Thursday, 3 November 2016

My Life as Iyalaje of Iwo Kingdom—Chief (Mrs.) Funmi Jabaru + How she fell in love with Abiola Ogundokun


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Chief (Mrs.) Funmilayo Jabaru, Iyalaje of Iwo Land

In this concluding part of an exclusive encounter she had with your Africa’s number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog, Asabeafrika, Chief (Mrs.) Funmilayo Jabaru the Iyalaje of Iwo Kingdom reveals her intimate secrets and how she grew from a retired civil servant to one of the leading community women leader in Iwo kingdom, Osun State (South West Nigeria). The ageless and beautiful Iwo born woman of timber and caliber was one of the special guests and daughters of Iwo land who escorted the Oluwo of Iwo land, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi (Ilufemiloye-TELU 1) to the traditional wedding ceremony of Oluwafunmilayo Oyindamola, daughter of the Otun Balogun of Iwo land, High Chief Abiola Ogundokun to Lagos lawyer, Barrister Azeez Olayinka Olokun-Ola in Festac town; Lagos penultimate Thursday afternoon. She equally told us the secret of her closeness with High Chief Abiola Ogundokun. Enjoy the excerpts.

The Iyalaje of Iwo Land, Chief (Mrs.) Funmilayo Jabaru
Kindly tell us your role as Iyalaje of Iwo kingdom?
Well, as the Iyalaje of Iwo land, I have my own activities which are associated with the development of Iwo land. I was made Iyalaje of Iwo in 1977. You know that is a long time. All the development projects in Iwo land are very dear to my heart. There is no committee I am not part of in Iwo land. I am a member of the Iwo board of trustees and I have been there for almost 15 years now. I was appointed as a member in 2001, so as the Iyalaje of Iwo, we try to source for funds to push development projects that will bring glory to the town. We have just finished our multi-purpose town hall in Iwo town and if there is any activity that is to take place there, we are the ones they always call or reach out to.  So, my role is to help the Kabiyesi and other members of the Oluwo-in-council to drive initiatives that will bring commercial patronage to Iwo and under Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi. Right now, are getting good results and good feedback.
The Iyalaje & The GDA of Asabeafrika
 Can you tell Asabeafrika much about yourself?
I retired as Secretary to the Board of Federal Housing Authority.
You mean in this Lagos?

Yes, we were the ones who allocated lands in this Festac town. We build and allocated the lands in Festac. I was head of department at the Federal Housing Authority and I retired as a secretary to the board of Federal Housing Authority. So, I am a retired public officer. But now, I am the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Holland Park Bureau De Change. I am into forex business and that is what I have been doing since I left the civil service.

 “And Chief asked her what she wanted and she said she was in need of school fees, that she is at the University of Lagos and she had no money to pay her school fees. Chief said ‘how much is the money?’ and she said ‘thirty five thousand naira’. And chief asked her to send her account number and he instructed his accountant to forward the money to her immediately”.

Chief (Mrs.) Funmi Jabaru selling Iwo to some VIP Obas in Lagos
How has the challenges in the forex market affected your business in recent time?
It really, really affected our business because when everything was bouyant, we were being given $2.5 million dollars every month. Later they reduced it to $1.2 million dollars and the money kept going down astronomically; from $1.2 million dollars, to six hundred; from six hundred to three hundred and from three hundred to two hundred. When it became two hundred, it later went as low as forty thousand dollars. You can imagine how terrible that could be for a large volume retailer. It is quite bad.
Is that money for individual practitioner or a group of practitioners?
It is for each bureau de change and we will market it for travelers or those who want to pay school fees abroad or those trying to pay medical bills. Things were easy then, but right now, things are damn too tight. The sharp drop in the global oil market was the first harbinger of the bad situation. We don’t see money the way we see it again. Where we can get money again is farm products and you can recall that, there was no oil back in those days, it was just Cocoa and other farm produce that were in vogue. It was cocoa that was used to develop the economy but right now with the challenges of the oil price fall, everybody is going back to the farm. That is the only thing that can solve this problem.
'The Best Economy Nigeria deserves now is Agric Economy' says Chief (Mrs.) Funmi Jabaru
So, you feel that an emerging agric economy can kill the recession?
Yes, they should develop our agricultural economy and sustain it. Government should commit her political will. We are not just talking about agriculture alone, we also have natural resources like bitumen, gold, diamond and many other minerals. I don’t know why government is not developing all these. There is gold, there are all sort of precious stones like rubies, emerald and the rest that the government has refused to develop. It is just the individuals that are packing them for sale. So, if government can harness all our resources, we will have surplus money. In fact, our bitumen deposit is so large that oil might be a child’s play. We also have gas but government is not just looking that way. Our prayer is that God will give us a messiah who will come and re-direct our way of life and endear new economic vision for Nigerians.
“It is rare to see fathers like that. Any father that takes care of his children, I respect such a father. Because we have too many men today who can father a child but cannot father their child’s responsibilities”
High Chief Abiola Ogundokun & Wife, Bola with daughter, Oyindamola and her husband, Yinka & Mother-In-Law
How I fell in love with Abiola Ogundokun….
What do you have to say about High Chief Abiola Ogundokun? He remains the biggest personality brand Iwo has till date, the Juju music maestro; Commander Ebenezer Obey did a special album on him, ‘Ogundokun Managing Director Oko Atinuke etc?
You see that Atinuke you mentioned, we grew up in the arms of both Chief and Atinuke (Laughs heartily). When he was still a young journalist and my own dad was contesting in 1954 for the Federal House of Representatives.
The Otunbalogun of Iwo land, High Chief Abiola Ogundokun & The Oluwo of Iwo Land, HIM, Oba Abdulfatai Adewale Akanbi (Ilufemiloye-TELU 1)
What is your dad’s name?
His name is Chief Samuel Ogundijo Fajimi, he was member of Federal House of Representatives in the first republic. He won in 1959 to 1965 and it was the 1966 coup that halted his other political ambition. So, he (Ogundokun) used to come to our house to come and write my father’s history at the time. He was already a journalist at the time and I was just 8 years old or thereabout at that material time. So, we grew in his hand.  He later married my younger sister.
Chief (Mrs.) Funmi Jabaru is an in-law to High Chief Abiola Ogundokun
What is her name?
She is that Atinuke you mentioned in Obey’s album. She is my sister (Laughter)
In that your house you must all be pretty for Chief to have fallen for your younger sister. Even you still look pretty?
(Laughs Heartily) Agba ti de e (Age has caught up with me. I am aged now my dear).  I am over 70 now. So, Chief Ogundokun so loved my dad that he always follows him around. And anybody who likes my dad, I will naturally love that person. So, I used to call him ‘Egbon mi, egbon mi’ (My elder brother). And up till now, we still regard him as that. He was a socialite in those days and up till date, he remains a socialite, loved by many.
High Chief Abiola Ogundokun, a lover of Children with two of his sons and a his pretty daughter
High Chief Abiola Ogundokun giving instructions to his two sons and his daughter
Ogundokun is Kind and blindly generous…
“You see this Chief Ogundokun that you are seeing, he is very kind o; in fact, he could be very kind to a fault except you don’t tell him your challenges. He did something that baffles us one day; somebody just phoned him, he has never seen that person before. The lady called him and said she is in the university; she pretended as if she was trying to call another person. And Chief asked her what she wanted and she said she was in need of school fees, that she is at the University of Lagos and she had no money to pay her school fees. Chief said ‘how much is the money?’ and she said ‘thirty five thousand naira’. And chief asked her to send her account number and he instructed his accountant to forward the money to her immediately. I don’t think he has seen that lady up till today. He has never seen her before o, we even persuaded him to let us find out if her intention is genuine but he refused. He said ‘no, I must give her. She doesn’t need to know me before I can offer help to her. She needs the money, she only did a mistake calling my number and since she can relate her problem to me, I must solve it at once’. I said ‘Chief, ask her to come here so that we can see her’ but he refused. So, such blind kind acts he offers to people both known and unknown. And he love kids, he passionately loves his children. You can see all his children around him. He makes sure he trains them till they had their degrees. It is rare to see fathers like that. Any father that takes care of his children, I respect such a father. Because we have too many men today who can father a child but cannot father their child’s responsibilities. So, if you find one that takes care of his children, just respect him. I respect Chief Abiola Ogundokun for that. He is a lover of children including his own children.
High Chief Abiola Ogundokun with the Oluwo of Iwo Kingdom, HIM, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi when his pretty daughter, Uyioghosa married Osagie Elaiho in August


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