• Monarch marks five years on the throne
By Tope Templer Olaiya
BARELY two weeks from now, there would be a lockdown on the Lekki-Epe expressway as drums would be rolled out at the Elemoro’s palace, Ibeju Lekki, to celebrate the fifth coronation anniversary of Oba Tajudeen Afolabi Adebanjo Elemoro, the Onitedo of Itedo, Oke-Odo in Iwerekun land.
There are five reigning monarchs in the expansive Ibeju-Lekki local council area, domiciled in the Epe division of the state. They include the Onibeju of Ibeju, Oba Rafiu Olusegun Bamidele Salami; Onilekki of Lekki, Oba Olumuyiwa Ogunbekun; Onise of Ise, Oba Ganiu Adegbesan; Onimedu of Orimedu, Oba Hamzat Atiku; and the Onitedo of Itedo, Oba Elemoro.
Surrounded by traditional rulers and palace chiefs at the weekend, Oba Elemoro excitedly reminisced on the journey of the last five years. According to him, a lot of developments have occurred in his kingdom during his reign to be thankful for. “There is nothing in life without its good and bad side. But in our case the good has overshadowed the bad. This gladdens our heart because God has been by our side. I have been on the throne of my fathers since June 29, 1996, though I had spent 14 years on the throne before the Lagos State recognition came with the formal handing over of the staff of office to me on April 27, 2010.
“Since then, there has been rapid development in the land but we still need more. We have left three hectares of land to be used for primary and secondary school. Our Senator, Gbenga Bariwu Ashafa, has built a primary school for us waiting to be commissioned for use and for the secondary school, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye has promised that once the Akinwunmi Ambode administration is sworn in, preparation would be activated to kick-start the secondary school building.
“In addition to that, we have reserved one hectare for a community library to be built by the state government. We have also reserved land for a mobile ambulance to be stationed on the busy Lekki-Epe expressway, where we record several accidents. The facility for this has been built by Senator Ashafa. It only remains to be equipped with ambulances and personnel to provide first aid treatment to accident victims before they are transferred to hospital,” the monarch said.
It is just four days to the inauguration of the Governor-elect, Akinwunmi Ambode, but his desk is already piled with a huge file of ‘To-Do’ lists. To that file is added a few notes from the monarch, which is of upmost importance to Lagosians living in the Ibeju-Lekki axis. They include the bad state of roads in the area, absence of drainage in the water-logged communities, lack of schools and hospitals/Primary Healthcare Centres and rising insecurity and kidnapping.
“The road by the police station once it rains is flooded because the flow of the water from the canal to the ocean has been blocked. We have made several appeals to the state but nothing has been done. Once it rains, the expressway is always flooded to the extent that if an inexperienced driver runs into it, it would make the car tumble. “So many lives have been lost that way. Last year alone, between myself and my chiefs, we have spent over one million naira to provide palliative measure but that is not a lasting solution, because until the drainage way is opened up and some buildings on the right of way are brought down, there would be danger in the nearest future.
“On the spate of insecurity, we appeal to the state government to hasten the commissioning of the Area J Elemoro Police Command. We need security because there has been an upsurge of crime, especially kidnapping in Ibeju-Lekki.”
Those who live long on earth will have stories to tell and Oba Elemoro has a lot, both good and bad, to share. One of the sore tales is surviving two kidnap/assassination attempt on his life within six months last year. The invaders, suspected to be land-grabbers, popularly known as Ajagungbales, invaded the palace of the Oba on May 10, 2014 and November 24, 2014 at midnight, breaking a section of the fence and shooting into the air in frenetic search for the monarch. Highlighting the gravity of the invasion, Elemoro noted that it is a taboo for the king to be slain on the throne, especially in Yorubaland. “An Oba should not run away from the stool of his fathers. It has never happened in modern times. For some hoodlums to be confronting me with weapons and guns in my private residence is really scary.”