At 81 years, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi is as fit as fiddle, physically and mentally, spending hours in his library. He hosted ND’s BABATUNDE ODOFIN during which he spoke about different issues. This is an excerpt of the interview
Can you share with us what informs your strictness to time at public function?
What informed it is the kind of discipline I gave myself while growing up. I live with good example. What do I mean by good example? Because I am the Alaafin, I must be seen as an embodiment of culture and tradition. I must conform to the best practices with a view to positively influence the public. Have you observed the number of people in Oyo that wear ‘abeti aja’ cap? The cap is about promotion of our culture which I am known with and it became acceptable to many people. This is an example of leading by example I talked about. I should say my upbringing really shaped my discipline level, especially, in terms of punctuality you mentioned. I find it difficult to tolerate a late comer. I schedule appointment based strictly on time because doing so will enable me to organize myself very well. I think there is nothing special in it, only that it may look extraordinary where people burn away their time. Why are the white more developed? Their sense of organisation is one of the reasons. There is time for everything and my aides understand this perfectly. When it is time to read, time to engage in serious reading, you cannot see me receiving guests. It does not work that way. When it is time to write, you don’t distract me.
Where then do you derive the strength despite your advanced age?
(Smiling)The age you talk about is different from capacity. Leadership is the capacity to deliver, to meet the expectation of the people. Don’t forget that age goes with experience. But experience is also not enough but capacity to make the needed difference. General Charles De Gaulle was recalled when he was already 68 years old to fix France. Why do you think this happened? It was because of the French people‘s faith in De Gaulle’s capacity to turn the fortune of the country around. Also Winston Churchill of Britain also came back at 66. These are leaders who had the needed capacity to impact positively on their respective countries and generation. What is most important is the capacity, the vision and ability to see the potentials of a society and reach for them to transform the society. The secret of life is openness, hence I always insist on the rule of transparency.
Aren’t you worried about the current generation of youth in the society?
One should be worried, especially if you are a leader. You must think of what the future holds for these youths. Take for instance, when I talk and make reference to one or two sources, I expect our youths to dig further to confirm my claim or refuse it. But when you go to the social media, what they do is throw insult. They are intellectually lazy to engage in productive exercise. What concerns them more is how to quickly make money. But there are some who have shown seriousness and they are doing good in their respective ca
What is the way out of this prevalent problem of broken homes in the society?
The problem has effect on both family and the society as they have continued to place unnecessary tension, thereby constituting clogs in the wheels of national development and survival. Broken homes produce children deprived and denied of qualitative education, adequate parental care and wider opportunities, and consequently, most times turn out to be social deviants and delinquents with constitution of nuisance in the society as their major stock in trade. The child’s first place of contact to the world is parent. So, the child acquires initial education and socialisation from parents and other significant persons in the family. The family lays the psychological, moral and spiritual foundation in the overall development of the child. The way out as your question requested is that couples should allow trust, confidence, harmony and sincerity of purpose to be cornerstones of their lifestyles. When the child grows with these virtues, there is no way the child would derail and turn to social vices. It is important for parents to take note of this. To a large extent, you are the determinants of development of your children.
What is your take on public loss of confidence in public office holders?
Under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the public has every right to their feelings about those they elected through their votes. So, I have nothing against how the public feels about politicians. With my close observation, I have found out that many politicians have become very selfish and uncaring about their actions and their implications on their fellow human beings and society. We have become less than animals in our struggle for survival and quest for the good things of life. The end justifies the means, we say. And sometimes, the means can be as crass as downright dirty to downright evil. It is now a case of everyone for himself or herself and God for (the smart) us all. Nothing can be as demoralising, debasing and heartbreaking as for our politicians to brazenly betray trust and confidence reposed in them by the teeming impoverished populace, in a most callous manner. It is high time they had a change of heart and refocused their attention on how to improve the wellbeing of these people back home. They must remember that there is always life after political offices.
How significant is the justice administration in Yorubaland?
One cannot fully understand justice administration in Yorubaland without first understanding the elements of democracy that are featured in pre-colonial and traditional Yoruba social and political structures.Yoruba political and informal legal systems operated both as a segmented lineage groups and as a centralized kingdoms with elaborate, bureaucratic legal systems. Tthe Yoruba are known for their tremendous use of idioms, proverbs and anecdotes in dispute resolution. Prior to the colonial era, the Yoruba practiced a democratic system of government where leadership was by choice and the kingdom was democratically structured with a three-tier government made up of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. The Oba was the supreme head of the government and a representative of Olodumare (God Almighty).The Oba ruled in conjunction with his Igbimo (council of chiefs), and they made up the executive arm of government. The Igbimo is also referred to as the Oyo Mesi (a body of wisemen ) »
You just clocked 81 years. How do you feel attaining that age?
Attaining 81 years is not by my power. No. I give credit of every phase of my life to God, for without Him, I am nobody. I am read and knowledgeable enough to know that God is the supreme being over His creatures among of whom I am. So to Him be the glory because of the road I tread to have attained this age.
What is your birthday message, especially to the youths who seem to be impatient about life?
We should not keep quiet on the matter concerning the youths. Our youths should know today that one single most important quality they can ever develop to live a meaningful life is the value of integrity. Integrity is the core quality of a successful and happy life. Having integrity means being totally honest and truthful in every part of your life. By making the commitment to become a totally honest person, you will be doing more to ensure your success and happiness in life than anything else you can ever do. Integrity is a value, like persistence, courage, and intelligence. It is your choice of values and resolution to live by those values that form your character and personality. And it is integrity that enhances all your other values. The quality of person you are is determined by how well you live up to the values that are most important to you. Integrity is the quality that locks in your values and causes you to live consistent with them. It is not how far a journey but how well. And when you talk of wellness of a journey you talk of integrity with which you travel the rough road of life.
Gallery: Diaspora Excellence Award 2023
At the occasion organized in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Naija Diaspora Magazine, several individuals, companies, governors, traditional rulers, business owners, government agencies and parastatals as well as politicians were honored for their outstanding performances in 2023. The publication celebrated its
10th anniversary with a two-day event that included the Symposium and Annual Diaspora Excellence Award. This platform provided a unique opportunity for collective learning, networking, and gaining insights into government policies that relate to communities. Attendees were empowered to navigate pathways of positive change. The Symposium lecture was titled: ‘Building a Nation’, with several dignitaries as speakers.
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Inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament Triumphs Amidst Adversity
On the 6th of August 2023, a monumental event took place at St Michel, Terminus, Douala, marking the commencement of the First Edition of the Anambra State Union Football Tournament. Under the stewardship of Sir Emeka Uzoka, Chairman of the Anambra State Union, this tournament emerged as a testament to unity, sportsmanship, and the indomitable spirit of the Anambra community.
The opening ceremony set the stage for what would become an unforgettable showcase of camaraderie and competitive fervor. A true celebration of tradition and athleticism, the tournament kicked off with a Veteran Match at 2:00 pm. The clash between Aguata Local Government Union and Nnewi Local Government Union resulted in a gripping encounter, with Aguata securing victory with a 2-0 score line.
Distinguished figures graced the event with their presence, adding prestige to the occasion. Among them was Mr. Oliva Ochi, Consul 1 at the Consulate General Douala, representing the esteemed Consul General, H.E. Amb. (Mrs.) Efe A. Clark-Omeru.
The honorable gathering was further enriched by the participation of key personalities, including: Hon. BIC Okwujiaku, President of the Nigerian Community Douala, HRH Eze Jonathan T. Onyenagubor, Eze Gburugburu 1 of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Cameroon, Sir, Lovinus Ezeh, Vice President, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Alex Nwoye, Vice President 2, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Uche Obiekwe, Patron of the Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Innocent Obiorah Odoh, Patron Anambra State Union, Chairmen of Imo and Enugu States Union, Esteemed members of the Anambra State Union.
The event also extended its reach to include esteemed guests from Douala and beyond.
In recognition of the paramount importance of safety and well-being, the organizers ensured the presence of dedicated medical health and security personnel, assuring attendees a secure environment throughout the event.
Despite the inclement weather characterized by heavy rain, the unyielding spirit of the Anambra community remained unshaken. A testament to their passion for football and unity, a remarkable number of attendees braved the elements, converging to witness the unfolding of history on the lush fields of St Michel, Terminus.
The final was held on Sunday 12th of November 2023 @ Bonamousadi Stadium Douala. Oyi Local Government lifted the trophy while Aguta Local Government took the bronze and Idemili Local Government took silver.
The inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament stands as an embodiment of shared values, intercommunity collaboration, and the timeless appeal of sport. This event not only etched a significant mark on the sporting calendar but also served as a reminder of the resilience and unity that define the Anambra community.
As the tournament concluded its first chapter, it left in its wake a legacy of camaraderie, sporting excellence, and the promise of more remarkable editions to come.
CAMEROON: Miniature Africa
Cameroon, nestled in the heart of Central Africa, is a country with a captivating blend of rich cultural diversity, stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. Often referred to as « Miniature Africa, » Cameroon offers travelers a unique and multifaceted experience, showcasing the continent’s essence in a single destination.
With more than 250 ethnic groups and languages, Cameroon is a melting pot of diverse cultures, traditions and customs. The capital city, Yaoundé, and the economic hub, Douala, provide excellent starting points to dive into Cameroon’s cultural wealth.
Cameroon’s diverse geography offers a plethora of breathtaking landscapes, each with its unique charm.
In the West, the mist-covered peaks of Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in West Africa, beckon adventurous hikers to climb and witness awe-inspiring views of the surrounding scenery.
Towards the North, the Sahelian region boasts vast savannas and semi-arid landscapes, offering visitors an opportunity to spot magnificent wildlife, and in the East, the dense rainforests of the Congo Basin teem with a rich variety of flora and fauna, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and exotic bird species.
Tourism Spots on a Budget
Here are a selection of the most distinguished and captivating tourist destinations in Cameroon. These remarkable locales boast accessibility without undue strain on one’s financial resources, making them irresistible choices for tourists.
Mefou National Park:
Mefou National Park houses the Mefou Primate Sanctuary, a rescue center managed by Ape Action Africa. With over 300 rare and endangered primates, it’s a significant conservation project in Africa, providing lifelong care and rehabilitation for animals rescued from illegal trades.
Formerly known as Victoria, Limbe is a port city with a diverse flora and fauna influenced by its colonial past. The Limbe Wildlife Centre/Botanical Centre offers a close-to-nature experience, rescuing and caring for ill-treated and endangered animals.
Mount Cameroon, also called the « Chariot of the Gods, » is West Africa’s highest mountain and an active volcano. A popular destination for adventurers and hikers, the trek offers stunning views, diverse landscapes and encounters with wildlife like monkeys and birds.
Kribi Beach, in the southwestern region, boasts long white sand beaches and clear waters. It’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. Visitors can also enjoy the Chutes de la Lobé waterfall, where they can swim under the falls. Local cuisine and seafood delicacies await at various restaurants.
Korup National Park:
Korup National Park, renowned for its bird species, offers pristine tropical wilderness. Visitors can enjoy lodging infrastructure and spot unique primates like the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and Perseus’s red colobus. Located near the ocean, Mundemba serves as a starting point for tours to the park, where guides often speak the local Cameroonian language.
Cameroon stands tall as a remarkable destination for audacious travelers seeking a blend of cultural diversity, awe-inspiring landscapes and thrilling adventures. From the depths of the rainforests to the heights of its mountains, and from the bustling cities to the serene beaches, the land beckons with open arms, ready to share its enchanting beauty and warm hospitality with all who venture to explore its wonders. As tourism in Cameroon continues to grow sustainably, the country’s potential as a captivating and memorable destination will undoubtedly flourish.