Oba Folagbade Olateru Olagbegi III (1941-2019)
THE ancient town of Owo and indeed people of Ondo State woke up on April 18 to receive the sad news of the death of Olowo of Owo, Oba Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi.
OBA Olateru-Olagbegi, a symbol of the enlightened and progressive trend in present-day Nigeria’s traditional rulership institution was one of those whose service and patriotism, modesty and mentoring, had remained sacrosanct since he ascended the throne of his progenitors.
THE quintessential Oba was born on June 26, 1941 in Owo to an influential, celebrated and dignified father, Sir Olateru-Olagbegi ll (KBE). He grew up to become one of Nigeria’s foremost Lawyers. A cerebral royal father who combined deep intellectual capacity with admirable traditional flamboyance, was given the staff of office as the Olowo of Owo on December 11, 2003 by the then Governor of Ondo state, late Dr. Olusegun Agagu.
HIS Royal Highness, had a Bachelor of Law, London, UK. When he returned from UK he attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos in 1968 where he excelled in Law. He was enrolled as Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on July 12, 1969 and launched into legal practice in the Chambers of Chief F.R.A Williams, a luminary of the legal profession and doyen of the Nigerian Bar. In his quest for academic excellence, in 1975 he joined the Nigerian Law school to impact knowledge as a lecturer and rose to the position of Director General of the institution.
IN view of his brilliance and love for service, the late Olowo served in various capacities before and during his accession to the throne. He was a Barrister-at-Law and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, former counsel to the Vice President, Late Dr Alex Ekwueme, former Secretary, Council of Legal Education, former General Secretary Nigerian Association of Law Teachers, Deputy Director- General for Africa International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England, former Chancellor, University of Benin and former Chairman Ondo state Council of Obas among others.
A law scholar of no mean repute, the late Olowo was a devout christian, who served as the Executive Director, South-West National Council of Christian Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, no wonder his reign ignited a remarkable revival of pentecostal evangelism in the legendary palace of Olowo of Owo.
THE HOPE observes that in spite of the late monarch’s commitment to christianity, the rich, robust and transcendental culture and traditions of Owo kingdom flourished under his leadership. The ancient Owo also witnessed peace during his tenure.
ALBEIT, the path to the throne of Owo was tortuous and strewn with rocks and storms, the late Olowo as a fine administrator brought intellectual touch to bring peace and tranquility to the crisis ridden town to the admiration of all. He would be missed for his amiable personality and sundry contributions to nation building.
WHILST he was working at the Law School, he married Ololade Olateru-Olagbegi, (Yeyesa), who is also a barrister and law lecturer at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba. They are blessed with children.
A silent philanthropist who didn’t believe in making noise, his philosophy was if God blesses you, you too should extend the blessings to the needy. He believed one should be kind enough to help his fellow men. While alive he was an ardent believer that God loves a cheerful giver, and as the father, traditional ruler and a practising christian, he said he had it as part of his duty to assist the needy and must not go on pages of newspapers announcing it.
THE late Olowo published many authoritative books and book chapters on various aspects of law. A book, Trends in Nigerian Law: Essays in Honour of Oba DVF Olateru-Olagbegi lll, was published by some eminent legal scholars in recognition of his contribution towards legal studies by the Faculty of Law of Adekunle Ajasin University. He had attended International Law Conferences in the West Indies, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, Austria and India. He was a member of Nigerian Bar Association, International Bar Association, International Association for the Reform of Criminal Law, Black Table of Chief F.R.A. Williams Chambers, and life member, Body of Benchers.
AT the International level, His Royal Highness was honored at the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England. He was also on the International Who’s Who of intellectuals 1997/1998. He was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D) (Honoris Causa) by the University of Benin in 2005 and Doctor of Letters ( D.Litt) (Honoris Causa) of the University of Abuja in 2009.
THE HOPE condoles with the late monarch’s immediate family, the people of Owo kingdom and indeed the entire citizens of Ondo State for the loss of one of its most cerebral royal fathers. The Hope believes the late Oba had done excellently well in the service to God and mankind, he deserved accolades for the wonderful performance while alive.
THE HOPE enjoins the Omolowos, king makers and other stakeholders involve in the selection of new Olowo to be circumspect in their choice of who occupies the throne. No doubt, the bitter experiences over the selection of the late Olowo are still fresh in memory.
WE canvass for a just, equitable and transparent selection process of a new Olowo. This we believe would soothe any fray nerves and take care of any missgiving over the process.
OWO had suffered neglect due to chieftaincy crisis and does need to witness any orgy of violence as recorded the last time. Owo needs peace to progress.