“Excerpts from EDE MAPO AROGUN: A Celebration of a City, its History, Monarchy and People. | Edited by Prof. Siyan Oyeweso .
Travails and Triumphs of the Laminisa Dynasty in Ede: A Preliminary Assessment of the Reign of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I Since 2007 By Sikiru Abiona Yusuff
My aspiration is to see Edeland become a financial hub and a place where people will live comfortably and a place where people from all over the world will want to visit.
The above quotation captures the desire of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I, Timi of Ede land to elevate the ancient town to an enviable status following his ascension to the throne of his forebears. This he has continued to pursue with all seriousness as discussion; will reflect afterward. As the 13th Timi of Ede, he is the first to ascend the stool from Pere Royal Ruling House of Ede. Following the demise of Oba Tijani Oladokun Oyewusi, Agbonran II on August 21, 2007, there was palpable fear that finding a worthy successor would be a herculean task. But, with the installation of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, this fear was allayed. With a little over a decade of ascension there no doubt that Ede has recorded tremendous progress particularly in the areas of education, infrastructure and human resources development. His ability to manage and resolve complex issues such that are capable of unsettling the polity also distinguished the amiable Timi of Ede. It is perhaps this innate leadership capability that underscores the support he enjoys from all and sundry as a loving monarch. This paper, therefore, is the preliminary assessment of the reign of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I, the Timi of Edeland. The paper is divided into five sub-sections and it makes use of primary and secondary data.
Laminisa Dynasty: Ede Kinships Reconsidered
Reconstructing the history of kingships in Ede is a herculean task but an interesting exercise. This is because the early history of the town is couched in myths and legends with contradictions. Nonetheless, it is an established fact that Timi Agbale Olofa Ina was the founder of Ede-Ile under the instruction of Alafin Sango or Kori at about 16th century C.E. to safeguard the territorial integrity of the Old Oyo Empire. According to Oyeweso, unlike many other Yoruba settlements in Yoruba history, only Ede and Ibadan started as an army with a state rather than a state with an army. At Ede-Ile, Agbale succeeded in establishing a fortified and economically prosperous town which attracted people from far and wide. Meanwhile the political turbulence that ravaged metropolitan Oyo in the 19th century also affected some of its tributary states including Ede. Following the incessant attacks on Ede-Ile by the Fulani, Timi Kubolaje along with his council decided to shift their base to the other side of River Osun. Originally known as Igbo Obotugbo, Kubolaje soon established his supremacy over the existing aboriginal people of the place. This, therefore, marked the beginning of present Ede.
At least, thirteen Timi were recorded to have occupied the stool of Timi at Ede-Ile. Of the thirteen Timi, it was under Laokun that the traditional institution of the town became hereditary. Available evidence suggests that Laokun had three children, Lakade, Lalemo and Laleyin. Of the three children, Lalemo remained the most celebrated of all. In fact, it is the descendants of Lalemo that have occupied the stool since 1817. Tradition is silent on how it came to be. One possible explanation is that Kubolaje who led the migrated contingents shifted base with his brothers alone. This is true because after the death of Kubolaje his younger brothers occupied the seat in succession. But what is puzzling about kingship development in Ede is that after Kubolaje Agbonran I, it took the intervention of the Military Governor of the then Old Oyo State, Brig. David M. Jemibewon before another Agbonran could be installed in 1975. Coincidentally, it was on the account of one Prince Bello Oyewusi that the Pere would finally have a taste of the stool of their forebears.
According to Prince Bello Oyewusi, Lalemo had three wives and fathered seven (7) children. The first wife produced Oyefi, Kubolaje and Mope. Similarly, the second wife birthed Ajeniju, Arohanran and Oduniyi and the third wife had Laminisa as the only child. At the founding of Ede, Laminisa was very young and could not grasp the unfolding developments. In any case, it is an undisputable fact that Laminisa was one of the sons of Lalemo. Available accounts from Pere also corroborated the narrative of Prince Bello Oyewusi. The account contends that Laminisa, the youngest of the Lalemo children missed his way while playing around at new Ede. While searching for him, he was found under a palm tree where he was picking palm nuts. Hence, he decided to settle at the place and the name Pere was given. Pere shares boundary with Daodu Lagunju another ruling house in Ede. It can therefore be argued that the choice of Laminisa’s settlement was encouraged by Lagunju since they belong to the same father.
In spite of the fact that Laminisa is a recognized Prince from the Lalemo line, since the foundation of new Ede, no Prince from Pere had occupied the stool of Timi. The question that begs for answer is that, were there no Princes from Pere interested in their birth right? While it is not totally true, one major constrain was the dynastic dispute between Laminisa and Lagunju. Unlike in Ede-Ile where civil war was a potent tool to usurp authority, under the colonial government, chieftaincy disputes were subjected to Commission of Inquiries. And the final position of the colonial authority was binding on everyone. Until 1957 when Oyefi was successfully included as one of the ruling houses, only four recognized ruling houses contested the stool of Timi. During the Sanni Commission of Inquiry of 1975, the 1957 inquiry came under intense criticism due to its bias. However, the inquiry was still ongoing when Timi Adetoyese Laoye passed on. It was under the 1977 Chieftaincy Review Commission of the old Oyo State that Laminisa Ruling House was included amongst the ruling houses in Ede. Again, this was under HRM Oba Tijani Oladokun Oyewusi, Agbonran II. It is therefore apt to say that the role of Agbonran in the making of modern kingship in Ede cannot be overemphasized.
Against this backdrop, Laminisa’s legitimate right was restored with the announcement and the installation of HRM Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal as the first Laminisa from Pere’s compound. Today, the six ruling houses in Ede are Agbonran, Ajeniju, Arohanran, Lagunju, Oyefi and Laminisa.
The Life and Times of Alhaji Karimu Abefe Lawal and Alhaja Abibat Lawal
Two factors contributed to the prominence of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal. Paternally, he was a descendant of the Lalemo royal family and maternally, a son in the compound of the doyen of Islamic scholarship, Ile-Imole, Ede. His father had his roots from Pere’s compound while his mother hailed from Imole’s compound, Ede. Remarkably, his grand-mother, Rabiat was also a direct offspring of Timi Abibu Lagunju; arguably the first Muslim Oba in Yorubaland. Prince Karimu was born into Pere Royal Compound, Ede. As a Prince, Alhaji Karimu Abefe Lawal grew up to be a responsible and reliable man. He grew up at Akoda compound following the demise of his father at a tender age. According to available accounts, Abefe’s mother’s relocation to Akoda compound was due to the unhealthy rivalry among her husband’s brothers who intended to marry her after the death of her husband. Therefore, her brother Mr. Adekomi encouraged her to return to Akoda. In the interim, Karimu Abefe and Mustapha Olalekan Lawal, his younger brother, were raised at Akoda’s compound.
Against this background, Prince Karimu began his life on a very challenging note. In any case, he quickly adjusted to the demands of the social changes and carved a niche for himself in the fabrics business. Bojua (fabrics) as it was commonly called was a thriving business in Yorubaland. The business belonged to the class of elite of the time. In fact, it was one of the most lucrative businesses to engage in. Described as a successful Bojua businessman, Prince Karimu travelled far and wide in the pursuit of his business, and was credited with traversing many parts of the present south-western Nigeria and beyond.
It is on account that before embracing fabrics business, Prince Karimu had earlier ventured into transportation business. The successes he recorded in his businesses were attested to in his huge investment on the education of his children. He was a good example of a pragmatic polygamist. Exceptionally, the wellbeing of his family was top of his agenda. Alhaji Karimu’s eldest wife was Alhaja Abibat Abike Lawal, the mother of the present Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal. Other children are Prince Muftau Abayomi Lawal; Mrs. Muibat Olagoke Lawal of blessed memory, and Mrs. Fasilat Ajoke Lawal. However, Prince Olusola Ayodele Lawal is the only child of Alhaji Karimu Abefe Lawal and Alhaja Salamatu Atoke Lawal the Iyalaje of Edeland and the Grand-Matron of Food Vendors Association, Ede.
Prince Karimu was a man of many parts. He was an exceptional father, good pedigree, wit and humour. Similarly, he was also an excellent business manager and a family man par excellence. Though his formative years were at Akoda Compound, he never lost the sight that he was a prince of Pere origin. Interestingly, the two compounds are just a stone’s throw to one another. In fact, most of his children were brought up at Akoda Compound. His life remained a source of inspiration because he enjoyed peaceful co-existence with his family members and this facilitated an atmosphere that entrenched cohesion among his children. Both Alhaja Abibat and Alhaja Salamatu maintained healthy relationship devoid of rancor. Each handled one another’s children without contempt. According to Prince Olusola, Alhaja Abibat was a woman of virtue. She was morally upright, and above all, a loving mother. Likewise, Alhaja Salamatu was remembered for her tenderness and care for all and sundry.
Remarkably, prince Karimu was a very sociable man. As a socialite, he was a member of several social organisations. Prince Karimu’s mettle, charisma and personality are clearly attested to in the company he kept. Among his contemporaries are Alhaji Raheem Adetoro Lawal (Babalaje of Edeland), Alhaji Wahab Adediran, Alhaji Rauf Owoade Aro, and Alhaji AbdulRaheem Billo of blessed memory among others. Until his death, Prince Karimu remained a source of blessing and joy to his family and the society at large due to his generosity until his sudden death on 5 May, 1972.
Alhaja Abibat Akanke Lawal
Alhaja Abibat was born into the family of Shehu Abdul-Qadir of Adekilekun family of Imole Compound and Rabiat Awero Adekilekun of Daodu Olagunju Compound, Ede. The account posits that Prince Yusuf Olagunju, one of the descendants of Timi Abibu Lagunju, married Moriamo of Akaje Compound, Ede after the death of her husband, Ali, the elder brother of Yusuf. Levirate marriage, known as Opo Sisu in Yoruba, was a popular social system among the Yoruba which Islam also encouraged if handled the right way. The system portends that wives can be re-consummated, following the death of their husbands to any of their husbands’ brothers. Thus, in accordance with this system, Yusuf married Moriamo. The consummation was blessed with four children: Busura, Olatunji, Shehu and Rabiat. Of the four children between Yusuf and Moriamo, Rabiat was the only daughter.
Being the only daughter of the family, Prince Yusuf, a prominent Islamic scholar decided to give her hand in marriage to a fellow Muslim friend, Shaykh Abdul-Qadir Adekilekun of Imole Compound, Ede. Again, marriage alliance was a common phenomenon among the earliest Muslim compounds in Ede. It was this system of alliance that propelled the growth of Islam in Ede and discouraged syncretism among the Muslim adherents. It was on this ground that Rabiat Awero became the wife of Shaykh Abdul-Qadir Adekilekun of Ile-Imole’s compound, Ede. Abdul-Qadir consequently rose to become the third Chief Imam of Ede.
Shaykh Abdul-Qadir Adekilekun had earlier on got married to Sinatu and Nafisatu. Rabiat was therefore the third wife of the family. There were three children between Abdul-Qadir and Rabiat namely: Alhaja Abibat Abdul-Qadir Adekilekun (later Lawal and the mother of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I), Alhaji Jimoda Abdul-Qadir Adekilekun and Alhaja Saratu Abdul-Qadir Adekilekun, (later Olorunlomoerue). Until her death, Alhaja Saratu was the Iya-Oba to Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I. Other paternal elder members of Alhaja Abibat’s family include Alhaji Ahmed Tijani Adekilekun, Saheed Adekilekun, Alhaji Jimoh Khalifa Abdul-Qadir Adekilekun, while the younger ones include Iya Ibadan, Professor Mojeed Olaide Abass, and Dr. Dawood Adekilekun of blessed memory and Amusat to mention but a few.
Alhaja Abibat Lawal like her husband, Prince Karimu, spent her foundational years with her Aunt, Iya Saara at Lagunju’s compound. Iya Saara was Shaykh Abdul-Qadir Adekilekun’s elder sister who was married into Lagunju Compound as part of the marriage alliance prevalence at the time. A very successful business woman, Iya Saara was a household name to everyone within Lagunju Compound and beyond. It was therefore from her that Alhaja Abibat developed her business expertise. The business skills acquired would soon become her greatest assets for the rest of her life. She started her business enterprise with petty trading in pap selling. In no time, Alhaja Abibat became a business tycoon in clothing and food stuff. Her business network covered wide areas. Alhaja Abibat was a very industrious, resourceful and kindhearted woman. It is on record that Alhaja Abibat died a rich woman. Following the death of her husband, the responsibility of the family fell on her and she diligently maneuvered her way through. She was very generous, accommodating and a charity giver. She embraced all and sundry and was always willing to assist everyone that comes her way. Alhaja Abibat died a fulfilled mother.
The Flag Bearer: Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I
Arising from the above family background, it would seem that Oba Munirudeen Adesola hails from a reliable and solid family. In spite of the early challenges, his parents were able to carve a niche for themselves. This humble beginning thereafter reflects in the growth and development of the then Prince Munirudeen Lawal. Like his predecessors, Timi Abibu Lagunju, Timi Bamigbaye Ajeniju, and Timi John Adetoyese Laoye, Oba Munirudeen’s possibility of becoming the Timi of Edeland had been foretold sequel to his ascension. And as prophesied, these three Timi who tremendously contributed to the religious plurality in Ede today – Bamigbaye introduced Sango worship; Abibu Lagunju brought Islam while John Adetoyese Laoye propagated Christianity. It is under the watch of these three renowned monarchs that the stool of Timi became a multiple religious one that future Obas have had to contend with. In contemporary times, Ede remains a good example of religious encounters and tolerance in Yorubaland, Nigeria and the world at large.
That Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal would become Timi of Ede became a reality in 2007 when Oba Tijani Oladokun Oyewusi Agbonran II joined his ancestors. Although he was officially installed on the 5th of March, 2008, the pronouncement had been made earlier on January 15, 2008. Sequel to the presentation of the staff of office in March, it is significant to note that traditionally, Timi-elects must attend to certain traditional rites. These rites become necessary for Timi-elects because it is during this process that he was expected to acquire the needed arts and practices of Obaship. After being presented with a staff of office, he displayed his leadership charisma accordingly. Ede under the watch of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal has benefited immensely from his innate leadership quality. This leadership quality however is a product of many factors. In order to properly situate his leadership quality into perspective, his formative years become imperative for our understanding.
Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal’s quest for western education began at L.A. School, Obada, Ede, from 1962 to1968. He was at Baptist High School, Ede for his secondary education between 1968 and 1972. Similarly, he bagged his Higher School Certificate (HSC) in 1975 at Ogbomosho Grammar School, Ogbomoso, Oyo State. Between 1977 and 1980, he was at Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, where he studied Mathematics and Chemistry education and earned the Nigeria Certificate of Education (NCE). In furtherance of his educational career, the then Prince Munirudeen Adesola Lawal also attended Bayero University, Kano where he received the Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Library Science between 1981 and 1984. His academic accomplishments also took him to the Obafemi Awolowo University and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology where he got a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) between 1988 and 1989 and a Diploma in Computer Science (1993/1994) respectively. In 2004, he crowned his academic exploits with B.Sc degree in Production and Operations Management from College of Production Management (COPOM).
Besides, the then Prince Munirudeen did not limit his hunt for knowledge to western education. He also acquired the basic art of reading the Quran and Arabic writing. His love for Islamic knowledge is largely connected with his maternal compound, Ile-Imole. Ile-Imole remains one of the leading lights of Islam religion in Ede today.
Professionally, Oba Munirudeen has left an indelible footprint in his chosen career. As a prospective teacher, he cut his teeth for teaching profession at Timi Agbale Grammar School, Ede where he served as an auxiliary teacher for two years. At Birni Yati, Borno State where he sojourned during his NYSC year, the then Prince Lawal served as a teacher and taught Mathematics and Chemistry. Shortly after the NYSC due to the paucity of teaching staff, he got his first appointment as a teacher under the Central School Board in Ibadan in the old Oyo State to teach at his alma mater, Baptist High School, Ede. Consequently, he was transferred to Moremi High School, Ile-Ife for a short while but soon returned to Ede to teach at Oba Laoye Grammar School, Ede. The hallmark of the career of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal was his appointment as Lecturer Grade II at the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree. At Iree, he rose to the post of Chief Lecturer in the Department of Business Administration and Management. He served the institution diligently at various times. He was Coordinator, Continuing Education Programmes, Head of Department and Assistant Director, Continuing Education Programmes, and between 2002 and 2005 he was Deputy Director, OSPOLY Ventures while was engaged as Director, Continuing Education Programme between 2006 and 2007.
Against this backdrop, there is no gainsaying the fact that the choice of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal as Timi was a blessing to Ede.
Ede under the Watch of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal: A Preliminary Assessment
Looking back, there is no gainsaying the fact that Ede under the watch of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I has recorded enormous progress in the town’s socio-cultural, political and economic developments. As quoted above, Oba Munirudeen voiced the zeal to transform this ancient town into an enviable status in Osun State, Nigeria and the world at large. Hence, the tremendous development that has taken place in Ede since his installation shall be examined under following themes.
Timi Laminisa I: A Modern Traditional Administrator
Administering an ancient town like Ede in a modern age is a herculean task. This is because Ede is located in a state with a good number of large cities. Therefore, in spite of the fact that successive governments identified the potentials of Ede and are willing to tap from it, inadequate finances have limited its attention to the town. But with an accomplished monarch as the Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal has brought his administrative skills to bear as he mobilises both human and material resources the town is blessed with locally and in the diaspora towards making Ede an urban centre of their dream. The Adeleke family remains a very good example of a family with the love of their town. It would appear that the family’s contribution is not unconnected with the cordial relationship that exists between the palace and the family.
As the President of the Traditional Ruling Council, the Timi is assisted by a Council of Chief numbering eleven. The Timi and the Chiefs form a Council known as Timi-in-Council which is the highest deliberative Council in the town. In fact, in contemporary times, the Council still adjudicates on the affairs of Ede people. Like his predecessors, Oba Munirudeen maintains healthy relationship with all and sundry. Knowing fully well that contemporary monarchs require modern techniques, he surrounded himself with people of impressive pedigree, might and good character. He accords every office its due regards but frowns at anybody that undermines his authority. No wonder his life was captured in 3Ls: Look, Listen and Learn. He is a good and keen observer of unfolding events, a careful listener that gives everyone a listening ear and more importantly, a great learner whose learning ability has impacted positively on his administration.
A bridge builder, Timi Laminisa builds bridges across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria as showed by his sustained friendship with Emirs, Obis, Igwes and Kabiyesis. He is the Deputy President, Council of Obas in Osun State. He has maintained healthy relationship between his people and its environs. To demonstrate his civility in accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Osun State, HRM recently upgraded the status of Baales to Obas in his domain. The monarchs include
1. The Olu of Sekona Oba Abdul Waheed Adebowale
2. The Olu of Alajue Oba Ibrahim Adesola
3. The Alabere of Abere Oba Kareem Sanusi Adefemi
4. The Elekuro of Ekuro Oba Abdul-Azeez Babalola
5. The Olokinni of Okinni Oba Adbul-Quadri Okanola
6. The Olofatedo of Ofatedo Oba Abdulahi Okunoye
7. The Ologobi of Ogobi Oba Wasiu Iwaloge
8. The Loogun of Loogun, Oba Jimoh Ajibade Kabiru
Remarkably, the elevation of these Obas is a turning point in the history of traditional rulers in Ede. In essence, these upgrading further strengthened the hold of Timi over its environs and effectively put a check and probably a stop to encroachment over certain disputed lands.
In the State of Osun today, the Ede remain one of the politically conscious people to be reckoned with. Located in Osun West Senatorial District, the town is made of up two Local Governments (Ede-North, Oja Timi; and Ede-South, Oke-Iresi), one Local Council Development Areas, Sekona (LCDAs) and one Ede-North Area Office, Owode. The latter two were part of the recent creation of Osun State Government. The town has also produced illustrious sons and daughters such as legislators, ministers, commissioners, business mogul, philanthropists, academic giants, religious leaders etc. Until his death in April 2017, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke was one of the leading political tacticians the town has produced. Other includes, Rt. Hon. Adejare Bello, Hon. Tajudeen Ajagbe, Hon. Kamarudeen Osun-Agbeni, Hon. Nurein Adebisi, Hon. Sunday Ojo and very recently, Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke. In fact, the emergence of Senator Ademola Adeleke apparently confirmed the popular aphorism, Yara kan lede (Ede is one room) due to the intensity of power politics that played out in his election to replace his elder brother (Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke) at the Red Chamber. There are several other political icons that possess wit and humour too numerous to be mentioned that have contributed immensely to the development of Ede. In 2021, another feather has been added to the political glamour of Ede with the appointment of Rt. Hon. Rafiu Adejare Bello by President Muhammadu Buhari as an Ambassador to Mexico.
Ede: The Home of Tertiary Institutions and Religious Tolerance
It is often said that education is the best legacy for man. This is because every successful nation of the world understands the importance of education to their development and thus invests hugely on the education. Whereas education has not received proper attention as required in Nigeria, Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal is not relenting in his efforts towards elevating the standard of education of his people. To prove his utmost readiness for this task, Oba Munirudeen threw his support behind the efforts of Dr. Adedeji Adeleke in establishing a university, Adeleke University at Ede in 2011.
Sequel to the establishment of Adeleke University, the Oba had earlier on successfully negotiated the relocation of Redeemer’s University to Ede. Originally, the Redeemer’s University was sited at Ede during the time of Oba Tijani Oladokun Oyewusi, Agbonran II. However, all efforts at developing the university fell through. Two major issues capable of unsettling the polity of the town hindered its development. First, was the growing contemplation among the Muslim elites on the question of conversion of their children to Christianity. The second was the unwillingness of the land owners to surrender their land for the development of the university. There was also the allegation of the reluctance on the part of the university proprietor to pay appropriate fees required by the land owners that delayed the development of the university at Ede. Unfortunately, the University was operating at Mowe, Ibafo in Ogun Sate but the certificate of operation as issued by the National University Commission bears Ede. Knowing fully well of the economic benefits of the University, Oba Munirudeen moved swiftly to ensure the relocation of the university.
The Entrance of Redeemer’s University, Akoda, Ede
Being a predominantly Muslim community, the issues of religion is capable of unsettling political harmony of Ede. However, the administrative dexterity of the monarch and his commitment to peaceful co-existence has helped in mitigating this tendency. Another factor capable of creating chaos is land ownership. The people of Ede value their land and decry any contention. But the question that begs for answer is of what importance are the expanses of available land without tangible development? The issue of land ownership remains a major challenge to the development of Ede as lamented by Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal:
My people are looking for developmental projects in the town, but all these projects involve land and the people are not willing to give up their land. My challenge has been how to allow my people to willingly give up their land for development of the town.
The problem with land ownership is one of the aberrations created by the colonial government when they forcefully acquired all land. In the pre-colonial times, it is often said that Oba lo ni le (the King owns the land). In other words, the king appropriated all lands not for personal use but in trust for the people and for community development. Today, the system has changed. This was the case with Redeemer’s University prior to the emergence of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal. In spite of the challenges surrounding the establishment of Redeemer’s University, Oba Munirudeen relentlessly talked about and negotiated his way to ensure that the university returned to Ede.
Ede today is home to reputable tertiary institutions. Both Adeleke and Redeemer’s universities have further contributed to the good name of Ede as a peaceful, harmonious and educational loving town. Relishing the contributions of Redeemer’s University to the development of the town, one of the indigenous academic icons of the town, Dr. Jimoda (now Professor Jimoda) observed that the university’s facilities has been of immense benefits in terms of access to the library materials, internet, as well as other facilities of enormous importance. Savoring the significance of the universities to the development of Ede, Amusa opines “these universities are not small achievements if we consider the number of Nigerian cities which struggled to have them located in their area”. He therefore enjoined the people to maintain their relative peace and harmony because these two ideas are ingredients of development.
These universities have been of immense blessing to the people in various ways. As a faith based university, it has increased access to tertiary institutions among the indigenes because of its liberal policy on religion. Through Springtime Development Foundation (SDF), Adeleke University provides a good number of the indigent indigenes with the scholarship scheme of the institution which further increases entrance into tertiary institution for the less-privileged. In fact, both universities are good examples of 21st century private Universities in Nigeria. They are also a good source of employment for a number of indigenes.
Other institutions in the town are the Federal Polytechnic, the Redeemed Christian Church of God Bible College, and Ilori College of Education. There is also Unity University at the developmental stage and a host of proposed ones. In fact, Ede is a good example of a Nigerian town with high level of religious tolerance. Since his ascension to the throne, Oba Munirudeen has ensured peaceful co-existence among various religious leaning. In fact, he is the patron to all. Aside the growth of tertiary institutions in Ede, there is also the increase in the number of primary and secondary schools, particularly the privately owned ones. Adeleke University High School, Redeemer’s University High School, Al-Fareed International College, Al-Hudah International College, and Islamic College etc. are some of the popular post-primary schools in Ede.
In the area of Human Resource Development, Oba Munirudeen has also recorded tremendous successes. He has successfully wooed numerous Ede indigenes in all spheres of life to come to the aid of Human Resource Development of Ede. To this end, besides the growth of tertiary institutions, in the area of resourceful personnel, Ede has produced renowned sons and daughters across all fields of human endeavour. Apart from the existing academic gurus that the town has produced it has recently added to the number. For instance, Professors Abubakar Sanusi, M.O. Adeniyi (late) and A.O. Ajadi of Health Sciences, Department of Religious Studies, and Department of Mathematics, respectively, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife recently joined the number of existing professors of Ede. Other newly appointed professors are Professor Jimoda Adekilekun of the formally Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Professor Dhikrullah Yagboyaju of the University of Ibadan and Professor Moruffdeen Adabanija. On the whole, the town is blessed with more than 40 professors in different academic disciplines. Few among the Professors are Mojeed Abass Olayide, John A. Ayoade, Biola Odejide, Siyan Oyeweso, Bukola Oyawoye, among others. More so, there is increase in the number of Ph.D. holders across all fields of studies. Notable among the young mind is Dr. Lawal Adekunle Nurain. Significantly, the town has produced illustrious sons in other fields of life such as, security icons, judicial juggernaut, business magnates, political wizards, engineers, and entertainment icons. David Adeleke (Davido), the son of the business magnate and proprietor of Adeleke University, Adedeji Adeleke is a music prodigy.
Generally speaking, the people of Ede are accommodating. As a peace loving people, non-natives are accorded their utmost respect and the town is largely peaceful. Since business thrives in a peaceful environment, the accommodating nature of the people has contributed to the economic development of the town. In the area of infrastructural development, a good number of modern hotels have developed since the ascension of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I. Western Sun, Hilton, Blue Petals, and ABM Hotel, all in Ede, are some of the best relaxation centres in the State of Osun. The existing hotels like De Prince Hotel, Babs Hotel, and Floral Hotel have also upgraded their centres to suit modern demands. In fact, the impressive Western Sun Hotel has the capacity to accommodate more than 2000 people at a time. It has equitable facilities anyone can require in a modern hotel, such as internet facility, private lodging, event centre, swimming pool and uninterrupted power supply. Aside the fact that the hotels provide good comfort, they have also contributed to the economic development of Ede and they are sources of jobs opportunities for the indigenes.
Another business that has received a boost since the installation of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal is the oil and gas industry. With some illustrious sons in the booming oil industry in Nigeria, Oba Munirudeen enjoined them to extend their investments to their homeland. Today, Ede is a thriving town of oil industry magnate. The significance of this is that, it reduces the pressure on the very few filling stations that existed in the main town and its suburb. Similarly, the burden of fuel scarcity whenever it occurred was greatly reduced particularly the commuters and business outfits that required fuel for their services. Between 2008 and now, the number of filling stations in Ede and its environ has increased to nearly 30 or more, and this has further created more job opportunities for the citizenry. Among the newly opened filling stations in Ede are Admus Filling Stations at Elerin and Akoda junction, Matrix Filling Station at Anu Olu junction, Agip area, Ede, Bovas Filling Station and a couple of up and coming ones.
Ede: The Home of Culture
Culturally, the reign of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa has continued to witness cultural elevation with the intent of promoting common ancestral heritage and perhaps add colour to the spectrum. For instance, the annual “Ede Mapo Arogun Day”, which brings all and sundry in the town together, has become a potent tool in the hand of the Oba for the development of the town. Under the auspices of the Federal Council of Ede Descendants Union (FCEDU), the national umbrella of all native of Ede, the celebration has taken a very special dimension. For instance, in the 2010 edition, the event showcased the cultural heritage of the town such as “The Talking Drum” festival and Sango Dance. The talking drum festival was a means of preserving the memory of its exponent, Oba John Adetoyese Laoye who made use of the drum to project the image of Ede. Relishing the significance of Oba Laoye to the promotion of talking drum, Professor Siyan Oyeweso opines:
If Timi Laoye tried to put his community on the world map through the drums, we owe it a duty in the digital world of today to present the first ever Talking Drum Festival.
The awe, glamour and pomp generated by this festival underscore the value that Oba Munirudeen Adesola places on cultural heritage in remembering the contributions of his predecessors to Ede land. Hence, he has continued to promote the cultural heritage of the town by charting new directions. Unlike the talking drum festival, the commemorations of other cultural festivals in Ede have also received some boost. Sango festival in Ede today is becoming more appealing as it draws such large crowd as is annually witnessed during the Osun Osogbo, Olojo and Oranmiyan festivals. The excitement that the Sango dance, its blazing antics, among other things, evoke, contributed to the appealing nature of the festival. Located within the palace, the Sango statue is a symbol of the authority and might of the Timi of Ede. Other cultural festivals are the Ipedi and Egungun festivals. It is therefore important that these festivals are brought to the attention of UNESCO for its full socio-economic potential to be released.
It is worthy to note other business areas that have witnessed tremendous progress and contributed to the economic growth of the town. On the one hand are the aluminum enterprises that have continued to grow. Oye Aluminum, Apop, and Ola Mummy are some of the thriving aluminum companies in Ede. The profitability of the business makes more appeal to the younger generation to engage in it. One major contribution of this enterprise to Ede is the reduction in youth idleness. Remarkably, the number of shopping complexes for daily goods and services are also on the rise. Whereas the daily markets continue to provide for the needs of the people, Oje Olobi (the five day market) is increasingly becoming more popular among the market women beyond the confines of the State of Osun.
It is against the backdrop of the tremendous contributions of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal since his installation as the 13th Timi of Ede land to the socio-economic and political development of the town that he was found worthy by the management of Adeleke University as a recipient of Honourary Doctorate Degree in Administration in 2016. There is no gainsaying the fact that he is a socialite. He does not just belong to several organisations; he is in fact patron to most of them. Oba Munirudeen is married to two wives, Olori Sulat Titilayo Lawal and Olori Aishat Lawal and the family is blessed with children, including the newly born twins. Like his father, Oba Munirudeen has been described as a reliable family man. Aside the responsibility bequeathed on him by the virtue of his exalted position, it is remarkable to note that despite his busy schedule, he still finds time to teach his children the subject he loves most, mathematics. Such is the virtue of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I.
Challenges of Traditional Rulers in Contemporary Times: The Timi Example
Most of the challenges confronting Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I is not peculiar to him alone. For instance, one of the major herculean tasks before him is land matters. On the one hand is the age long land dispute between Ede and some of its neighbouring towns particularly Ido-Osun and Osogbo. On several occasions, legitimacy over these lands had created crisis. On the other hand, the unwillingness of some of the indigenous land owners to render their lands for developmental projects is also a major challenge which has hindered the even development of the town. It would not surprise anyone that as large as Ede is, there are only few financial institutions in the town. These are Skye Bank, First Bank, Unity Bank and Wema Bank. Recently, Zenith Bank, located on Redeemer’s University Campus, was added.
The destabilization of the Local Government System in Nigeria has also affected the smooth running of the palace administration. With the dwindling financial capacity of the Local Government, hardly could any palace address some of the palace needs. For example, the commemoration of traditional festivals in Ede such as Sango, Ipedi, Ogun and Egungun require financial support due to the rituals and sacrifices involved. It is, therefore, imperative that the palace receives some supports from the Local Councils.
Another problem confronting Ede today is infrastructural deficit. One of the major infrastructural problems confronting Ede today is absence of befitting access roads. A journey from Akoda to Oke-Gada would leave one astounded as to the state of the roads in an urban centre like Ede. This underscores the level of neglect that Ede has suffered in the hands of successive governments in the state. Although, the roads are currently under rehabilitations, nonetheless, a fast growing town like Ede requires a state-of-the-art road networks to enable it accomplishes her economic potentials. Providing a panacea to the challenges, Saheed Amusa, a Guest Lecturer at a gathering in Ede suggests:
Ede needs a home grown, well-conceived and suitable articulated and periodic developmental plan of say ten years or so. This would guide all the interest groups and individuals in Ede to situate themselves in the plan and play their roles actively.
Challenging the leadership of the Federal Council of Ede Descendant Union on the need to aggressively and progressively work for the development of Ede, he urges that:
Ede’s community development efforts must be strengthened. We must do our bits in advancing the cause of our people because the government cannot do it all. The Federal Council of Ede Descendants Union should take the lead and carry all Ede indigenes along in the journey to take Ede to the next level.
More remarkable, is his submission on the need for Ede to identify with the government of the day in the state and Nigeria as a whole, Amusa submits:
We must associate with all legitimate governments that come into power in Osun State in particular and Nigeria at large. We must make our positions clear and understood before and after electioneering process. We must always advance proposals to the government always for the development of our town. We must always appreciate the successive governments for whatever they do for us and we must let the government know when we are shortchanged, disappointed or favour.
Reflecting on the challenges confronting Ede, Saheed Amusa’s panaceas are very enriching and without mincing words, they remain very critical. Another problem which must be urgently addressed is the dwindling education of the teeming youth of Ede. The leadership of the town must embark on aggressive educational re-birth programme that would discourage the youth from idleness and their engagement with unproductive works. This can be done through scholarship schemes for some brilliant but indigent students. Similarly, charity foundations can be set up for those willing to take up one apprentice job or the other. This will greatly reduce the number of idlers in the town and further contribute to the relative stability that the town is reputable for. It is sad to note that most of the male youth in Ede have turned into Okada riders while their female counterparts littered major junctions hawking goods.
What this paper has done is to provide a preliminary assessment of Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, Laminisa I, Timi of Ede land since his ascension to the throne of his forebears. Significantly, the paper examines the family background, his formative years and journey to the throne. Discussion reflects on the progress that Ede has recorded so far, while the paper reveals that there have been tremendous progresses in the socio-cultural, economic and political development in Ede. It also highlighted the fact that Oba Munirudeen has been confronted with certain challenges, though not peculiar to him alone. However, in spite of the challenges, it is believed that the experience garnered prior to his installation and after would continue to guide him in his desire to further develop the town beyond its present status.
Laminisa omo kudu-ndu to sewe geru-geru
Opolopo ogun arumo gale gale
Laminisa ni boba lopo ogun
Laminisa ni boba leke ko ni je ko je
Omo Pere ndi-ope-okookan la he-ira
Agba to ba he meji lo sojoro
Omo pale-ntogun-jigan ntogun
Omo-arogun mosa-Aroni won o fiye ogun nu
Omo aroni ti ko gbele Ohikoyi-kosin mi ogun lo
Omo eso rogunjo jaginni
Bi baba won ba tiji, eti ogun ni more
Omo-onikoyi ti ki gbofa leyin
Iwaju ni baba won fi gbota
Omo Onikoyi to ba gbofa leyin, ojo loose
Omo eni to ku nile-tagbe regun re sin
Omo Timi Agbale Olofa ina
Omo eso ikoyi, omo ajida gbedu akala
Laminisa, a leafy sweet potato
Enormous charms that intoxicates
Laminisa says: “if you have many charms
And you are not forthright; the charms would lose their efficacy”
A heritage of war-happy
Aroni, who always thinks of war
Aroni, who does not stay at home
Olukoyi, who does not cease to go to war
A heritage of war happy
When their father woke up
He headed to the war front
A heritage of Olukoyi, who would not be hit by bullets at the back
Their father would rather be hit by bullets in the chest
A heritage of Olukoyi who is shot at the back is a coward
A heritage whose corpse is taken to war front from burial
The child of Timi Agbale Olofa-Ina
A heritage of Ikoyi
The child of one who woke up to beat drum of war.