By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
History was made on Saturday as the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona installed the accomplished physician and Co-founder of EKO Hospital, Olor’oogun (Dr) Sonny Folorunsho Kuku as the 4th Ogbeni Oja of Ijebuland.
The ceremony was also marked alongside Dr Kuku’s 80th birthday.
The Endocrinologist and Pro-Chancellor, University of Benin succeeded his late uncle and lawyer, Chief Bayo Kuku, the 3rd Ogbeni Oja of Ijebuland who died in 2015.
The Ojude Pavilion used for the installation was filled to the brim with well wishers, relatives, friends and associates of the new Ogbeni Oja, Dr Kuku who came across the country to keep a date with the epoch making occasion
Dignitaries at the event was led by Gov Dapo Abiodun who was represented by his Deputy, Engr Noimot Salako-Oyedele. Others were the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwoolu, represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, former governors of Ogun State Chief Olusegun Osoba, Sen Ibikunle Amosun and Otunba Gbenga Daniel currently representing Ogun East at the Senate among others.
Royal fathers at the event included the Akarigbo and Chairman Ogun State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Adewale Babatunde Ajayi, the Olu of Ilaro and Paramount ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, the Osile of Oke Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso among others.
Speaking at the programme, Gov Dapo Abiodun represented by his Deputy, Engr Noimot Salako-Oyedele, said that the sterling accomplishments of the Endocrinologist in medicine and business world coupled with his love and commitment to the development of Ijebuland was more than enough to qualify him for the prestigious office
While congratulating the new Ogbeni Oja on this lofty achievement Gov Abiodun said “I however challenge you to use your good office to foster unity, economic development and educational advancement in Ijebuland.
“Your accomplishments in medical world and philanthropic gestures are indicating of the positive impacts you are capable of bringing to Ijebuland and Ogun State at large and this we urge you to use your new office to pursue for the benefit of all”.
Abiodun said that his administration will continue to partner with the traditional rulers and other stakeholders to enhance the prosperity of the residents of the state.
Meanwhile, the Awujale and Paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona has said that the selection of Dr Kuku as the 4th Ogbeni Oja was purely based on merit and his loyalty to the throne of Awujale from time immemorial.
The Royal father said “let no one think that that the choice of Olor’oogun Sonny Kuku was influenced by anyone, I did not pick him as the new Ogbeni Oja for any reason other than for being worthy of this highly coveted seat.
“He has proven to be so loyal to the Awujale throne and demonstrated capability for leadership. I urge him to continue in that trajectory and continue to use his networks worldwide to uplift the socio-economic development of Ijebuland and Ogun State as a whole”.
The paramount ruler also used the medium to urge governors in southwest to follow the footsteps of Gov Abiodun of Ogun State who has assented the law which now allow for traditional rulers to be installed and buried according to their religious beliefs and not compulsory traditional way.
He said ”I will also like to use this medium to urge governors in other southwest states to follow the footsteps of Gov Dapo Abiodun who has now assented the law that allows for traditional rulers to be installed and buried according to their religious beliefs either as Christian or Muslim but not compulsorily in traditional ways.
“I have been championing for this shift for some years now so that we won’t be discouraging people who have good intentions to serve the people to be running away from obaship, it is something we need to do that will add value to obaship institutions”.
The new Ogbeni Oja, Olor’oogun Sonny Kuku while speaking with journalists at the event said he was highly honoured to be so chosen by Awujale for the exalted office saying that he was ready to redouble his commitment towards further development of Ijebuland.
He said “I am highly elated with this honour and I am grateful to Awujale for considering me for this highly exalted office of Ogbeni Oja. I received the honour with great sense of humility and it is really a call to serve and God helping me I will do my best to seek for further growth and development of Ijebuland and Ogun State as a whole”.
The Ogbeni Oja is the next in rank to Awujale and the reagent. His office is said to be akin to Prime Minister and takes defending the Awujale throne as utmost priority.
Speaking in an interview, the Baagbimo of Ijebuland and who also double as the Chairman of the Installation Committee, Chief Fassy Yusuf said the conferment of Ogbeni Oja title on Dr Folorunso Kuku also coincided with marking the 80th birthday of the accomplished physician.
Chief Yusuf said “the choice of Olor’oogun Dr Sonny Kuku as the new Ogbeni Oja is like putting the Square peg in a square hole, it is acknowledged by many people given his towering achievements in life and commitment to development of Ijebuland. What is left for all is to cooperate with him and support him to achieve success in his new found role as the Ogbeni Oja of Ijebuland”.