Christianity saved me from ritual rites – Aaye Regent-
Princess Taiwo Oyebola Agbona is a Regent in Ondo State. She became the Regent of Aaye, a community in Ifedore Local Government area of the state one year ago, having lost her father in 2017.
Princess Agbona is an oba with passion to develop the community and people. In this interview with BISI OLOMINU and BUKOLA OLAMONA, the Regent spoke on what the community are lacking, what the state government should do for Aaye, the taboos in the town, the late Kabiyesi, the origin of Aaye, her expectations in years ahead and other sundry issues.
Can you tell us your name, background and your growing up?
I am Princess Taiwo Oyebola Agbona. I attended Dynamic International Nursery and Primary School before proceeding to Police Secondary School, Itaogbolu, then to Achievers University, Owo where
I studied Medical Laboratory Science(MLS). I passed out from the school last year but we did our induction January this year.
Tell us your growing up?
My growing up was smooth, my father became the king of this town six years ago and he passed away May 4th, 2017, I am the first of five children of my parents and I am also a twins going by my name, my Kehinde is a male. Our own is a good family setting, not pampered but the cane was not spared.
What has been your experience as the Regent of Aaye community?
It has not been easy but God has been helping me because I attended to so many things; settle disputes, people want to see you at the front and they want to look back also and see you as their leader , so it has been challenging but I thank God.
What has been your experience with the chiefs?
It has been smooth, when I became the Regent, they taught me a lot of things, so our relationship is cordial.
When you were picked as the Regent of the town, how did you react?
(Smiles) It was not easy at first, I didn’t want it at first, I was like how could I as small as I am lead the people, you know you are now like a public figure but later I accepted.
(Cuts in),I think you should have envisaged that when your father was the king?
Honestly, I never thought about it for once because my father only spent six years on the throne, so it just happened like that.
Regency entails some rituals, how did you go about it?
You know, christianity has dominated almost all things these days, so let me not say rituals, they are just the normal things because they feel that I am still young and they can’t allow me to go through such processes and since I am not staying there forever, my time is limited.
Part of the traditions is that when you become a Regent, you are not expected to kneel down for anyone for ever, how do you see this?
(Smiles)It was not easy at first because while I was growing up, what I was taught was that whenever you see an elderly person you must kneel down and greet him or her but when they said I must not do that again, I had to accept since I am still the Regent now, I will have to abide by the rule but once I leave I don’t think it should be necessary any longer, the essence is you are a Regent, you are the head of a community, everybody is under you, so you should not kneel for people under you.
Do you believe in regency or should it be erased?
I believe in regency because women too should be given a fair share and the right to hold public offices, because some people believe women education should end in the kitchen, should not have the right to speak in the public but with this regency it has given women the power to control a community, so I think it is right and should not be erased but government should just help us by not allowing us to spend longer period on the throne. Regency should be on short term, so that, the Regent can easily go on with her life. There’s indeed life after regency.
Can you tell us about the history of Aaye and her taboos?
Aaye was founded 600 years ago, we came from Osu in Osun state, and when we got to Akure, we settled at Isolo, before coming here. Then the first king was Oba Ajagun who was a son of Olosu of Osu and his mother was from Efon Alaaye in Ekiti state. So a dispute happened between his wives and his fathers wives in the palace ,so he thought about it and he left and so when he was going, his mother prayed for him that he shall survive, he shall not die, so when he came here, he named the town, Aaye after his mother’s prayers, so they were fond of calling him Alaaye, so that was what brought about the title Alaaye of Aaye.
What you are saying is that there is a relationship between Efon Alaaye and Aaye?
Yes, there is a relationship between Efon Alaaye, Aaye and Osu and there’s another Aaye in Ekiti. I think that one is in Ilawe Local government, during the war, part of the people in this place went there and even the Kibi, a deity that some of our people believe in is the same they worship in all Aaye towns too.
You are yet to tell us about the taboos here.
Yes, the taboos are there, you must not fight at night, then the second, you know we have Oke Aaye and Odo Aaye, so no one must be seen using stick to light fire from Oke Aaye to Odo Aaye, then the third one, whenever you are bringing firewoods from the farm ,you must not put it beside the wall of the house ,must be put down straight.
Is there any consequence?
Yes, whenever such thing happens, the person will be banished from the town, so we tell any new person coming to the town about the taboos so as to guide against them.
Since you came in as the Regent, have you been performing rituals or people have been doing it on your behalf?
I told you that the time a Regent have is limited, like whenever anything happens in the community and they needed to consult Ifa oracle, you know usually they bring it to the palace but now they say Regent cannot see it, so they will choose out of the chiefs and they will go there to perform on behalf of the town.
How will you describe the late Kabiyesi, your father, did he have a great influence in your life?
Yes, he was a great father, very caring, very plain, very nice, he was a father to all.
When he was alive ,did you live here with him?
Yes, but you know I lived in hostels during my schooling but whenever I were on holidays, I come home and you know he married one wife so we live together here.
What are you doing as the Regent to bring government here?
The state government has a lot to do here. We have been voting all this while, yet we have not been remembered, but my late father’s wish was this road ,if you notice no road is tarred inside Aaye and so we call on the government to help us with our roads. And crime rate is increasing day by day and also you will see them putting rituals at the junctions, so if there is a police station here it will reduce the crime rate which can make our people to vacate their houses to another town.
Government should come to our aid by providing police station and then a market place, we don’t have one, the politicians and those in authority, I don’t know why they are neglecting us, they will ask us to vote for them but once we have voted they will run away from us. They should also help by giving our students scholarships, we need it because most of our people cannot afford to sponsor their children to tertiary institutions, so we need their help.
Can you tell us your kind of a man?
My man must be very strong, he must be godly and he should take me as I am. He should not say this is a Regent but should see me as Taiwo Oyebola Agbona only.
OK, we know you have both female and male friends, how are they relating with you now that you are a bit different from what you were before?
Though, I gained a lot of friends, as a lot of people wanted to know more about me but the difference is the respect but we still get along but there is a gap.
Will you say it is an advantage or a disadvantage?
It’s an advantage because you will be exposed, you meet elites in the society and you will have connections which on a normal day you would not have.
What have you been doing to attract government attention to your town?
I became Regent when I was in 500 level , so school works and my project slowed me down a little but now that I am around, as a Medical Laboratory Scientist, I can bring Medical practitioners to my people’s, like my colleagues, that are in charge of diagnosis and prognosis of diseases and all that, so I can bring them to check on my peoples health issues . Again, I am ready to talk to those in government about the plights of my people.
When you were in school, how did your lecturers relate with you?
It was an advantage, I will site an example. During my project defence, what I would wear became an issue, so my friends just advised I got a corporate wear and put it on, then what to use to cover my hair became an issue too, so I decided to put on my traditional attires and that was what I did. My friends were so afraid and they were even pitying me but I said God was in control. So I sat down, when the examiner sighted me and he said ah! Kabiyesi was here and he greeted me in traditional way, saying “Kabiyesi o” and he asked some questions and I answered and from there he said his mother is from Ijare near Aaye here, so because of me, he started with me for I was the last on the roll.