Sunday , June 4 2023

Loss of energy made me stop at fifth wife –– 94-year-old Owa of Idanre, Oba Aroloye

owa of idanre oba aroloye

At a point in everyman’s life strength will no longer permit you to have the level of fun you wish to have. For 94-year-old Owa of Idanre in Ondo State, Oba Federick Aroloye, strength prevent him from bringing in new wives into his family.

Oba Aroloye spoke while providing highlights of his 45-year-old reign which has been very eventful. In the interview which was posted on Punch, Oba Aroloye said he could not continue getting more wives because he lost the strength required to keep up with that level of job.

According to him, “You see, my initial plan was to have one wife but as an Oba, it is not possible because there are many functions to be performed in the palace, which one woman cannot not do alone. As of today, I’m managing five wives; I would have married more but the energy is no more there.”

The Oba also spoke about how he was chosen to become Owa of Idanre;

“In my own case, I was in school, taking Class Four examination when my mother died. But they didn’t tell me until I finished my exams. They had buried her before I got back. They sent a telegram; my principal didn’t allow me to see it until we finished our exam. On the day we finished our exam, the principal invited me to his house; I was afraid. He asked me to eat and after eating he broke the news of my mother’s death to me. So, I returned home and learnt that my mother had been buried.

“Then, a friend of mine advised me to go abroad to continue my education. But I asked him: “Where would I get the money to do that?” Secondly, my father was already 125 years old at the time and I reasoned that if I travelled abroad, he could die before I return and I would not see his corpse too, just like in my mother’s case.

“Later my father called me and advised me to go abroad. He told me that since I would be the next king after him I needed sound education. He promised me he would remain alive till I return.  So, I agreed and left for England.

“After finishing school in England, I started working. Later I began to receive letters that my father asked me to come home. When I got back to Nigeria, about 50 people followed me to see my father at Oke Idanre. My father was very happy to see me, so were my people. By then, my father was over 140 years old; he could no longer walk, they had to bring him out. I sat beside him; he was just touching me, telling me how happy he was.

“Then one of the chiefs stood up and said, “Kabiyesi, what happened to Agbogun, the first Idanre king, will happen here, when one of his sons was asked to rule and be reporting to him.”

“The chief said I would be Odode. But my father asked me to come back the following day. When I returned the next day, my father told me to disregard what the chief had said; my father said I should go and work first.

“Two weeks later, I received a letter of employment to work as a Treasury Cash Officer in the civil service of the Old Western Region because I was doing similar work in London. So I started working in Ibadan. After six months I was transferred to Ondo town. But shortly after, my father died and they asked the family to choose among the children his successor. The family chose me. That was on April 20, 1970.”

(See full interview in PUNCH)


About Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a writer with passion for cutting-edge news

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