Like the proverbial phase that the greatness of a man is not how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.
When Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi was crowned as the King of Ikate Kingdom on this day 11years ago, at the age of 34years, not much was given to chance. As it appeared to naysayers, his choice as the new king and subsequent coronation seems like a mere transfer of power from father to son. If truly that was the case, it was a fulfilment of the dreams of the new king’s father. But there was more to his enthronement.
A few people opined that the new king was too young to rule and was not likely to achieve much given the attendant responsibilities of traditional rulership. At the time, the then prince was just a budding public servant trying to carve a niche for himself in the world of politics under the tutelage of the generalissimo of party politics in Nigeria, the former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Those who expressed doubts were not aware that even the Prince’s ‘godfather’ had seen the allure and halo of royalty in him and believed that he would serve his people diligently and graciously as the occupier of the revered Elegushi throne.
What some cynics and sceptics lost sight of was the God-factor and the fact that Oba Saheed Elegushi was divinely enrobed and equipped for the throne, notwithstanding his youthful age.
Today, 11years on, those who saw through his youthfulness and trusted the process have been vindicated. Oba Saheed Elegushi has not only elevated his kingdom to an enviable standard but the panache and productivity he brought to the throne are also now the reference point for many blue bloods who, hitherto, did not reckon with the traditional institution. Not a few are now angling to occupy traditional stools, which have become more attractive by the carriage and conduct of the likes of the Elegushi of Ikate Kingdom.
In the last 11years, the Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom in the Eti-Osa area of Lagos State has become the premium destination to live and do business. Daily, new constructions are springing up and those in the business of real estate are smiling to the bank. This king means business. He brings his experience and closeness to power to bear, which is why infrastructural development in this area is developing at a quick pace just as the royal family also contributes in no small measure to improving the standard of living of the people within their domain.
In prioritising the wellbeing of his people, Oba Elegushi is currently making efforts to upgrade the primary health centre in the community into a secondary health facility with the provision of modern laboratory and testing facilities. The first step in that direction is that the health centre currently enjoys 24hours uninterrupted power, courtesy of the palace.
While making plans for the aged and sick through this health care facility, Oba Saheed Elegushi recently donated 10,000sqm of land in Ikate to the federal government for the construction of a skill and vocational training centre and a junior and secondary school for the development of the youth and children of the kingdom. This, he said, is the only way we can have a secured future.
At the recently held Elegushi peace cup, a novelty football match between ex-Super Eagles stars and entertainers, Oba Elegushi mooted the idea of a modern sports facility in Eti-Osa, stressing that the message of turning youths away from crime and criminality should be matched with the provision of alternatives for them, not only in areas of education but sports development.
The purposeful leadership of Oba Saheed Elegushi shouldn’t surprise close watchers; it is steeped in the rich pedigree of service and selflessness that he inherited from his late father, Oba Yekini Adeniyi Elegushi, the architect of modern Eti-Osa.
Also, learning from the masters of the game of leadership and public administration – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) – both of whom he served at different times, prepared him for the throne and, today, the people of Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom are the best for it.
As the people of Ikate Kingdom and Lagosians celebrate a dynamic and committed king, it is evident that the best years are still ahead. As he often reminds everyone, the people remain the core of his reign and he will stop at nothing to continually improve their standard of living.
May your purposeful and peaceful reign continue for eons.
Temitope Oyefeso is the Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Oba Elegushi.