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MY TOWN & I: How I Ensured Ojo Youngsters ‘re No Longer Area Boys-Oba Rufai, Olojo of Oko Kingdom

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Our Historical Link with Ile-Ife

The town is unique not just because it is an ancient community but also because it hosts the popular Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo. The Royal Majesty Oba Galib Adeniyi Rufai, Adeife 1, the Olojo of Ojo Kingdom, is in his fourth year on the throne. Oba Rufai was a prominent civil servant with the Local Government Ser­vice Commission in Lagos State and had worked with many local governments in the state including Ojo Local Government and Ojo Local Government Develop­ment Area where he served as Internal Auditor and Council Treasurer. He began his accounting career with Obafunke Adeogun & Co, an audit firm in Surulere, Lagos, where he worked for two and half years. He takes Correspondent ROTILE­FON SUNDAY through how he emerged Olojo of Ojo, the cultural heritage of the people, origin of Ojo kingdom and of course his efforts at bringing development to the community….

How did you emerge as the traditional ruler of Ojo?

I became the monarch on March 1, 2011. Before I be­came the Oba, due process was followed. I’m a member of Ikemo ruling house, and it was our turn to appoint the new Oba to the throne. According to tradition, when the local and state governments informed our fam­ily about the appointment and nomination Ruling Family including the head of the family, Alhaji Ahmed Rufai Ibrahim, sat together and de­cided to consult the oracle and do some other prayers to guide them to the right path. Subse­quently another family meeting was held and at that meeting it was decided that it was the turn of Adeife branch of Ikemo Ruling House to present a candidate to fill the vacant stool of Olojo of Ojo. And after much consul­tation and deliberation, I was unanimously nominated at the general meeting to be the new king.

But Sir, before your instal­lation, are you saying there was no internal crisis?

It is normal for internal crisis to come up but with Almighty God on our side, everything was settled and I was installed as the new Oba of Ojo Kingdom by the state government.

What were you doing for a living before your nomina­tion as king?

I was a civil servant with the Local Government Service Commission. I started my ac­counting career at Obafunke Adeogun & Co, an audit firm in Surulere, Lagos, for two and half years before I moved to the Local Government Service Commission. I worked with Ojo Local Government, Lagos Island Local Government as the Internal Auditor, in Ojo Local Council Development Area as the Council Treasurer and later Badagry Local Government also as Council Treasurer. It was from there I became the Oba of Ojo Kingdom.

Can you tell us a bit about the historical background of Ojo?

Adenle Esugbemi is the founder of Ojoland. He migrated from Ile-Ife with his wife Erelu, and the Chief Priest Osu. When they came, they settled down in a place called Ilufe. Ilufe is a community under Ojo town. That was their first port of call while coming from Ile-Ife and that was why the place is called Ilufe. Adegbenle Esugbemi was a hunter and during his hunt­ing expedition, he saw some signs that Ojo would become a big town in future. After those signs, which are still at the place called Ikemo Quarters today, then he told (Osu) to help him consult the oracle and during the consultation, it was revealed that Adenle Esugbemi should move to the place because the place is going to become a big town. But that he should make some sacrifice with eight differ­ent items each in eight places and that is how Ojo town derives her name.

Is there any cultural her­itage of Ojo that is still in existence till date?

The cultural festivals and dei­ties that we have include Oro­na, Egungun, Oro, Obaluwaye, Sango, Ogun, Ota and Osun.

What has been your effort at developing Ojo and move the community forward since you became king?

Before I became the Oba, there were lots of challenges facing the community. Virtually all our boys had become Area Boys, fomenting trouble and carrying out criminal activi­ties in the community. The first thing I did was to re-orientate them and change their ways of life. I brought them to my level, discussed with them to see how I could help them to be responsible in life. Most of them were bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, repairers etc, but because of the erratic power supply in the country most of them could not engage in their trades. But we brought them together and offered assistance in whatever way I could to make sure they are no longer Area Boys.

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