He whom the crown fits should celebrate. And the celebrations for the new Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abdul-Wasiu Omogbolahan Lawal, will not stop anytime soon.
About a month ago, the long-term public servant was installed as the new Oniru of Iru Kingdom by the Governor of Lagos state, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Today, Oba Lawal adds another jewel to his crown as he turns 50 years of age, beginning his golden age.
“Oba has many reasons to celebrate today. His enthronement, although very deserving, still came as a surprise to many in the Iru Kingdom and Lagos state at large. However, by every standard, he is deserving and befitting of the historical throne,” said Richard Okanlawon, a businessman and 21-year resident of Victoria Island, a stones throw to the Oba’s palace.
Oba Abdul-Wasiu Lawal is a proven administrator and public servant, with over 25 years’ experience in various positions in Lagos, Nigeria’s capital of commerce. For all these roles, too, he happened to have been outstandingly credentialled. For his role as Commissioner for Agriculture, the Oba was equipped with a degree in Botany from the University of Port Harcourt. And for his role as Commissioner for Housing, he held an Executive MSc in Cities from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
“Oba Abdul-Wasiu Lawal has dedicated a major part of his life to public service, excelling in various roles and ministries over three administrations of state government. There is much promise that comes with his assumption of the throne as Oba of Oniru. There is no doubt the kingdom will see much progress and significant development during his reign,” said an optimistic Dr Tunji Olowolafe, the Lagos-based Physician, Industrialist and Businessman.
As has been widely reported, a young Gbolahan Lawal joined the Nigeria Police Force and was commissioned as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent. Subsequently, he served as Aide-De-Camp (ADC) to former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Upon retirement from the police service, he went on to further prepare himself for public service by enrolling for the post-graduate degree in Violence, Conflict and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. All tallied, observers suggest that Lawal possessed the intuition of a pragmatic optimist, a wise one who could probably predict the future with uncanny accuracy.
“Oba Abdul-Wasiu Lawal epitomises service and dedication,” said Asiwaju BolaTinubu. “As my ADC during my tenure as governor of Lagos state, I relied on his counsel at times then, and I believe he carries the common vision we share for a greater Lagos. He is deserving of the throne and I am confident that he will serve the people of Oniru well in his capacity as Oba.”
To many, including other holders of high office, who foretell a bright, important, and historic future for him, his antecedents in those public offices he once occupied are adequate justification for the high regard in which they hold the new monarch.
“It is my firm belief that the pedigree of the new monarch, who has in his possession an exceptional legacy that cannot be erased from the history of public service in Lagos, having performed outstandingly as Commissioner in the Ministries of Agriculture, and Housing lays credence to the fact that he will bring further positive transformation to the kingdom,” enthused Governor Sanwo-Olu.
The Iru Kingdom encompasses major economic nerve centres of Lagos, including Lekki, Ikoyi, and Victoria Island, and as such is a significant and strategic area in the city. Its political and traditional integrity is important to the stability of the entire state. Ensuring the economic engines and socio-cultural mechanics of the kingdom keep moving and improving is therefore partly the responsibility of the Oniru.
Expectedly, Oba Abdul-Wasiu Lawal has demonstrated that he connects with this key role. As one of a few people who have served in three consecutive administrations in Lagos state as commissioner, he suggests that he has a first-hand understanding of the expectation of a traditional ruler in the scheme of grassroots development in the modern age, especially in a state such as Lagos with a population topping 20 million and ambitions of a global city.
“Our vision is that Iruland will in no distant future rival the likes of Greater New York City in the United States of America. With my experience in public service, I will continue to work with others not only to bring more development to Iru land but the entire state,” said Oba Lawal.
A peace-loving and forward-thinking leader, the Oba has since extended a warm hand of friendship to the other families in the kingdom, proposing a collaboration that could move the kingdom forward. The Oba has vowed to resolve any existing conflicts in the kingdom, and with his new motto: “LET’S GROW IRU LAND TOGETHER”, he appears to have begun walking the talk. If he succeeds in forging an enduring bond with the extended ruling families, he will be one step closer to realising his dream of making Iruland one of the most advanced domains in the world.
In just a short while on the throne, Oba Lawal is proving his choice as Oba to be an exceptionally prudent one. A lot can be achieved when there is peace, and with the continued show of wisdom by His Royal Majesty, it is indeed a golden celebration of what is poised to be a golden reign for Oba Abdul-Wasiu Omogbolahan Lawal.