Since I became king, I can’t kiss my girlfriend in public again – Ayangburen of Ikorodu

The New Ayangburen of Ikorodu…’My ambition is to turn Ikorodu into a modern town’

Oba Kabiru Adewale is a man of many parts; a scholar,
businessman, academician and Engineer; these prolific credentials have not in
any way beclouded his sense of traditional responsibility as he answered the
call to occupy the throne of his forebears, first functioning as the Odofin of Ikorodu, and then becoming
the all important Oba of the popular Lagos Town. In this no holds barred first
exclusive interview granted to a media, the monarch revealed everything that
makes him thick including a look at his days before royalty. Enjoy the excerpts.

on your installation as the new Ayangburen of Ikorodu land
Thank you very much
would you describe the experience?
It is lovely. It’s my
birthright, and I feel good about it.
were once the
of Ikorodu
and now you have been crowned
Ayangburen, how do you compare the two roles?

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They are different
things entirely; being a chief is different from being a king. A chief is just
a Community Leader while a king is a paramount ruler. The difference is very
clear. As a king, you are to look after your subjects including the chief, who
is very submissive to the king. He reports every situation to the king and
follows a laid down procedure in his activities. The king is the custodian of
the tradition, he makes his subjects happy, speak on their behalf, and works in
partnership with the government for the growth of the community.
do you intend to handle this enormous responsibility?
As a former Odofin, I know the town very well though
there is more to it now as a king. My primary responsibility is to make sure
that there is peace in the community, which will lead to developing it
commercially. This is because Ikorodu is noted for commercial
activities, and you know that lots of people are now migrating to Ikorodu
and it has become the largest industrial area in the whole of Lagos State, even
in West Africa. I really want to work on that aspect of our town; to make
sure all the logistics and infrastructures are up to date. So we are going to
work with the government to achieve all these.

The New Ayangburen of Ikorodu…’I balance my Mulim faith with my traditional orientation’

are your priority projects and the innovations you intend to bring to Ikorodu?
I have done a lot of
research and have penned down my areas of priority. When I joined the race to
become king, I had my manifesto ready. I have already started some of those
projects that I listed. Firstly, on culture, we have started enhancing the
beauty of the town as well as renovating and reconstructing parts of the rural
areas within the town. Just imagine the first palace in Ikorodu had no toilet and
pipe borne water; I have already settled that for people residing there.
Secondly, the road network in Ikorodu. This is one aspect I cannot
do without the help of the government. Because there is mass migration into Ikorodu
to ease Lagos Island of its
population, there should therefore be facilities to serve the population. We
are presently working on suitable housing programme for the city.
I remember when I was
young; precisely in the 60s, you can hardly count up to 10 vehicles on Ayangburen
. But now, it is a competition between human and vehicular traffic.
So, we are going to work with the government on this project. Electricity, as
you know, is a Federal Government project, but we have to back it up with
transformer for the rural dwellers to have basic amenities that I mentioned
earlier. We need hospitals also, and are working to upgrade the General
we have. I am not saying government is not working, they have
just built a clinic, and the structure is right there. But it’s not even
enough. I went there last December, because every December or January we need
to go and visit the first baby of the year, along with the former king. Some of
the women who were expecting babies there didn’t even have beds to be delivered
on; they were putting to bed on the floor; the fact that it is a modern
maternity home notwithstanding. So, we need to assist by providing more land
for them to upgrade to a teaching hospital, because the Ayinke House in Ikeja is chocked, so if we create more
hospitals it will reduce the burden of Ayinke and Island Maternity.
We also have a polytechnic that can be upgraded to a university. We have lands
that can accommodate both. I am also begging our Baales not to sell the
lands meant for schools, markets and hospitals. This is because if you want
government to build a school or hospital, you have to provide the land for
them. So, we want more schools; we want to upgrade our polytechnic to university;
we want our hospital to be upgraded to teaching hospital and also the housing
estate must be improved upon. Though the government is trying, but we want
do you plan to achieve all these even with the help of the government?
Within the short time I
have been in office, I have been able to construct a modern toilet and pipe borne
water for the first Olaja Palace that was built over 400 years ago. There is no
bank in Nigeria that is not in Ikorodu.
Those are not from the government, they are from private individuals, and they
are really investing in Ikorodu. But
we still need the road networks, because we need to create an enabling
environment for investors to come in. And the king cannot do it alone, so our
mandate is to give the government the blueprint that will guide them to put the
road network in place. The investors are ready to pay their tax, and we know
how to sanction them to encourage them to do the needful. We will continue to
talk to the government so that some of the seminars that are held in Lagos can
be held in Ikorodu. We are doing a
lot to put structures in place to attract business people here.

who come to pay homage to me make a lot of requests, for example, the Methodist Church were here this
morning, and they blessed me, but they didn’t leave until they have made one or
two demands of me. They want me to outlaw the “ORO” festival from taking place
in the day time; they want it during the night”.

The New Ayangburen of Ikorodu…’I love my  wife dearly because she supports me in raising my family in my absense’

how many years do you intend to achieve all these?
If it is possible
within a year; I know the Governor is a listening Governor, and his men have
visited Ikorodu. It is from the Ikorodu Senatorial District that we
appointed the Governor. Definitely, he is going to listen to us and support our
ambitious plans.
had changed about you since you became a king?
Change has been part of
my life; transformation to a boy, to a student, to a graduate, an adult, and
socialist and now, a traditionalist. Series of changes have taken place. I have
been to a kind of a ‘university’ only those who are ready to be kings attend.
When you are there you will be transformed. There are lots of things that I was
doing before that I cannot do now. I can’t kiss my girlfriend in the public any
more. I can’t hug my girlfriend in the public. I can’t eat in public. There are
limitations to what I can do in the public. As a king, you are supposed to be a
role model, who should not be found wanting in behavior as well as be a good
listener. It has actually changed and transformed me. People who come to pay
homage to me make a lot of requests, for example, the Methodist Church were
here this morning, and they blessed me, but they didn’t leave until they have
made one or two demands of me. They want me to outlaw the “ORO” festival from
taking place in the day time; they want it during the night. So if, the Oro people want to appease the gods, and
they ban the church from playing music, and you know they can’t function
without playing music, how will they feel? I have to listen to both parties and
balance my judgment. So I try to examine issues careful and try to find out how
I can accommodate everyone. If I have issues, I call all my subjects, my
lieutenants, and we look at them together, and decide how to go about them. So,
it is a decision that is not only my idea and the praise goes to all and not
the kabiyesi
alone; that has been my practice.
you tell us your background, where you grow up and more?
I am a native of Ikorodu;
a proper son of the soil. I was born here in Ikorodu Maternity Home
then. I went to Methodist Primary School
which is about half a kilometer from my house. There was nothing like cars
then, and we enjoyed trekking. I later went to United Commercial School, but didn’t finish before I was taken to Lagos, and I got admitted to Methodist High School, my dad as an Alhaji
was not happy so I had to change to Zumratu
Islamiyya Grammar School
. Soon after, I worked briefly with a tourist
company, Tourist Hotel Industry at Victoria Island, and while I was there,
I was doing part time studies at the Federal
School of Arts and Science
. From there, I got another admission to the University
of Lagos
, which was followed with a Lagos State scholarship. In due
course, I got admission to study overseas, so I left Nigeria and I studied at Nongradona
Agriculture and Steel University
in the United States of America. But before I left, my family got me
married to my very beautiful and charming wife, and we had children. So, I
refused to have another wife abroad. After school, I was posted to West
African Portland Cement
for my National Youth Service. At the end of
the scheme in 1998, I was given automatic employment. I rose from Trainee
Engineer to Deputy Chief Electrical Engineer before I retired in 2004. I was
attracted to West African Portland Cement
because I had the intention of going back to USA since they promised
me an official home, scholarship for my children and all it takes to have a
standard living; I had five children, but lost one at the age of nineteen when
he was about to enter the university. Of the remaining children, one is a
lawyer, another is working with the Lagos State Tax Office, yet another, a
sociology graduate is still searching for employment while the last one is
studying Engineering at OSUTH. I became the Odofin, and served for a
period of five years. Subsequently, the family took it up further; stood by me
and here I am today. I really appreciate what they have done, especially Ikorodu
people; they really worked hard to get me into this office, and I promise that
I will not disappoint them, God willing, and with my great team, we will get

The New Ayangburen of Ikorodu…’My new position has taught me more about tolerance’

did you meet your wife?
When I was in the
secondary school, I was like a play boy. I had many girlfriends. I met my wife
in Lagos; in Lafiaji where I lived at
the time.  She got attracted to me. For
her, I disowned others.
are the things that kept the relationship going?
She is a very domestic
woman, a good home maker because I hardly had time for the children. I didn’t
see my children growing because I was always in and out of the country. She has
been very supportive, and I love her.
you became the king, what were the challenges you faced?
During our own time,
once you know how to manage your boss, you won’t have any problem. I was very
obedience and humble and I knew how to serve my superiors, and that was why
many of them were all interested in attending my coronation because I was an
exemplary worker. These experiences gave me the background to face any
challenge even as a king now. One of my major challenge borders on the division
among Ikorodu people; it is one of
the things we will seriously work on because united we stand.
a Muslim and a king you are supposed to perform some traditional rites, are
there any conflicts with your faith in doing that?
No, there is no Pastor or Imam that will crown a king. It is still a traditional rite. I am Kabiru,
I am a Muslim and I have been to hajj twice, so that will not take my belief
away from me; culture is quite different from religion; there is nobody that
doesn’t have cultural heritage. It just has to be balanced.

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The New Ayangburen of Ikorodu…’Since i became King I have learn how not to do many things i used to do before now’

is your typical day like?
It’s always busy
will you describe Governor Ambode’s administration?
It is too soon to
comment. He is good because he has worked at the local government. I am sure he
will do well.
is your best food?
Dodo and beans. When I
was working, my wife will always welcome me with two bottles of star, but now
things have changed.
is your favorite artiste?
 King Sunny Ade
you have a favorite book?
Engineering books as at
that time, but now, I do more of newspapers.
will you like to be remembered for as a king?
I pray to surpass my
predecessors, and Insha Allah, I want
to turn Ikorodu around, in a way you can’t imagine. I want to turn Ikorodu
into a model city.

Culled from Ovation
International Magazine


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