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Another history was made in the quiet town of Ila Odo in Odo Otin Local Government of Osun State come Thursday May 6, 2021. That would be the formal coronation and presentation of Staff of Office to the newly elected ruler, His Royal Majesty, Oba Pastor Benjamin Ajibade Aderinola Olorundunsin Ilufemiloye Abiona Oluwajobi 1. Kabiyesi Oba Abiona, a versatile and successful businessman is also an ordained Pastor of Christ Apostolic Church superintending over Lagos based CAC Oke Iyanu, Dopemu District with a number of assemblies. Oba Abiona speaks here with PTL News on his journey from the pulpit to the palace, and his new found experience as a traditional ruler.
“My experience mainly concerns what the people are like when I live with them. I have discovered that about 60% of my chiefs live outside Ila Odo. This is because majority of the people are farmers. As the population grows the land is not sufficient for them to till and the yield of the land has reduced tremendously too. They have to go out for greener jungles not pastures outside the community. They live there, make their families there and only come home around religious festivals, with the Christians at Christmas and Easter and the Muslims come home during their own festivals too.
“When I was young less than 20% of the chiefs were outside unlike now. Because of that the town is mainly populated by aged women, young school boys and girls, and most of the adults you see during the day are mainly artisans who come there from other parts of the country. The young ones attend primary and secondary schools are consumers rather than producers.
“Most times when you want to make use of the artisans, suddenly you just hear they have left or moved out of the town. For example, there is only one POS man in the town. There was a day I needed money and I asked of him, only to be told that he is no more in town, and for about three weeks now he has not come back. I was told he went to his town in Ondo. I had to go outside the town to get what I needed.
What this one tells us is that Ila Odo provides lots of opportunities for both indigenes and non indigenes to come in, settle down and live peacefully in the community. There are business and growth opportunities with and around the town. People can come in and bring viable investments, and this will be our policy direction by encouraging people to settle down in Ila Odo for growth and development of the community.
It was unthinkable that a man from Ila Odo would go and rent accommodation in adjoining villages. As they now do so they even build houses in those adjoining villages rather than in Ila Odo. There are other people from other parts of the country who now live and work in Ila Odo too. But we certainly need more. There are also people from Benue and Kogi States who are in town doing farming work.
There is this observation I made about some other developments over the time in Ila Odo. When I came back from UK in 1965 I was the only person from that town with tertiary education but as at today Ila Odo can boast of not less than six Professors in different fields in different higher institutions of learning in different parts of the country, with many others with PhD and Master in various fields.
We can also say of Ila Odo as a very peaceful community, with no rivalry between any group within and outside the community. In Ila Odo, there is no fetishness. There is no shrine operating in Ila Odo again. All you see are churches and mosques everywhere.
What can we expect as the agenda to work with?
The first on the list of my agenda is to see how we would encourage Ila Odo people to come and build homes in Ila Odo rather than settling in adjoining towns and villages. Another is how to convince them, they could live and make the economy of the community buoyant by utilising their own land in Ila Odo rather than develop elsewhere by farming there.
We all know that agriculture has been diversified into a lot of products and even services, that growing cocoa is no more the only face of agriculture. Today one can live on poultry, animal husbandry, production of cassava and different types of vegetables. They are all now economically viable. In summary, foodstuff production is now economically viable for any farmer. The government has also started empowerment programme to get them to know how to manage themselves, and to see that food is the first priority of man apart from water and air.
Also there is the agenda to attract some higher institutions into the town. We want to encourage other people to establish higher institutions into the town. If we succeed in this, the advantage is instant, and partly it’s that the number of vacant buildings will attract immediate tenants. It will also boost the economy of the community.
One of our plans is to reduce crime in the quiet community. The few people who build in the town have their homes burgled. This was not the case before. We may have to look into having local vigilante groups.
How has your life changed after the new status sir?
I have been enjoying the quietness of the place in the fact that the people have confidence in me, that I am capable of making rapid changes in the town. I also discover I have to establish rapport with other traditional rulers who are quite willing to provide fellowship support from the sons and daughters of the community. That is why I talked of the confidence in me, talking of the antecedents, we are already appealing to them to shelve their conservatism and follow new trends of development. It is not going to be easy to get them to do things in a different way.
How are you preparing for the day sir?
I have a few experiences of planning for huge number of people. I remember vividly that there were 27 Choir groups that registered to render anthems at my mother’s funeral thanksgiving service. We had 62 ministers and we were able to cater for them. It needs a lot of planning and organisation but I believe my planning committee and members of my family God helping us are up to the task. It is huge no doubt I am not underrating the complexity of the event.
Who and who are you expecting as guests sir?
We of course will be expecting the Governor of the State, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola or his able representative. I believe we shall have top officials of the state administration, and mostly all the Odo Otin members of Traditional Council. I have been having calls from different parts of the country of who are showing interest in participating in the programme. Reports coming to me show that throughout the country there is a great interest in having the uniform Aso Ebi of the ceremony. People have shown real interest in the whole thing. We are also making arrangements about accommodating our guests and visitors for the day. There will also be moderate and secured accommodation like hotels nearby. The programme holds at CAC School Play ground, Oyan Road, in Ila Odo. Programme starts at 11 am.
Congratulations on the Choice of the new Olori. Can we know more about her?
The new Olori was located by the youths of Ila Odo and when I met her I was surprised at their choice. She is a great worker in her Church which makes her a great Christian. That is she fulfils my first requirement as Olori. She is also a trained and practising nurse, a Sunday School teacher, and a great prayer warrior. We have since been living together happily. Her name is Olori Ruth Oluwatoyin Abebi Abiona.
Olori’s comments and expectations
We expect God to glorify Himself in all ways. God will prove Himself as the King of kings on that day. Baba is a confirmed man of God, a representative of God, living in His will. The people should support Baba with prayers with one mind so that the plan and purpose of God will be achieved. Let us cooperate that all our expectations will be realised.



Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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