Family and Historical Background: (by Salam Saheed)
The late Okere of Saki land
His Royal Majesty Oba Kilani Olatoyese Ilufemiloye Olarinre II (JP) MFR was born to the ruling house of Iji Ojiele and hails from the Biolaotiri Alatise/ Olarinre family unit. Okere Adigun Lanisa Olarinre the first, was an enigmatic Monarch who succeeded Okere Oyedokun I. His Majesty was a rare human kind-a special creation. Had the Majesty been born earlier he would have been deified in Yoruba history given his enormous powers to do what an ordinary mortal could not attempt. With his extraordinary powers and humane personality he became a man of history in the monarchical trajectories of Saki. He was a brave Monarch with indomitable courage and war like spirit, skillful with valour and never suffered the encroachments of his chiefs but dreaded by them. He was also a perfect organizer, a man of taste who appreciated the importance of culture and tradition in the social life of his subjects. Okere Olarinre was equally kind and liberal and the people enjoyed his very peaceful reign. He was in no doubt an amiable King imbued with skills and relevant experience and as a statesman made a lot of friends with the neighbouring traditional rulers and remained unrivalled.
His Majesty carved a niche for Saki and rescued its Monarchical institution from obscurity and contempt to a remarkable level of recognition and respect. He was reputed for his no nonsense approach to traditional matters. His Majesty’s resilience and war like spirit made him to be swift in action, darting upon his enemies like an eagle upon his prey, when they least expected.
His Royal Majesty Oba Olatoyese Olarinre II (JP) MFR.
There is an adage in Yoruba that says “the path created by the needle is where the thread would automatically pass through”. (Ona ti abere ba to lowu gba). (I give my ultimate and due respect to the Kabiyesi and the elders of Saki and indeed all Yorubas for this proverb given my age). The ascendancy of Oba Kelani Olarinre II to the throne and His Majesty’s general conduct gives credence to the truism of this proverb as evident from the following attestations. Between His Majesty and his father Olarinre I, were four Kings that had ruled Saki. They were Okere Okalawon (1935 to 1942), Okere Ladigbolu (1942 to 1946), Okere Ladosu (1946 to 1964) and of late Okere Abimbola Oyedokun II (1972 to 2005). No one seems to know whether it is Divine, Providence, sheer coincidence, mystery or a legacy that like his father Olarinre I who succeeded Okere Oyedokun I so also is His Majesty Oba Kelani Ilufemiloye Olarinre II the successor to Oba Abimbola Oyedokun II.
The majesty of a royal father is not only embedded in his wealth, neither is measured by the number of years spent on the throne nor evaluated by his sartorial configurations and polemical communicative ability. Rather it is his pre-eminence as a royal father predicated on his ability to bring his aura into play in effecting phenomenal impacts on the lives of the people. Oba Alayeluwa Olatoyese Olarinre II by the virtue of having the royal blood running in his veins, has the ancestral mandate to shape the future of his domain engendered by peace, orderliness, progress and rapid development of Saki. The Oba may not have material wealth that tripled the Biblical King Solomon or acquire chains of professorial degrees or attempt to tinker with the dictates and testaments of the tradition as enshrined by the traditional normative codes but he has performed excellently well by strictly adhering to the dictates of our customs to enhance a definitive trans-generational achievements capable of being weaved into the generational cognomen for eternal reference. And because the tradition and rites and the norms have been well preserved as laid down by his fore bears, no one is expecting less than for the rats to continue to sound like rats and the birds to shriek like birds.
In the face of contemporary indoctrination, second slavery mentality, cultural neo-colonialism, civilization and modernity tearing away the vestiges and prominence of our cultural heritage, His Royal Majesty has not allowed his personal accomplishments, religious affiliation, cosmopolitan behaviour, and social miscegenation to becloud his cultural responsibilities and expectations. He has been injecting his experience into the administration of the town tapping his wide connections and deploying his enigmatic aura of freshness into the hitherto drab economic and cultural activities in his domain. This laudable achievement has not only enlivened the interests of the people but has justified the essence of having a thoroughly bred personality on the throne.
It is therefore incontrovertible that the type of Oba the people of Saki prayed for and they got is a God chosen and God fearing Monarch who had risen beyond the ordinary, a man who understands the essence of our cultural life and equally have the capacity to provide the real alternative to our cultural decay; has tremendous influence rather than rely solely on authority; has the capacity to build bridges towards the sustainable development of Saki; a consummate power pragmatist, intelligent but not necessarily a Western intellectual, an outstanding Monarch with the bravest and noblest efforts, a man with the right temperament to cope with vagaries and vicissitudes of Saki as an emerging city; and among other attributes a man imbued with vision that is enabling him to place the obstacles to Saki’s development into perspectives and not just the symptoms, which has become the overarching dogma that underpins the elitist fantasy.
His Majesty like his father, detests lies and insults and abhors cheating and deceit. His orderly and fatherly conducts singles him out among other royal fathers who have desecrated the cultural and traditional values of their people by jostling for contracts through proxies or allowed to be manipulated by cultural renegades over purely traditional matters. It is on this account that Kabiyesi is acknowledged by many people as a cultural icon, the owner and practitioner of his people’s customs and traditions. He has been an epitome of cultural rebirth since his ascendancy to the throne and his unprecedented engagement with the people through cultural activities shows His Majesty’s belief in life as a continuum. His communal activities like his father also alluded to his love for his people and engendered his outstanding contributions and devotion to the promotion and preservation of the Yoruba cultural heritage. With His Majesty’s outstanding conducts Kabiyesi has continued and rightly so to demonstrate that he is a believer and a custodian of our collective heritage. As a Monarch imbued with wisdom, he acknowledges that his position can only remain dignified and well respected through his recognition and participation in the celebration of his people’s cultural activities-a role, which the Kabiyesi has assumed with the dignity of his position and passion to the admiration of the people. That Oba Kelani Olatoyese Olarinre II is loved and adored by the people of Saki and beyond is not in doubt. The unending love and adoration which many people have for his Majesty evidently stemmed from his innate qualities ranging from integrity, honesty, faithfulness, openness, fairness, bluntness and fearlessness. Oba Olatoyese is also a Monarch that always stands principled and remains unbending in the pursuit of these virtues even in the face of blackmail and intimidation. I seize this medium to pay my uttermost regards and admiration to Kabiyesi Okere Olatoyese Olarinre II: An Epitome of cultural Renaissance:
Iji O ji e le, iji alugbo omo ekun nba; Iji taa ran lobi loja,
O fi owo gbogbo fun Elemi; Elemi nka’wo, Olobi nso;
O ni ki Olobi ma so mo; Ibi ti owo ti wa lowo nlo.
Kabiyesi, irukere a d’abere; igba Odun; Odun kan.