The search for a good and credible successor to Loja Omolade Adeyokuunu who in the early hours of 11th June, 1989, ‘answered the imperative call of death, having spent seventeen years on the throne’ and in whose reign ‘Osu attained the apogee of her greatness’ was not an easy task. According to Prince Adedire Arimoro, a notable scholar and historian, ‘with most of the intractable problems that had rocked the life of Osu community relatively ameliorated, there came the era of peace and tranquillity within the town. Therefore, it was not surprising to observers of Osu history when in 1989, all Osu indigenes resolved to put a stop to the invitation of a non-indigene to fill the vacant stool of Loja of Osu.’ On the concept of a Loja, it is a ‘monarchical nomenclature given to an Owa Obokun Royal Prince who is made a head of a smaller Ijesa community by the Owa Obokun Adimula throughout Ijesaland.’
In 1989, the main contest for the seat of Loja of Osu as agreed by the “Osu caucus” was between the late Chief Ezekiel Adebusuyi, the Baba Ijo, Methodist Church, Oke Oja, Osu and a respected community leader, and Prince Jethro Adegoke Adejola. The installation of a Loja is a prerogative of Owa of Ijesaland hence, on many occasions, the representatives of the two contenders in Osu met at the palace of Owa Obokun of Ijesa Land, His Majesty Adekunle Aromolaran. Osu town was really divided during the contest for the throne. I really learnt a lot from my late father, Moses Olalemi Okegbile who was also a community leader during this period. My father was very close to the two contestants but his close and long relationship with the Adebusuyis determined his position and support. Despite his stand and support for Baba Adebusuyi, he maintained his love and respect to Prince Jethro Adegoke Adejola who eventually emerged as the Loja of Osu. Prince Jethro Adegoke Adejola was installed on11th November, 1989, by the Owa Obokun Adimula of Ijesaland, Owa Aromolaran II.
Prince Jethro Adegoke Adejola was born on Thursday, February 20th, 1936 to the family of Oba Aderintola who happened to be the great grand father of Oba Jethro Adegoke Adejola’s father, by name Abraham Adejola. Oba Jethro Adejola was not born in Osu but his grand father was born in Igila. His grand father was ‘Omo Obara.’ According to history, it was in Igila that Owa Obara, Prince Jethro’s grand father was taken to become Owa of Ilesa. Prince Jethro’s father came to Osu through his maternal source. His father, Abraham Adejola was born in Osu at a time when Looyin was the head of Osu. In the course of development, Osu indigenes requested for one of the Owa Adimula princes to become the Loja of Osu and the candidature of Prince Jethro’s father, Abraham Adejola Oje Aderintola was approved ‘as the first Loja of Osu.’ The second Loja was Prince Adekanye and Prince Omolade Adeyokunnu was the third Loja.
Prince Jethro Adejola went to Methodist Primary, Osu in1942 Osu. Among his standard one classmates then were Mr Samuel Adebisi Adedeji and Mr Adedeji Adeyeye. Prince Adejola was one of the presentors, leading songs in the school before others joined them to sing. One of Prince Adejola’s closest friends was late Papa Amos Ale. Others include Mr G M. Jaiyeoba among others.
Prince Adejola, happily married with children went to Divisional Teacher Training College for his Grade 3 certificate course. After two years of teaching experience, he went back to Government Teacher Training College, Ibadan for his Grade 2 certificate. Prince Adejola attended University of Ibadan between 1968 and 1970. Prince Jethro Adejola was later posted to Oyo as a teacher at Anglican Methodist Secondary Modern School before he was transferred to Abeokuta as a teacher at Elere Adubi Comprehensive School. His last teaching station was Fakunle Comprehensive High school, Osogbo where he finally retired on November 11th, 1989 when he was installed as the Loja of Osu.
At a point in time, Osu indigenes questioned the reason why their monarch were non-indigenes and were being referred to as the Loja rather then the Oba of Osu. On the issue of beaded crown, Prince Arimoro explained that Osu indigenes ‘consider the title, Loja to be degrading and an attempt to belittle the status of their monarch. Osu indigenes want the title to be changed so as to fall in tune with what operates in other towns in Yorubaland…’ In response to this agitation, Prince Jethro Adejola’s candidature and a native of Osu was approved as the fourth Loja of Osu.
According to tradition, certain traditional procedures peculiar to Ijesaland were followed on the issue of beaded crown for the Oba of Osu bearing in mind that ‘nobody has ever been the head of Osu community without being a prince of Owa Obokun of Ijesaland … a prince who has every claim to become the Owa of Ijesaland any time God will.’ The status of Osu as the headquarters of the Atakumosa Local Government was another positive advantage in promoting Loja o Osu to the status of an Oba with the right to wear a crown.
Loja Jethro Adejola and also a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God was finally crowned as Olosu of Osu by Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran in 2009 and the then Governor of Osun State, presented the staff of office to Oba Jethro Adejola Aderintola II, Olosu of Osu.
Some challenges including the development plan for Osu remains, for example, using the words of Prince Arimoro ‘which family will have the legal and traditional right to present candidate for the post of Oba of Osu if eventually the …request is granted.’ Osu development plan needs to be revisited if we have any. Good planning protects heritage and regenerates declining places and creates new environments. Odun Iyo, Osu community Founders’ Day celebration at 41 with Oba Jethro at 30 years on the throne invites us to preserves the best of our past and promotes innovation, so that Osu, the indigenes, and other plans for the future will continue to meet our needs and development. Osu development plan as a statement of intent or vision are prepared to, anticipate the development needs of Osu; identify relevant development issues; identify opportunities for and constraints to development in Osu; identify areas which are suitable/unsuitable for different types of development;, make proposals for the way in which Osu should develop over time; and, establish policies and standards to guide development in Osu.
While, we need to commend and support Osu Development Council and the ongoing reconstruction of the Palace of Olosu, under the chairmanship of Rev Dr Biodun Ogunbeku, Osu in general need a turning point spiritually, physically, economically and morally in its existence. The award of honorary chieftaincy titles to many illustrious sons and daughters of Osu provides a window of opportunity and reflection of a better tomorrow in Osu. As suggested by Prince Arimoro, we need some community development and emancipation projects which our illustrious sons and daughters can individually and collectively facilitate or sponsor. Osu remains a focus point for a further urban development bearing in mind our strategic location between Osogbo, Ile Ife, Ede, and Ilesa. Our untapped gold natural resources is calling for action while our main agricultural identity and economic venture, ‘Akara Osu’ especially by women needs rebranding and cooperative support.
The process and renewal of Osu land use planning consists in the main of the two twin functions of Development/Land use Planning and Development Control. Osu indigenes have need that must be satisfied, for example, we need jobs for our youths; good education facilities; opportunities for recreation; transport; and effective basic services like water, electricity, clean air and health care. In conjunction with our political representatives, we need social planning and policies that will take care of the basic social needs especially of the elderly people and security for the entire town.
God bless Olosu of Osu, Oba Jethro Adegoke Adejola, Aderintola II
God bless Osu.
(Thanks to Adetunji Adedeji for his help in conducting a short interview with Olosu of Osu).