find a way to contribute to national development meaningfully and that I have been doing without looking back.
Thank you very much sir? Sir, what is the economic base of this kingdom?
Farming. It is an egalitarian community. But we are looking at the tourism aspect now.
Sir, how would you describe your relationship with other prominent obas?
Oh, very cordial. I assist them as fathers and colleagues. It is very cordial.
Sir, before you became king, did you have the premonition that you would someday be king?
Yes and no. Yes because ours is aristocratic from generation to generation. My fore fathers founded this town in 1427. And I am a direct descendant of the founder of the town. It is very uncommon in Yorubaland, it is common in the north. A father would be enthroned, son would be enthroned and grandchild would be enthroned. My grandfather was Tegbosun I, my father Oyelude Tegbosun II, destiny tossed it upon me that is why I am Tegbosun III. It has always been the will and aspiration of every prince. A true prince that does not need a DNA. He would aspire to that. The princes do not mind if they get there in the morning and die in the evening they do not care so long they have got there. So, out of one thousand and one princes, only one would be crowned.
Sir, seeing that in Nigeria, we have a rise in youth unemployment, what is your empowerment plan for the youth?
To be sincere and accurate, traditional institutions have no constitutional responsibility. Traditional rule has no place in the Nigerian constitution. That is why I used to say that there are no more powerful kings except influential kings. The colonial masters took some of the powers traditional rulers used to have in those days. Then the politicians eroded the rest. It is only a semblance of mutual respect that remains. If a traditional ruler promise you that he is going to create jobs, maybe he is going to do it with his contact or his influence. Those who have the constitutional ability of doing so are the politicians. Those who have absolute right and constitutional power to do so that they even have cash to back it up are our politicians and those politicians are our sons and daughters. Without looking at that, this is my eighth year and few months on the throne, to God be the glory, God has been very kind. Due to my network of contacts and friends across the nation, I have enlisted quite a reasonable number of youths into the federal system both in the military, police, state departments. Am not like beating my own drum but I have done quite a lot. And those who even want to leave the shore of the nation legally, I have tried my bit. And I’m still not stopping. So, I have not seen any opportunity where I have not involved the youths. A traditional ruler is not assigned to look for jobs for anyone but with influence, we are doing it. Our youths of nowadays should make themselves marketable so that wherever we send them they should be the catalyst of development not brigandage of destruction like we witnessed recently.
Sir, looking at the insecurity situation in Nigeria today, what is your advice to the federal government?
I believe we are passing through a phase in our nation building. This will soon come to pass. We have witnessed something similar to thus during the civil war. Now, the federal government needs to take critical appraisal of the situation across board. One: funding for security is too low. In this generation that are selling drones. The amount that they sell one or two drones is even beyond our police or military budget. Then, we as citizens too have to be patriotic enough. On a slight provocation you see boys burning police station down and would still complain that they are not building police station. We are citizens should stop facilitating crimes along ethnic lines. In Nigeria today, when you say ritual killing we know the area that is prone for ritual killing. They are killing for ritual they are not becoming millionaires. They killed because of money but have you seen anybody that they told you used juju to make money that bought aero plane or aircraft?And everyday you see they would cut women’s breasts, cut women’s private parts, pluck eyes in a particular part of the country. We know a section that would use cow to damage your farm, main, rape people. We know a particular section that is drug. So we should stop profiling along ethnic lines if a criminal is apprehended. We should treat that criminal as a criminal. We as Nigerians need to be patriotic and love our country. Nobody would come and salvage us here. The other time during the orchestrated siege in the southwest, siege under the disguise of Endsars because Lagos is the most buoyant and vibrant state for every family in the southwest has one relative or the ther that is making ends meet in Lagos. That state was nearly brought to its knees under fake news. Have you witnessed any massacre without relative? In yourubaland you do not kill a Yoruba person and say that the relatives should not talk. If you see a Yoruba man that put hands on his head and says ‘egba mi o. they have killed my children.’ They said genocide, genocide no dead body. It was a preplanned attack to wreck the economy of the southwest. But in America it happened and they told us insurrection, homegrown terrorists. They create hash tags for our boys. It is your fundamental right, fight for it but in their own, somebody that even tried to tweet they banned that person immediately. We have to wake up and think aright.
Thank you very much, sir. We just need one or two clips. You are a man of vast knowledge and someone like you should be in the academia.
Moving on sir, do you support Sunday Igboho’s action as regards herds?
As at that time he had done the needful and it is commendable. But, like I told you, some people have the constitutional role to provide security if they have.Igboho is a child of necessity as at that time. If it goes beyond that period, it would have counter effects. An average herder, take for instance an herder that has a herd of cattle, value it at five million, his second address is the bush. Now, this is being killed through that action. There is nobody in Ogbomosho dead or alive who do not have a relative in Jos. Just like Ejigbo in Osun here. There is nobody in Ejigbo, no relative freeborn who does not have relative in Abijan. We have the Adiguns, they have billions investment. Because of fake news or something like dialogue would have resolved, we went into doing that. Many of our sons and daughters are surviving because Aliko Dangote has huge investments in Lagos. Gone are the days when M.K.O Abiola had investments in the north. The next man to Dangote has employed graduates like seven last year for me. Seven graduates well paid. Some are not from Kuta. Only one is from Kuta. Some are in the fertilizer plant, some are in the refinery. I will never join a queue of dividing the country. I will never join a queue of providing crime on an ethnic basis. What is the difference between a yahoo and a Fulani herder that will kill? Is it not destruction? Is it because the yahoo perpetrators are our own sons and daughters then we keep quiet? You said you want Endsars because SARS is terrorizing yahoo but the north do not have yahoo so they said they want continuation of SARS that it is protecting them. If you catch a slave, a slave will not be happy. So let us be united and let us be patriotic. Some of our sons and daughters in the diaspora, I am appealing to them it is because they are Nigerians that is why they have the passport to travel abroad. What they are spoiling here is not good. Did you hear Amnesty International say jack when it happened in Capitol Hill. They did not. A whole president of the most powerful nation was tweeting they banned him up till today in twitter. But in our own case, we are calling Clinton.
What is your advice to a typical Nigerian politician?
My advice to Nigerian politician is that they should fear God. They should put the fear of God in anything they are doing because all these insecurity I do not see why it should be rising up to this if they did not put political consideration into it. Remember, in 2011 or thereabouts during the tenure of President Jonathan, late General Owei Asazi, the National Security Adviser, he said Boko Haram started as a result of PDP policy of exclusion. I watched it. He made that statement in Delta during the Economic Summit two months later, his helicopter crashed and he died. He said since the day Jonathan said he wants to contest, Boko Haram started. Politics of exclusion. That was when Oshiomole was doing his first term. That statement shook the nation and after that it has remained so. Our politicians should fear God.
Recently, there has been unrest in some parts of the southwest, Ibadan precisely, what is your take on that?
It is uncalled for because it is not supposed to be ethnic strife. It was an argument in the market because the situation or atmosphere is already tense. I feel ashamed when I look at our sons and daughters pursuing vehicles, travelling,asking can you speak Yoruba? If they cannot speak Yoruba, they would drag them down. It is uncalled for in this generation where our sons and daughters doing NYSC in the north, doing in the east, it is uncalled for. We should learn to tolerate each other. This is the way we should do it, we should intermarry ourselves. If I did not trust you, I will be suspecting you. Poverty knows no race or tribe. As poverty is in the north, so it is in the west. That is why our politicians should fear God and put national interest first. Anytime there is a football match, we forget that the team consists of people from all over the country. We focus on Super Eagle. But when it comes to national issue, quote and unquote, I think the federal government has to take a look into our approach. The Department of State Security is very active now. What a CIA can do, a DSS can do now actively and professionally. When the intel is generated and transferred to the appropriate authorities, do they have the logistics to utilize the intel? People will just be talking on social media that America come and rescue, it takes a lot of money and intel. It is just the rescue aspect we focus on before we talk about other aspects. So security is not cheap anywhere in the world.
How do you relax?
If I am not in Kuta, I rest. If I am in Kuta, I have a passion for wanting things to be the way it is supposed to be. I don’t have a resting time in Kuta. If I am out of time, I rest. But in Kuta, I sleep late and wake up early. The media, traditional issue, a pastor would come and say so so and so thing has to be done for the town, babalawo would come and say so so and so thing has to be done for the town. I have been up since 8’0 clock now and I have only had coffee. When you leave now, I’d go and have my lunch and that is because I am eager to see the community move forward.
What is your vision for this great community?
When I was enthroned, I made a proclamation that this is new Kuta and I have been working toward that. My vision is to see Kuta as a small London. My people believe that they have only one barrier to economic prosperity. From here to Ede, the next town, there is a river, Osun, that pass through. They have always wanted a bridge across that river for over hundred years. During the IBB regime, the man the King was from Kuta. He tried to use his influence for government to do the bridge but he could not. General Obasanjo is the Balogun of Owu. When he was the president, he put that bill in the federal budget for 2.6billion then. No cash backing. By God’s intervention, my good friend and brother, General Buratai personally came to Kuta to commission it. Part of the vision is being achieved. Now, the bridge has been done. Last week, the Federal Ministry of Work representatives were here and were working on how they will tar the road from here to Ede. It would only take you ten minutes. I can never repay him in this generation.