Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu 1st of Lagos, also known as the Eleko of Eko, has revealed many things about men and women that will surprise you!
Oba Rilwan, who was the assistant inspector general of police before he retired in 2002, was crowned King of Lagos on May 23, 2003. In this new interview with the Sun, the Oba revealed how he met his first wife 50 years ago and how he thinks no man can stick with just one woman. He explained how a man can sleep with anyone, whether it is his sister, maid, his son's wife and many more! This interview will blow your mind!
Read excerpts below:
How does it feel like to be a king?
First, I have to thank Almighty Allah that out of all the qualified princes , it pleased God Almighty to put me in a position of trust, integrity and honour.
When did you become king and how?
The stool became vacant as a result of the demise of my father, Oba Adeyinka Oyekan II who joined his ancestors on March 7th 2003. The race began and I emerged as the preferred prince to rule. I thank God for that.
Can you explain how this town came into existence?
Lagos is partly Yoruba and partly Benin. The matriarch was an Awori, a Yoruba, and the patriarch was a descendant of an Oba of Benin. In those days, Eko was Eko before the advent of the Portuguese adventurers who came and named it Lago de Curamo, which means land near the water. There is a town in Portugal called Lagos. They named this place after their Lagos over there. They assisted in rebuilding the throne room and that is why it’s called Iga. The palace is a place of pride and honour. The custodian of the throne must be very frank, have goodwill, be absolutely honest and love his subjects because anything he says will come to pass.
How do you relate with Christians in your domain?
Christianity is a religion of peace. Even the Bible in Luke 2:10 says “Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” When you say God do this for me, you should do something which will move Him to do it for you. I know what’s in the Bible, the Quran and the tradition. No one can deceive me. There is a difference between traditional religion and paganism. I am not a pagan. I don’t worship anything because there is no reward in it but the inherited tradition will always be there.
How many shrines and gods are in your domain?
It depends on what you call shrines. The word used in the Quran and Bible is deity. The deities are many because there is one for each family . “Some not so good Muslims or Christians” can swear by the Quran or Bible after an offence but the native divinities, the Sango and Oya worshippers dare not do it. They will see the result instantly. In Mecca, they say whoever enters and puts his chest down becomes a messenger of truth if you observe what you are told there.
Last September, when we finished prayers, I prayed for myself, my family, my people, Lagos and Nigeria. As a sign of acceptance from God Almighty, there was a downpour . When I tell people something, I am not a reservoir of knowledge but it will come to pass. You will see what will happen in the coming elections. I don’t know how to deceive people and I don’t tell lies.
Do you participate in all events concerning the deities?
Like the Eyo, its’ just the pride of Lagos. Mo yo fun e. You see, any society without tradition is better dead. When you go to your father’s grave to pray, there is nothing wrong with that, but if you go and sacrifice a human being , it’s a no-no. That stopped when the British came into the country. I tell even my chiefs, there is nothing like human sacrifice in the palace. It’s gone and gone forever.
Do you believe that if a person goes to the grave of a late parent and prays, the prayer will be answered?
You see, there are many schools of thought but when you go to Mecca, it’s written in black and white “don’t ask anything from the dead.” There is nothing they can do for you but if you pray to the Almighty Allah, all will be well.
What course did you study ?
I am a Lawyer by profession. I’m a member of the legal profession. We are learned but you are just educated. That’s the difference between us. I attended Ansar-ud-Deen School and University of Lagos.
What were you before you ascended the throne?
I was a police officer. I retired in 2002 as a result of the intrigues of Obasanjo, Atiku, the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission and Daura, a DIG. They were looking for every opportunity to get rid of all south west governors and some top police officers.
Atiku took their names to the office of former President Obasanjo, asked for a plain sheet from a top officer, wrote their names and requested they should all be retired. In fairness to Obasanjo, he didn’t know me and he only approved it and sent it back. Somebody who was a senior officer in the Presidency said “Aha , Baba, why should this one happen? Just a few weeks ago, you were watching television and praising this officer for his gallantry during the riot against some Igbos and now, you did this.” Obasanjo said he didn’t know anybody on the list given to him and submitted by Atiku. In the first place, what Obasanjo did was wrong. In fact, one of my in-laws, a Justice, insisted I took him to court. Obasanjo had no right to sit down in his office and order our resignation. Daura acted that way as a result of bitterness. He wanted to become I.G but God did not give it to him. He knew I played a prominent role in the appointment of the I.G. It was God who did it. The incumbent Awujale of Ijebu land, Sikiru Adetona supported it; the late Mrs. Akinjide supported it. But Daura and other people felt it should not be so, because he wanted to become the I.G and I told him immediately in the presence of some people that he will not succeed . I don’t hide things.
Then, the present Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, served me my retirement letter. When he came to my house, I was having breakfast. And I asked was it not the letter? He was shocked! The other two people he had met argued with him. I read the letter and I asked him if he knew whether this would serve as a door to greater things for me. He was shocked. I signed and even gave him N10,000 before he left.
How do you cope with your duties as king and still run your businesses?
There’s nothing wrong with it. Let me tell you, my salary as Oba of Lagos is not up to N150,000 monthly, but before I became king, God blessed me. I know people and I have my legitimate business but you will never see my hand in fraud. I will never do it and that is the way I brought my children up. I also make sure I pay tax.
Can you participate in politics?
It depends on what you call politics. The mere fact that I am Oba of Lagos is politics on its own. The administration of Lagos State was taken from Iga Idugaran to the colonial masters who later transferred it to them. That’s why there is the title of Olowo Eko. One of my predecessors was Oluwole, whose oriki is Oluwole Ajangele. Bo lo logun eru, ayansin lo fi sin, o ba ni iwofa ogbon Oluwole o toro aso lowo omo, ayanfe o toro ewu borun Ajangele. Any holder of the office of Oba of Lagos from time immemorial, is adored . One has to be very thankful to God Almighty and be just to his people.
Where and when did you meet your wife?
I met her over 50 years ago in Isale Eko here. You see, there is no handsome, rich, young man who does not like women. That a man likes a woman is different from a man who cannot do without women. When you see a man who cannot do without women, he can sleep with anyone. His sister, maid, his son’s wife, daughter, colleague, niece, any woman.
What attracted you to your first wife and why did you take a second wife?
Beauty and everything.
Any man who says he has one wife is deceiving himself. All those who say they have one wife have mistresses outside. I am going to be 72 now and I cherish beautiful women and nobody can stop me. I like women and I can’t do without women are two different things.
That time, I was a policeman. She came for sports. She is the daughter of the late Sir Olateru Olagbegi and was very jealous. I told her what’s wrong with you, your father married 40 wives. The man was a fantastic man. I liked him. I have many women friends now. I can marry more wives now. There’s nothing they can do. If I ask them and they go with me, good. If not, good luck.
Have you ever commandeered a lady?
I will start from you. Tell your husband if his Ade has Wale, he should marry another wife and leave you to me.
No o Kabiyesi. I am not ready to die yet…
There is no person who wants to die but no matter what. It is a decree from heaven. We all will go one day. Live everyday of your life as if you will go tomorrow. I am not afraid of death. Do well to people. Be open. Let people know you for who you are. You can sleep and you don’t get up. That’s why the Quran says which of the favour of the Almighty Allah can we deny? None. You see, all these major people in the country, give them 10 years and they will not be relevant again. Where are those of yesterday? That’s why I swear that by God’s grace, Ambode will become governor of Lagos. You see Jimi Agbaje, is my close relative. His father’s mother is from the Shokun Onilegbale Royal family of Lagos and I told him in clear language that he cannot get it . If anybody attempts to do any magomago, that is what will take all of them. God knows to whom He will give the Presidency but for this Lagos governorship, it’s Ambode.
Do the Queens perform their duties routinely?
(Surprised) Aha (pauses) Aha. The Holy Quran says your wives are your partners. You have three main duties. Feeding, clothing and teaching them the right way and perform your duty as their husband . So you don’t tell them “I want you today, you, your turn is tomorrow? You want to know? Come and live with us in the palace.
Who’s your favourite among them?
All of them make me happy because they know I am a no-nonsense man and nobody can predict what I will do. They call me Aseyiwu Eledumare and I say I am not Eledumare. Even among my children, I have no favorite. If you have a son who makes you happy, why will you not like him? The child who does not make you happy, pray to God and try to correct him. You see, I have no friend, I have no enemy. That’s what I was doing with my son Tinubu. You see Tinubu and Fashola are special blessings to Lagos. All the people who contested are all my children.
What do you think about the Boko Haram menace?
You see this Boko Haram issue, Almighty Allah help all of us. If there was restraint when Babangida formed the National Guard, they would have crushed Boko Haram and if the Mobile Force had been equipped as they should have been, we won’t be in this national crisis. I have told them times without number, we need a national security policy. I called the late General Owoye Azazi of blessed memory more than five times to tell him our security policy has to be overhauled.
As the tide is changing and the world is moving, you do the same. If you see what package the National Guard came up with and had the Moblie Police Force been Equipped the way it should as suggested by the late Iduma Amonisu and some of us who were commanders, this would not have happened.
Do you believe Tinubu “caused the rot in Lagos” as some people say?
Bola Tinubu is a human being. He has his own faults but he was the one who gave us the deliverance required in Lagos. Lagos shall never be second place in this nation.
What’s your favorite food?
If you become my wife, you will know.
Do you drink alcohol?
I drink Irish cream, Baileys and Campari with ice blocks.
What attire do you feel most comfortable in?
I feel okay in any outfit or complete attire. When I am home, I wear Kaftan.
What’s your happiest moment?
When I became a king and when I am defending my people. Becoming a king has been my dream since 1984 and God made it a reality for me.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Nothing worries me, so I cannot feel embarrassed
Your favorite holiday spot?
Your favorite quotes?
Sayings of the Holy Prophet Mohammed
I am an all rounder. No favorite.
What are the funniest things you do since you became king?
The funniest thing I do is telling people what they are, telling them the truth!
What are the sports or activities you cannot do without?
Table tennis and swimming. I go to some of the clubs like Ikoyi Club, Boat Club and the Officer’s Mess.
How much time do you spend with your children daily?
I encourage my children to live outside the palace. When children are growing up, they want to enjoy the honour and glamour of the palace but I told them it will not be possible. The child of a king today might become the younger brother of a king tomorrow. I saw what happened to some of my leader’s children. There was one of them born in the palace and he spent over thirty years there.
When it was time for him to leave, he started smashing cars there, asking where he would go. He was born there. As for my grand children, I always make sure I take them to the Boat Club twice or thrice a month and I stay with them. During summer, I make them attend their lessons and take Arabic studies. Out of ten weeks, they spend eight studying. The remaining two they go outside. Four days to resumption day, they come back looking fresh. I make sure I visit them after a month or two, I play with them and I enjoy going out with them. Sometimes, I go out twice or thrice a week to the Boat Club with the children to have salad with shredded fish or shredded chicken.
What do you despise?
Lies and deceit. If you commit the worst crime and you tell me the truth, before heaven and earth, I will forgive you.
If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
My quick temper. I still pray to God to help me on that one.
What virtue do you value most in people?
Honesty, bravery, courage, chivalry, empathy, punishing and correcting those who do wrong, being God-fearing and beauty.
How would you describe yourself?
I will describe myself as a special, blessed person by Almighty Allah. It may be because of the name given to me by my parents, Riliwanu which means, Eyonu Olohun. I lost my mother when I was nine and my father when I was 11 and here I am today. All thanks to God Almighty.
Who are those you are grateful to?
I’m grateful to Almighty Allah for my people, the chiefs, some friends, Ahmed Bola Tinubu and other people who influenced my ascension to the throne. I am very grateful to them but I will not be a rubber stamp.
How would you want to be remembered?
As a forthright person, always ready to help those who genuinely are in need and truthful. I’m not a reservoir of knowledge but I will tell people the truth as I know it. I won’t lie.
What do you mean punishing and correcting offenders?
If a person does something wrong, you find out if the person did it mistakenly or deliberately. If it was a mistake, correct the fellow. If the person did it purposely and you correct the first, second and third time, then you can do as you wish to punish the fellow.
If Ambode is elected governor of Lagos State, what specific infrastructural projects would you want him to pursue with vigour?
First, plan and leave the rest in the hands of Almighty Allah. I am aware of what he has been able to do before, particularly the financial engineering he did for us when the former president Olusegun Obasanjo unlawfully and unconstitutionally withheld Lagos State funds. That made me to have a lot of respect for him and I know that he is the hope of Lagos State and Nigeria.
What’s your view on the pending Petroleum Industry Bill?
I believe the National Assembly is working hard to ensure passage of the bill. I am using this medium to appeal to Nigerians to make it work.
It will be recalled that just recently, the Oba of Lagos warned the newly posted assistant inspector of police to the Lagos Zone, Joseph Mbu, that Lagos people will resist any act of intimidation from the police.