By Temitope Oyefeso
Over the years, traditional rulers in Nigeria have evolved from being just the custodian of customs and traditions, to community development and policy advocates.
Today, many traditional stools are occupied by distinguished personalities who have excelled in various fields and subsequently answered their people’s call to contribute their quota to the development of their ancestral lands and origins.
From renowned economists, distinguished bankers, academicians of repute, to retired-but-agile military officers, these monarchs are changing the narrative.
The effects of their decision are evident in the tremendous transformation that has affected many of the hitherto forgotten towns and villages.
These effects can be attributed to years of public and private service, strong network of people, and unrestricted access to government.
In celebrating the roles of these monarchs, especially in cosmopolitan Lagos, one name that stands out is the Elegushi of Ikate Land, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, Kusenla III, the current King of Ikate in Eti-Osa, Lagos.
Since his coronation, Oba Saheed Elegushi has brought unrivalled development to Ikate, transforming it from a mere waterfront community to a leading residential and tourist destination in Lagos.
Oba Saheed Elegushi’s glorious reign is steeped in pedigree. His father and predecessor, Oba Yekini Adeniyi Elegushi, had laid down a template after his 18-year reign.
As the first Idejo (white cap) Chief to become a first-class king in Lagos, he surpassed all expectations. He was quick to dismiss his rise to Obaship as an achievement, as he often announced it as a restoration of once lost sovereignty.
The late Oba Adeniyi will forever be remembered in the history of Ikateland and Lagos State as a ruler who transformed the ancient Ikateland into a model royal kingdom.
It is on this pedestal that Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, upon his coronation on the 26th of April 2010, took over the baton to steer the development of Ikateland.
Elegushi learned the rudiments of leadership from the best minds, having served the Lagos State Government for eleven years as Personal Assistant to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Senior Special Assistant to Babatunde Fashola.
It is no surprise therefore that the royal father has an unrivaled grasp on issues of Democracy, Good Governance, International Affairs, Public Policy formulation and Public Administration, which he has exhibited in the affairs of his kingdom.
The effect of his purposeful leadership is evident by the thousands of people that throng this part of town to live and do business.
The most livable estates can be found in Eti-Osa, especially in Ikate Kingdom, due to the peaceful co-existence of people, continual infrastructural development by Local and State Governments, as well as security of lives and property, which have been greatly influenced by the monarch.
In prioritizing the well-being of his people, Oba Saheed Elegushi ensures that the Primary Health Centre in Ikate enjoys 24hours power and water supply; similarly, the Palace recently partnered with a non-governmental organization to provide free healthcare services and medications for over five hundred residents of Ikate Kingdom, while the Rotary International will be conducting free cancer screening for women in the next few days at the Palace, as part of the nine years coronation anniversary, all at the instance of the Kabiyesi.
As Oba Saheed Elegushi celebrates nine years of decisive leadership, his commitment to development has birthed ‘The Kusenla Foundation’, which will focuses on Sports Development, Educational Support Initiatives and Maternal Health. Through this foundation, indigent students will be supported in their academic pursuit, while expectant mothers will be provided with material and financial support towards safe delivery.
As a patron of the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC), Oba Elegushi intends to discover, nurture and support budding sporting talents, with a view to making them achieve excellence. This will in turn benefit the country, as more athletes will compete and win laurels in future competitions.
Fondly described as the “New Lion of Eti-Osa”, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi is determined to do more; he is committed to providing a better life and a proud community for his people.
May his reign continue to be of immense benefit to Ikate Kingdom, Lagos State and Nigeria.
Elegushi, E kan Mebi
Omo Iroko lawe
Omo Olofin Ajaiye
Omo Elegba Meta Lopo-po
Omo Epo were-were lojude Ilasan
Won ki nfi Oko ro;
Won ki nfi Ada ro
Bi a ko ba ro, a ko gbodo kuro nibe…
Temitope Oyefeso, Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Oba Elegushi, writes from Ikate, Lekki, Lagos.