EndSARS: Ilaje remained calm and peaceful, says Olugbo
By Steve Ovirih
The Prescribed Authority and Paramount ruler of Ugbo Kingdom, His Imperial Majesty , Oba Dr. Frederick EnitiOlorunda Akinruntan has shed more light on the reason his domain, Ugbo Kingdom and the entire Ilaje nation remained calm and peaceful, devoid of brigandage , looting and violence during the EndSARS Protest.
Oba Akinruntan, who doubles as the Chairman, Ondo State Council of Obas, in an exclusive chat at his palace in Ugbo revealed what steps were taken to avert wanton burning of property in Ilaje LGA.
The revered royal father said , ” the boys in their huge number had converged at Zero – zero junction blocking vehicular movement. They now sent their representatives to me; in fact, it was already very late at night when they showed up. When I eventually gave them audience, I was surprised by their grievances. They said they were going to raze down and burn public and private facilities at Igbokoda and they would start by burning my house at Igbokoda. I needed not confirm whether they were kidding or meant business. I told them no, you can’t do that. I was very emphatic about it; I told them point blank you will do no such thing!
” They told me to give them few minutes to talk among themselves and I did. On their return to me after they had gone to confer with one another, they now said, Kabiesi, you are our father and they have benefitted from my patronage to them. They now promised not to burn or raze anywhere during the protest but I must give them something to support them. They said they needed bags of rice, cooking ingredients, drinks and a cow or two. Is that all you needed? I asked and they said yes. I was wondering where they will get cow when it was already late at night. You know what they told me? They said we know the cow sellers and they will sell us cow anytime of the day or night.
” I always have some reserve at home because of emergency. So , I gave them money and they were really excited, promising me that they will not touch anything belonging to government or private property. With adequate fund in their kitty, the youths rather than engage in violence , looting and arson just occupied the major road connecting Igbokoda where they made merry, ate, drank and sang solidarity songs while the protest lasted, Oba Akinruntan maintained.
The Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom said even when the protesters said they were going to burn the university where I served as the Chairman of the Governing Council, I was emphatic with my no remark and they shelved it. I didn’t know it was so serious until the next day when calls started coming in from Lagos, London and other places with the callers thanking me for maintaining the peace in my domain and for reining in the youths from burning public and individual property.
“In all modesty, it was God’s doing and God only used me to ensure the boys didn’t cause arson in Ilaje.
” I want to advise Nigerian monarchs to be closer to their youths and always give them listening ears. If we send them away all the time because we think they are unruly, we won’t be able to curtail their excesses or rein them in during the period of crisis or unrest, Oba Akinruntan stressed.
On the stakeholders meeting held in Lagos, the first class Royal father said he told them point blank truth at the meeting , noting that all that needed to be said now is the truth about the state of the nation. He said it was unfortunate that youths could touch Lagos , the economic heartbeat of the nation in such manner , stressing that it was high time we accommodated the the views of our youths.
Asked the stand of Yoruba Royal fathers on the challenge of unity and cohesion in Yoruba Land, The Olugbo said it is a work in progress. ” Among Yoruba Obas, the issues of hierarchy will have to be resolved for perfect cohesion to take place. There are so many issues that the royal fathers need to take a stand on for the Yoruba race to be seen as one indivisible entity, but more importantly, there is need for an understanding on the position of those who are first among equals among the Yoruba Royal fathers. ” I told them at the meeting in Lagos that once there is cohesion among the Yoruba Royal fathers, it will be easy for us to take a position on any issue that affects us as a race. I have never shied away from the fact that the stool of Olugbo is the number one stool in Yoruba Land and there are historical facts to back this up, ” Oba Akinruntan added.
Still talking about the stakeholders meeting held in Lagos, Oba Akinruntan said it was agreed that the youths are constitutionally protected to protest, noting that it was quite unfortunate that the protests was hijacked. He said the good thing was that the Presidency had acquisced to the demands of the youths to end Police brutality across the country.
Asked to advise the youths of Nigeria, the billionaire royal father said the youths should not be fixated strictly on white collar jobs as their only resolve after their University education. ” Nigerian youths should be creative and think outside the box for economic survival. While it’s good to get white collar jobs, the jobs are not readily available for everyone; so let the youths go into farming , let them have a fine knowledge of a craft or trade work and let them provide services that the people really needed. They will find out, making gains from these trade and craft works, that they can survive comfortably without government work,” Oba Akinruntan added.