RT. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji and his wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Olumayowa Abeke Ikuforiji were honoured by HRM, Oba Adegboyega Adefowora, the Alaketu of Ketu Kingdom in Epe Division, with the traditional titles of Aare and Yeye Aare Alaketu respectively on Saturday, March 22, 2014.
ENCOMIUM Weekly witnessed the installation held at the RCM Primary School, Ketu, Epe, Lagos.
We also spoke with the celebrants who told us their minds about their new traditional titles and the responsibilities…
‘My religion is not against traditional title’
– RT. HON. ADEYEMI IKUFORIJI
We will like to congratulate you on your installation as the Aare Alaketu of Ketu Kingdom.
Thank you very much.
How does it feel to be honoured with such a traditional title?
Any honour bestowed on someone by his or her people should be appreciated. I appreciate it. The honest thing is that I have over the years received many of such honour. This is perhaps the very first time since I became a public office holder that I am given such honour and I allowed it to be celebrated. Even the celebration of this one was more of a coup planned by my friends, brothers and associates.
I was actually away in Saudi Arabia on lesser hajj when I received a phone call from them. I didn’t realize they were already planning how to celebrate the title. Of course, Kabiyesi Oba Adegboyega Adefowora had sent a message to me to the effect that he would also honour me for all that I have done, particularly for Epe, the state and Nigeria in general. To me it is a joyful thing, because one of the problems we have today is misplaced value, not appreciating the efforts of those who genuinely love the people and the land.
It is not about self praise or whatever detractors might term it. But I think for someone who has held public office in the manner that some of us have done over these years. Not minding detractors, hardliners, opponents who most times are not reasonable, people who will never see good in others. Being honoured gladdens the heart and challenges the spirit to do more.
I am proud of what I have done. I am proud of what God has used me to do for Lagos State. I am sure at the right time, at God’s own time, the truth will prevail and the innocent will triumph. I know there is no Nigerian that God has so blessed to lead a parliament as big as Lagos House of Assembly, for as long as I have led it, in harmony and peace. It is not by me that the Lagos House gets the accolade as the one to beat in the whole of the federation, but the truth remains that I have led that House longer than anybody in history.
Nobody, in the 100 years history of Nigeria has had the opportunity of leading a House of Assembly as big as that of Lagos for as long that I have led it, in peace, harmony and progress as we have done.
I thank God, I am happy and excited about it. I thank our leaders and my colleagues who actually gave me the opportunity.
So, when an honour like this comes with a statement such as, all you have done and you are still doing for the people, the state and for the country, of course, one feels joyful. But like I said, I never intended to celebrate it in the manner that it turned out. It was a coup by my friends, brothers and associates.
It was on Monday that they (organizing committee) told me what they have done. They surprised me. They had already sent out invites to many people and met with important people within and outside of Lagos. They met my wife and gave her the impression that I was aware of all their plan. Not until that Monday when I met with them and I told her that she told me she thought I was aware of the preparations. It was not until after that briefing by the committee that I informed the governor. I wasn’t part of the whole preparation.
How did you feel when you saw the crowd at the installation?
It made me feel happy. Don’t forget that our detractors have been saying many funny things that they don’t want him in his place (Epe), he is not popular in his place and so on. Anybody who came around would have seen whether they love me in my place or not. It was a good honour for me,
Was that your first traditional title?
As I told you, I have had many but this was the first that would not only be celebrated openly but also elaborately.
What responsibility does this title bestow on you?
This is a very big title in Yorubaland. In Yorubaland, Aare means president. That underscores the importance of the title. In Yoruba history, in the old Yoruba kingdom and empire, the Aare was the generalissimo. He was like the field marshal of the kingdom’s army. It is a very powerful position.
Of course, the more powerful the position, the more the responsibility attached to it. But by God’s grace, I am up to the responsibility.
But doesn’t this traditional title conflict with your religious belief as a Muslim?
Sometimes, we take religion to the extreme. I have not come across anything in my religion that says I should not take a traditional title. Really, if you look critically at the two major religions in this country, you will discover that virtually all the prophets of God in the Quran and Bible served the political leaders of their countries or nations. So, to separate religion from politics is tough. The main problem with us as a people is the fact that we are religious but we are not Godly.
If only we are Godly enough, most of our problems in this country would have been solved and we will not be where we are today. Let Godliness go with our politicking, our problems would be reduced to the barest minimum.
‘It’s not a traditional title’ – PASTOR (MRS.) MAYOWA IKUFORIJI
Thank you very much.
How did you feel that day?
It’s a sort of recognition that you are doing a good thing, and all you are doing are impacting on the lives of the people.
What would you say informed Oba Adegboyega Adefowora to have honoured you and your husband with this important traditional titles?
I believe it’s probably because my husband is from Epe and the fact that he has done so well for the people of Epe in particular and Lagos State in general. So, he deserves to be recognized.
What responsibility do you think this new title imposes on you?
More responsibility. To do more for the people of Epe and for Lagos State as a whole.
As a Christian and a pastor, does this traditional title not conflict with your religion in anyway?
I believe that this one is not a traditional title. A traditional title will involve consultations with Ifa (oracle). It will involve some traditional rites such as incantations. This one is just a recognition. That was why it was done in the open for everyone to see. You could see that there was nothing secret about the installation. We didn’t do anything nor said any incantation. Like I said, it was just a form of recognition and that is what most kings do these days.
I don’t think they made it traditional as such because as a pastor, I cannot take any traditional title. So, it is not a traditional title. It’s a form of recognition. Just like an award.
– TOLANI ABATTI