Alhaji Nureni Akanbi is the Iba Oluyole of Ibadan, a position he has held for almost 10 years. In this interview with SEGUN ADEBAYO, Alhaji Akanbi speaks on the 167 years remembrance celebration of the late Iba Oluyole, among other issues.
At 72, you must have had some experiences that you would hold close to your heart. Could you share a few with us?
There are many incidents that have happened since I was born. One of them was when I took ill for two years to the extent that I was brought home from Lagos State, where I was working. The sickness almost took my life but thank God I am still here today. Another occurrence that keeps coming to my mind is the death of my younger brother, who died in 1975.
As the head of the Iba Oluyole family, how would you describe the journey so far?
I thank God for everything. It will be 10 years in March that I became the head of the Iba Oluyole family. I became the head of the family in March 12, 2007. I was the number 12 on the list when I became the Iba, but what amused me was the fact that before my reign, there had always been crisis about who becomes the next Iba. At least, I knew about four people that became Iba before me and I could remember what happened. I thank God for giving me the grace to have come this far. In the last 10 years, we have recovered some of our lands. They always say the Iba owns the lands and I do all within my capacity to ensure that it is strictly followed. That is why we are celebrating the late Iba who died 167 years ago. We are happy that the family has remained united and we have continued to enjoy peace despite the challenges we have faced.
Why do people say the Iba owns the land?
We own the land. Although, there is always a landmark to ensure that the lands we claim belong to us. We don’t sell lands because our forefathers didn’t do such and the reason we don’t sell our lands is because when our father was in the position, he gave land to many people to farm on but after a while, those people started selling our lands after farming on it for sometime. We took them to court because we have all the documents that showed we are the rightful owners of the lands. The issue was resolved in court and we agreed not to sell our lands again. Whenever we see people trying to take possession of our lands, we don’t make trouble with anybody. What we do usually is to buy the lands back from them. Our father leased most of the lands that were later claimed by some people. Our fathers leased Saint Annes School, Molete, to the Anglican Bishops. The elites among us said we should not lease the land anymore and they took it up from 1939. The first Police Barrack in Yoruba land was leased. The current State Hospital at Ring Road is our land but we were not adequately compensated for that.
So what are you doing to make sure you take possession of your lands?
Everything is documented. We make sure that the ones we leased are renewed every 10 years. This has helped us to know what we have and when they should be renewed.
What brought about the 167 years celebration that you are marking today?
It is a very good thing to be thankful for everything in life. What we have in mind is to give glory to God for the life our father, the late Iba Oluyole, who died 167 years ago. Some of the names that reigned during his time have gone into extinction in Ibadan. There are many great names in Ibadan today that people don’t talk about again, but ours is different. Till date, the Iba Oluyole House remains relevant in Ibadan, even after 167 years. This is why we are celebrating the Iba House and the success it has recorded over the years.
You will be ten years on throne as the Iba Oluyole in March, is this part of the celebrations?
We will celebrate the 10 years anniversary in a big way in March, but I think we should concentrate on this first. There is a reason we are lumping the two together
What are the plans you have on ground for the 167 years remembrance?
On that day, we will be launching a book on the Iba Oluyole. This book will expose some of the exploits of our father. There are quite a number events and stories that people will read in the book. We have rebuilt the ancient resting house of our father. We are going to commission the house today. We want people to come and see the beautiful things we have done in the last few years.
Culled from tribune