By Muyiwa Olayinka
When the 14th Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Samuel Omotoso Abimbola 11, died in 1982, it took all of ten years before a successor to that highly-referred monarch and cabinet minister eventually emerged. The ancient Iwo town was rudderless for those years and in search of a leader. The succession battle that was to follow was tense. There was acrimony, there was conflict; there were lurid tales about whether one family was a member of the ruling houses or a mere supporting clan, created only to beautify the crown. There was politics in the mix; there was also a show of power. In the process, one ambition was kindled and many others shattered. In the end, Oba Ashiru Olatubosun Tadese, an ally of the powers-that-be then in the state and in the region, was picked to become the next Oluwo of Iwo, the first from his own Tadese clan.
After some period of illness, Oba Tadese died in February 2013.
On the evening of Monday, 18th February, 2013 when the news of the demise of the immediate past Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Asiru Olatunbosun Tadese, Ariwajoye 1, broke, many people in the ancient town of Iwo especially the indigenes were downcast because the reign of the late Oluwo, according to them witnessed remarkable and tremendous achievements.
But to the chagrin of many who had predicted another long-drawn succession battle, a new successor was picked in a rancour-free atmosphere barely two years after the Oba Tadese’s death
Enter Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, the 16th Oluwo of Iwo. His emergence was greeted with general acceptability. He was warmly embraced by the people of the town, young and old, hence he added to his name Ilufemiloye, the town wants me as their monarch.
Unknown to many, Oba Akanbi was a child of a different hue and a monarch of necessity. Once, he went missing in secondary school and it took some time before he was discovered. And when they found him, his parents decided he should leave Iwo, his hometown for Ibadan. On another occasion, he was abducted and the leader of the gang who kidnapped him asked his boys to quickly return him to where they picked him, saying they were toying with a future king!
His own dad, Chief Kola Akanbi, had struggled to be a monarch of Iwo until he died, but he was not to be. One seer even predicted that he would prostrate before his son. But the issue was which of his grown-up sons, Adeleke and Adewale, that would be. Chief Akanbi had died before his son, Abdulrasheed Adewale, was crowned Oluwo of Iwo.
The Oluwo of Iwo is among the leading traditional rulers in Osun State because of the importance of Oluwo stool in Yoruba history.
According to the hierarchy of traditional rulers in the Osun State Council of Obas, the Ooni of Ife is the Chairman of the council while the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland and Orangun of Ila are Deputy Chairmen. The Ataoja of Osogbo, Timi of Ede, Oluwo of Iwo and Ogiyan of Ejigbo are Vice Chairmen.
The new Oluwo, a Canadian based contractor is the Chief Executive Officer of Prince Global Nigeria Limited and a childhood friend of the new Ooni of Ife, Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.
The Oluwo in an open Lexus Sport Utility Vehicle raising his clutched fists to acknowledge cheers from people after about three hours drive to get to the palace was turbaned by League of Imam and Alfas led by sheikh Imran Adio.
According to reports, the Oba is under heavy criticism because he is not ‘upholding his culture’ by sitting on the throne in clothes other than his royal robes. He had been heavily criticized for wearing a suit on his throne. For staying too long abroad, he has inculcated western way of life. It will take a while for the young monarch to shed this western way of life.
Oba Rasheed is married to a Jamaican woman and has lived abroad for over 20 years.
He’s known for his ‘class and style’, recently spotted in high spirits as he showed of his swags while moving with Kings from Iwoland in Osun state.
The swaggerlicious Oba shared photos of himself rocking his new Lamborghini in Canada.
What a 21st century monarch!