By Festus Adedayo
In this age when Nigerian traditional institutions are fast becoming the preoccupation of charlatans and those whom esophagus drives to the throne, one traditional ruler in Yorubaland stands out. He is Oba Adedokun Abolarin, the Orangun of Oke-Ila in Osun State. Installed the Orangun in 2006, Oba Abolarin will clock 15 years on the throne on Wednesday, December 8.
My path and that of the royal father crossed in 1999 on the reconstituted editorial board of the Nigerian Tribune newspaper. On the board, which had the late Dr. Chris Uroh as Chairman, Dokzy, as we used to call him, unbeknown to us that we were stomping on an Ori Ade, (one whose head was destined to wear the beaded traditional crown) was the sole legal mind who intervened on editorial topics that bordered on the legal on the board.
It didn’t take me long to realize that Dokzy had an obsessive passion for education. He would obstinately stick to the need for our youths of today to walk the path of education and was a staunch believer in the Awolowo School of politics. Outside of the board, Dokzy consistently asked what my next educational move was. In his recognized evocative manner of advocating his points at board meetings, Dokzy was always very serious while marshalling his points and waxing lyrical in the process. You would think he was a poet on a poetry troubadour.
Dokzy gave me the one and only opportunity of meeting the demigod-like Professor Emeritus of History, Isaac Adeagbo Akinjogbin, who was the first Professor and Head of Department of History at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Akinjogbin, who authored the highly venerated texts Dahomey and Its Neighbour, 1708-1818″ (1987), Ewe Iwoyi 1968) and The Story of Ketu (1867) died July 27, 2008 at age 78. Apparently having got wind of the professor coming to the Ibadan Premier Hotel for an event, Dokzy took me there, to the feet of this demigod, and asked me to document his thoughts for posterity in a newspaper interview. I remember having asked Akinjogbin if he was bothered that some people read nihilism into some of his historical views and he disclaimed it immediately.
When Dokzy was installed as Orangun of Oke Ila in 2006, many who knew him were thoroughly shocked. Yes, he pontificated on the purity of the past, especially Nigeria’s First Republic, coating this with his vast understanding of developments in Yorubaland and especially, the geography and historical figures who once lived in Ibadanland, no one had an inkling that he was of the royal blood or that even if offered, the very urbane Dokzy, with his very profound sartorial power, would condescend to be numbered among those aged group. By then, Dokxy had established the renown of a successful legal practitioner by his Dokun Abolarin & Co, with a vast network among the Nigerian social and political class. Shortly before he mounted the stool, he was appointed and served as Special Adviser (Legal) to Senator Pius Anyim, who was then the Senate President of Nigeria.
Not long after he mounted the throne of his forefathers, the reason why Providence placed Oba Abolarin on the stool and why he gladsomely did not refuse to be made the king of his people, became manifest. He began the Oba Abolarin College and rallied all his social and political networks down to this rusty town of Oke-Ila. Highly cerebral and a teacher of teachers who taught so many at the Oyo State College of Arts and Science (OSCAS) with his MSc in Political Science, before veering into law, Oba Abolarin has since been deploying this teaching acumen on the children of the poor he assembled in his college, the result of this exercise being the cache of excellent children the school has been graduating.
This is wishing Kabiyesi, Oba Dokun Abolarin, Aroyinkeye I, BSc (Political Science), MSC (International Relations) LLB, BL, a very happy anniversary. May God continue to sustain him for humanity, for decades to come.