My Shared Journey With Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye, The Soun of Ogbomoso

By Adedokun Omoniyi Abolarin

As I weave the words of our shared journey and reduce it into a piece of portable writing, pride and joy swell up within my heart for my very good brother and friend and now Alayeluwa Ọba, Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye, the Soun of Ogbomoso land. I remember that the tale of our shared stories began within the echo of our secondary school walls. That was Adventist Grammar School, Ede, in January , 1973 . That was fifty years ago. And this meeting has since then evolved into a narrative of brilliant understanding, mutual respect, fulfilled dreams, and notable achievements.

In reflecting further on this journey, the timeless words of Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology, failed not to inspect my mind avidly. According to this gentleman , “While man proposes, God disposes; destiny remains an unwavering force, indifferent to the whims of mortal endeavors.” These words ring out, in an eloquent tone, the profound truth that destiny, like an unyielding force, shapes our path despite our mortal fancies. In fact, like I always tell my people, I didn’t go to school, for several years, to become an Oba. Never! Not at all! But here I am. Destiny! Destiny is that unseen force tied to our moves! And we thank the Almighty God that we are where we are today for only but one purpose; TO SERVE OUR PEOPLE .

Myself and Kabiesi Soun stories seem to be intricately woven with destiny’s threads and it indeed aligns with this profound Yorùbá saying and expression that says, “à ñ bára wá rìn, a ó mo orí olólá” – that is, walking in the company of friends, yet unable to predict who is destined for greatness. Today, as kings of our respective kingdoms, it’s a collective narrative we never foresaw despite our laughter-filled days at Adventist Grammar School, Ede and even at the University of Ife, Great Ife. We slept together, walked beside each other, knew a lot of things about each other yet we didn’t know this that we would one day become the kings of our different communities. Indeed our elders are deep!

By and large, like I highlighted earlier, our paths intertwined at Adventist Grammar School, Ede, where he, as a fresh student in 1973, found an unexpected guide in me. Of course, I have already grown accustomed to the school’s intricacies before he got admitted. I was in Form four when he was in Form one. Therefore, when he came, I was more than glad to show him around. The tradition of respect based on academic seniority was still high in those days and it led him to address me as ‘Broda Dòkun’ which he was fond of calling me everywhere. And our bond, although initially shaped by academic hierarchy, but blossomed into a friendship that defied norms. We became so close that I later served as his college brother as well.

Leaving the Adventist Grammar School, Ede , life took us on separate journeys only to reunite us at the University of Ife (Now OAU) again. Our shared dreams and ambitions molded side by side in the complexities of campus life. It was a chapter where our alliance drew attention and admiration everywhere on campus. In fact, we were so popular, we were great “party freaks” And I am not shocked at all that the experience has now formed the threads that has knitted a tapestry of memories around us today. And I thank the universe for this.

It is interesting that life, like a masterful storyteller, transformed us, like the biblical Saul to Paul. Kabiyesi embraced a spiritual calling after we left Ife. He however became a revered pastor, while I pursued a path in teaching and law. In 2006, I ascended to the throne of my forefathers in Oke-Ila Orangun, which, in a way, is a testament to the kind of values instilled in us during our formative years to always be ready to serve others in whatever capacity.

Similarly, the news of Kabiyesi’s ascent to the throne of Ogbomosho didn’t just evoke joy when I received it; it ignited a profound confidence in me as well. Our common motto from Adventist Grammar School, Ede, was, ‘Building Souls for Service,’. This motto echoed in my mind immediately and I can confirm that it portends only one thing and that is the fact that Oba Gandhi’s reign will bring about positive transformation to the land of Ogbomosho. And his wealth of ideas and commitment to service will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on Ogbomoso’s history.

I therefore beg Olódùnmarè, the supreme KING, that He should permit Oba Ghandi’s reign to be marked by wisdom, prosperity, and a lasting legacy of service to the great people of Ogbomoso. As we embrace the roles fate has bestowed upon us, I believe that, Ogbomoso is in the hands of a visionary leader, poised and prepared to steer the course of progress and unity for generations to come in that land.

Congratulations, kábíèsí.

*Oba Adedokun Omoniyi Abolarin is the Oragun of Oke Ila

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