I have been reading with keen interest, the different opinions about the award given to the Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Olalekan Mohood Ishola Balogun, by the Igbo community.
Some of these opinions have been very interesting, with the majority being in support and a very minute fraction of dissenting voices. Some of the dissenting voices appear to be paid, mischievous political hands. Others appear to be Yoruba people questioning the timing of the award.
For those that have not been following the matter, I will give a quick background. On 29th January 2023, Olubadan was given an award by the Igbo community and His Majesty was also called the Ezi Ogo Ukwu Ndigbo, meaning the great in-law of the Igbo people. Olubadan was ably represented at the event by his beautiful daughter, Princess Olayinka Balogun, whose mother is Igbo, and from Anambra State.
Princess Olayinka was once the Senior Accountant at the Nigerian Ports Authority London Office and at another time, she was the SSA to Governor Ajimobi on Economic Planning and Budgeting. I met Princess Olayinka for the first time, a few years ago in a professional capacity and I can tell you she knows her onions. At the time of our first meeting, I had no knowledge of the fact that she is His Imperial Majesty’s daughter. Her intellect, competence, pedigree, calm disposition and humility stood out.
Learning a little more about Oba Olalekan Balogun in the last few days has taken Oba Olalekan Balogun to even greater heights in my eyes. He is a real man and a true king. A man that as far back as 1973 was bold enough to marry who he loved. A man exposed and open-minded enough to closely befriend many greats from different tribes, yet stay true to his vision for the Yoruba people. A man so exposed and educated, yet he never lost sight of his origin and who he is.
Oba Olalekan Balogun is a Yoruba traditional ruler, yet he has nothing but respect for all tribes and people of all religions. To Kabiyesi, differences are a reality. He is accepting of the reality of different tongues, races, tribes and religions. To the Almighty, there is only one human race and this has shaped Oba Balogun’s views. To Kabiyesi there are good and bad people, regardless of their race, tribe or religion. The Almighty will not judge us by our race, or tribe, but by our works, thoughts, words and how we treat others.
His Imperial Majesty should teach us all a huge lesson that will be beneficial to us all… acceptance and tolerance, authority without arrogance and mostly, basic human love and respect for all.
The Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo man or woman are not each other’s problems in Nigeria. Instead, a system that facilities inequality and the subjugation of many, across party, religious and tribal lines, is where the focus for correction should lie. A system where 63% of the nation’s population is considered multidimensionally poor (according to the National Bureau of Statisticshttps://nigerianstat.gov.ng/news/78#:~:text=Highlights%20of%20the%202022%20Multidimensional,quarter%20of%20all%20possible%20deprivations
It is time we start focusing on what our real issues are and stop allowing ourselves to be distracted.
I hope to see many more awards given to my king, as he is more than deserving of them all.
Kabiyesi o! K’ara o le, k’emi ola o gun.
By Mr. Abduljelili Aderogba