Home Interviews 12 Years on the Throne, Olu of Itori Brings Prosperity & Development...

12 Years on the Throne, Olu of Itori Brings Prosperity & Development to Itori-Land

Oba Abdul-Fatai Akorede Akamo the Olu of Itori Land in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State recently celebrated his 12th year coronation anniversary. While in the mood of celebration, PublicFaces Magazine had an interview session with the handsome monarch where he shared his experience before becoming a King, his travails on the throne, the influence Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had on his life and
personal subjects.


Kindly share with us your experience as a young boy?

My growing up was so scary, I was like a born and cast away child. My parents were poor. I was born in an era when people saw wives as blessing; as a result, my father married six wives and had over twenty children of which I am number 7. While growing up in Itori, mysterious things happened which warranted my movement to Abeokuta where I attended all Saints Primary School. Barely six months after I enrolled at the primary school I was thrown out. I later went to Ibadan, Oyo State where I also attended Ebenezer African Church Primary. Again! I was sent back to Abeokuta where I continued my education at African Church Primary School. My mother of blessed memory tried all she could, there was no help from my father, because of his  condition,  he had bitten more than what he could chew. Imagine a driver having six wives. I had to live with more than 20 families while I was growing up, I engaged in hawking for my parents so as to feed myself. I grew up on the other side of life. All the challenges I faced while growing up built me up for the post I occupy today.

Olu Itori
Oba Abdul-Fatai Akorede Akamo (Olu Itori) and Olori Faderera Barakat Akamo

What can you say about your Great Grand Mother who was once the Iyalode of Itori-Land?
She brought me up. One funny thing is that, from my paternal side, the first Iyalode of Egba-Land was my great grandmother and from the maternal angle, the first Iyalode of Itori was my great grandmother. I was surrounded with the people that matters but God has a way of doing things. She was a very humble and very powerful woman who talked authoritatively during her reign as the Iyalode of Itori-Land and I thank God for her life. You see, if a woman is good she will give birth to good children. So, my great grandmother gave birth to very successful children including myself. Some things are being put in
place as regards her remembrance and I pray God makes Itori great.

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You always attribute your educational success to the Ex President Olusegun Obasanjo, can you tell us why?
When I left African Church Primary school Owu Abeokuta, I was unable to further my education due to financial constraints. One day the Head- Mistress called Mrs Omoyinmi went to Itoku to buy things, she met my great grandmother who used to sell clothing materials at Itoku Market in Abeokuta, and my mother  who was living with her husband in Ibadan came to visit her mother, but when she got there, she met her mother with Mrs Omoyinmi, along the line, they sent for me and she asked what am I doing and my mum started crying that assuming she had money she would have love to send her son to secondary school. The woman then adopted me and sent me to African Church Grammar school. While living with Mrs. Omoyinmi, she (Mrs. Omoyinmi) took me to Baba Obasanjo and explained my case to her, Baba smiled and said ‘atun po si ni’ (we are increasing in number). Baba only comes to Abeokuta once in a while and he is sponsoring about ten students secondary school education which included Doctor Onalapo Soneye. When it was time to pay for our West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), Baba Obasanjo only paid for those students that were close to him and I was sent out of school. I went back to my adopted mother and she took me back to him. Subsequently, Baba Obasanjo paid my WAEC fee.
After the payment of the WAEC fee, Baba suggested that we joined the Nigerian Army and due to the fear I have for wars, I declined the offer. Two of the boys who accepted Baba Obasanjo’s offer, Lola Soneye and Wale Taiwo are now Colonels.

What are those things that your status now has taken away from you?
A lot of things including the travelling agent job I was into back then. Before I became the King, I was into travelling business and I was doing well, I have been influential before I became the King, but now
I can’t handle the business like before because of my office here as a King. More so, I can’t travel out of the country and stay as much as I want as I used to before. I enjoyed my days as a travelling agent and I got my financial breakthrough in that business during the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. But now, I have to maintain the status of a King and a custodian of culture.

Olu Itori and Ooni of Ife
Olu Itori and Ooni of Ife

Talking about Atlanta 1996, how did you get the contract?
It was Gods intervention, we were many that were jostling for the contract, so God gave me the wisdom to go and meet  the Chairman, so I told him that I will give him an offer of first class ticket to Atlanta to and fro free of charge if he considers me, the man was like how will that happen? Why will someone give me first class ticket free? and to me it was just a thing that does not cost me anything, so I told him that  I don’t look for big money  that if I have little money that is very constant I am okay with it, so that is how he gave me the contract. Even when he approved it he was still asking ‘Alhaji are you sure you will fulfil your promise? I answered him ‘even if you approve the contract and give me the contract papers today, by tomorrow I will give you the ticket as soon as possible’, when he gave me the contract papers, I took it to some Airlines that let us work on a group, can you imagine how many groups I will get out Two Thousand clients, eventually an Airline bought the idea, so I told them that  please before we do anything give me two first class tickets for the Chairman and his wife, I took it to him, with that they know that I am serious already, I also told them that whoever wants  to pay should pay into the Airline’s Account, I did that so that they will know that I can’t run away with their money, so it was a very big hit for me, you know,  whatever you are doing you need tactics, you also need to understand the job.
Some personalities still refer to you as King Moore, how did you get the alias?
How I became King-Moore was an interesting story. My office was at Ogba, there was a King in that Ogba, whenever we close, the King will like me to come to his Palace and chill-out with them. So one day, he asked if I wish to become a King, I said for what!! Why should I become a King, I am not interested, then I thought why should I think of something that is impossible which I also know that it will give me a lifetime burden, the burden that I had was enough and these are people that will always come for help that they want to travel out but they are financially handicapped.
The KINGMOORE came when I met one of my clients called IKE, he is an Igbo guy,  he planned to go to Brazil and he has no money but he was able to get his visa so when he approached me and I told him okay I will do something on that, the boy now was amazed for my affirmative response, he then said  Kings that he knows  do big things in smaller way, just like the way I do my things, that he knows that the way I do my things, I  am a King. Immediately I gave him a date, and on that same date with the help of God he was able to travel out, I was only amazed that he didn’t even call for over five years to say thank you after he reached where he  was going so I just forgot about him. Later the boy called his people that they should come and thank me, when I heard from him he just called me on phone I said ‘Hello King!’ I asked that who is this he said Ike, he told me on phone that my people are coming to greet you on my behalf but kabiyesi they are MORE o, so from the man saying you do things like a king, ‘MORE’ of my people are still coming, came out KING MORE, as at this time I never dreamt of becoming a king. Now when I became king in 2004 I  had an interview on MITV, the Ike had become a billionaire, he saw me on television and then he traced me down here and he said ‘KingMoore if you going to do your first coronation anniversary it is going to be in your own house’, I said where will I get money my brother , he said God has been doing it for you don’t worry we will do it for you within a year, and lo and behold  I did my first coronation in my Palace, it was a mystery. You see whatever will happen to you tomorrow you would have been seeing the signs today, later Ike took us to IMO state after I installed him as my Bashorun where he runs a Television and Radio Station, In fact, He chattered a whole Aircraft for us because we were over hundred that flew to IMO state, and that is God for you. The Alias ‘King Moore’ was given to me by my mafia brother when I was still working  as a travelling agent in Lagos State.

Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde seems to be your close pal, how did you meet him?

Alhaji Ayinde Marshal K1 De Ultimate is my personal person. I have always believed in quality since my primary school days. In the case of Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde, he is a man of quality and finesse. I came across him in the early 80s and ever since then, we have been so close. We relate well and respect each other, and he always said I would become a king one day, he has been calling me Kabiyesi for so long and he has been calling himself too Kabiyesi for so many years even before I could dream of becoming a king, so when my own became a reality his was like ‘’aHHH! Moo De Sope E ma Joba kabiyesi, Emi Na Ma Joba oo’’ (I said you would become a King, I will also become a king).

Any Update on Itori day celebrations?
I have done it twice and I believe we can still continue. Like I said earlier, I am still working towards fostering unity among the inhabitants of Itori land. Our land is worth being celebrated. I am working towards creating a path where the foot prints of our great giants and fathers will never be erased.
What are those developmental projects that Itori has witnessed since you became a king?
The success story of Itori today has been from God alone, if anybody says it was Kabiyesi that did it, I usually say NO!, it is not me but God, so that is why we have been trying to spend whatever we have in Gods way. We have lots of developmental projects. I single-handedly brought an ICT Polytechnic to Itori, and that school alone has over 3000 students, when ICT polytechnic was established, the economic activities of the community jacked up. I also brought in a Gospel Ministry Ago-Adura Camp with over 5000 members, Ofada Veetee Rice Company, Hallmark Suites & Hotels, Lord’s Mint Company. If not for another war that we facing now, Dangote Cement would have been in operation here, I know that with God, we will overcome. Dangote Cement has come to stay and nothing can remove it. We just built a one of a kind Police Station in Itori and that’s not the end, we’re still going to build a one of a kind Health Centre in Itori here and more are still coming.

Can you explain why you always refer to the Alake of Egbaland as your father?
Kabiyesi Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, the Alake of Egbaland is not only my Royal father but also my father, my mentor, my Icon, and my all in all.  Ake’s stool is an age long stool which I am part and parcel of, I don’t pray for anything bad to happen to that stool. I will give whatever loyalty I have for the stool not because of today and tomorrow, then my biological father was asked to go and become the Baale here in Itori but he ran away with the fear that they will kill him. Almost about 15 years after, his son is the King here. Alake is the paramount ruler of Egba-Land, and as the paramount ruler we have to accord him all necessary respect. There is nothing I want that I don’t get from him because he is a father.

Olu Itrori and Ogun CP
Olu Itrori and Ogun CP

What kind of relationship do you share with Oba Kolawole Aremu Showemimo (Olu Owode)?
I am an open minded person, and there is a saying that birds of a feather flock together. Olu Owode is a very open minded and free thinking person who doesn’t believe life is so hard. So am I.
Can you share with us some of the challenges you have encountered on the throne?
Being a King is supposed to be so cool but at times you find yourself on a hot seat instead. When I became Oba in 2004, I met a woman in this community named Jibike who claimed that her father owns 34 communities out all the communities in Ewekoro here, she wrote various petitions against me,  At that time, I was always jumping from one Police-Station to another, Eleweran, Zone 2, Alagbon and others, even as far as Abuja. It was a very big challenge, but God saw me through. This later made me realise that, the more people believe they can harm me or torment my reign, the more God turn their antics to testimony for me. I also faced another challenge when the incumbent Governor Senator Ibukunle Amosun came in, he was misinformed about me which led to my suspension, it was this same moment that I also battled fresh issue of polygamy. Then, it was like hell on earth but when God brought back my heaven on earth and restored my glory other kings like me began to envy me while some asked about how I was able to overcome the trying times.

How do you feel now that you are a grandfather?
Being a grandfather has made me to realise how ageing is the grace of God. Sleeping and waking up every day has taught me that I am not getting any younger, especially now that I have joined the league of grandfathers and I pray that I will live to join that of great-grandfathers and great-great-grandfathers and more.
What are those things you cherished most about Olori Barakat Faderera Akamo, your Queen?
What I can say is that, there is no woman that is not jealous, because women do not have the same liberal mind as men do. According to our culture, a woman cannot wake up one day, decide to marry another man into her matrimonial home but a man can do that, that is why women will always guide their men jealously, that is why I love my wife because she loves me and she always like to guide me jealously, each time I wake up and find her beside me, I always thank God for giving me such a rare gift as a wife.

How did you meet her?
(laughs) ….it is a funny memory. I met her in a place called Market-Street where I operated an Upright Travelling Agency. On one fateful day, she came in with her friend to check on someone. At that time I was having issues with my relationship. When she came in, the spirit just told me that ‘that is your wife’ and I immediately approached her, I felt bad when she declined. The funniest part was that we lived very close to each other but we never met. I later I invited her to Wasiu Ayinde’s show, where Wasiu waxed the lyric ‘Adufe Aya Akamo Fatai’ (Adufe the wife of Akamo Fatai). I thank God that after my rigorous show of love she was able to say YES  and she has brought more fortune and everlasting joy into my life, and God has also blessed the union with beautiful kids including a twin.

As a custodian of Culture, what are those things you think will uphold our dying culture?
We need to persevere, be honest and be truthful. Some people would come and claim lands anyhow despite our cultural values. If we can be truthful to ourselves and endure, our culture would come back to life. The quest for money has destroyed most things, apparently, everyone lies now. But we would continue to do our best in order to revive the culture, if the elderly ones allow us to do so.

What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for all the good things I have been doing and the ones I am yet to do. I want people to remember me for the truth I stood for and the legacy God has been able to use me for. ICT Polytechnic is part of my legacy but the giant of it all is Dangote that is coming here including the transparency I have been able to showcase.

On a final note, your prayer for Itori Land, Ogun State and Nigeria?

Itori community will not fall to shambles, God will direct to us good people that will help us in Itori Land. Ewekoro local government will also prosper. The entire people of Abeokuta and its environs are in your hands oh Lord, bless them abundantly. My father Alake of Egba-Land let him live long on the throne and finally, let peace reign in Nigeria because we are facing trying times now.

Photo Credits: Adedotun M. Adegoke (DohaFotoXpression) for PublicFaces Magazine

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