The installation rite of Oba Abdul-Wasiu Omogbolahan Lawal as the 15th Oniru of Iru land in Lagos State came to peak over the weekend with the coronation reception and public presentation of the kingdom’s insignia.
Oba Lawal, at the event, unveiled his economic development plan for the kingdom – Let’s Develop Iruland Together – with the acronym “LeGIt.”
The blueprint, the monarch disclosed, was designed to reflect key deliverables of the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda being championed by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The event, held at Iru Palace, Victoria Island, was marked with a parade of royalty and culture.
The reception, which was initially suspended due to Lagos State’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, came three months after Oba Lawal formally received traditional staff of office and instrument of appointment from Sanwo-Olu to ascend the Iru throne.
A roll call of VIPs, administrators and politicians, led by the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, his wife, Ibijoke, graced the occasion.
The event was also attended by traditional rulers within and outside Lagos State, including Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi; and the representatives of Oba of Lagos, Alayeluwa Rilwan Akiolu.
Oba Lawal described the event as “another significant chapter” in the annals of the kingdom, thanking Sanwo-Olu for approving his selection by the kingmaker and the support since his installation.
He specially praised Tinubu, whom he called a mentor and father, for giving him the opportunity of his shots in public service.
The monarch said the priorities of his leadership would focus on socio-economic development of the kingdom, disclosing that the palace had established an independent nonprofit organisation – HRM Abisogun II Foundation for Peace and Development (HAIIF) – with the objective to drive multi-stakeholder partnerships for peace and prosperity of the kingdom.
According to him, “The burning desire to proffer pragmatic solutions to challenges facing Iru land has led to the initiative called LeGIT. This will be a rallying point and clarion call to all stakeholders to work with me to develop Iru into one of the most sustainable communities in Lagos. Our plans are in line with development agenda of the Governor.”
The monarch, thereafter, unveiled the traditional insignia of the kingdom, which reflects Iru culture and its dominant means of livelihood. The insignia depicts fishermen, newbouldia leaves and the iconic Iru crown in golden hues.
Sanwo-Olu, in his remarks, described traditional institutions as “indispensable branch” of Yoruba society, noting that the socio-economic growth witnessed in Iru kingdom in the last two decades had contributed in no small measure to the development of Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, commended the monarch for keeping peace and for sustaining the effort to unite members of the royal families after ascending the throne.
The governor said he looked forward to more rewarding development activities in Iru land, but urged residents to rally round the Oniru and maintain peace in order to achieve the monarch’s outlined objectives.
Sanwo-Olu said he had absolute confidence in the leadership ability of Oba Lawal to transform the kingdom into a 21st Century city of commerce and culture, urging him to bring his wealth of experience in public service to bear in the administration of Iru land.
He said: “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 Iru land within the metrics of development in Lagos State.
“During the installation ceremony in June, I enjoined the Oniru to strengthen the existing bond of unity within Iruland for the overall development of peace and progress of this kingdom.
“Two months on the throne, I’m pleased to note that the monarch took this advice to heart as exemplified by his very impressive actions characterised by wisdom, knowledge and large heartedness.
“My advice to all citizens of this great kingdom, as well as residents, is to continue to stand firm and united behind the king in order to advance the development and prosperity of this kingdom for the benefit of all.”
Also speaking at the event, Tinubu said the event should signal an end to the tussle and controversies that trailed the selection of Oba Lawal as Oniru, saying it was time the kingdom moved on.
He vouched for the leadership qualities of the monarch, pointing out that Oba Lawal has enormous capacity to endure, learned and listens.
Tinubu, who described the Oniru as a son, said the Oniru was a good choice for the kingdom and urged members of ruling houses in the kingdom to rally round the Oniru for the progress of Iru land.
He, however, urged the monarch to show good character as key component of his leadership, noting that his effort to move the kingdom forward would be futile without character.