Friday, July 1, 2022

Opeyemi Agbaje: Osinbajo in Remo

From the turnout and enthusiasm at the event, it does appear Remo is excited about and supportive of the prospects of an Osinbajo Presidency!

• April 27, 2022
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (Credit: Laolu Akande)

Remo is one of the original four divisions of Ogun State-with the Ijebu, Egba and Yewa, previously known as Egbado, being the other three. Historically Remo was made up of thirty-three towns (referred to as the Remo Metalelogbon) which formed a unique federation out of their desire for shared prosperity, security and governance. The founders of the Remo federation understood the political, constitutional and economic case for federalism even in those bygone times! Today, new towns have evolved and we now believe Remo is made up of as many as forty-two different semi-autonomous towns who all pledge allegiance to His Royal Majesty, the Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler of Remoland. The Remo people are originally descended from Ile-Ife, the shared source of the children of Oduduwa traced directly to Iremo Quarters in the ancient city of Ile Ife. 

Remo has been frequently blessed with the choice of Akarigbo, the last four Akarigbos, representing different epochs in the evolution and development of Remoland-Oba William Christopher Adedoyin, Anoko 11 reigned from 1916-1952 and was the architect of Remo Independence and the so-called Martindale Report of 1933; Oba Moses Sowemimo Awolesi, Erinwole 11 reigned from 1952-1988, a period of peace, stability and progress; Awolesi was succeeded by the high socialite Oba Michael Adeniyi Sonariwo, Erinjugbo 11 aka Emperor who was on the throne of his forefathers from 1990-2016. The current Akarigbo and Paramount ruler of Remoland is Oba (Dr) Babatunde Adewale Ajayi, FCA, LLM Torungbuwa 11, a lawyer and chartered accountant, who became Akarigbo on December 7th 2017. 

Oba Ajayi’s reign so far has been nothing short of remarkable-he has presided over the election and re-election of two Remo sons Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON and Prince Dr Dapo Abiodun MFR as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Governor of Ogun State respectively; he is the current Chairman of the Ogun State Council of Obas; he has received a Honourary Doctorate degree from the Tai Solarin University of Education; and has been appointed by the Federal Government as Chancellor of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Delta State. In his short reign, Oba Ajayi has attracted the establishment of a Federal Passport Office in Sagamu, the capital of Remoland and seat of the Akarigbo as well as an Arbitration and Mediation Centre. He has commenced a unique development in community mobilization for development with the establishment of the Remo Growth and Development Foundation (RGDF) through which he has stimulated the elite and youths of Remoland to unite and work towards development of Remoland. It may yet be Oba Ajayi’s good fortune to witness the election of a Remo son as President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces. 

On Tuesday April 26, 2022, literally the whole of Remo gathered under the auspices of the Akarigbo to receive that highest placed of all Remo sons, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who it is no longer news seeks election to the Presidency under the All Progressives Congress (APC). As a proud son of Sagamu and Remo, I received an invitation to the event from the Remo Palace and decided it would be worthwhile to attend the meeting. I know Professor Osinbajo quite well. He is a senior Igbobian, that distinguished group of Noble Nigerians who attended the great public school, in Yaba, Lagos, Igbobi College. Indeed, he holds the merit award of the Igbobi College Old Boys Association (ICOBA). He is a senior lawyer and indeed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria; and he is a Christian and Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. He hails from Ikenne, one of the towns in Remoland and home of the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo, into which family “Prof” married from-his wife Dolapo is a grandchild of Awo! As some of my readers may be aware, I share many of these affiliations with Osinbajo-Remo, Igbobi College, ICOBA merit award, law and significant aspects of my Christian journey and training! In addition, I am an Otunba in Ogijo, Remo, one of the more contemporary evolutionary “cities” in Remoland and indeed the one with the largest population in Remo due to its proximity to Ikorodu and Lagos State. 

Apart from my several affiliations with Osinbajo, my “journalistic” and political analyst instincts made me very interested in attending the Remo reception-to gauge Remo interest in and support for Professor Osinbajo’s aspiration to Nigeria’s presidency. Charity begins from home, they say, and all politics is said to be local! Well, the answer at least judged from the events of Tuesday April 26, 2022 would be a resounding demonstration of support by the majority of Remo elite and masses for their son. With just twenty-four hours’ notice, Remo turned out in huge numbers to the Hall at the Akarigbo’s Palace-elite, political leaders and members, professionals, market women, artisans, youths and most resoundingly the traditional institution. Apart from the Akarigbo himself, virtually all Remo Obas-Elepe of Epe, Ewusi of Makun, Odofin of Soyindo, Alakenne of Ikenne, Alaperu of Iperu, Alaye Ode of Ode Remo, Ologijo of Ogijo, and more; the Akarigbo-in-Council and a large retinue of the Baales across Remo were present. From the turnout and enthusiasm at the event, it does appear Remo is excited about and supportive of the prospects of an Osinbajo Presidency!

Osinbajo in his brief remarks spoke about his resume-from law teacher at University of Lagos and Lagos State University; volunteer teaching during the foundations of the Ogun State University (now Olabisi Onabanjo University) Law Faculty; his service under Prince Bola Ajibola at the Federal Ministry of Justice and at the Hague; his excellent performance as Attorney General of Lagos State; work at the United Nations Law Commission; and finally the last seven years as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Osinbajo spoke about his dedication and loyalty in all these positions and how he had put his personal and professional reputation on the line for those he worked for in some of those positions. His Royal Majesty, the Akarigbo prayed for Osinbajo’s success and Governor Dapo Abiodun pledged to repay Osinbajo’s support and steadfastness during his journey to Oke Mosan Government House in Abeokuta. Former Governor of Ogun State, the redoubtable Otunba Gbenga Daniel was present to lend his weight to Osinbajo’s visit. 

On the whole, I think Osinbajo laid to rest any doubts about his degree of home support as he seeks the presidency of Nigeria in 2023. His visit to Ogun State on April 26, 2022 was to include stops in Abeokuta and Ilaro, after the tumultuous and successful reception in Sagamu. Professor Osinbajo will seek in the weeks ahead to persuade the leaders and members of APC to support his aspiration. I wish him luck and the grace of God. 

Opeyemi Agbaje is Founder and CEO of leading strategy and business advisory firm, RTC Advisory Services Ltd. He was former Head of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Lagos Business School and is a lawyer, economic and policy expert and strategist. He is also Chairman of Stairways Communications and Advocacy Ltd, a political consultancy. 

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