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    For the records: Enduring Legacies of Oba Lamidi Olayinwola Adeyemi III, Alaafin of Oyo By Prof. Akin Alao

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    [dropcap]B[/dropcap]elow is the speech delivered by Prof. Akin Alao of the Department of History, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife at the first memorial lecture in commemoration of the first anniversary passing of His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, CFR, LLD. Iku Baba Yeye, the Alaafin of Oyo between 1970-2022.

    ENDURING LEGACIES OF THE REIGN AND TIME OF OBA LAMIDI OLAYIWOLA ADEYEMI III, CFR, SAM, D.Litt. ALAAFIN OF OYO, 1970-2022

    Protocol and recognitions

    Aare Gani Adams: Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland
    Traditional Rulers and Royal Fathers
    The Oyo Mesi ably Led by the Basorun
    Members of the Alowolodu & Agunloye Chieftaincy Families of Oyo
    Distinguished Invited Guests
    Management, Staff and Students of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo and Other Tertiary Institutions
    Ladies and Gentlemen

    Introduction

    One year ago, precisely on 22nd April 2022, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III answered the ultimate call and passed on to be with his ancestors after a most eventful life and equally successful reign as Alaafin of Oyo for fifty-two years. To mere mortals, his death was not only unexpected, it meant a rude shock. Oba Adeyemi was Iku Baba Yeye, the child of death who could not be killed, the child of sickness who was above the frailties of life and the child of calamity who would not be heartbroken. Many people had thought that Oba Adeyemi was made of stronger substance and had sealed an agreement of longevity with death, the scary ruthless messenger with cold hands. For Oba Adeyemi, death was just a passage to a higher realm, the abode of the saints and the playground of the gods. He knew, almost by the season when death would come calling. For those who cared to read his lips on many occasions, he had foretold the circumstance of his passing and the signs to look out for. Oba Adeyemi, long before now, had been certain of celebrating fifty glorious years on one of the most studied thrones in Africa and among the Black race, the world over. In his now immortal words, made during one of many close encounters with him, “I will celebrate fifty years on the throne of my forebears, it shall be remarkable and glamorous. However, I would not guarantee that the end would be too much after. It could be as short as a moment after, two months or seasons and maybe two lunar years after”. Such was his certainty about his passing that after the celebration of the 50th Coronation Anniversary, Oba Adeyemi became more philosophical about the need for succeeding Alaafin to prepare adequately for the task of public administration, be conversant with the traditions, customs and culture of the Yoruba and look beyond the African continent to appreciate the growing influence of the Yoruba religion and knowledge systems. By his passing, Oba Adeyemi confirmed his legendary, companionship of the inhabitants of the spiritual realm and his place in the annals of kingship among the Yoruba. He occupied a huge space in the kingship institution which has been described as the most glamorous and flambouyant aspect of the Yoruba culture.

    The Man Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III

    Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, Alaafin of Oyo was born on 15th October 1938 into the Adeyemi Alowolodu Ruling Family of Oyo and specifically to Oba Raji Adeniran Adeyemi II (1945- 1956). By divine arrangement and providential intervention beyond the ken, understanding and comprehension of mere mortals, Prince Lamidi Adeyemi, very early in life, became exposed to a comprehensive range of informal learning, religious instructions, cultural values, traditions and customs, which eventually paid off as necessary personal experiences for leadership among the Yoruba. He was raised by a clairvoyant father who had spotted him very early in life as a child or enormous promise and destiny. Oba Raji Adeniran Adeyemi was clear in his mind that his son, Lamidi was in many ways very special and separate from his other children. It is said that Oba Raji Adeniran Adeyemi had a very huge family that included more than a hundred wives. Despite his age and position in the family, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi became easily identified with wisdom, native intelligence, eloquence, independence and unquenchable love for knowledge. He was inquisitive, curious and restless in the pursuit of excellence in whatever he did, even as a youngster.

    For good reasons, that many people did not appreciate initially, Oba Raji Adeniran Adeyemi did not allow his son, Lamidi, to be unduly impressed and spoilt by the largesse and opulence of royalty. It is said that the birth of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi brought excitement to his father for two or more reasons. His birth was as foretold as a worthy replacement for a son that died before he was born. Again, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi came into the world with a telltale that confirmed him as his father’s duplicate. In an interview, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi said:
    When I came into the world, because of what happened at my birth, I was told that my birth excited my father so seriously because I happened to be a replica of him. There was a laceration on his left breast and I was born with that laceration on my left breast and the spot I saw on my leg was what you would see on my father’s leg but he never told anybody. Yes, same leg, same spot. I never knew this until I grew up and until when I was close to him. When he was at Egerton Street, when he was in exile, after he had left Ilesa, he called me and showed me his leg and asked me to bring mine. I thought I sustained a wound when I was young but he said no, that I was born with it. Then, he said he had the same.

    For the initiates into the cultural, religious and spiritual secrets of the royal households in Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s early life bore eloquent testimonies of his purpose and role in life. Providential interventions at critical stages of his life equally attested to his mandate as a ruler. He was raised by so many hands and taken away from the comfort and bliss of living in the palace with other members of the royal family. His father became the Alaafin when Lamidi Adeyemi was barely seven years old. He was obviously the closest companion of his father, especially after the death of his mother, Ibironke. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s mother is said to be a delectable wife who was admired, trusted and loved by her husband. She was wholly devoted to him and despite the avalanche of ill will and treachery from other wives, more senior to her, she remained forthright, unassuming and committed to her husband. The virulence of intrigues and the cruel gang-ups against Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s mother was such that some discerning observers believed that her untimely death was not unconnected to the diabolical machinations of those who either envied her or threatened by her relationship with their husband. The death of her first son was not only devastating but equally a foretaste of what was to come. The circumstances of her death and the events after pointed to a grand design to frustrate and foreclose her role as Olori. She became the only wife of Prince Adeniran Adeyemi who did not live to see her husband assume the role, prestige, glamour and power of the Alaafin of Oyo. She died before her husband was proclaimed King and never enjoyed royalty and all its accoutrements.

    The earlier years of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi were spent at Ile Epo kinkin, later known and recognised as Ile tutun. The formative years were characterised by exposure to the best of Yoruba social and cultural traditions. He was introduced to those cherished values that the Yoruba consider as foundations for successful engagements with life and the larger human community. The canons of respect for elders and constituted authorities, Spartan discipline, life above board in transparent honesty, discipline, diligence and fairness remain the guiding principles in parenting among the Yoruba. The Yoruba child of Oba Adeyemi’s age and time was also expected to demonstrate very strong faith in God as the Ultimate Law Giver. He was taught, enjoined and compelled to live a life above reproach and in the fear of God. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s sojourn at Iseyin under the tutelage of Alfa Olowookere, an Islamic scholar and his encounter with abject poverty as a pupil in a poorly funded Islamic school conjointly gave him the opportunity of baptism in street wisdom. To survive, he had to contend with others in the management of scarce resources and the scanty affection of the scholar’s harem. Interestingly, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was recalled to Oyo where he continued his elementary school education at the renowned St. Andrew’s College Demonstration School. The school had been established as the training ground for the students of the teacher training institution. It would be recalled that the Church Missionary Society had established a training institute first in Abeokuta (1853-1867), then in Lagos (1868-1899) and finally in Oyo (1896). The name was later changed to St. Andrew’s College, Oyo in 1920 during the principal-ship of Rev A.W. Smith. At inception, admission into the CMS Training Institution was based on the strong recommendation by the District Church Superintendents with special emphasis on the character and interests of the prospective students in church work. It was much later in 1904 that admission started to be by competitive examination. By 1929, St. Andrew’s College, Oyo had become one of the best teacher training institutions under the management of the Church Missionary Society in Southwestern Nigeria. The efforts of Reverend Melvin Jones, a missionary of the Niger Mission, which was part of the West Equatorial Diocese and George Burton had paid off. During the six-year training programme, students at St. Andrew’s College, Oyo were given instructions in the following subject areas: Old Testament, New Testament, Grammar, Literature, School Method, Arithmetic, Algebra, Euclid Geography, Christian Doctrine, Hygiene, History and Greek.in Nigeria. The demonstration school provided student teachers to demonstrate their respective capacities and competence in teaching. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi benefited maximally from the brilliance, integrity and moral excellence of his teachers at the Demonstration School, especially the Head Teacher, Mr. Olatoregun. According to Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, his master Mr. Olatoregun encouraged and tutored him to be thrifty, organised and intentional about his daily activities. He sustained in his pupils a love for the things of God, including the daily routine of morning prayers, Bible reading and devotional hours. In 1947, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was sent to live in the palace of the Alake of Egba, Oba Ladapo Ademola to learn palace traditions and etiquette from a respected traditional ruler. However, it would seem that Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was sent to Abeokuta by his father for two reasons. One, it might be that he was protecting his young son from the prying eyes of those who might harm him. In those days, palace intrigues and treachery were common occurrences and princes who were considered primary targets of the attack were specially protected by their mothers. In Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s case, he no longer had the protection of a biological mother and his rising profile was fast becoming a source of envy and irritation although he was not living with his father in the palace. The second reason that his father wanted him to study law in the tradition of the children of the Alake would at best be an afterthought. He was rather too young to be introduced to such thoughts about a career in law. In 1947, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was only nine years old and just in elementary school and could not have been thinking of a career. The Abeokuta experience became more interesting when his mentor and patron, Oba Ladapo Ademola, was forced into exile following the women’s agitations against taxation and the alleged high-handedness of the Alake. The protest became instantly popular because of the amount of mobilisation carried out by the instigator and convener, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti. Life in exile was brutish and cruel. The Alake was deprived of the largesse of his exalted throne and was confined to a very modest accommodation in Osogbo. His immediate servants and mentees, including Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, bore the brunt of this ill-treatment as they were exposed to health hazards, loss of privacy and other deprivations. In all of this, Oba Adeniran Adeyemi refused to withdraw his son from the Alake because he believed that the Alake did not deserve such cruelty and disrespect from the colonial establishment and the Egba women respectively. He was sympathetic to the plight of his royal brother and decided to allow his son to remain with him to attend to his needs in Osogbo. Oba Adeniran Adeyemi had opined that the adversities of Oba Ladapo Ademola were temporary and that the situation would soon be addressed in the best interest of peace and progress in Egbaland. He reasoned that the pigeon does not dine and wine with the house owner only in fair weather, it stays with him through thick and thin. Unfortunately, the Aremo Tiamiyu Adebayo’s courtesy visit to Osogbo to show solidarity with the Alake provided an opportunity for the Alake to insist that Oba Lamidi Adeyemi be taken back to Oyo to avoid a disruption of his education. Oba Adeniran Adeyemi queried the wisdom of bringing his son back to Oyo and insisted that Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was not going to stay in the palace. He was taken to the Aremo’s compound where he spent a couple of months before being sent to live with Sir Kofo Abayomi in Lagos. He then had a fresh opportunity to start elementary school at the famous Boys Model School, Obalende. According to Oba Adeyemi, ‘If as a boy you didn’t go to the Boys’ Model School you’re nobody. It was a place that toughened boys’. After receiving what could be regarded as a baptism of fire in this school, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi proceeded to the Methodist School at Tinubu from where he gained admission into St. Gregory’s College, a school that brought out the best of him as a skilful footballer, award-winning essayist, brilliant debater and an obviously intelligent student. He was, in the language of the time, an eager beaver and all-rounder!

    Major lessons from Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s chequered early life story would include his unbelievable capacity to adjust to changing and prevailing situations and circumstances in life. Despite the constant movements from one home and location to another and the associated trauma of not living with relations and siblings, Oba Adeyemi profited from his challenges by building an extensive network of friends and acquaintances resulting in enormous social capital. His later life as King and leader of thought in Nigeria reflected the extent and ramifications of his broad understanding of people from different social cultural and economic backgrounds. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi became well known for his cosmopolitanism and urbane culture. People who encountered Oba Lamidi Adeyemi attested that he was civil, courteous, polite, elegant and refined. Oba Adeyemi had a commendable dose of social intelligence. He easily displayed strong social competencies and nourishing behaviours that made people around him feel valued, appreciated, trusted and respected. A good reading of Oba Adeyemi’s life would confirm that he exhibited the eight dimensions of social intelligence, namely: patience, teamwork, confidence, sensitivity, humanity, tactfulness, memory and jesting.

    Ascension to Power

    The journey to the throne, power and prestige of the Alaafin began long before it actualised. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi had heard from an inner witness that he would be Alaafin in super-succession to his father to right all the wrongs done to his father and enjoy a long reign which was denied his father. It would be revealed that Oba Adeniran had an uneasy relationship with the leadership and government of the Action Group in the Western Region. While he was a conservative in defending the kingship institution, the new political and power elite somehow believed that the institution was in dire need of reforms if it would not be anachronistic and undemocratic. It was reasoned that an institution headed by a bunch of illiterates and wielding enormous power over their people was nothing but a relic fit for the museums. The government headed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, therefore, sought to introduce some administrative reforms in the structure and funding of the Native Authority system in the region. These reforms struck at the heart of the authority of the Alaafin and the traditional council. The rushed programme of reforms widened the gap between the conservative traditional order headed by the Alaafin on the one hand and the modern democratic system of the new political elite on the other. For instance, the reforms proposed for the Native Authority in Oyo were such that struck at the financial power base of the Alaafin and which attempted to emasculate him. The Executive Council of the Oyo Divisional Native Authority met to discuss the 1953/54 financial proposal and recommended that:

    1. The future financial provisions for the envoys of the Alaafin be deleted from the estimates;
    2. The Native Authority Draft Estimates be amended to cut the annual salary of the Alaafin by as much as 600 Pounds;
    3. The salary paid to the Crown Prince be stopped forthwith; and
    4. All accidental expenditures for the administration of the palace be stopped.

    Furthermore, the civil unrest in Oyo between the supporters of two rival political parties, the Action Group and the National Council of Nigerian Citizens provided a convenient excuse for the government in power to deal decisively with the Alaafin Adeniran Adeyemi who had been identified as its principal foe in Oyo. He was subsequently advised to leave Oyo within 48 hours, suspended from office and sent into exile where he died in 1958.

    The process leading to the ascension to the throne by Oba Lamidi Adeyemi as Alaafin was characterised by a bitter contest, intrigues, politics and executive interference, abuse of state power and above all providential intervention. The death of Oba Bello Gbadegesin Ladigbolu in 1968 created a vacancy that, according to the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration, must be filled by any qualified member of the Alowolodu Chieftaincy Family. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi showed interest and won the support of the head of his family who subsequently presented him for consideration. He contested with other members of the ruling family before he emerged as the preferred candidate to fill the vacancy. On 18th November 1970, the Basorun, as head of the Oyo Mesi and Council of King-makers for Oyo, after a rigorous screening of all eligible candidates proclaimed Oba Lamidi Adeyemi as Alaafin Elect. The choice of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was approved by the government of the Western State on 5th December 1970. The new Alaafin moved into the palace on 17th December 1970 to begin the rites for his enthronement.

    What is significant and enduring would be the attitude of the new Alaafin to these developments which ordinarily were such to create endless animosities and rancour. During the interview session with the Oyo Mesi, he was asked if he would avenge the insults and cruelty meted out to his father by some powerful people in the Western region. Oba Adeyemi honestly and truthfully answered that it was never in his plan to do what is condemnable and against God’s wish. He philosophised that :

    There is no time for vengeance. We have limited time to spend in this world and the time is better spent on the service of the people. The philosophy behind the history of the Alaafin is the duty to serve, and the service to humanity. Once an Alaafin is crowned, he has very little private life of his. His life must be spent for the service of the people. The services to render are too enormous, the responsibility greater than anybody that he will have no time for vengeance.

    Those notable individuals who served one purpose or the other to fulfil the providential plan and purpose for Oba Lamidi Adeyemi in becoming the Alaafin remained dear to his heart. It is a virtue to remember good deeds and to do everything necessary to sustain the culture of profound appreciation for all the generosities, goodwill and affection received in the course of life. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi had a long list of people who became close to him to whom he remained eternally grateful. In the contest for the throne, Basorun Osuola Akano played an impressive role in leading other members of the Council to remain forthright in defence of the regulations and customs regarding the appointment of the Alaafin. In appreciation of his exemplary leadership of the Council of King-makers, Oba Adeyemi described the Basorun as indefatigable, honest and straightforward. Chief Oyedele Ashamu was a pillar of moral and financial support before, during and after the contest for the throne. Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo as the new Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs in the Western Region eventually designed and defended the process that produced the Alaafin after the chaotic earlier attempts. He was committed to fairness, justice and equity and no doubt remained committed to his friendship with Oba Lamidi Adeyemi throughout. Chief Olopoenia of Okeiho, Chief Omodein Taiwo of Ilero, Alhaji Salami Omoba, Alhaji Muibi Alabebe, Alhaji Kareem Obemolori, Alhaji Salawu Arawonni, Alhaji Shitu Adebimpe, Alhaji Alfa Alore, Members of the old guard of Oyo Parapo, Chief Richard Akinjide and Chief Afe Babalola remained close to Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s heart. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi believed the aphorism created by Walter Winchell that a true friend walks in when the rest of the world walks out.

    His Imperial Majesty

    The reign and time of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III marked an era in Yorubaland in terms of his mastery of the salient aspects of the Yoruba culture, intellectual traditions and history. As a young King of thirty-two years, he had the advantage of prior preparation for the burden of office as the Alaafin. He was mentally, physically and emotionally prepared to hit the ground running. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi would always be remembered for the enormity of his capacity to prepare ahead of time and engage in dogged pursuit of excellence. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was prepared to commit all human and material resources to the search for knowledge, that he considered as a priceless possession. By the time he became the Alaafin the monarchy in Yorubaland was under the assault of revisionism led by the new elite in the professions. By dint of hard work, diligence, sagacious engagement with the new order and clever use of the Press as a shield against attacks from hostile quarters, Oba Adeyemi soon established himself as a monarch with purpose and panache. His initial interactions and interventions left no one in doubt about his commitment to the greater glory of Yorubaland, history and culture. While Alaafin Atiba established the new Oyo Empire on the solid foundation of tradition and diplomacy, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi decided to raise the bar to a new height in the context of the prevailing socio-cultural and political climate of Yorubaland of the post-independence era. He invested his time, resources and the power inherent in his office as the Alaafin to adequately equip himself with the wherewithal for the mastery of Yoruba history and culture. He was insatiable in the hunger for knowledge about the Yoruba. He did not restrict the search for knowledge to just the Oyo Yoruba area but sought to recreate the grandiose power of the Old Oyo Empire. He took advantage of what colonialism offered when Captain Ross, the Resident of Oyo Province made Oyo the political headquarters of Yorubaland and the Alaafin the foremost King. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was therefore on course to re-emphasise the imperial status of Oyo in the committee of states in Yorubaland and beyond to the Yoruba-speaking areas in Benin and Togo. The strength of this position derived from the Yorubaland Jurisdiction Ordinance of 1904 which invested the Alaafin with the headship of Yorubaland despite the ascendancy of Ibadan in the 19th century. The British had sought to sign an agreement with the leadership of Ibadan to ensure total peace in Yorubaland. It was however realised that the authorities in Ibadan recognised the Alaafin s their sovereign monarch whose consent must be sought and achieved before any deal was concluded. The Yorubaland Jurisdiction Ordinance therefore stated, among other matters that:

    And whereas the Baale, authorities and the people of the Province of Ibadan recognise the Alaafin of Oyo to be the King and Head of Yorubaland. And whereas it has been agreed that the said King Alaafin of Oyo and Head of Yorubaland should confirm and approve of the agreement dated 18th day of August 1904, entered into and concluded between His Excellency, Charles Herbert Moseley, Acting Governor and the Baale and Authorities of the Province of Ibadan and further the King Alaafin and Head of Yorubaland for himself, his heirs and successors and the people of Ibadan.

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    This important legal document was what Oba Lamidi Adeyemi needed to begin a systematic inroad into the politics of Yorubaland and the struggle for its leadership. Through a mastery of the history of Yorubaland since the emergence of Oyo as a centre of political authority in super succession to Ife, the development and extent of Oyo’s imperial powers, the nature and patterns of inter-group relations, the power struggles of the 19th century and the rise of new centres of power, Alaafin Adeyemi soon emerged as the most informed Yoruba ruler on virtually all aspects of Yoruba history and culture. He also succeeded in re-creating the myths, rituals and traditions of the Old as well as the New Oyo Empires. The Old Empire was constructed on the power of traditions and an effective, responsive, accountable and effective political system. The New Empire in the words of J.A. Atanda was a bye product of colonialism which was created to provide a pedestal for the new system of Indirect Rule. This system of colonial administration was introduced to Nigeria as a commonsensical approach to the administration of British overseas colonies indirectly through the agency of the local rulers. The success and popularity of Oyo’s central authority system and efficient provincial administration fitted into this British vision of remote administration of the colonised estates.
    By 1976, barely six years after his ascension to the throne, the Alaafin was confident enough to begin to challenge the existing order in Yorubaland. For instance, in a letter to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi queried the propriety of the Ooni to install the Sooko of Itaaku in Ikire as Oba with a beaded crown despite the subsisting agreement among principal Yoruba Obas to control the proliferation of kingship and the use of beaded crowns. Oba Adeyemi had written:

    I have just laid my hands on the Divisional Officer’s Returns on the wearing of the beaded crowns by the traditionally entitled Obas in Oyo State Ref. No. CB 201. On page 2 of the document, No. Under Osun South Division, there are six names of traditional rulers forwarded for consideration for beaded crowns. And apart from the Oluwo Iwo and Olowu of Owu who are regarded as historically and traditionally possessing beaded crowns, all other rulers from that division are regarded as Bales, including the Ak of Ikire. To have donated a beaded crown to a chief under Akire, no doubt is bound to complicate this matter now and in the future. Please let me know the traditional importance of the beaded crown given to Sooko of Itakun in Ikire.

    By any standard of assessment, what Oba Adeyemi did was audacious and a direct challenge to the position of the Ooni of Ife who was regarded as the occupant of the throne of Oduduwa, the eponymous father of all Yoruba. The Ooni, Oba Adesoji Aderemi replied and explained how the whole infraction happened and that it was never allowed or authorised by him. It happened that some overzealous Ife chief who had gone to Itakun to celebrate with the Sooko went beyond their brief and presented a beaded crown to the Sooko. Oba Adesoji Aderemi did not consider this letter as impudent or an affront to his powers as the Chairman of the Oyo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs by immediately reversing the grant of a beaded crown to the Sooko which put paid to all issues surrounding it.

    The lesson here is Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s capacity to speak truth to power and shake the table of traditional political authority in Yorubaland. He saw himself as a custodian of the best of Yoruba culture and traditions who must never allow the desecration of these traditional institutions. In another instance, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, leading some other traditional rulers, had cause to express disapproval of a statement made by the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Mr.SM Afolabi in October 1980. It would be recalled that after the death of Sir Adesoji Aderemi, it was expected that his deputy in the Council of Obas and Chiefs would succeed him as Chairman of the Council. However, as soon as the selection of Prince Okunade Sijuwade as the Ooni-Elect was announced, the Deputy Governor made the offending statement that the appointment of the new Ooni carried with it the Chairmanship of the Oyo State Council of Obas. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, leading the herein-listed Obas, fired a strong objection to the Governor.

    1. Oba Peter Adeniran Agunlejika II, Owa Obokun of Ijesaland
    2. Oba William Adetona Ayeni Ariwajoye, Orangun of Ila
    3. Oba Daniel Tayo Akinbiyi, Olubadan of Ibadan
    4. Oba Iyiola Oyewal Matanmi, Ataoja of Osogbo
    5. Oba Tijani Oladokin Oyewusi Agbonran II Timi of Ede
    6. Oba Samuel Omotoso Abimbola II, Oluwo of Iwo.

    These traditional rulers had written that:

    We, however, as the last surviving traditional institutions in the State, hereby wish to correct any such impression. As a body and direct descendants of Oduduwa, it is our duty which should not be taken away from us to select our own Chairman from among our ranks. We are the only ones as Obas that know and acknowledge the order of seniority and historical precedence among ourselves and not the government of the day. We also think that any such statement of government policy on it should reflect the historical and unanimous choice duly presented to Government and which such choice shall form a proper basis for governmental ratification and publication. And we finally request that until this has been done by us, the Government should avoid anything that could lead to misunderstanding on the matter.

    Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s leadership of the Oyo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs was well regarded for its vibrancy and responsiveness. As Deputy Chairman to Oba Adesoji Aderemi, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi became the archive of records and custodian of its traditions and practice. It was obvious that the Alaafin was a master of the practice and procedure of debates and proceedings at the Council. He established new rules and expanded the scope, functions, powers and jurisdiction of the Council. He was committed to using the agency of the Council to sanitise the Kingship/Obaship institution in Oyo State to attract the respect and regard of those who held political power in government.

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    Before the creation of Osun State in August 1991, it was obvious that the most talked about issue was the contest for supremacy between the Alaafin, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade. A perceptive understanding of their seemingly and oftentimes contradictory claims would reveal the battle for supremacy between two ideological schools. While Oba Sijuwade had a somewhat constrained knowledge of the fine details of Yoruba history and culture and was given to accepting the newly defined role of the traditional institution, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi had a profound knowledge of Yoruba history and culture and how the kingship institution could ensure the success of the past in the present. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi adopted a principled and clearly defined approach to redefining Obaship in Yorubaland and was at the forefront of intellectualising Yoruba culture for global acceptance. He was therefore prepared to do battle with Oba Okunade Sijuwade as many times as there were needs for it. For instance, when the Oba Okunade initiated moves to confer the chieftaincy title of Akinrogun of Yorubaland on Chief Tom Ikimi who was then the national chairman of a political party, National Republican Convention Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, among other things, said:

    Since the Oba, as a traditional ruler, is the custodian of traditions, I have a duty to point to, not only a breach of tradition but an outright desecration of the sacred institution, especially when such abuse comes from some quarters that are expected to protect and embellish such institutions.

    It would seem that Oba Okunade Sijuwade was not as circumspect or ingenious as his predecessor in handling the issues of the Action Group and the Adeyemi Chieftaincy Family. It was obvious that the Unity Party of Nigeria, which emerged from the ashes of the Action Group raised and promoted Oba Sijuwade to check the growing popularity and acceptance of the Alaafin.

    In all of this, the Alaafin’s heroic defence of the throne of the Alaafin, his preparedness to re-establish the imperial status of Oyo and the deployment of his intellectual arsenal to establish the supremacy of Oyo received popular acclaim and support from fair-minded observers of the tussle between the two leading kings in Yorubaland.

    Many other instances demonstrate the capacity of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi to engage in heroic struggles for the defence of his well-considered positions and matters. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was an intentional person who would, like a chess master, plan every move and prepare for every battle from any quarter. He believed that the dogged pursuit of justice, fairness and equity is the preserve of great men. He succeeded in re-establishing the Imperial status of the Alaafin and by representing and defending the interest of all Yoruba Alaafin assumed the role of the ultimate custodian of Yoruba culture and tradition.

    During the tedious rituals preceding my installation as the Alaafin, I swore, among other things, to an oath at the sacred spots of most of the major Yoruba national deities and by the hallowed shrines of my forebears to uphold, preserve, protect and defend the historical traditions and native laws and customs of my people. I swore also to be the living embodiment of the cherished cultural heritage of the great Yoruba people and as the accredited custodian of this tradition to fight, if possible, die defending the same.

    The above statement by Oba Lamidi Adeyemi is an eloquent demonstration of the depth of his commitment to the preservation of Yoruba culture and heritage.

    alaafin

    Alaafin Ọba Adeniran Adeyẹmi II | Oyo State News

    Courage and Duty to Humanity

    Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s 80th birthday in 2018 was celebrated with the publication of a comprehensive volume of his memos, letters and speeches from the inception of his reign to his 50th year on the throne. This publication aptly titled: The Alaafin of Oyo: Power of Courage and Conviction has been variously reviewed and accepted as representing the best defence of the voice of the common man by a first-class monarch date. These speeches, letters and memos provided a window into the inner recesses of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s heart and the extent he could go to defend the cause of his people. As observed elsewhere, the publication provides clear insights into his mindset, the solidity of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s intellectual foundation, the enormity of his courage and the appropriateness of his guiding philosophy or ideology which could be variously studied as a body of knowledge and source of data on different aspects of state and society in Nigeria.
    Having established himself as the de-facto traditional ruler among the Yoruba, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi embarked on a mission of speaking truth to power in defence of the Yoruba, especially as government policies, actions and inactions affected the people. He was a pragmatic traditional ruler who knew the implications of power and relations of power to clearly define the boundary of his relationship with the political and power elite at the state and federal levels. In his pursuit of the traditional mandate of his office as His Imperial Majesty, the Alaafin of Oyo and Head of the Yoruba nation, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi used the agency of the law as both a sword and a shield. An enduring legacy of the time and reign of Oba Adeyemi would be his belief in the legal process and conviction that the courts would always remain the last hope of the common man. In contemporary parlance, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi could best be described as His Imperial Majesty, the Ombudsman of the Yoruba. He was at the forefront of the fight for social justice and fairness. In many of his letters to governments at the state and federal levels, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi defended the cause of his people and this was adequately recognised and appreciated when he received the award of Senior Advocate of the Masses. A few of his letters and presentations would confirm his intervention as that of the voice of his people.

    1. “Lest History Laughs At Us:” An Open Letter Written By Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., The Alaafin of Oyo to The Head Of State, Gen. Sani Abacha Published In The Guardian Of Sunday, March 13, 1994
    2. “Highlighting The Plight of Nigerian Teachers: How Respectable Are Nigerian Teachers?” Text of Alaafin’s Position On The Teaching Profession Published In Sunday Sketch, July 4, 1976.
    3. A Position Paper on Constitutional Amendments Presented To Fhauzy Communications, Abuja By His Imperial Majesty, Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., The Alaafin Of Oyo and Permanent Chairman, Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs on Friday 16th April 2010.
    4. “Finally the Game Is Up:” Text Of A Position Paper By Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., on The State Of The Nation During The Sickness And Eventual Death Of President Yar’adua and The Refusal of the Cabal to Hand Over Power to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan.
    5. “That There Was A Voice of Reason:” A Position Paper On The Proposed Constitutional Role For Traditional Rulers By Iku Baba Yeye, Oba LamidiOlayiwolaAdeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., The Alaafin of Oyo Published in the Daily Sun, February 10, 2010.
    6. An Open Letter To President Goodluck Jonathan on The State Of The Nation In 2012 By Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., The Alaafin Of Oyo.
    7. An Open Letter To President Goodluck Jonathan By Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., The Alaafin Of Oyo on The Suspension of Justice Ayo Salami in 2012.
    8. “A Committed Advocate For Women Emancipation:” An Address Delivered By The Alayeluwa Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., The Alaafin Of Oyo on The Occasion of The 1981 Speech-day and Prize Giving Ceremony Of The Federal Government Girls’ College. Oyo, Held At The College Compound, Owinni, Oyo At 10.00 A.m. On Saturday, 13th June 1981.

    A perusal of these letters and speeches would confirm that Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s courageous and dutiful intervention on the side of the people derived from deep conviction borne out of diligent research and reflective thinking. He was a philosopher king whose love and quest for knowledge knew no bounds. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was a brilliant student of his society, age and preferences and became well known for his academic attitude to the production and utilisation of knowledge for the development of the human mind and society. Blessed with an elephantine capacity to remember details, contexts and trends, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi fitted into any academic discussion of a broad range of subjects. He was comfortable discussing various academic topics with specialists at every available opportunity. His papers attest eloquently to the profundity of his thought and the brilliance of his positions on a wide range of subjects. For instance, the under-listed presentations, made at various times during his reign and on many public interest matters would give insights into the range of Oba Adeyemi’s academic contributions to society.

    1. A Lecture Delivered by the Alayeluwa Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., The Alaafin Of Oyo and Chancellor University of Sokoto at A Seminar Organised by the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan on the Role of Traditional Rulers in the Governance of Nigeria on Tuesday 11th Day of September 1984.
    2. “Dallas Always in My Heart:” A Prophetic-heart Moving Speech on the African-American and their Enduring Resilience on American Democracy Delivered by HRM. Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., At The Dallas City Hall Conference Room at a Meeting With Council Man Albert Limpscomb on July 1, 1991.
    3. “Alaafin: Drawing A Line Between Political and Partisan Interests. Proffering Solution to the June 12, 1993 Imbroglio. Being an Address Delivered by Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., Alaafin of Oyo, at a Conference of Pan Yoruba Held at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan, On Wednesday 31st August 1994.
    4. “Conflict Resolution in the Ways Of Our Ancestors:” Being the Text of the Address Delivered by HRM Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., The Alaafin Of Oyo, to the Intellectual Community, at the Bank Anthony Hall of the Institute Of African Studies, University of Ibadan, On Wednesday, 21st January 2004.
    5. “Yorùbá Culture and Tradition:” Text of a Lecture Delivered by HRM Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., to Members of the National Youths Service Corps Deployed to Oyo State, 2006 “Batch A” Service Year on Wednesday, 22nd February 2006 At NYSC Orientation Camp, Oluwole, Iseyin.
    6. An Address By Iku Baba Yeye, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D.To The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Oyo State Branch Organised School Debate On Thursday 26th October 2006.
    7. “The Role of Traditional Rulers in the Governance of Nigeria:” The Text of a Lecture Delivered by Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, JP, CFR, LL.D., The Alaafin of Oyo, at A Seminar Organised by the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.

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    Contribution to Intellectualism

    Oba Lamidi Adeyemi left a huge impression as the most intellectual monarch ever produced in Yorubaland. He had a thorough grasp of the intellectual traditions of Africa and a good understanding of their emergence and growth over time. Oba Adeyemi’s magnum opus Oyo Chieftaincy Institution and Modernism remains the most authoritative exposition of the structure of government and administration of modern Oyo. It examines the past in the present of Oyo and establishes the fact of continuity and change in Oyo’s historical trajectory.
    Another equally profound presentation by Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was “Cultural Identity, Cultural Tourism and Language Preservation” delivered at the Plenary Session of The First Global Conference of Black Nationalities Organized by the Osun State Government in Conjunction With Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding and the UNESCO Held at Osogbo on 24th August 2010.

    Babcock University, Ilisan Remo recognised the depth of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi’s commitment to the promotion of African culture through intellectualising some of its salient aspects and traditions. Under this, the Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi Centre for African Heritage and International Studies was inaugurated at Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State on Sunday 30th May 2010.

    Speaking from the depth of his mind when this University, conferred on him the Doctor of Letters, D.Litt. (honoris causa) in 2018, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi said inter alia:

    No efforts will be spared to provide an excellent and conducive environment for learning, teaching, research and community service for staff and students. With this award, I have the permission of the highest authority of the University to be more engaged and active in participating in the academic and associated activities of the University. Indeed, as a responsible stakeholder, it will be a great honour and a rare privilege to extend the frontiers of knowledge here and elsewhere in the name of the University and join others in deepening knowledge as and when necessary.

    In the same manner, in his acceptance speech at the conferment of the honorary degree of D.Litt in Public Administration by Lead City University, Ibadan Oba Lamidi Adeyemi said:

    May I therefore on this auspicious occasion call for new thinking in supporting and encouraging scholarship and research on Yoruba studies. We need to scholarly engage the history, nature and character of knowledge production in Yorubaland and trace the trajectory of its development. To achieve this, we need the collaboration of our universities which are well-situated to promote scholarship in Yoruba studies. It is on this note that I wish to call on the Yoruba-speaking States to join us in achieving our desires to take scholarship in Yorubaland to the next level where it could be globally competitive. We need the institutional and financial support of states governments and corporate organizations in the southwest to fund endowed chairs in the different areas and aspects of Yoruba civilization, including but not limited to history, cultural studies, language, religion, fine and applied arts, music, drama and the performing arts. This is consistent with Yoruba culture and tradition of knowledge acquisition. It is the least that we can do for ourselves, our children and humanity.

    Partisanship as a Matter of Honour

    Oba Lamidi Adeyemi was a truculent fighter in defence of justice to the extent that he considered it a matter of honour to be on the side of the common folks in their relationship with the government of the day. In the course of his reign, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi had the unparalleled honour of working with 2 military governors in the Western State and 21 (twenty-one) governors in Oyo State. Of this number, 12 were military and 9 were civilians, belonging to different political parties and persuasions. Importantly, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi will be remembered for standing firm on principles of equity, justice and fairness. His heroic defence of the institution of traditional rulers brought him mixed blessings. While some hailed him for protecting, preserving, enhancing and defending the institution, many others believed that politicians should be allowed to decide the fate of their people. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi had believed that traditional rulers could be political and not partisan but had to revise this position when it became a matter of honour to do so. In a display of executive arrogance, Dr. Christopher Alao Akala as the governor of Oyo State had attempted to embarrass the Alaafin by introducing the principle of rotation in the Chairmanship of the Council of Obas and Chiefs in Oyo State. Efforts had to be made to stop him from winning a second term in office during which he would have implemented his plans against the Oba Lamidi Adeyemi. The best political calculation or option for the Alaafin was to support Senator Isiak Abiola Ajimobi in his bid to supplant Alao Akala as the Governor of Oyo State in 2011. It became a question of death being preferred to shame and the Oba Lamidi Adeyemi went all out to ensure victory for Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

    It is however interesting that despite the expedient collaboration between the Alaafin and the new governor, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi remained on the side of the people and would be easily remembered as one of the fiercest critics of the administration of the Governor. In a series of letters and memos, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi reminded the Governor of the need to keep faith with the people of Oyo State in the management of the affairs of the State. For instance, in a letter titled When Silence is not Golden, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi upbraided the Governor in the following words:

    I need not remind you that the state you govern as Executive Governor is well known for high political volatility, consciousness and mobilization to the extent that the state is regarded as the epi-centre of Yoruba political consciousness and participation. However, despite the prevailing situation, it would seem that the Executive Governor of the Pace Setter State is taking things for granted or oblivious to the serious implications of the many unaddressed issues in the management of State affairs for the 2015 elections. Kindly recall the content and main issues of my previous memo and my plea for the need to act promptly on them to avoid electoral embarrassment in the forthcoming polls. To date, many of these issues have yet to be addressed not to talk of being resolved in the greater interest of the public image of your government and the integrity of those of us who have publicly identified with your administration. This catalogue of unresolved issues has continued to cast a huge cloud of doubt on this administration.

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    Concluding Remarks

    In the last year, it is obvious that an era ended with the death of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III. He was a master strategist and a public administrator par excellence. Yorubaland will forever remember Oba Lamidi Adeyemi as the leading monarch who redefined the system of traditional public administration to meet the expectations and demands of modernity. The philosophical orientation and intellectual foundation of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, his values, predilections and preferences, his pursuit of justice, fairness and equity, his egalitarianism and support for those at the grassroots, his belief in the goodness of man, as well as humanism, and importantly, his mastery of Yoruba in all its ramifications, stood him in a separate class of mortals whose passage through life is eternally well remembered by history.

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    Opinion

    ‘Our state safe for tourists’ — Ekiti to launch tourism development masterplan

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    The government of Ekiti says it is developing a tourism master plan to improve the lot of the sector and boost the overall economy of the state.

    Speaking with journalists in Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort on Friday, Wale Ojolanre, the director-general of the state’s bureau of tourism development, assured that Ekiti is safe for tourists.

    Dismissing concerns bordering on insecurity in the state, he said the reported attacks happened on the fringes of Ekiti, insisting that tourism zones are safe.

    Although unwilling to provide full details, Ojolanre said there have been deliberate efforts by the state government to secure tourists.

    “I don’t want to expose security, [but] we’re the only state that has a homeland security as a parastatal under my agency. We know what is going on. When the road is not safe, tourism is in danger,” he added.

    Buttressing his views, Sharafa Lanre Balogun, general manager at Glocient Hospitality, assured visitors “that security is top-notch” in Ikogosi resort.

    Balogun’s company – a subsidiary of Cavista Holdings, an investment firm — is the current operator of the Ikogosi resort. Their management of the facility followed a concession deal signed with the state government in 2022.

    “We have experienced hands of people that have managed the security of major VIPs in this country. [They] are the people that we’ve brought down here to look after our security architecture,” he said.

    On his part, Dauda Ismail, chief security officer (CSO) of Cavista Holdings, stressed that the tourism site is located in a zone “whereby the crime rate here is virtually zero”.

    “I’m already in touch with the conventional security forces – the police, the SSS, civil defence — and definitely, based on the statistics they have, we’re almost at a zero crime rate here,” he said.

    “When you classify the crime into a felony, simple offence, for the past six months that I’ve been here, I’ve not witnessed any felony offence taking place. So, there’s no major crime like kidnapping, murder or any of these crimes happening around.”

    EKITI TO LAUNCH TOURISM MASTERPLAN

    On plans to develop the state’s tourism sector, Ojolanre said for any state to enhance its tourism potential to the fullest, it must first develop a tourism masterplan.

    He said Ekiti has no tourism master plan.

    “A tourism development masterplan is a necessity for any state that wants to develop and the governor of the state, his excellency Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, emphasised that the first thing we have to do is to develop a tourism masterplan for Ekiti and we started,” he said.

    “We have started drafting our tourism policy and we have identified the consultants to work on our tourism masterplan.”

    Ojolanre said the tourism masterplan would be delivered “by August and October this year”.

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    Opinion

    Tourism, beyond adversity, suffering from Anaemia

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    Experience is usually agreed to be the best teacher and looking back to about three decades ago, when opportunities came my way to be part of the story of this industry, it had been a bitter, sweet and cold experience.

    If you have been around, I mean within the space mentioned, you would possibly agree that the Nigerian tourism journey is hasted by the media, and I must, in particular, credit uncle Sam Amuka’s newspaper, the vanguard newspapers for this presence.

    The pictures of travel media we see today were the creative content put together by irrepressible ogbeni Tope Awe. Like Apostle Paul, I drank from that wisdom and am ready and willing to lay my life down for it.

    There were also other colleagues’ apostles, not necessarily of the vanguard family but who also joined in the crusade to write and speak well about our country. Unsung heroes!

    Indeed, and like some latter day saints, many of them couldn’t see beyond the glitz and luxury usually associated with the business and disappointingly lost steam due to lack of encouragement and support from government and even the private sector.

    Certainly, the Anaemic nature of the sector, despite our sense of knowledge and permutations, is so benubbing that only a few of us could weather the storm, so to speak.

    There are no chest beating here, and usually, I refrain from joining the noise makers and buccaneers who come to our space to prat invisibility. It’s nauseating, emetic!

    Except we shut their mouths and seek for a sense modesty, it is becoming apparent that they want to deliberately rewrit the history of tourism development and including the use of poisonous carrots to lure the innocent pedestrian bystanders to join their hellinist coven.

    Like I will always say and may history bear me witness, the Nigerian travel media has contributed immensely to where we are today, and no individual or organisation can hold absolute claim to that intervention. There are many journalists today who individually have contributed to keep the aneamic sector alive, while some selected leaders, particularly government officials, milk the sector dry and tell us all is well.

    Between 1991 and 93, vanguard tourism bore developmental pains, paid the price, and led courageously the tourism advocacy. Late Pa Ebaboji Da silva stood with us, and may his tourism soul rest in peace. Then came champion newspapers, and I still remember my good friend Ayo Arowojolu. Then followed Daily Times with Tijjani Adebisi, a polygot of immense knowledge, and even the present Olota of ota is part of the evolution.

    I won’t waste my space to join issues with ‘Buharidists’ or ‘ Jagabandists’ and/ or motor garage sycophants who want to score themselves with marks for whatever fanciful achievements. I really do not blame them, though, because some people come to the marketplace to shout to attract attention to their babalawo incantations and not to sell their all curing medicinal herbs.

    It could be irritating when an ostrich with its long neck thinks it could occupy the animal kingdom space where lions reign. I should think it’s suicidal and a disease of hormonal inbalance for anyone to think he is far better than others. It is just crazy and no wonder, Judas represents treachery and betrayal spirit.

    We are not out of the woods,in the aneamic hangover in the sector, because the industry has been betrayed by the merchants of divide and rule. To these characters, their game is to hogwash whoever comes to the system with transactional self-worth, belittling and running down others who refused to join their solo herodian team.

    No one is good except them, and as custodians of blemish and strife trajectory, they fly around like witches and wizards, intentional to lie against the truth and stab others in the back.

    We have said it in the open and secret places that our new madam in tourism will just mark time and leave like others before her because the confusionists had lured her with their bait.

    The propellers of industry set backs prants her space, cleverly using her “newness” and disposition to learn the tourism ropes to market themselves. Not Nigeria, not her people.

    Nigeria tourism is not at the centre stage of this mission, and you ask me who is beating the drum? Last week, the madam minister gathered commissioners of culture and tourism in Abuja. Behind the game is hypocrisy .

    Hypocrisy beats the drums, and the new commissioners and possibly new permanent secretaries just wondered why they must believe the deliverers at the centre who in seven years plus four couldn’t lift a finger to donate blood to the aneamic sector.

    In 2006, when Otunba Segun Runsewe came to our tourism space, he informed our numerous tourism baggage carriers that talk shows are over and birthed practical verifiable tourism deliveries.

    He killed fly by night portfolio operators and flew all the tourism and culture commissioners to South Africa for a week to practically see the transformation gains of the sector. Is seeing not believing?

    Runsewe gave the tourism media eyes to the global tourism reportage ecosystem and helped blossom the positive escalation of travel and tourism reporting in Nigeria, even birthed the industry reportage on radio and television.

    That’s deliberate collaboration with the media and not the latest divisive press releases in vogue and focal to killing tourism reportage and interpretation by government tourism agencies. Of course they can’t give what they don’t have!

    It is sad that the drummers of new dance drama in tourism today have surrounded themselves with Croynists whose only usefulness is to massage the ego of their masters.

    It’s difficult to owe any tourism obligation to our nation and people when the government, in its wisdom, will force down our throat ministers and agency heads whose mission and vision are at variance to the good of our cultural tourism advantages.

    A minister or agency head who deliberately roll out its hosted buyers ecosystem to the media with intent to mute their suggestions or observations can only breed zombie reporters.

    There’s nothing new in terms of culture and tourism policy collaboration and interpretation that Otunba Segun Runsewe has not done. Before he left the culture sector, hurried out by misfit minister of culture, Runsewe brought all the culture and tourism commissioners to Abuja to deliberate on a new path for sector. Is our madam minister apping him? Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria president Nkereweum Onung has been on the same ecosystem, almost on his knees, to bring the government and private sectors together. Did the white lions in ntda and nihotour listen?

    Why is the industry still playing adversity games, or supposedly so beats the imagination. Unfortunately, the attempt to tarnish the image of travel and tourism media will fail flat.

    Tourism reportage is a spiritual thing. You can’t put it down, not even with the Internet playing a huge role. Even the traditional media has upped its games, and except there is a strategic agenda to put the media first in national tourism marketing and promotion, just as Runsewe has shown, then Nigeria can only breed of the reportage of the worst in its underbelly. The people are what they read!

    I won’t end without mentioning the capacity and presence that the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies has brought to the Nigerian tourism space in recent times. It’s unprecedented, from intra Africa to Africa Tourism market agenda, to a twice solo run at the World Travel Market( for Nigeria) and a practical guide to gains to centric African cultural tourism development in South Africa in collaboration with Ghana Tour Operators Association supported with open hands by South Africa government and its creative vibrant tourism agency, nanta sure cannot be ignored.

    Nanta’s first strategic foray in an exclusive Air transportation and Sundry industry suppliers expo during its avant-garde Annual General Meeting is certainly futuristic to what a well organised private sector organisation can do to advance tourism in Nigeria and to the world. It’s futile to pretend to celebrate World Tourism Day in Nigeria when we know where shoes pinches.

    Na which government dey bid to host wtd in Nigeria if not to milk the governors of the little resources which can be used to buy rice for their hungry poor. Bid koo, bid nii!

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    Opinion

    Nigeria Must Develop Own Tourism, KAS Offers Such Opportunity – Korean Ambassador

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    Korean Ambassador Kim Pankyu has urged Nigeria to develop her tourism sector stating the current tourist landscape holds little space for relaxation for both foreigners and Nigerians.

    Pankyu who had spent a little over fifty days shuttling between the Lagos and
    Abuja, meeting with Korean companies and Nigerian institutions, had earlier gushed over the colourful space of the Nike Art Gallery Foundation, Dunes and entertainment/cinema in

    Abuja, and the coastal area of Lagos.

    He, however, noted that both cities lack a place for relaxation during weekends, and tour guides are hard to find.

    “I have been in Nigeria fifty days but it is difficult to find a tour guide in Nigeria. You must develop your tourist course. Abuja has no place to tour. It is just only for those doing business. You can be business person but during the weekend you should have a place to visit. There is no place to visit and that’s a problem.

    “I think your government should make a plan towards that, which then, Korean companies can come aboard with some assurance of security that their investment is protected,” said Pankyu.

    He further noted that upcoming Korea Africa Summit (KAS) will provide side events such as the Korea Africa Consultancy Forums, as well as forums on ICT, Tourism and Energy, that will offer opportunities for both Korea and Nigeria to expand cooperations in these areas.

    “Nigeria’s delegation participation at the summit will translate discussions reached to particular operations and initiatives. Many Korean companies are interested in the Nigerian market and considering doing business in Nigeria. However, there are certain obstacles that should be addressed, such as the problem of double taxation, profit repatriation are major concerns.

    “During the summit, Nigerian government can share what it has been doing to address these and assure Korean businesses that the business environment in Nigeria is improving. I believe it will facilitate Korean companies’ investment in Nigeria”.

    The largest international gathering of Korean government, expected to set a milestone between Korea and Africa, the Korea Africa Summit will hold June 4thto5th, 2024, at Ilsan and Seoul, Korea.

    Meantime, Nigeria is in talks with Korea, to join the Korea Rice Belt Initiative. The initiative aims to support African countries in improving their self-sufficiency in rice farming and production, through the provision of varieties of rice, seed supply and technical training support. Ten African countries have signed an MoU to the project.

    Nigeria’s joining of this initiative when realized, Pankyu said will contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.

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