By ‘Yemi Adurotoye
The ancient town of Omu-Aran, Kwara State Nigeria was agog last Friday, May 11, 2018. It was a mammoth crowd, all in gaiety and joyous mood. It was a day of honour for a veteran Journalist, Otunba Jide Adebayo who was installed as the Eesa of Omu-Aran. Expectedly, the entire community stood still for him.
The rich cultural heritage of the town came to the fore as cultural dancers and masquerades entertained guests and indigenes while the process of installation lasts. Just as his nomination, selection and confirmation were seamless; his installation was equally rancour-free.
The installation of Otunba Jide Adebayo as Eesa, Omu-Aran is a demonstration of a people’s knack for the best. From findings and attestation by the majority, including the rich and the poor, he is the best man for the office. The people must have viewed it from different perspectives ranging from family background to his personal development, exposure and carriage, in addition to his love for the people.
From the advertorial placed in the programme brochure, Eesa was not only congratulated and wished well but publicly acclaimed as “he whom the cap fits.” Chief Kayode Bamigbola, one of the Lagos-based iron-rod and steel merchants succinctly described Adebayo as “Oniwaniselu” – a Yoruba language descriptive expression, meaning: ‘leadership is for people of worthy character in the society.’ Deductively, it can be said that in Omu-Aran, consideration for position of higher responsibility is not based on one’s status as moneybag but character.
The new Eesa has been found worthy, no doubt. He is a man of proven integrity, pleasant and approachable at all times. Adebayo is down-to-earth on issues of public interest and very passionate about developmental undertakings (on this, his charity begins at home). He had served the community in different capacities and at varying levels.
The chieftaincy installation has come and gone but the new Eesa has a tall task ahead. Expectedly, he has hit the ground running. He promised a reawakening of the “Spirit of Omu-Aran Community” by providing the needed leadership that would usher in another progressive era by ensuring a new Olomu is enthroned within the earliest possible time.
A new king is being awaited since the passage of Oba Charles Oladele Ibitoye Adogbajale bi ileke II, on November 30, 2017. The demise of Oba Ibitoye was no doubt a big blow on the people. Eesa, being the chair of the kingmakers will have to rise to the challenge of ensuring that the vacuum created by the exit of the iconic king is filled fittingly and speedily. He has to bridge the gap.
By virtue of his position as the Eesa, Adebayo is the second-in-command to the king, Olomu of Omu-Aran. He is one of the three ward heads. He is the Head of Ihaye ward; otherwise known as Osi Omu .The other wards are Ifaja and Aran.
Adebayo will have to preside over the affairs of the town while the succession process last. Meanwhile, he has assured the people of peaceful and speedy succession process. “Omu-Aran will not live long in a vacuum,” he pledged.
The new Eesa of Omu-Aran, a journalist par excellence, climbed the career ladder from a Reporter to become Executive Director (Marketing) at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) , where he retired gloriously at age 60, in August 5, 2015. He acted briefly as the Managing Director during which he demonstrated superior leadership traits. In the course of his journalism practice, he held many strategic leadership positions, anchored high profile and equally sensitive assignments without any stain. He has traversed the length and breadth of the globe to work and to learn.
Adebayo will surely bring to bear on his job his personal traits and journalism ethics, which he had internalized for decades. Without mincing words, the veteran Journalist is known to be fair and forthright, objective and analytic in assessing things. He is transparent, truthful and firm on what he believes is right. He does not abhor cheats and ‘corner cutters’.
The new Eesa is expected to entrench progressive spirit for which Omu-Aran people are known for.