Oke Ako community in Yemoji Local Council Development Area of Ogun State will come alive on Thursday as United Kingdombased businessman Rafiu Olatunde Adebambo is installed as the Arole Ako. The installation, to be performed by the Aladeken of Oke Ako, Oba Joshua Osunsami, is expected to be witnessed by government functionaries, monarchs, eminent personalities and other sons and daughters of the town.
A sleepy but ancient town in the contemporary history of Ijebuland, Oke Ako is approximately 10.7km from Ijebu-Ode, from which Yemoji LCDA was recently carved out by the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun. For Adebambo, the chieftaincy is a dream come true.
It is a fulfilment of his desire to assume the leadership position of his forebears, who reportedly played a key role in founding the town. Born on February 15, 1953 into the family of late Alhaji Oseni Adebambo and Alhaja Omolabake nee Daudu, the young Adebambo attended Araromi Baptist School, Obalende, Lagos for his elementary education.
He then proceeded to Jubril Martin Ahmadiyya Grammar School, Iponri, Lagos and finished in 1973. He subsequently worked for four years and proceeded to Britain, where he studied Graphic Reproduction Technology.
He later returned to Nigeria and worked at the printing division of the Federal Ministry of Information. After working there for seven years, he went back to Britain to study Business Administration.
Since then, he has taken to business, selling cars, spare parts, electronics and household items and has been shuttling between UK and Nigeria. In an exclusive interview with New Telegraph, Adebambo said his uncle inspired him in life. He recalls with nostalgia his humble beginning and the experiences of his youthful days which eventually shaped his world view.
He said, “When I was in secondary school, my uncle, Mr R. A. Balogun, came to Lagos to request from my parents that I should live with him. “During that period, I was a bit wayward.
My uncle just came one day and took me to Surulere. I lived with him from age of 14 till when I grew up and went to Britain, came back and married.” “My mother always said you can’t be a civil servant to be rich. You have to create your own business, use your brain and creativity to get what you want in life.
That’s why I went back to Britain and created my personal business,” Adebambo added. The 64-year-old asked the Nigerian government to emulate Britain in the task of stamping out poverty and tackling unemployment in the country. He recalled some of the measures taken by the UK authorities to advance the socio-economic frontiers of their country.
He said, “Britain is more conducive than Nigeria in terms of business operating environment. You don’t have to have collateral to get money from government in Britain. “Government put some money in bank for individuals. Just make business proposal, do your feasibility study, bank employed some people to come and interview you. “After being interviewed, they correct all your errors.
They worked for the bank but they still help you so that they can reduce number of the unemployed. They encourage small business enterprises by giving loans with little or no interest rate. You can’t compare Nigeria with that. “In Nigeria, when you apply for loan, banks charge you 20 percent interest.
From that 20 percent, there is another kickback. That’s why people find it difficult, especially the younger ones, to rise up.” Adebambo expressed his readiness to finally settle down in Nigeria, following the conferment of the Arole Ako title. He says, “This chieftaincy title is significant. It’s like the second in command to the monarch of the town. My responsibility is that if anything happens and the Kabiyesi is not around, they have to come to me first.
“Before the Kabiyesi makes any judgement, he has to consult me. It’s not just an ordinary chieftaincy. It means I’m the representative of all the sons and daughters of Oke Ako. Before the title is approved, you have to write a letter to the head of local government and the governor of Ogun State. “With the chieftaincy, I have to be in Nigeria. You can’t have that kind of chieftaincy title and stay outside the country.
My forebears founded this area, although we are from a woman that settled here – Oladeke, the first daughter of Oba Ijebu- Ode.” The businessman disclosed plan to empower and uplift the youths in his community by setting up an endowment fund for them.
This, he says, was an inspiration from the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi. “What the Ooni did to the widows and the younger ones in terms of empowerment was an inspiration to me. I follow all his programmes on Twitter and YouTube.
That’s the way to develop ourselves,” he said. Adebambo promised to continue to mobilise people for communal efforts towards achieving some self-help projects. He said, “My aim is to empower the youths.
I don’t like them being lazy about. It is better to empower them rather than giving them handouts. That’s what I want to do.” Adebambo says the youths must believe in themselves and be determined to achieve their dreams.
“There is no miracle in this world. People that are looking for miracles are only deceiving themselves. Once you believe in yourselves that you can achieve this, with a bit of motivation, you are good to go. You are going to fall but don’t look back.Be forceful, pushful and know what you want,” he added. Adebambo urged Nigerians to collaborate with the government in tackling the prevalence of poverty in the country.
He tasked government to fix the problem of epileptic power supply and provide good roads, hospital and education for the citizenry. He added, “Let’s be truthful with ourselves: government can’t solve all the problems in Nigeria. The only thing we need is for government to provide electricity, good roads, hospital and good education.
“Without electricity, nothing can be achieved. At least, 30 percent of Nigerians abroad want to come back home. But they are usually discouraged due to the several challenges confronting the country.
“I know a lot of friends that went into manufacturing but failed because the cost of producing makes the profit very low and the staff too are not trustworthy.” Asked what he intends to bequeath to the youths, Adebambo simply said he wanted to be remembered for his principle, which is “do unto others as you want others to do unto you.”
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