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Oluwo of Iwo: A Distinguished Monarch and His 55 Years of Existence

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By Eric Elezuo

The distinguished paramount ruler of the ancient and revered Iwo Kingdom, the Oluwo of Iwo HIM Oba (Dr.) Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi Telu 1, has remained a man, who takes pleasure in purging his path, thereby giving honours a safe passage to continually locate him.

This is one youthful ruler, who bears tradition with fear and reverence of the Almighty God, and was privileged to have been honored in high places, including an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the premier private university, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, in 2018. Today, the monarch with the swag has clocked 55 years.

A nationalist to the core, Oba Akanbi, who believes politics should not be left to politicians alone, has been in the forefront of canvassing for royal fathers to highly get involved in politics. This, he said is because, politicians cannot be trusted but traditional rulers who has the interest of their people at heart can.

“Kings have to be in politics and so does everybody else, regardless of what you think about it. Politicians are people that you can’t really trust but then as a father, who has the best interest of his community and the nation, one has to be involved,” he was once quoted as saying.

The above and more, has formed the background for which Oba Akanbi has been considered for such a grand honour.

In their own words, the management of the Igbinedion University while honouring him a few years ago, said the choice, is in “acknowledgement of a throne committed to serving humanity and his contribution to academic excellence in Nigeria.

“The award is in recognition of your outstanding contributions as a traditional and cultural icon, outstanding and visionary leader, developmentalist, general role model, and national builder.”

It is therefore, not a fluke that the revered Oba is being honoured in this way seeing that the award is the third so far to be bestowed on him, and according to as many that know him, more are readily in the offing for the first class traditional ruler, who attested that he rules by the directives of the Almighty God.

Born on June 21, 1967 in Iwo, Oba Rasheed Adewale Akanbi hails from Molaasan Compound of Gbaase Ruling House in Isale Oba in Iwo.

He attended Omolewa Nursery and Primary School, Oritamefa, Ibadan between 1972 and 1978 before proceeding to Iwo Grammar School, Araromi, Iwo, where he stayed till 1982. He completed his secondary education at Oba Akinyele Memorial High School, Idi-Ape, Ibadan.

He later attended The Polytechnic Ibadan in 1985, and obtained Ordinary National Diploma in Mass Communication in 1987. He also obtained a certificate in Cybis & Axis System from the Convergys Institute, Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada (2001-2005) in addition to Seismic certificate in Operations, Oil and Gas Processing Facilities (2005).

In the quest for further and standard education, Oba Akanbi attended George Brown College, Toronto, Canada, where he obtained a B.Sc. in Business Administration. This was between 2005 and 2009.

He worked as a Data Processor, Bio-skin GMBH in Hamburg Germany (1996-2005), International Development Analyst (Oxfam Canada); travelling to help war and disaster stricken countries around the world by supplying and supporting refugees with relief materials.

Oba Akanbi also worked as Associate Supervisor, Purdy Wharf Towers, Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada.

He is the Chief Executive Officer of Prince Enterprises, Toronto, Ontario M5H4E7 Canada, Director and Founder of People Against Loneliness Inc. 508-58 Waterson Road, Toronto Ontario, Canada, West Africa Coordinator (Karcher Group FutureTech) presently working on supply of future technology on peace keeping force to the Defence Ministry and Managing Director, Morganz Gamo Quarry, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Podo Village, Ibadan.

A polyglot, he speaks fluent Yoruba, English, French and Deutsche (German)

Oba Akanbi may be the Oluwo of Iwo, but he sees himself as more of a national figure than being limited to his community.

Hear him: I consider myself a king over a nation. Anything that happens in Kano, affects me because an investor is coming from overseas will always ask how Nigeria is; they won’t ask how is Iwo? There are many embassies that I know that have put Nigeria at the high- risk position of ‘you come at your own risk’. It affects me as well. So traditional rulers have to get up and become part of politics especially when it has to do with security of lives and property of subjects.”

He is also a stern believer in the crusade to root out corruption from the Nigeria body polity, saying he is doing his bit in the community where he holds sway.

“Yes. That’s what we’re doing now. We’re tackling corruption the same way Buhari is tackling it. I have started with the crusade of fighting corruption in our traditional and cultural systems. Our culture is not moving because it is steered by corruption. So all those rituals and killings of human beings all around are what we need to take out.”

In March 2022, the Oluwo  wedded Firdaus Abdullahi, a princess of the royal family of Kano, at a colourful ceremony in the ancient city.

The bride is a daughter of the late ‘Madakin Kano’, Abdullahi Sarki Sani Yola, and a grand daughter of late Emir Ado Bayero.

The wedding was held at the residence of Madakin Kano in the Yola Quarters of Kano, with representatives of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and that of the Emir of Kano among  dignitaries who attended.

Oba Akanbi is cherished by his people for his series of humanitarian projects, poverty alleviation programmes and community development activities. He is also in the forefront of projecting peace and tolerance among Yoruba obas.

He once created a stir in the media space when in 2017, he named his child Oduduwa. The child was given birth to in Canada.

In 2021, Oba Akanbi’s foresightedness located the industrious journalist, Chief Dele Momodu and wife, Mobolaji, for grand honours of Aare Tayese and Yeye Aare Tayese of Iwoland.

May your reign be long, Kabiyesi even as you relish in the euphoria of your 55th birthday.

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