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15th Oniru of Iruland: Oba Gbolahan Lawal ascends the Oniru ancestral throne

Iru kingdom, within the last two decades, became a hub of investments and premium residential and commercial real estate in Lagos state, making it a community to be reckoned with and its traditional ruler and throne a significant one within the state.

Following the passing of Oba Idowu Abiodun Oniru on September 19, 2019, the grand throne became vacant and to fill it, a deserving prince must be found. Eventually, this search led to Prince Gbolahan Lawal, at the time the Lagos State commissioner for Agriculture.

After observing the necessary traditional consultations and constitutional processes, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on June 7, 2020 presented the staff of office to Oba Abdul-Wasiu Omogbbolahan Lawal, Abisogun II as the 15th Oniru of Iruland.

Once this was done, the new monarch proceeded on a three-month immersion in customary rites and today September 6, he emerges in the Iru palace for his coronation as the latest Oba of Iruland. Born to the late Chief T.A. Lawal-Akapo, the Ojora of Lagos (1977-1993) and Oloro M.A. Lawal-Akapo of the Ojora, Aromire, Shogun, and Abisogun branch of the Oniru royal families, Oba Lawal, 50, was for decades one of the few low-profile princes of Lagos.

The new monarch, who was compelled to resign his government appointment as commissioner a couple of days before his appointment, received his staff of office after the kingmakers and elders of Iru land selected him from a short list of princes whose names were put forward for the throne.

As far as the selections of Obas go, however, Lawal’s was largely smooth, albeit for minor hiccups that could have escalated had it not been for the reported maturity and masterful handling of concerns by the new monarch who also happens to be an expert in conflict resolution.

Reports suggests that the process to select a successor for the throne of Oniru usually commences after 41 days of the passing of the monarch, according to the tradition of the people of Iru kingdom.

Several names were presented as possible successors to ascend the throne, but in what remains a shocker to some, Oba Abduwasiu Gbolahan Lawal was chosen to ascend the throne, and is now a move that many are pleased with and are
happy to express their satisfaction and delight in the choice of Oniru.

For instance, Dr Tunji Olowolafe, a Lagos-based physician, industrialist and businessman, is one of such people who are emphatic about his delight at the selection of Oba Lawal as the new Oniru of Iru kingdom.

“There is a time for every king and a king for every time. Iru kingdom holds a significant place in the affairs of Lagos state and hence, the choice of who sits on the throne is a crucial one to be made. In Oba Abdulwasiu Lawal, there is tremendous potential going by his pedigree and his excellent service in the roles he has handled as public servant and administrator.

I have much hope and confidence in his reign, and I am certain that Iru kingdom will thrive and flourish with him at the helm of affairs,” said Dr Olowolafe.

His assumption of office ceremony, although tempered by the global coronavirus pandemic, was emphatic with the support and show of confidence in his reign by many leaders of the state, even as he received his staff of office from the Lagos state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the ceremony.

The governor expressed a firm belief in the pedigree of the new monarch, who leaves in his wake an exceptional legacy that cannot be erased from the history of public service in Lagos, having recorded outstanding performances in two ministries – Agriculture and Housing.

“There is no doubt that the future of Iru kingdom will continue to be bright and promising, and the ascension of His Royal Majesty Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal, Abisogun II, marks the start of the next phase of the journey into that future,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The merit of the new monarch is undeniable, having served the state in varying capacities, including as an officer with the Nigerian Police Force, and then serving three consecutive administrations in the state as Commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture as well as the Ministry of Housing.

His antecedents easily as widely travelled and internationally trained public servant suggest that his reign as Oba of Oniru will be one of more international exposure for Iruland and the State of Lagos.

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