By Wale Ojo-Lanre
Princess Toyin Kolade: Unfit As Iyalaje Oodua ! Yes. That is an exclamatory opinion, which should not elicit a stone-throwing act from you.
Even at that, I don’t care a hoot about your feeling.
One thing I want everyone to know from the onset of reading this article is the fact that I don’t care whose ox will be gored by this harmless article of mine.
The article is about one Toyin Kolade, who has just being installed as the Iyalaje Oodua, the armorer of wealth, which is the mother of fortune, by the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, at a lavish ceremony, which has been described as the most glamorous installation ceremony of a single person, in the history of Nigeria.
I care not what you think about me. It is you and your fellow friends who Toyin Kolade spoon feeds that will loath the truth to be said about her. And I am not one. She may be your benefactor, she is not mine and I am not a businessman, so you cannot think I am envying her because of her bludgeoning business empire. So, I have no inhibition or any encumbrances expressing my feelings about her with no iota of sentimentalism
I believe as a pure Yoruba man, with no admixture of any blood of other ethnic tribes in the world. I have the right to express my view on any issue, which concerns Yoruba heritage, culture and tourism.
Hence, nobody should look at me with a melancholic eye as what I am crafting here is to air my view on how and why on earth, that the mantle of one of the foremost traditional titles in the women genre was bestowed on Toyin Kolade, out of all women in Yoruba, home and in the Diaspora?
Though, I know that this article will definitely place me before the fury of many people, particularly, my father the paramount ruler of Akola Ijesa, HRM, Oba Festus Adekunle, who may likely disown me as a Prince of Akola Ijesa, on the point that there is no way an adopted son will behave like a real product of the scrotum of the king.
I also know that I am risking been banned from entering the Palace of the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, who deemed it necessary, fit and proper to exercise his spiritual, traditional and cultural authority to confer one of the most enviable and traditionally important titles of the Head and Controller of Oodualand markets on Chief Mrs Toyin Kolade, a woman of legendary merchandising feat, who by that title has become one of the mothers of the Earth – stimulator of gains, profits, market fortune and merchandising.
But the truth is that the momentous and grand celebration, the publicity stunts, the hullabaloo, the noise and public awareness, plus the deluge of visitors, who witnessed the epic installation of Chief Mrs. Toyin Kolade as the Iyalaje Oodua, were enough to cultivate envy, suspicion and interrogation of why should she be the fellow who has to be shouldered with the enormous responsibility.
Also, as an Ambassador of Culture, Arts and Tourism, it will be unfair on my part to close my mouth or be passive, whenever some people with foul minds and rabid thoughts are out to desecrate and rubbish the cultural heritage, which our forefathers bequeathed to us and which the Ooni of Ife today is diligently and beautifully showcasing, preserving, protecting, projecting and placing on the front burner of local cultural engagement for this generation and generations unborn.
Ooni Ogunwusi is not just a human being, but an enigmatic divine creature of God, whose head has been spiritually honed by Olodumare, the Eleda Ohungbogbo, to tend the sacred House of Oduduwa, with precision spirituality and almost infallible decision making traditional process and procedure.
Thus, he is his not expected to install a misfit as the Iyalaje Oodua, the brewer of wealth, stimulator of commercial bliss, initiator of trade growth and lubricator of business fortune
However, the installation of Toyin Kolade, as the Iyalaje of Oodua has continued to set tongues wagging about the correctness of this particular act by the Ooni of Ife, because that title is not for just for a mere society lady, who indulges in Owambe without a visible means of livelihood, but a title for that woman who prosper where even accomplished business men failed abysmally to thrive.
An Iyalaje of Oodua should be that lady, who must be Yoruba in acts, deeds and thought. A lady of quintessential and impeccable character, who must have not have be found wanting either in private engagement or public dealings and a lady who must have past record of supporting and reinforcing the impressive strides of the Ooni of today, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, at reinvigorating and resuscitating the cultural heritage of the House of Oodua.
An Iyalaje Oodua must not only be solid in business and blessed in native intellegence but also of importance, must be culturally sound, active and proactive, particularly she must have been seen to have identified and continued to be identified as a defender and promoter of the tradition, culture, arts and tourism of Yorubaland.
She must not be a fraud, a social irritant, a recluse, whose names cannot be vouched for or command respect upon mentioning in any responsible gathering.
Iyalaje Oodua must be that person whose understanding of the cultural heritage of the Yoruba is beyond mere guessing, window dressing and attention-seeking.
The Iyalaje must be a legendary entrepreneur, who has amazing accomplishments in the arts of rural trade, domestic market and intercontinental merchandising.
She must be a woman of unblemished integrity, who is royal in gait, graceful in thought, cultural in perception and vibrant in delivery of an assignment hurled on her by the Ooni of Ife.
She must be a woman who is ever ready and willing to sacrifice her resources, emotion, personality, time and all God-given attributes at resuscitating the wealth, fortune, trade and boost business and commercial activities in Yorubaland.
As Iyalaje signifies the totality of wealth, the fortune of the whole land, which is not localized within the perimeter of the feminist sphere, but of inter-gender, she must be someone who can be an Iyagbogbo – mother of all – both in conduct, interaction, networking and leverage
She must be a lady whose tentacles of friends, width of connection, length of interactive experience and her coast of influence is local, domestic, continental and trans-intercontinental.
Iyalaje Oodua must be that lady whose frame of business must have a relationship with the Sea – the Aje Olokun Asorodayo – and who must act and be seen always in the mold of Olokun Princess.
All these expected behavior, characteristics and prerequisites of an Iyalaje Oodua are testimonies that the title of Iyalaje is an Atari Ajanaku ti ki se eru odomode (a title not just for the lily-livered woman).
It is not a title for the highest bidders or just for the fun of it; but a title for that woman, who is blessed with a supernatural aura of being an enigmatic business soul and who is culturally wired to her tradition, and who can at anytime sacrifice whatever God has blessed her with to spiritually stoke the wealth and fortune spirit for the advancement and development of Yorubaland.
And only a dark idiot, who is blind spiritually and who is a cultural maggot, will disagree with the Ooni of Ife for adhering strictly to the laid down traditional process of appointing and installing Chief Mrs Toyin Kolade as the Iyalaje Oodua.
Having clinically juxtaposed the personality, story, strides, journey, experience and accomplishments of Toyin Kolade with the expectations and characteristics of who should be an Iyalaje Oodua, only a complete daft and congenital moron will say that she is unfit for the title.
And I am sure you are not one of them. I don’t know whether you are?
And if you are not, join me to congratulate a quintessential woman. A spiritual enigma. A wonderful personality, an inter-continental merchant, avid cultural and tourism promoter, and a philanthropist, who is now the Iyalaje Oodua.
My dearest sister,
Gesin nkese ….
Aba re ti gbe ooo
kare re o, Ijesha aponada.
Omo ajogberu, ma jo gbeko
Osohmaloo Ile oodua
•Ojo-Lanre, the Senior Special Assistant on Tourism Development to Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, writes from Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.