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I’m Lucky to be the First to Wear Beaded Crown in Tonkere, Says Olutedo of Tonkere

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TONKERE-OLUWATEDO is an agrarian town in Ayedaade Local Government Area of Osun State. The town Tonkere, whose inhabitants are spread across 30 communities who decided to come together in the last century to enhance their safety and security, share boundaries with four local government councils in the state. The name ‘Tonkere’ is coined from the word “Tomikere Ki Orija Okunrin,” literally translates “Provoke Me and Experience the Bravery in a Man.” Tonkere is linked by roads to some major towns in the state. For instance, the town is eight kilometres by road to the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, seven kilometres to Edunabon in Ife North Local Government, nine kilometres to Akoda in Ede South Local Government and about the same distance to Osu, headquarters of Atakumosa West Local Government all in Osun State but none of these roads is tarred. All round the year, the roads are always in a state of disrepair and hardly passable. The community has three primary schools, a secondary school, a maternity centre, pipe borne water supply and electricity. Tonkere Papa Oluwatedo is a conglomeration of communities, which decided to come together and guard their people against oppression and harassment from other bigger towns during the Yoruba inter-tribal war. TUNDE OYEKOLA writes on the trajectory of the town and speaks with its monarch, Oba Mathew Oluwole Aremu Akintoye Alakinde1, Olutedo of Tonkere- Oluwatedo, who was recently upgraded to a full-fledged Oba by the Osun State Government…

How Tonkere came into existence…

The settlement called Tonkere Papa Oluwatedo came into existence through the decision of some leaders from the various hamlets around the area who reasoned that the only way to ward off all forms of aggression, intimidation and harassment was to come together under one umbrella. For this reason, Tonkere could be described as a “melting pot” of the people from various hamlets, which make up its population. These people have been living in their various settlements for centuries, but in 1930, they decided to come together. Before the present location was agreed upon, the Ifa oracle was consulted for a suitable location. The two proposed locations were Abinu Junction along Tonkere/Edunabon Road and Papa Savannah land, which is the present location of the town. The various hamlets that constitute Tonkere today include Abinuwogbo, Akinyode, Alakinde, Alagbaa, Aba-Nla, Idi-Ogun, Oribu, Afonle, Alakan, Anjonrin, Ayeru, Biayin,Akinlade-Dawodu and Ibofin. Others include Idi-Osan, Idi-Iroko, Gbangbade, Joojo, Aba Kolapo, Kondo, Aba Lewere, Aba Ode, Olosun, Ori-Oke, Oke-Odo, Aba Moso and Sare, which is presently known as Obagbolade compound.

Eight Baales had earlier reigned in the town…

Tonkere had always been ruled by a Baale, who is the head of the town, and who was being assisted by some chiefs. So far, eight Baales had reigned in the town before the incumbent Baale, Mathew Oluwole Aremu Akintoye Alakinde 1, who was recently promoted to the position of an Oba and now wears a beaded crown. He was upgraded by the Osun State Government via a letter by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs with reference number CD.174/VOL.11/608 dated July 3rd 2014 and signed by K.F. Oyebanji for Permanent Secretary. Every male child of Tonkere has the right to the throne but must first be made the Arole of his compound. Like in some towns in Yorubaland, ascension to the throne in Tonkere is by promotion, starting from Ekefa, Ekarun, Ekerin, Asipa,-Osi, Otun Baale Oba-.  Tonkere is an agrarian community. Majority of the people are predominantly farmers majoring mostly in the production of cash and food crops. The area is noted for the production of cocoa, kolanut, citrus, orange, pineapple, palm oil, plantain, yam, cassava, maize, cocoyam, coffee and a host of other crops. The women are also good in the processing of palm oil, local soap, which some of them combine with petty trading.

I was first installed as Arole-Ile Alakinde, says Akintoye Alakinde1…

I was born on April 13,1943 to the family of late Pa Akintoye Abraham and late Mrs Adewumi Akintoye of Alakinde compound, Tonkere. My father was a farmer and hunter while my mother was a trader dealing in palm oil. I attended St. James’ Primary School, Tonkere between 1953 and 1961 and in 1962, I went to learn driving. I was engaged in this work till 1964 when I returned home and I became a big time farmer. In 1988, I was installed as the Arole Ile Alakinde by the then Baale, Chief Okunade Elisa Ogungbade. I started the chieftaincy line with the title of Bada and since the ascension to the throne in Tonkere is by promotion, from Bada, I was promoted to Ekarun, Ekerin, Asipa, Otun, Balogun and to Baale, which was the highest in 2010. But in July 2014, there was a letter from the government of the State of Osun promoting me from Baale to a full fledged Oba and I am lucky to be the first to wear a beaded crown in Tonkere.

Tonkere administered by Traditional Council…

Tonkere is being administered by the Olutedo Traditional Council headed by the Olutedo. Other prominent chiefs administer the various quarters and areas in the town. The chiefs under Olutedo are Balogun, Otun, Osi, Asipa, Ekerin, Agbaakin, Ekarun, Ekefa, Oosa, Odofin, Sheriki. Iyalode and Otun Iyalode.

We are predominantly farmers…

The people of Tonkere are very industrious even though we are predominantly farmers but through communal efforts and in partnership with the government, we have been able to establish a maternity centre and ensure provision of electricity. We also have pipe borne water, we have primary and secondary schools and we are also building a new city hall, which is a partnership project anchored by the Community and Social Development Programme (CSDP), a World Bank-assisted programme in collaboration with the federal and state governments and the host community.

Our main problem is road network…

Our major problem in Tonkere is road network. There are many roads that link us to big towns and the outside world, but all the roads are bad; they are impassable and that is why the merchants from the cities come here to cheat us. We produce a lot of agricultural produce, but there is no road to transport them to the market where they would get to the consumers. The other time when we were doing the coronation, it was one of the politicians, Senator Olasunkanmi Akinlabi from Odeomu, who helped us to grade one of the roads from Edunabon to Tonkere and that was the reason why people could attend the ceremony. Even, some of the indigenes when they come home to visit their families, their vehicles used to break down on the road and sometimes, they sleep on the road and could not reach here. That is why we are appealing to the government to help us to tar at least one of the roads so that we could take our farm produce to the market so that the traders who are the middlemen will not come here to cheat us. We also want to appeal to the governor to help us by putting facilities in our secondary school, especially, we want him to help us in equipping the laboratory in the only secondary school we have and we are also appealing to him to give us more buildings in the school. We are also appealing to the government to remember and equip the farmers. They should provide facilities that will attract the youths to stay in the rural areas. They should encourage farming by making it more attractive to the youths.

Tonkere indigenes must come home to develop the town…

I want to appeal to all indigenes of Tonkere especially those who are not residing at home to come and develop our town. We all know that the roads are bad and this is discouraging them, but I want to tell them that they should come and join hands with the people at home to develop their town because it is our heritage. They should know that home is the best and only we can develop our town together.

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