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Oba Elias Adedapo Omoloro Ijelu is a well-connected business tycoon who has done so well for himself and his family. He is a Realtor And he runs FHC Properties amongst several other businesses. He had left Nigeria for the US and after a successful stint in the United State of America; he is back home to give back to the society that made him.

On July 1 2021, Oba Ijelu 1 received the staff of office from the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat. This singular act confirmed him as the new Olota of Otta, Ikosi Ejirin LCDA, Lagos State. Oba Ijelu has the administrative prowess as well as economic insight to bring good fortunes to his kingdom.

On Thursday, August 12, 2021, City People’s team led by DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152, Senior Photographer, Abdulrasheed Sanni and Lekan Amusa visited Oba Ijelu in his palace. He granted City People his first official interview where he opened up on his life, ascension to the throne and his plans for Otta-Ikosi. Below are excerpts from the interview, enjoy.

To start with, tell us a little about where you grew up and what growing up was like for you.

I grew up in Ikorodu and Lagos Island respectively.

I am sure that there must have been a few issues surrounding your ascension to the throne. That is very common in this part of the world. Can you tell us how you became the new Olota of Otta-Ikosi?

My forefathers were one of the founders of Ikosi, in late 1969 to 1970, my father was chosen to be the baale of this community but he died before his coronation. I thank God today that I am alive to ascend the throne of my forefathers again. It was not without contest, but of course, among the different qualified princes and ruling houses, I emerged from the Olude Ruling House in Otta, Ikosi-Ejirin LCDA, Lagos State.

Ok, so tell us about Otta in Ikosi-Ejirin, what do you think makes this community different from other neighbouring towns?

Otta is a very quiet area in Ikosi-Ejirin; it has a serene environment for anyone that wants a private lifestyle. The people of Otta-Ikosi are very accommodating and friendly too. They are majorly farmers and agriculturists too. The people of this community can contribute to the food supply of Lagos with the right support from the government. My experience with them in the last few weeks has shown that they are not lazy at all. With their level of commitment to their daily jobs, I am sure that if they get a more enabling environment, they are going to do much than they are doing presently.

Many people would like to know what you do before becoming an Oba. So humbly sir, what do you do before you became the new Olota of Otta-Ikosi?

I am a businessman and a realtor. I am a car dealer; I import cars and also sell, aside from that, I am also into the real estate business. My car dealing business name is Buy Right Motors in New York and Maryland, Lagos, respectively. I have been running this car dealing company for over twenty years now. The name of the real estate company is FHC Properties which has been running since 1989. It is well over 31 years now.

Why did you decide to go into the real estate business?

It was actually an inherited business. I inherited it from my mother. She started the business and I took over from here to run it in a modern way, we have been able to reposition the business to what it is today.

This community obviously needs a lot of development. As the new Oba, what plans do you have to transform Otta and Ikosi-Ejirin as a whole?

Thank you very much for that question. Well, a lot needs to be done to change the face of Otta and Ikosi-Ejirin. As a businessman, I know that the easiest way to change the face of Otta, Ikosi-Ejirin is to bring investors here and ensure. I have it in mind to invite my friends who have businesses across Lagos and other places to also come and tap into the rich resources that are available here. We are willing to give investors lands at lower rates because we know that their coming here will do us good.

I have gone round here but I didn’t see any market space for the women. Is there any plan for that or there’s an existing market that I couldn’t locate?

I have it in my plan to build a new market for women. Before now, we used to have a market that was built about 50 to 60 years ago. But in the last 10 years, nobody has used that market, so what we are planning to do now is build a new one while we also work on the abandoned one that was built by the then Epe local government. If you observe properly, you will see that people here are used to building shops in front of their houses, this is not really ok, we have to make use of a market and it is our responsibility to provide that for our people.

Economically, how viable is Ikosi-Ejirin and Otta community particularly?

Before we can talk about economic viability, we have to first consider the security of my people which is key for any investor. Security-wise, Otta and Ikosi-Ejirin are calm and peaceful, we have not recorded any major crime or crisis in a very long time. We have a police station but we know that it is not enough so we are working very hard to get an approval for another one. We have a local security network that is also known as the Vigilante Group and they assist other structured security outfits here. Talking about economic viability, the Otta community is a border town. This road in front of my palace leads to Ogun State; Ijebu-Ode is just two minutes drive from here if we fix a link bridge above the river that served as a boundary between Lagos and Ogun. And you know that all border towns are always centres of commerce. I don’t need to start mentioning all the advantages Lagos and Ogun States will get by the time we fully open up this place. Can you imagine people living in Ijebu-Ode and working here or vice-versa? That’s just one of the many advantages Otta and Ikosi Ejirin have over other communities here.

You mentioned earlier that the people of this community are majorly farmers. Is there a way the government can help in boosting their production so that the entire state can benefit from Otta and Ikosi-Ejirin as a whole?

Yes please, we are trying to work with the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture. I must say that I am very close to that ministry even up to the commissioner, they are all my people. So, we are trying to present our requests to the state government and see how they help boost our farm produces. We produce a lot of Garri here, Kolanut, Cassava, Bitter Kola, Plaintain and many other foods and cash crops.

Is there any relationship between the Otta in Sango, Ogun State and Otta Ikosi-Ejirin, Lagos State?

Yes, history has it that they are our brothers, our forefathers both left Ile-Ife at the same time and while they settled at Sango in Ogun State, we settled here in Ikosi-Ejirin, Lagos State.

Kabiyesi, Obas are known to have many wives which is not a crime but a symbol of royalty and wealth. How many wives do you have? Tell us about them.

I have only one Olori and she is my mother, my friend, my wife, the mother of my children and many things in one. We have been married for close to 40 years now and I have enjoyed every single day we’ve spent together. Of course, no relationship’s all perfect, we’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve stayed stronger and the bond keeps getting stronger till tomorrow.

Sir, the many Obas I know would have 2, 3 or even 4 wives. Why did you decide to stick to only one?

That is my choice. Even before I became an Oba, I had already made up my mind that I was going to be married to only one woman. I don’t want to have 2 or 3, just one wife because that is what I want for myself. I want my family to be peaceful, I don’t want problems for my children.

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