It was a colourful event yesterday at the coronation of the 15th Oniru of Iruland, Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal, at his palace on Victoria Island, Lagos.
Some three months after Oba Lawal was installed, the coronation was delayed due to COVID-19.
Although without the usual cultural displays characteristic of such royal outings, the duo of Sulaiman Ayilara Aremu, popularly called Ajobiewe, and Fausat Ayo Ewebiyi ensured there was no dull moment.
Busola Kukoyi of Lagos Television, the master of ceremonies, left the guests highly entertained.
Many women decked in colour purple attires, while the men shone in white.
Traditional leaders were not left out. Religious men, especially Islamic clerics, were well represented.
Among early callers were wife of Lagos State Governor Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, who wore a velvet purple lace, and Erelu of Lagos Abiola Dosunmu in traditional white.
The arrival of All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, raised the bar.
He was led into the venue by Dr Hamzat, Elegushi of Ikateland Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, Lagos State Head of Service Hakeem Muri-Okunola, and Chief of Staff to the governor Tayo Ayinde.
A renowned industrialist and Aare of Lagos, Alhaji Rasak Akanni Okoya, his delectable wife, Sade, and Chief Samuel Adedoyin joined the dignitaries on the high table.
Commissioners for the Environment Tunji Bello; Information and Strategy – Gbenga Omotoso; Housing Moruf Akinderu-Fatai (MAF); Culture and Tourism Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf; Justice and Attorney-General Moyo Onigbanjo and Special Adviser on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Solomon Bonu led other members of the state executive.
The celebrators, Oba Lawal and Olori Mariam, were ushered into the tastefully decorated pavilion, joined by the monarch’s mother, Olori Muinat Lawal-Akapo, and the Ojora of Ijora, Oba Abdul Fatai Aromire.
Rendered in Yoruba, the national anthem was followed by a poetic oratory performance.
Some Islamic scholars coordinated by Imam Hakeem Kosoko rendered prayers for the monarch, governor and his exco, Asiwaju Tinubu and Lagos state.
Oba Lawal was dressed in traditional golden Agbada with long royal beads, a crown, and face mask. He held his mini staff of office.
He waved the horsetail to the admiration of the gathering.
The monarch, in his coronation speech, hailed Governor Sanwo-Olu, Asiwaju Tinubu, who he described as a mentor and confidant; his family, traditional rulers and his subjects.
“My deepest appreciation is to Almighty Allah. In the journey so far, I have received several divine favours and benevolence from our creator, and none of these do I take for granted or deem myself qualified for. It has been providence and I will continue to remain grateful,” he said.
Oba Lawal almost betrayed his emotion while eulogising his mother and remembering his late father, Chief Taoreed Akapo-Lawal, the former Ojora of Lagos.
He promised to be fair, and work for the progress and development of Iruland.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by Hamzat, reminded the gathering of his advice to the monarch to strengthen the unity and peace in Iruland for the development and progress of the kingdom.
“Two months on the throne, I’m pleased to note that Kabiyesi took this advice to heart as exemplified by his very impressive actions characterised by wisdom, knowledge and large-heartedness. My advice to all sons and daughters, as well as residents of Iruland is to continue to stand firm and united behind His Royal Majesty in order to advance the development and prosperity of this kingdom.
“I have absolute confidence in the ability and capacity of His Royal Majesty to bring about greater transformation that will benefit everybody and further reposition Iruland within the metrics of development in Lagos State,” the governor said.
Asiwaju Tinubu urged the monarch to work with the people as well as the state to actualise his lofty dreams for Iruland and Lagos State.
He said a beautiful idea dies without the support of government and people who such great idea was meant to develop.
Asiwaju, who described Oba Lawal as intelligent, reliable, dependable and unassuming, urged the people to work in peace and harmony and not in greed, saying that no matter how much of wealth one appropriates to oneself, everyman would leave the world with nothing.
Tinubu urged those who sought to succeed the late Oba but did not make it, to work with Oba Lawal to develop Iruland.
Among dignitaries present were former Ambassador to Ghana Senator Musiliu Obanikoro; members of the House of Assembly; and former and serving members of the National Assembly.
Others were local government chairmen – Princess Abiodun Adu (Iru-VI); Dr Funmilayo Akande-Mohammed (Apapa-Iganmu); Omobolanle Akinyemi-Obe (Coker-Aguda); Arobadade of Iruland Prince Abayomi Daramola; and whitecap chiefs.