On Sunday, Lagos, stood still for the coronation of the 15th Oniru of Iruland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdul-Wasiu Omogbahan Lawal, as dignitaries from all walks of life graced the colourful occasion. Muritala Ayinla reports
Call it a gathering of royalty; you might be right. Describe the occasion as an assemblage of wealthy Nigerians; the description might still be correct.
If one chooses to define the occasion as a political campaign ground or a government ministry where all classes of people besiege for one reason or the other, one might still be apt, the venue of the coronation ceremony of the 15th Oniru of Iruland, Oba AbdulWasiu Omogbolahan Lawal was simply a beehive of activities last Sunday.
The occasion marked the peak of installation rite of Oba Lawal, as the 15th monarch of Iruland with a colourful coronation reception and public presentation of the kingdom’s insignia.
As early as 9:am, dignitaries from all walks of life thronged into the beautifully decorated and branded palace. In line with the state Covid-19 guidelines, dignitaries were offered additional face masks and hand sanitizers by the security guards and personnel hired to ensure safety protocol and orderliness in spite of the large number dignitaries.
At the entrance of the palace were giant frames bearing pictures of the monarch in different royal regalia while a team of ushers, who were also decked in brown Aso- Oke ushered guests to their designated seats.
The hall made up of a beautifully ornamented and well-lit hall was also adorned with cream cotton and fabrics while leaves were creatively used in the decorations to reflect a typical African royalty.
There was tent for different categories of guests: The VVIPs, VIP and other important personalities. At the event, a Yoruba actor, popularly known as Ajobiewe and other artists entertained guests with royal panegyrics and other poetic oratory performances.
Dignitaries at the event include: the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo- Olu, who was represented by his deputy Dr Obafemi Hamzat; Lagos First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; Elegushi of Ikate Land, Oba Saheed Elegushi; Ojora of Ijora and Iganmu land, Oba Fatai Aromire; Senator Musliu Obanikoro, Erelu of Lagos, Princess Abioa Dosumu; representatives of Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; White Cap Chiefs, members of the state Executive council, members of the Lagos State House of Assembly serving and former members of the National Assembly among others.
The reception, which was initially suspended due to the State’s Coronavirus (COVID- 19) protocols, came three months after Oba Lawal formally received traditional staff of office and instrument of appointment from Gov. Sanwo-Olu to ascend the Iru throne.
At the event, Oba Lawal, a three-time member of the State Executive Council, who was decked in a brown and royal Aso- Oke regalia with beads was accompanied by his queen, Olori Mariam to the hall with accolades.
Speaking at the ceremony, the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday called on the newly installed Oniru of Iru Kingdom, Oba AbdulWasiu Omogbolahan Lawal to work with the people of the kingdom as well as the state government to successfully actualise his lofty dreams for the development of Iruland and Lagos State.
Asiwaju, who described Oba Lawal as very Intelligent, reliable, dependable and unassuming young man, urged the people of Iruland to work together in peace and harmony and not in greed, saying that no matter how much of wealth one appropriates to oneself, every man would leave the world with nothing.
The APC leader described Oniru as a son, said that the monarch was a good choice for the kingdom and urged members of ruling houses in the kingdom to rally round the Oniru for the progress of Iruland.
While reminding the people of Iru Kingdom that they cannot achieve development peace and harmony without collaboration with the Lagos State Government, Tinubu urged them to “think smart and talk to one another to address the problems affecting their area.”
Tinubu, however urged those who sought to succeed the late but did not make it, to join hands with him and work within him so as to move Iruland forward. He also urged the monarch to show good character as a key component of his leadership, noting that his efforts to move the kingdom forward would be futile without character.
On his part, Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Kadiri Obafemi Hamza, expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the kingdom over the last three months. He was impressed that the monarch had displayed impressive actions characterised by wisdom, knowledge and large heartedness.
The governor also called on the residents of the kingdom to stand firm behind the monarch in order to allow the development and prosperity of the kingdom to flourish. In his remarks, Oba Lawal expressed gratitude to governor Sanwo-Olu, Asiwaju Tinubu, traditional rulers in the state and all the people of the kingdom, saying that he would continue to be fair to all the people and strive for the progress and development of the kingdom.
Oba Lawal, who unveiled his economic development plan for the kingdom, ‘Let’s Develop Iruland Together’, condensed in acronym “LeGIt”.
The blueprint, the monarch disclosed, is tailored to reflect key deliverables of the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda of the Sanwo-Olu administration. Oba Lawal described the event as “another significant chapter” in the annals of the kingdom, thanking Governor Sanwo-Olu for approving his selection by the kingmaker and his support since his installation. He specifically praised Asiwaju Tinubu, whom he called a mentor and father, for giving him the opportunity of his shots in public service.
The monarch said the priorities of his leadership would focus on socio-economic development of the kingdom, disclosing that the palace had established an independent non-profit organisation – HRM Abisogun II Foundation for Peace and Development (HAIIF) – with the objective to drive multi-stakeholder partnerships for peace and prosperity of the kingdom.
He said: “The burning desire to proffer pragmatic solutions to challenges facing Iru land has led to an initiative called LeGIT. This will be a rallying point and clarion call to all stakeholders to work with me to develop Iru into one of the most sustainable communities in Lagos.
The plans are in line with the development agenda of the Governor.” At the elaborate coronation ceremony, prayers were offered for the peaceful reign of the new king while clerics also prayed to God Almighty to grant the new king long life.