Ten years after he was posted to the Ijigba community as a representative of the Deji of Akure, in Akure South Local Government, Rev Luyi Rotimi has got official recognition as a traditional ruler in Ondo State. Baba tope Okeowo reports on the excitement that greeted the presentation of staff of office and instrument of appointment to the newly recognised monarch
The Ijigba community in Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State came alive recently when the Ondo State Government gave official recognition to the monarch of the town, Oba Luyi Rotimi and presented him with the staff and instrument of office as the Olu of Ijigba who later adopted the title of Ayilale 1 of Ijigba.
Road to recognition
Before the official recognition as a monarch under Part C of the state’s Chiefs’ Law of Ondo State, Oba Rotimi was appointed by the Deji of Akure as his ambassador while Ijagba was a vassal community under the paramount ruler of Akure kingdom. The immediate past Deji of Akure, Oba Adebiyi Adesida in 2012 appointed Oba Rotimi as his representative in the Ijigba community.
Just as it was practiced in the days of yore, the envoys appointed by traditional rulers usually reported the activities in his domain to the paramount ruler. However, 10 years after Oba Adesida appointed Rotimi as the Olu of Ijigba; the state government gave official recognition to the stool of Ijigba, making him the first person to be given official recognition as a monarch in the community. Other traditional stools that were given official recognition in the white paper on Justice C.E.T Ajama Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Chieftaincy Matters included the Elekun of Ilekun, Iralepo of Isikan, Osolo of Isolo, Olujoka of Ijoka, and Ado of Adofure. Although Isikan and Isolo had always had separate monarchs recognised under the law, they were readmitted under the newly approved monarchs in the state.
Akeredolu presents staff of office
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu last week presented the Instrument of Appointment and Staff of Office to Oba ‘Luyi Rotimi, the Olujigba of Ijigba in Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State. The Olujigba was among the 62 traditional stools that were approved by the state government on August 24, 2022 after the review of recommendations of the Justice Ajama Commission.
The governor, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Akinwumi Sowore, said the state government decided to implement the recommendations of the Justice Ajama Commission to resolve all chieftaincy crises across the state. His words “It is my pleasure to be here today to perform the official presentation of the Instrument of Appointment and Staff of Office to Kabiyesi, Oba Ambassador Rev. Luyi Rotimi, FCA, the Olujigba of Ijigba following the recognition of Ijigba Chieftaincy and the subsequent appointment into the Chieftaincy stool. To address the several disputes and agitations for the last time, in line with recognition and creation of Minor Chieftaincies under Part I of the Chiefs’ Law 1984 as amended by Edict 1991, a total number 62 Chieftaincies were granted recognition and upgraded to Obaship status in the state, five of them are in Akure South Local Government. The Olujigba of Ijigba is one of the chieftaincies.
“Let me heartily congratulate the Ijigba community for being a beneficiary of the state government’s kind gesture and for realising your age-long aspiration and desire to have a recognised Oba to superintend over the affairs of your community. Permit me to remind the Kabiyesi that your appointment is a divine call to service to your people.
The instrument should be employed to strengthen the peace and cohesion of your domain and that of the state in general. I wish to formally present the Instrument of Appointment to Oba Ambassador Rev. Luyi Rotimi, FC4, the Olujigba of Ijigba. I also present to you, the Staff of Office as the Olujigba of ljigba in Akure South Local government Area of the state.”
An elated monarch in his response appreciated Governor Akeredolu for approving and implementing the Justice Ajama Commission’s recommendations, a commission set up by the previous administration. He disclosed that he was made the Egbedi of Akure 41 years ago by the Deji of Akure Kingdom when he was 43 years old. He was made the Olujigba of Ijigba in 2012 and got official recognition 10 years after.
Oba Rotimi’s role in Akure
Before his official recognition as a monarch, Oba Rotimi said he had been a friend of the Deji’s Palace for the past 41 years. He said he was made the Egbedi of Akure at the age of 43, the Osuta of Akure 1986, and the Olujigba of Ijigba in 2012. He said he had served as the palace orator at various times, passed through five Dejis of Akure – including Deji Adesida III and IV, Deji Osupa II, Deji Afunbiowo II and now Deji Odundun II.
The monarch, who pledged his loyalty to the six districts consisting of the Ijigba community, said his mission is to serve God, the community and Akure Kingdom with diligence, loyalty and integrity saying it is his vision that Ijigba would be a model community noted for excellent development under his rulership.
On his road map for development, the monarch said: “We shall pursue the implementation of the Master Plan of the settle-ments in Ijigba which will facilitate the establishment of a neighbourhood market, open up transportation bus routes, and facilitate sports recreation, library, and entrepreneurship development centre to achieve synergy through mutual cooperation, strategic development and constructive progress.”
The monarch said the community has a rapidly growing population which consists of many nationalities and people of various occupations, skills and diverse religious beliefs. In consonance with the adopted motto of the community: The Land of Praise and Blessings, the monarch said he has started the quarterly “Ijigba prays” programme to praise God and pray for His manifold blessings.
Aside from the prayer’s committee, others administrative structures included Educational Development, Health, Social Welfare, Roads, Transport and Power, Press and Public Relations, Security, Census and Electoral Matters and Neighbourhood Market. He said the activities of these committees are coordinated by an Infrastructural Development Committee whose membership is drawn from the chairmen of the nine committees.
The monarch said there is an advisory Council, called Olujigba in Council, which consists of the chairmen of the six districts and the chairmen of the nine committees and some selected individuals in the community based on merit and at the discretion of the Olujigba. He said the Olujigba in Council would report to Oba Olujigba.
Requests to government
The traditional ruler, who met with his committee members shortly after his inauguration, sought the assistance of the government in making life enjoyable for the people in the community. Some of the demands included land for neighbourhood market, electricity and water supply, health centre, roads and bridges, a Police Post and Magistrate’s Court The monarch, in a prepared speech, said: “Ijigba Community is in dire need of a neighbourhood market for its teeming population.
Our need for a market at Ijigba is severely constrained by availability of land. We are seeking the help of government to assist us to secure a release of the unused land earlier acquired by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for the establishment of silos for grains storage. We note that they have fenced up their own portion of the land.
“However, of recent we have noticed a rash of encroachments by squatters on the unfenced portion of the land. We are of the opinion that unauthorised people are profiting by this at the expense of the community.” The traditional ruler said “The Community appeals to the government for assistance in the supply of steady electricity and water in the community.
We ask for a number of transformers at strategic places in Ijigba land to improve the supply of electricity to the community. We pledge to support the government policy on open defecation free programme. But this programme is water driven and therefore we pray the government to establish a number of suitable toilets in our community “Now that we have been upgraded into an Obaship status, the Ijigba land urgently requires a police post and a magistrate’s court for smooth and effective dispensation of law and justice in view of the anticipated growth in our population.
The need for adequate linkage between our immediate neighbouring communities call for the attention of the government in order to open up the communities for inter Communal, Socio-Economic integration. “We are very concerned and wish to draw your attention again to the imminent danger to life and properties by a deep gully at Rehoboth road in Ijigba along one of the link roads in the Community.
We are grateful that you have once approved the construction of a bridge over this portion but unfortunately work has not yet started and the condition will be worsened each time there is rain. We were told by the Metrological department that further rains are to be expected even against our past experience in this part of the country. “For the records, our Health Centre at Ijigba was opened 1st June 2019 and took delivery of the first baby boy on 23rd July 2019.
The facility has been a great source of comfort and joy to the Ijigba community. However, we wish to bring to the attention of His Excellency that the initial staff recruited and funded by the community have not been paid or staffed since they started work and some of them have left but a few loyal ones remain. Those who left have not been paid either.” The traditional ruler asked the governor take personal interest in seeing to the monthly release of the total 5 per cent of bulk allocation to the Traditional Council so that the Obas and chiefs could be delivered from the penurious monthly entitlements.
While thanking the government for the elevation and recognition given to some monarchs in the community, he however, requested for the upgrade and recognition of more monarchs in the council area. He said: “With total humility and respect to the Deji and the Paramount Ruler of Akure Kingdom and Chairman of Council of Obas in Ondo State we say thank you for the elevation of four Olus to class C Obas in Akure South Local Government Authority.
We pray for more, your Imperial Majesty and the Government of Ondo State, kindly grant us more. The proposed Local Government Development Association in Ondo State has been long overdue for review and implementation for security improvement and all round development of our state.” The Olujigba asked the government to consider the need to exploit the vast repository of knowledge and experience of the State Elders by reconstituting the Elders Council and give maximum support for the Elderly People’s Association of Nigeria (EPAN) with robust financial contribution.