The Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, on Saturday in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State installed accomplished physician and co-founder of EKO Hospital, Dr. Sonny Kuku, as the Ogbeni Oja of Ijebuland.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the installation was held alongside a celebration of Kuku’s 80th birthday.
The endocrinologist, who is the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Benin, succeeded his late uncle and lawyer, Chief Bayo Kuku, who was the third Ogbeni Oja of Ijebuland.
He died in 2015.
Speaking during the event, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State said the sterling accomplishments of Kuku were more than enough to qualify him for the prestigious office.
The Governor said: These are coupled with his love for and commitment to the development of Ijebuland.”
While congratulating the new Ogbeni Oja on this lofty achievement, Abiodun challenged him to use his office to foster unity and ensure economic development and educational advancement in Ijebuland.
He added: “Your accomplishments in the medical world and philanthropic gestures are indications of the positive impact you are capable of bringing to Ijebuland and Ogun at large.”
Abiodun, represented by his Deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, said his administration would continue to partner with the traditional rulers and other stakeholders to enhance the prosperity of the state’s residents.
Earlier, the Awujale had said the selection of Kuku as the fourth Ogbeni Oja was purely based on merit and his loyalty to the throne of Awujale from time immemorial.
He said: “Let no one think that the choice of Olor’ogun Sonny Kuku was influenced by anyone.
“I did not pick him as the new Ogbeni Oja for any reason other than for being worthy of this highly coveted seat.
“He has proven to be so loyal to the Awujale throne and demonstrated capability for leadership.
“I urge him to continue in that trajectory and continue to use his network worldwide to uplift the socio-economic development of Ijebuland and Ogun as a whole.”
The paramount ruler also urged governors in the country’s South West geopolitical zone to follow the footsteps of Governor Abiodun regarding the installation and burial of traditional rulers.
Abiodun had given assent to the law which allowed for traditional rulers to be installed and buried according to their religious beliefs and not compulsorily in the traditional way.
The new Ogbeni Oja, while speaking with journalists at the event, said he was highly honoured to be so chosen by the Awujale for the exalted office.
Kuku said that he was ready to re-double his commitment towards further development of Ijebuland.
He said: “I am highly elated with this honour and I am grateful to the Awujale for considering me for this exalted office of Ogbeni Oja.
“I received the honour with a great sense of humility and it is really a call to serve.”
The Ogbeni Oja is the next in rank to the Awujale and the regent, with his office said to be akin to that of a Prime Minister.
It takes defending the Awujale throne as an utmost priority.
Dignitaries at the event included the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat.
There were also three former governors of Ogun State in attendance: Chief Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Senator Ibikunle Amosun.