By Olutayo IRANTIOLA
Okelerin, a sprawling community in Ogbomoso, is an early settlement in the town. This community dates back to many centuries, and the name can be transliterated as “Elephant Hill”. The boundaries are Osupa, Aaje, and Oke-Agbede to the south; Ojagbo, Ojajagun, Isale-Afon to the east; Taraa, Aguodo to the north and Papa to the west. The first settler in the area and indeed in the whole of the area now known as Ogbomoso set his camp in this hilly area, hence the people of this area pride themselves today as the “Genesis of Ogbomoso.” To know the traditional relevance of the community, the Areago of Ogbomoso title is from Okelerin. The Areago is next to the Soun in the traditional hierarchy of Ogbomoso and is head of the town’s army as supreme commander and head of Soun’s kingmakers.
The current Aale of Okelerin is High Royal Majesty, Oba Samuel Babatunde Oyebamiji Amao II JP. Oba Babatunde Amao has etched his name in gold in the annals of Okelerin as he was the ruler who transformed the royal stool from Baaleship to Obaship status and the title of the throne “Aale of Okelerin” has brought to the fore the name of the first leader of the community, Aale and his insignia of office is “Elephant Tusk.”
Born on February 4, 1942, to the family of Chief Moses Oyelade Amao (the Baale of Okelerin) and Princess Deborah Adedoja Amao. He brought so much joy to the family as his birth put an end to the stigma of stillbirth associated with the family. The Aale worked in the corporate sector and had a stint with Nigersol Construction Company Limited; thereafter he worked with UAC Pan Electric Unit where he rose steadily through the ranks and he was the Vice President of the UAC African Workers Union. He left for Phono Radio Company, Mushin where he had understudied his Boss and he launch into entrepreneurship.
He was the founder and Chief Executive of the following companies- S.B. Amao & Sons; Sabao Nigeria Enterprises, and Labatun Nigeria Limited before he ascended the throne of his forbearers’ after rejecting it on several occasions. The installation ceremony was held on Saturday, January 4, 1992. In his inaugural speech, he said, “I am humbled by the enormous responsibility heaped on me today. As I stand before you and the Almighty God, I pledge to commit all, myself, and resources to the advancement of our community. I do not promise heaven and earth, however, I will do my best to add glamour to the stool bequeathed by our great progenitor, Aale. I will not disappoint my predecessors, I will not disappoint you, my people and most importantly, I will not disappoint God, who has picked me for this position.”
He swung into action to fulfill his promise and he ensured the advancement of the community through the elevation of the stool from just a chieftaincy title to becoming a Kingship in Ogbomoso. In 1993, The Chief Kolapo Ishola, the former Governor of Oyo State set up the Oloko Commission of Enquiry. The commission recommends that the title should change to Aale of Okelerin, the foundational title of the head of Okelerin, but the stool has not been exalted to Kingship. In 1999, the Aale took up the discussion with the Alhaji Lam Adesina, the Governor of the State. On May 16, 2003, the Aale received the Staff of Office which was presented by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Raji in the presence of other Royal Fathers and other eminent personalities.
The ultimate recognition of the Aale as a King was in 2010 during the administration of the late Otunba (Dr.) Adebayo Alao-Akala and the gazette were released on May 19, 2011. During the administration of Senator Abiola Ajumobi, the Aale became recognized as a beaded crown Oba and issued the gazette to effect the pronouncement immediately and a certificate of elevation was presented to the King on October 19, 2018. With this, the pioneering and the dignified throne of the Aale was restored.
We cannot but appreciate the staunch support of Olori Deborah Ojuolape Amao (nee Adisa) through this journey in the last 51 years. The loving duo has established the Ayotosimi Widows Foundation through which they support widows and have Christian fellowship with them. The very loving Monarch and his family are revered Baptists and they have continued to be a part of this Christian community and he is a devout member of First Baptist Church, Okelerin, Ogbomoso.
The reign of His Royal Majesty, Aale S.B.O. Amao II has brought joy and peace to Okelerin and this has aided the growth and development of the teeming youths. Aale is always interested in youngsters and he has put a lot of effort into encouraging their advancement in the public and private sectors. Cheers to more years of being useful to God and humanity, Aale, I celebrate you now and always.