A new Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye ascended the throne of his forefathers on Wednesday in the ancient town amid pomp and pageantry.
The day was great, atmosphere, cool and the crowd massive. It was the final installation of the new Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III.
When the Senior Omolowos by their selection on July 12, 2019 decided to make Oba Ajibade their choice on behalf of the people of the ancient town of Owo, little did they know that they had warmed the heart of the sons and daughters of the historic town spread across the globe. Prior to the selection, there had been apprehension everywhere over who would emerge to take the place of Oba Folagbade Olateru Olagbegi who joined his ancestors.
The thought on everyone’s mind was, will the Senior Omolowos get it right or will they throw Owo to the dark days of 1999 when the town was thrown into war? But the tension disappeared as the choice of Prince Ajibade as the Olowo-elect was made.
While the installation went on, the people however kept their mind on August 23, 2019 which had been selected as the final day.
It was official and confirmed, Prince Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye will officially mount the throne of his forefathers and become the new Olowo of Owo.
The people prepared themselves well for the day, the turnout was massive, the mammoth crowd that besieged Owo to witness the ceremony had never been known in the history of installing a new monarch in the ancient town.
Owo came alive again after the frenzied mood that took over the town during the selection day. People from all walks of life came to witness the installation of His Royal Majesty, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye, as the new Olowo of Owo and the 33rd to be on the throne to date.
Owo being an ancient town has a unique tradition and culture and so the installation was not left out of this uniqueness. The rites started at 6.00 am at the Olugbule Courtyard at Igboroko quarters where the new Olowo took the titles of Alamuren and Anaun, a prerequisite for him to be crowned as the Olowo.
The day, the location witnessed a massive turnout of people who were eager to witness the ceremony since it was a once-in-a-life-time thing. The train moved to Uloro, precisely the courtyard of Adanigbo Aboba. In this courtyard, any new Olowo will be officially installed with the traditional Akoko leaves placed on his head.
So, when Oba Ajibade arrived with the crowd which followed him, the whole place was already jam packed with people who have been waiting to witness the ceremony. The event which lasted over three hours and kept people waiting however came alive at the sight of the new Olowo with the Akoko leaves turked under his cap and others in his hand.As he waved the leaves the jubilant crowd shouted a thunderous “Ologho Baba o”, a signal that he had become the new Olowo. It is the tradition in Owo for any Olowo-elect to pass through this before the people can address him as the Olowo.
After this, some rites were performed at Arigidi before the new Olowo proceeded to the Orute, which is a stone throw to Arigidi and Adanigbo Aboba courtyard. The new monarch who mounted the orute prayed for the people of Owo and the town before proceeding to the Oja Oba where he also performed some rites.
The procession later left for Alamuren courtyard, directly opposite the Olowo palace, for another rite before going to Ugbo Ogwata at Okiti Asegbo, the present site of Owo Town Hall, for a very important part of the rites. It is at this place that the fate of Owo Kingdom, as to what the reign of the new monarch potends for the people, is decided. At Ugbo Ogwata, a new Olowo is expected to pick a royal sword known as ada in local parlance. An ada or sword tells what the reign of a new monarch means for the town.
He had chosen the same sword his father, Oba Ademola Ogunoye II chose.
The implication of this is that Owo will be peaceful and there will be development.
The monarch thereafter proceeded to the Government Primary School at the front of the Olowo palace, where another significant rite was also performed.
Right in this palace, another monarch, the Alale of Idashen land, must present a mortar and pestle to the new Olowo, signifying that he, Alale, had fed the people of Owo.
The event was a must watch as the Alale, Oba Okikiola Adetifa and his retinue of chiefs, presented the pestle to the new Olowo.
Oba Ajibade later went to Usama to cap the installation rites, before coming back to the palace.
At Usama, a new Olowo must reside there for three full moons or months before coming back to the palace. However because of modernity, he only needed to enter the house and come out three times on the same day, signifying that the three months had lapsed.
Oba Ajibade who was also being accompanied by the mammoth crowd returned to the palace and addressed the people at Owo and Ondo State.
The newly installed Olowo of Owo, His imperial Majesty, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, charged his subjects to come together and work for the progress of the town.
The monarch, who prayed for peace, progress and development in the town and Ondo State, also prayed against untimely deaths and for any evil not to befall the ancient town.
He warned evil doers to stay clear of the town, as they would reap from any plan they might have against Owo.
Oba Ajibade Ogunoye thanked the people for the love and confidence reposed in him, promising that he would not disappoint them.
The Olowo then went for seclusion for the next 17 days, after which he would address the people again as related by Chief Jamiu Ekungba, the spokesman of the Council of Senior Omolowos and the Ekon Odo Agbara of Owo, described the sword as a sign that development would reign in Owo.
“God in His mercy has delivered for Owo a monarch that will bring peace to this place.
“It is widely believed that the morning shows the day. The atmosphere today has shown that Owo is again on the path to glory. The programme started very early and there was no heat. The rain will appear to fall but will dizzle for some minutes and stop.
“Kabiyesi picking the royal sword of Elewokun, the sword of the progenitor of the Elewokun dynasty is an attestation that peace, progress and development has come to stay in Owo.
“Oba Ajibade is experienced, he was brought up in this palace, he spent 26 years of his life growing up here and so, well grounded in the traditions and monarchy. He is an experienced public servant and a lawyer too. He will certainly take Owo to a greater height.”
Speaking to reporters, the Ojumu of Owo, Chief Olanrewaju Famakinwa, said that the rites became necessary as laid down by customs and the culture of the ancient town.
Famakinwa said that the monarch chose the sword of peace in the course of the rite.
He said: “Oba Ogunoye who is being installed today chose a sword which signifies peace.
“Traditionally, before the Olowo is installed, he will have to choose a sword at Oke Mapo and it is believed that whichever one he chooses will tell how his reign will be.
“Coincidentally, he chose the same sword chosen by his father more than 30 years ago, and the sword represents peace.”
Some people who spoke with The Hope described the installation processes as monumental in the history of Owo just as they prayed for a peaceful reign of the new Oba.
Mr Joseph Adekolu appealed to the new monarch to build a robust relationship with the people and endeavour to carry his subjects along in decision making.
Also, Princess Doyin Soares enjoined him to work for the unity of the kingdom
Like the new monarch said just after he emerged the Olowo-elect at the selection venue in July, this is a new dawn in Owo. It is unprecedented in the history of the ancient town to witness the selection and installation of a new king without a drop of violence.
In 1999, an orgy of violence engulfed the town following a tussle on the Olowo stool.
However, just at the selection ground other contestants openly embraced the new Olowo after he was announced as the winner. Similarly, some of the princes who contested with the monarch have been involving themselves in the installation process while Prince Suyi Olateru Olagbegi, a co- contestant with Oba Ajibade, had visited him at home in company of the Olagbegi royal lineage.
Owo is definitely on the path of greatness. The town is set to regain her lost glory.