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Published On: Mon, Jul 23rd, 2018

Aworis want to produce next Ogun State governor— Oba Obalanlege, Olota of Ota

Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, the Olota of Ota,

Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege is the Olota of Ota, the economic hub of Ogun State. He was a journalist before delving into lecturing at the Crescent University, Abeokuta. This was before he was recently crowned the Olota of Ota two months ago.  In this executive interview with FELIX OLOYEDE, he explains who the ‘true owners’ of Lagos are and recommends steps that should be taken to stop the westernization of local cultures. He proffers solutions to the country’s ailing educational system and gives a rich ream of untapped wisdom over a wide range of topics. Excerpts:


Easily traditional institutions across the country are s going through difficult times as western culture hurts them through lessening their influence over the country’s youths?

The traditional institutions and government have to be on the same page for us to be able to revive culture. For us to be able to stop the westernization of our culture there must be a tripartite agreement. The government, traditional institutions and parents have to agree that we need to come together. For instance, the issue of language in our schools needs to be looked into. We should make local languages compulsory subjects in our schools. I believe this is one of the many things we need to do.


Before and even after independence, traditional rulers used to play a prominent role in governance in the country. We used to have the house of chiefs, but when the military took over this was abolished. How has this influenced governance in today’s Nigeria?

I think traditional institutions have been politicized. That is why you find out that our traditional institutions are jaded versions of what they used to be. That is why you find out that people now prefer to align with any government of the day. Government is now in control of traditional institutions even though they are supposed to be independent they are not. Our traditional institutions have been weakened. Without a line with government it will not be able to play an important role in society.

In Ogun State nobody from Awori has been governor of the state since its creation. Is there any plan for the Aworis to come together and one of their sons governor in Ogun State in 2019?

Yes, we are interested in becoming the governor of Ogun state. We are interested in our son or daughter becoming a minister.

I must thank His Excellency Senator Ibikunle Amosun for being sympathetic with Ogun West. And I can assure you, we have very good sons and daughters in Ogun West. We are doing our best to come together to produce the next governor.

Should we be expecting that in 2019?
In sha Allah!

The Aworis claim to be the owners of Lagos and Binis also lay claim to it. So who is the real owner of Lagos?

Historically, Lagos belongs to the Aworis. And because the Aworis are good-hearted people and accommodating, that is why I went to look at Lagos State and Ogun state, they are populated by the Aworis. When you look at the population of the Binis they are just a minority. The Kosokos are Aworis not Binis. The Binis are just a tiny part of the history of Lagos. When you look at the history of Lagos you will discover that the Aworis are the majority. Nobody can dispute that. It is only when you are being economical with the truth that you will say Binis own Lagos.

What is your relationship with Olabuas of Orile Agege?

They are Aworis. They all migrated from Ota. Orile Agege used to be our farm. Leave Ota to farm at Orile-Agege and come back. All the Aworis are one. There is no dispute about that.

You were once a journalist. How would you compare journalism when you were practicing with what is is today?

Now you have technology unlike before it was very difficult to communicate. Then, you couldn’t know if an event had started until you get there. I think journalism has improved a lot. The practice is more convenient for people like when I used to practice in Nigeria. I think the only issue I have with journalism in Nigeria, is the economic issue where journalists are being owed salaries. I don’t think it’s right and I don’t think it’s good for the profession. Publishers and media owners should look into this area and ensure that journalist get paid as and when due.

Before you were crowned as the Olota, you were in the classroom. What do you think needs to be done to revive our educational system?Our educational system is in shambles.  Getting the right personnel to teach is a challenge and equipping them to be able to teach is another issue. It is not just going to the university to get a PhD or Masters Degree and then go and teach. For instance, in Europe and America, there is a structure, even if you are teaching in the university; you have gone for training while teaching. Education has to be structured so that you have an understanding of teaching adults. This is not happening in Nigeria. You still have a long way to go. And again, the learning environment in most universities is not conducive. The attitude of lecturers in Nigerian universities, threatening students is not good enough. Then, we need to reorient our students. So when you look at it things are not yet quite right.

In the private sector it is a bit better because some of the private universities are well equipped and the students population is not astonishingly high, unlike the public universities where the student to lecturer ratio is  very high as a result students don’t get to assimilate what they need to. We encourage the government to step up more strongly in education by putting more resources into education, particularly primary education. If the foundation is faulty that is a major problem. By the time pupils progress it becomes very difficult to adjust to what they should be at higher stages of learning. I think government should declare an emergency in the sector. What we have presently is not looking good.

The issue of herdsmen attacks has become a major challenge in the country. What have you put in place to curtail their activities in Ota?

My community has been very cooperative. We report names of strange people to the security agencies. Because we are very security conscious, so far, so good, we have not recorded any casualty or problem and In sha Allah, we are not going to record any.

What is your relationship with your chief tenant, Obasanjo?

It is very cordial. My relationship with Obasanjo is very cordial.


You recently had discussions with the minister of Works. What was the outcome?

It was on our road. The minister assured me of governments support at all times, and that is why they have awarded the contract of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway. And as you can see, the contractor has mobilised to site. So, we thank his Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister for Works, Housing and Power for being there for us.


What do you what to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered as a Kabiesi that liked his people and was committed to the development of the people of Ota.


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