Olugbo of Ugbo Celebrates Sixth Coronation Anniversary

Oba Akinruntan

Oba Akinruntan

CELEBRATION of the sixth year coronation anniversary of the Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Frederick Obateru Akinruntan last weekend at Ode Ugbo in Ilaje Local Council of Ondo State, was another opportunity for Ilaje people living in the riverine area to assert their prime place in the history of Yorubaland.

They also used the occasion to take stock of the achievements of the monarch in the last six years and strategies on how to attract more presence of the state and federal government in the oil-producing community.

Oba Akinruntan, an oil magnate and Chief Executive Officer of Obat Petroleum, at a parley with journalists at his Ode-Ugbo multi-billion naira palace said: “We are not just celebrating my coronation with fanfare but we are telling the people the truth that had been suppressed for many years about Yoruba history. Ugbo people are the number one and Olugbo stool remains the foremost traditional stool in Yorubaland because we are the aborigines. Oduduwa, son of Lamurudu who migrated from Mecca met us at Ile-Ife. He met Olugbo at his palace in Iremo quarters in Ile-Ife. This is a known fact that has been suppressed for many years by people who want the world to believe that the history of Yoruba begins and end with Oduduwa dynasty, which is wrong”.

Oba Akinruntan who disclosed that his six years on the throne of his forefathers has brought significant improvement to the socio-economic lives of the people, said: “Apart from raising their consciousness of their place in Yorubaland, one of my greatest achievements is that I have been able to bring back peace to this community. Before I came to the throne, many could not sleep with their two eyes closed. There were crises among various groups representing our people in the oil companies operating in our domain, but that has changed. You can come here and start your business without being harassed by anybody.

“Besides, as soon as I was crowned, I changed the mode of dressing of our chiefs and village heads. They used to wear religious gowns around. It is true we are all Cherubim and Seraphim Zion but we are first and foremost Yoruba. Our chiefs now wear agbada around instead of religious gowns.

“I have also instituted a foundation through which I have been able to give scholarship to many in primary, secondary and higher institutions. Recently, I  elevated the scheme to include the brilliant ones who want to go for their Ph.D anywhere in the world. I realize that we need to assist our people in capacity building to give away some ancient beliefs that hinder development. For instance, our people believe that whoever builds a house where I built my palace will be killed by witches, but three years after I came here, some of them have started coming to build houses in this location. We need to educate our people to catch up with the rest of the society.

“Let me also add that my foundation has been providing free health checks and treatments to our people living on top of water by procuring boat clinics with qualified medical personnel moving from one community to the other to treat our people. That is why I want to appeal to the Federal Government to build a Specialist Hospital in Ilaje, not a clinic. We deserve more than that. We also want a Federal Government higher institution for our youths that are ready to take the advantage. But we must thank Governor Olusegun Mimiko for his support in the last six years by providing good and accessible roads amongst other infrastructure in Ilaje”.

Speaking about his life in the palace, Oba Akinruntan, who was adjudged as the second richest monarch in Africa and richest in West Africa and Nigeria by Forbes magazine said: “Life in the palace is very interesting and tasking. You hold meetings and resolve issues for several hours every day and that limits your freedom. For instance, as a Prince, I used to park at the roadside to buy roasted plantain but I can’t do that again. Although occasionally I send somebody to go and buy it, I would have loved to see and point at the one I wanted. I miss that a lot. Also I love dancing to Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey’s music but as a king, you can’t dance in the public. Tradition will not allow that just as you cannot eat in the public but it has been a worthwhile experience being a king”.

Oba Akinruntan who advised other wealthy Nigerians to engage more in philanthropic works said wealth is meaningless without impacting on the lives of others.

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