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Chief Olusegun Osoba – A governor in touch with his roots

By Yemisi Bamgbose

In Yoruba land, the role of “oriki” in tracing one’s roots is very prevalent. The use of Oriki to calm frayed nerves, douse tensions, and arouses interest has been established to be very potent. “Oriki” is the oral poetry of the indigenous Yoruba communities. It can be conveyed with talking drum or chanted orally.

When chatting Oriki, difficult matters can get quick solutions. One can use Oriki to determine the paternity of a child. For example, if a child is crying, even if that child is reacting to pain, by the time the mother or a relative who knows the lineage of the child begins to praise singing his forebears by chanting his or her Oriki, if the child belongs to that family, the little child will definitely pause for a moment, look at the face of the one praise singing the forebears.

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In most cases, the child will smile and stop crying. If, however, the cry was induced by pain, he might continue the cry after pausing for a moment, but no matter the situation, such a child will pause at least for a moment to acknowledge his or her forebears and confirm that he belongs to that lineage. Anyone can try it.  It works faster than DNA tests.

If, however, the child refuses to stop even when the Oriki is chanted repeatedly, the elders will begin to think otherwise.  Many people do not know that a child might just decide to show annoyance to the mother by crying. By the time the praise singing of his forebears begins, he or she will laugh and begin to play.

Oriki is the first thing our mothers learn when they get married. They listened to their seniors (the Iyales) that married before them in the same family who will be using praise singing (Oriki) the ancestors to persuade their own children when crying or using it to appeal to the child to hand-off an issue no matter how difficult.

Some wise wives use Oriki to seek the favour of their husbands. Baba Pastor Enoch Adeboye told us of how his mother successfully used the tools of Oriki to get more from his father. A woman who has the ability to chant the Oriki of her husband will be loved, not only by the husband but the entire family.

In my own case, if yours sincerely has decided not to spend money at an occasion, but when the local drummer begins to chant my Oriki “Omo agbo olojoun, osemegun,agbo ori omo oko iye to sanmi ju ile lo,awon bi Ogbon, asoro daa bi agba.. or chanting the Oriki of my community “Ilogun Odo, omo ayawon lowo … Ayetoro majo,Omo egbaa  ko to na di ale..” My head becomes swollen, Oriki is like intoxication.

I probably would not know when my hand will have a meeting with my pocket to bring money out. The local drummers in my mother’s side in Gbagura-Ile Ido in Abeokuta know how to “catch” me when they use the talking drum to remind me that I am   Gbagura from Idere quarters. “Omo aiye logun, Idere logbon,Aiye kiyeni ki Dere o ma deni…” I will willingly surrender something tangible from my purse.

Governor Olusegun Osoba is from Oba in Obafemi -Owode local government of Ogun-State, where he currently holds the traditional title – Oluwo -Oba. He is always happy when we chanted the panegyrics of Oluwo chieftaincy title “Oluwo, anikan je oun ekun. (Oluwo, the one who eats the heart of the leopard without sharing part of it with anyone).

In those days, when I was one of the state masters of ceremony, I had the fortune of anchoring series of Chief Olusegun Osoba’s commissioning ceremony of many relevant and people’s-oriented projects. Within his first two years in the office as the Governor of Ogun-State, which started in the year 1999, Chief Osoba had provided electricity for 90 towns and villages in different parts of Ogun-State.

Yes, 90 electricity projects were commissioned in the year 2000 alone, just two years after taking over as the Governor from the then Military Administrator Navy Captain Kayode Olofinmoyin. Myself, Busayo Olaifa, Biodun Ogundipe and Toyin Sogbesan were with him in Imeko, Iwoye,Idofa,Ilara ,Imala,Anigbado ,Idi-Emi, Obada,Oke- Agbede,Moriwi,Opeji,Kajola  Maun and Abule Maria.

During the commissioning of the electricity project at Abule Maria, the people of the village were so elated that they changed the name of the village to Abule Osoba because they never thought the village could be connected to the national grid within two years of his administration. Others include Orita J4, Abigi, Ibiade,Efire,Simawa, and Abule Maria, to mention but a few.

I was part of the crew that covered the commissioning of many road projects.  Igan Alade,Eggua Tata, where he commissioned the road that started from Igbogila junction. He constructed and commissioned Erunwon -Atan -Ijebu-Igbo road,Olowu-Agura road,Isara Ode-Remo road,Awujale street, Ibogun Akiode  -Ibogun Olaogun, Ijagba- Oba Erinwole road amongst several others.

The Siun- Iperu road that connected Obafemi Owode Local Government with Remo North Local Government as well as  Olorunda -Ayetoro road in Yewa North Local Government area are still good today.These roads were constructed by Chief Osoba about 24 years ago.

What of the 3rd Ogun River bridge which decongested the ever-busy Ita-Osin – Brewery-Lafenwa Road. Mechanic villages in Ogun-State also got good attention   from Chief Olusegun Osoba’s administration. These included mechanic villages in Obada Oko, Ayetoro road, OGTV road, Kobape road, Kotopo, and Makun, among others, which were opened up by the enigma, Akirogun Osoba.

Time will not permit the use of this write-up to discuss his contributions to education, health, Sports, Information and others. For example, in Ogun-State Television, where I worked, Governor Osoba purchased a state of the earth Outside Broadcast Van for the station. Incidentally, that Outside Broadcast Van  is what OGTV is still using to date except if miracle has just happened.

I salute Governor Ibikunle Amosun who made it possible for OGTV to be on DSTV and GoTV channels of MultiChoice, making the station the only State Government owned Television station on DSTV after Lagos State Television (LTV 8).

Governor Osoba was always elated when the MCs chanted his Oriki, particularly when we observed that His Excellency was furious concerning arrangements. We devised a means  of cheering him up by chanting his Oriki, “Obamode,Omokorowa, omo tagbata,omo ilekoleruloba….”

There is a portion of his Oriki that will make him look at us and begin to laugh.  “Oso,ara  Oba to femo- feya to rojo enu to jare.  Bi omo  ti ngba iwaju ile wole ti on ko isu lafije, beeni iyare n gba eyinkule wole ti on ko oka lafije, Oso -Oba wipe ta lo je se iru e l’ofee. Omo ofemo -feya ti oro ejo to tun jare”

‘The Oba man that befriended the daughter and the mother at the same time. When the Oba man was called to question why he was befriending the daughter and the mother the same time. He replied that as the daughter was coming in through the main door to collect tubers of yam, the mother at same time was going out through the back door with the basket of corns. He now asked those asking him questions concerning his actions of befriending the mother and the daughter the same time whether both the mother and the daughter that came separately to collect free gifts should go freely without paying something for his generosity.

The people replied him that he was right in his action of befriending the daughter and the mother at the same time. ” That Oriki shows that every oba man is generous to women. However, such generosity must be paid for, probably in kind. I know Chief Osoba was very generous to all and sundry. The gate of his  Ibara GRA residence was widely open to people.

I think Ogun-State is blessed with Governors who are accessible. Governor Osoba was accessible, Governor Gbenga Daniel was accessible, Governor Ibikunle Amosun was accessible. Although I have left the service for quite some time but I want to believe that Governor Abiodun is equally accessible.

Even when I had issues with Governor Osoba on account of union activities, he didn’t close his doors against me. When the union did ALUTA on him on issues concerning OGTV, Chief Osoba replied to us with a proverb ” Abuke sowipe Olorun ko fi ojurere wo oun. Olorun da abuke lohun wipe iwo abuke se iwo ko ehin rere simi”

A man with hunchback accused God of not looking at him with his favourable eyes. God replied the hunchback man by saying, “You too did not turn a good back to me.” He was referring to what happened after he left office  when he initially came on board on the platform of SDP before the June 12 debacle that truncated that democratic dispensation.

The matter was settled with prompt payment of workers monthly salaries. Governor Osoba has a  large heart. He is truly a journalist of high repute. If you cross his paths wrongly, he says it in the open, and that ends the matter.

Now that Ara Oba,Obamode, omo Korowa,omo tagbata, omo ilekoleru l’Oba, ofemo-feya ti oro ejo enu e  to tun jare is celebrating his 85th birthday anniversary, he deserves to be celebrated as a foremost journalist, exemplary leader, a disciplined and progressive politician of high repute.

Congratulations, Aremo Akile Ijebu, Congratulations, Akirogun of Egba including those in diaspora, many more useful years to Araba of Yewa land.

Yemisi Bamgbose Phd, is a renowned broadcast journalist, Executive Secretary of Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and frontline member of Penpushing platform. He writes this piece from Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT)

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