I Never Knew I Would One Day Become An Oba – OLOTA Of OTTA - The Gallant News


Thursday, 26 August 2021

I Never Knew I Would One Day Become An Oba – OLOTA Of OTTA

 I Never Knew I Would One Day Become An Oba – OLOTA Of OTTA

The Olota of Otta, His Majesty, Oba Professor Adeyemi Abdukabir Obalanlege, (Lanlege Ekun II, Arole Iganmode-Olofin) is the 21st Olota of Otta. He is a very brilliant King whose 3-year reign has brought prosperity to the ancient town. Many do not know that Kabiyesi is a distinguished Professor of Mass Communication and a liberal-minded intellectual. He is also committed to the course of uniting the Yoruba race.

He has a rich history and pedigree. Let’s tell you a little. Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege was born into the prestigious family of Prince Taiwo Hassan Obalanlege of Ijemo compound, Otta and Mrs Mutiat Afolake Obalanlege (Nee Anjorin) of lsoloshi compound, Otta on 28th August 1966 in Mushin, an ancient Awori town in Lagos State.

He attended early schools at Mushin and Ansar-Ud-Deen College, Isolo before berthing at Iganmode Grammar School, Otta. He earned an HND in Mass Communication from Ogun State Polytechnic in 1991; got a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Journalism from Independent Colleges, UK; did a Postgraduate Diploma course in Food Safety and Quality Management at Greenwich University in London: attended the University of Leicester for his Master’s in Mass Communication and bagged a P.hD (Communication Studies) on Scholarship at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

He became a full Professor of Mass Communication after publishing in many academic journals, and presenting papers across the world and supervising thesis and dissertations that earned him a deserved reputation as a world-class scholar.

He didn’t just become a university teacher or professor. He is also a distinguished journalist. He started from the humble beginning, as a Reporter with the defunct The Mail Newspaper (1989 and 1990), where he fortuitously met Prof Idowu Sobowale, one of his mentors as an academic/professional journalist.

He was the Public Relations Officer at the Lagos State Polytechnic between 1993 and 1995 before he moved to Thisday Newspaper where he combined the coverage of the Tourism & Hospitality desk with Marketing and Advertising, which earned, huge revenue and respect for the publication. It was from Thisday, as Tourism Editor that he travelled to the United Kingdom to hone his skills and academic laurels, culminating in his lecturership at 2 leading British Universities: the University of East London and Lincoln University. Back home in Nigeria, Oba Adeyemi taught at his alma mater, Ogun State Polytechnic, the Lagos State University and a lecturer at Crescent University, Abeokuta till date.

While in England he shuttled between Nigeria and the UK to produce his tourism, food hospitality compendium called Food International Magazine, which he rested to pursue his Doctoral programme. He was the Editor/Publisher of City Vanguard Newspaper, Ireland which he ran successfully for 12 years.

Kabiyesi emerged as the preferred candidate out of the 22 Princes presented by the Ijemo/Isoloshi Ruling House on 28th November 2017 and was traditionally crowned the Olota of Otta on 28th February 2018 after the completion of compulsory seclusion rites and was given Staff of Authority on 10th May 2018 by the then Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun in the ancient City of Otta. He was unanimously elected Chairman, Awori Obas Forum, Ogun State at a meeting of all Awori Monarchs in Ogun State held on 21st November 2020.

Kabiyesi is happily married to his heartthrob of several years who is also a woman of substance, Olori Oloruntoyin Obalanlege (nee Gbobaniyi) and they are blessed with 2 wonderful Princes (Mustapha and Tobi) who are making the Kingdom proud in their respective fields.

Below are excerpts of his recent birthday interview with City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE.

Congratulations on your birthday. How does it make you feel?

It makes me feel happy. I want to thank Almighty God, for sparing my life to this date and I believe he will continue to spare my life in other to save my people. I am happy.

How did you take it at first when you were called upon to lead your people?

Honestly, I didn’t take it seriously because I thought it was a joke, because I didn’t see myself becoming a King, although I know I am from a royal family both from my mother and father side and within the same town. I see myself as a Liberal, as somebody who is not Conservative and as a result I did not see myself as a King, because I felt there are so many rules that I may not be able to adhere to. I see my becoming a King as a call to service. I see myself as being on a mission to uplift and charge the throne of Olota.

When you came in, what was the situation like?

When I came in, I was blessed with this old wooden palace, that you can see there and I said to myself, there is no way I am going to sit in that wooden palace and rule over Otta. We need to upgrade. I never entered it right from the word go, because it was run down and not up to my own taste.

So, we had to put this up and it is befitting enough for me to use. I also had to build a small mini-palace, not far away from here, at least for a start, while we put this together. I thank God, we have been able to put up a befitting palace, for the Olota. Again, we have been blessed with a Multipurpose Community Hall, built for us by the Presidency. And again we also have a Pavilion built within the compound of St. Micheal Primary School, and very soon, we will have a Skill Centre, also being built for us by the Presidency.

I think we are doing fine. And I believe there is still more to come to Otta. Otta is no longer a town, but a big city. And we deserve more.

Tell us a bit more on the stool of Olota…

When you look at the stool of Olota, you will look at the stool of Alaafin of Oyo. In the 11th century, it is known within the Yoruba nation, that Alaafin Olukogi was of an Otta woman. Again, it is from this Otta that Ifa was introduced to Oyo. So, the other is an ancient town. When you look at the stool of Olota right from the start, you will see that we brought our crown from Ile-Ife. We are direct descendants of Oodua, through Okanbi and all these go a long way to say that Otta is first among equals when we talk about the descendants of Oodua. Over the years, we have had so many Olotas and they have been able to sustain that culture.

They have been able to sustain that link to Ile-Ife. They have been able to reign with that culture and that fear of God, especially when you can easily call them Omoluabi. You know what Omoluabi means in Yoruba culture.

That is the same thing we have been able to uphold.


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