Orunto is a Kingmaker in Owu Kingdom- Abiodun Lasile - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Monday, November 13, 2023

Orunto is a Kingmaker in Owu Kingdom- Abiodun Lasile

Orunto Is a Kingmaker- Abiodun Lasile...

Abiodun Oladimeji Lasile, the Promoter of the Sixth-Sense Initiative is the new Orunto Baalufe of Owu Kingdom Abeokuta. In this encounter with The Business Package, he spoke about the place of the Orunto family in Owu Kingdom, the place of the Owus in Egbaland, his interest in traditional politics ; his closenrss to the Olowu of Owu, Oba Saka Matemilola and why the Orunto title is very significant,
In Owu Kingdom among sundry issues.

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Q: Findings show that there are other Orunto clans or title holders elsewhere in Yorubaland, one of which is in Ile-ife, can you draw a correlation and make clarification on this?

A: Having Orunto in other townships and the one that you have just mentioned is true. History had it that in Ile-Ife, which we all agreed that is the cradle of the Yoruba race, the Orunto is like the King of Ile-Ife, to whom all serious matters are taken to. In fact, he is a king; they have clans and they have their own inheritance. It therefore presupposes to let you know that we have a lot in common. We share the same eulogy. As a matter of fact, the Orunto that was my predecessor who died in the year 2000 invited the Orunto clan from ife to meet with us, after he had earlier visited. Also, he identified  the Orunto in Oyo. For instance, one of our colleague here in Abeokuta, Bimbo Alagbe and his family are from the Orunto's In Oyo. Likewise, in Ijebu, we have Orunto. And, if you remember the history of the Owu's from the cradle; from Oduduwa and thereafter, we had Orile in Osun. And, also thereafter history also recorded it that there was a war, where the ijebus, the Oyos, the Ibadan and the Ife all ganged up against the Owus because we have always been a strong people. 

That is why I Abiodun Lasile is also a strong personality. Even if you don't know any Owu man, you can at least relate with the fact that Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo is a strong personality and he is an Owu man. It was a major siege and we came out very strong after many years and by the time we broke  the siege, the Owu people now scattered round the entire Yorubaland. That is why you have Owu people almost everywhere; you have Owukuta, Owu Isin anong others. We have Owus in Kwara, Kogi and even up to Benin. So, if you consider that part of our history, you will know that some of us are of that lineage, you now see how we can be around Abeokuta. 

Though, Abeokuta  is presumed to be the Head of all the Owus because we carry the real crown of the Owu people. So, that is our history and the reason you have Orunto in Owu Abeokuta and the beauty of it all is the similarities in our name, history and all the rest. For instance, Fatai Adiyeloja, one of the good media personalities that we have around is a person from the Orunto clan in Ile-Ife.

And, now, that I am now Orunto, I am working on a publication which by the grace of God is to come out towards the end of the year 2024; it would take me about two years to produce, having started the work before now. I am going to put a lot together under the title "We, the Oruntos"- Orunto as a Kingmaker, Orunto in Owu Kingdom in Abeokuta and we would have information about all other Orunto clans,  towns, family and places. We are targeting 2025 January for the launch, God's willing.

Q: What is the place of the Orunto in Owu Kingdom?

A: Orunto is a Kingmaker. It is the third in hierarchy amongst the Owu Iwarefa. That is Owu Ogbonis and by extension, Owu Kingmakers. But, when it comes to Kingmaking, Kingmaking is just a duty. Apart from the six-members,  two are added, the Olosii and Balogun in the function of selecting a king. The Iwarefa are just the six standing with others and the Orunto is the third in rank. We have the Akogun, Obamaja Orunto and others.

Q: With this expose, you seems to he at home with the history of the Owus,  how much of Owu history do you know?

A: I think, I know beyond ordinary. Quite honestly, I know beyond ordinary. I can tell you, like I earlier mentioned, how we came to being, from Oduduwa, the war and the siege at the Orile Owu; I know how we were dispersed. I know how we got to where we are and why we said that we are Owu Abeokuta, because we were already moving towards Isheri, before the Egba warriors appealed to us to stay because they knew our history; they knew we can be supportive and they persuaded our forebears then to stay. And, they stayed and today we have a good stake in Egbaland and I can tell you that when it comes to matters of the Egbas, you cannot  wish away the Owus. So, we all have stake here, our creativity is unshaken and we are loyal people. And, our identity is not ambiguous. We are Owu Abeokuta. Simple! We have intermarried. We have our Owu people that have done great things to the benefit of the Egbas. And, there are so many great things that Owu has been part of. And, that is why I am involved in traditional politics which I mentioned earlier. I am in it, I know it and I play it. Let me be clear about this, not political partisanship.

Q: What is your relationship  with the Olowu of Owu, Oba Saka Matemilola?

A: My relationship with Olowu, His Royal Majesty,  Oba Professor Saka Adelola Matemilola, a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. Quite honestly, I don't know why people are keen in knowing our relationship and it is a question I had dealt with and it kept recurring and I will keep saying it. It is about destiny. Also, do you know there is what is called charges and there is what is called a magnet. You just see two people whose chemistry just works together. Hardly would people believe that my getting to know His Royal Majesty, Oba Saka Matemilola only began the very first day he resumed at Ipebi. That was the very first time we were setting eyes on one another. But, I Biodun Lasile  followed the process of his emergence and I can tell you categorically that it was free and fair unlike the previous ones and I was so excited about his emergence and that drew me closer to the whole process. And, when he was brought from Lagos and taken to the Palace, I was there. I was looking out for the date and I was there to welcome him. And, unfortunately, there was a missed up in the itinerary. He had already entered Ipebi before I got to Oke Ago-Owu that day, but I insisted that I must set my eyes on him.  I think my personality and my name added to my voice and he obliged. He came out from the inner chamber and met me. And, that very day I met him in the company of one of our Chiefs (Chief Omolade Omoyinmi) and he came out; we took a picture and I interacted, prayed for him and welcomed him to the Palace. After that day, I went to see him again. Later, I led our family, the Orunto family to felicitate him at Ipebi and associate with him. That day was like a day they were having an important ceremony,while he was at Ipebi. By the time I got there, so many people were there and they were just shouting my name. And, many people were happy to see me around. This is because for one reason or the other I did not particularly align with the last Oba. That is a story for another day. I think this incident particularly climaxed his interest in me. Then, he called Akogun to tell me to see him at ipebi. And, when I heeded his call, he took me to the inner chamber, you can say the inner inner and we spoke for over one hour.  He told me about his vision and mission and that was the beginning. In about one hour, we covered more than 20-30 years into his life journey and I opened up to him too. And, we became so close since then. He is the only one who can talk about his perspectives about me, but I can tell you he is a wonderful man, with a wonderful spirit. There is a way you see people and their aura and you will know that this is a fantastic personality; he is intelligent. And, within the three months that he was in ipebi, we did a lot of things together and people find it difficult to understand  that we only met around that time and that it wasn't a 2-3years relationship. We have a good relationship and I will remain loyal to him.  And, he was so happy when I emerged  the Orunto-elect from the family. He couldn't have picked me by himself. This is one fact I need to let people know. He didn't pick me for the family as Orunto. I applied for the post, I canvassed for it. So, when I was presented to him by the family, he was so happy and he said that he didn't expect less from  the family.

What is the meaning of the Word  "Ara Owu Kii ranro, Awii menu kuro ni ti Owu and the claim that Owu people are stubborn?

A: Awii menu kuro ni ti Owu, ara Owu kii ranro. It means that revenge is not particularly common with us, but then we keep talking about the matter. It is either because we don't want that person to repeat it or we are still saying, that it must not happen again. So, we keep reminding ourselves and that is the meaning of that statement. It is a common attribute to us. On the claim that we are stubborn. I think that gene is in us too. We have little patience for lies and we like to stick to what we believe in, even if we are confronted by death. We are dependable people. For instance, people will always talk about our stubbornness, they won't say what led to our being stubborn; we are transparent, we are so honest. We are keen on letting you know where we stand, we are not dubious people, we are not ambiguous on a stance. We usually take time to have a conviction and we stay by that conviction. In fact once we have a conviction, it is only death, or our own rethink or another knowledge or establish fact that can make us shift ground. We don't easily shift ground, even among ourselves. I have discussed this with about three to four generations on why we are like that and I discovered that it is a trait  that God deposited in us. We are not stubborn for stupidity, we are not stubborn for mediocrity, and we are not stubborn for being foolish, we are stubborn to the fact that we believe in and we will stand by it.

Q: What is the idea behind the Owu Community Library?

A: On the Owu Community  Library, it is apartnershop between the Sixth-Sense Initiative and the Owu Palace and it was my idea because, out of about ten concepts on the SixthSense initiative driving the reading culture, I have what I tagged the Community Mobile Library Services (CMLS), under the programme, we distribute free books which we have done over the years. We have distributed over 10,000 free books over a period of 6 years before the Covid and after the Covid. The  idea was to establish library in schools, both public and private, and also  in Communities and possibly also have a public Community  Library. So, during the Ipebi time of Kabiyesi, I discussed with him and we agreed on a  baby step to have to start our literacy programmes including the Library inside the Owu Palace.

That was how we went about it and in about two months, we were able to sort it out. And, in another three months somebody came from abroad, crashed the whole thing and it became an e-Library. We had laptops, we had books and it has been serving.  During the last holiday, children were thronging the place; they were coming. The library is there, equipped for all ages. It is a Community library for all ages, we have all manners of  book there. And, we still intend to have more books. It is a partnership between The SixthSense Initiative and Owu Palace.

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