It Is an Uncommon Favour
–Ashiru Olatoye Olaniyan II, Olobu of Ilobu
By FOLASHADE ADEBAYO
How do you feel marking the fortieth anniversary on the throne?
I give glory to God. If you are blessed like me, you just have to thank God. It is an uncommon favour. The power of God has sustained me till now and I give Him all the glory.
What are the landmark achievements during your tenure?
We have a lot of achievements. God has prospered us and made us joyful. It is a thing of joy to me that today our children are successful. If your children are successful, it is a thing of joy to the parents. Education is important. On July 14, 1975, I told our people that we should make education compulsory for our children. Some were happy about it and some were not. Some said, ‘Can a farmer like me send my children to school? Or is it me a labourer that can afford the cost of education?’ But today, these people are benefitting the most from education. The late Bola Ige, (God bless his soul) had a free education programme and all those who could not afford to send their children to school were able to do so at no cost. We are farmers and hunters. But we are also educated here in Ilobu. In every compound here, there is a graduate. We thank God. Look at this palace. You can also see how grand it is. Look at the mosque and its interior, every compound in this town contributed to its construction. How many churches were on ground when I became king? But there is proliferation of churches now. We had the Anglicans and the Roman Catholics. Today, we have many churches. We have about 120 or more small mosques in Ilobu. We are not lazy in Ilobu. In 1974, there were only four cars in this town. Mine was the fifth. You look around the palace and the town and see the cars now. In 1975, we were connected to the national grid. We have a comprehensive health centre but we are appealing to the government to upgrade it to a general hospital. The community built a town hall. I became king under the Osogbo District Council. On August 30, 1976, we were given a local government. But we are still asking for another local government. We deserve it by our population. I can say that I did not meet Ilobu Grammar School in this town and I can say I met it. It was built in 1972 but I (inaugurated) it in 1974. Today, we have about 23 secondary schools. We have an uncountable number of primary schools.
What are your challenges?
We want the federal government to help monitor the Housing Estate here. Those in charge have bastardised the master plan and our agreement. Let the federal government step in and find out what is going on there now. Let the Federal Housing Authority come here.
What are your expectations from the government in the next ten years?
I want higher institutions of learning in Ilobu. Where there is knowledge there is development. We want a university or a polytechnic. At the very least we want a college of education. We are appealing to the state and federal government let us have a higher institution of learning in Ilobu. We have land to give them.
What is your message to the people of Ilobu?
I am thanking God for this opportunity. I believe that every indigene of this town here or abroad will be successful. The mercy of God will find them. If they are successful, they should come home and replicate that success. Let them come and build industries here. We are also praying for the President Goodluck Jonathan government. It is only the weapon of prayer that can conquer this Boko Haram menace. Let President Jonathan continue to pray. I am using this occasion of my fortieth anniversary as an oba to pray that he will be successful. He should also remember the traditional rulers. I also pray for my son Rauf Aregbesola. The Almighty will continue to elevate him. His second term ambition will be successful by the grace of God.