Adeniyi Adeola Ajakaiye, a man who oozes royalty from both sides of his family tree and yet has opted for a life of humility and service to humanity and to God.
Indeed, Adeniyi is an embodiment of nobility from both sides of his family tree. He was born into the Oketagidigidi ruling house in Iyin Ekiti. His grandfather was the Oyinyosaiye Uyin 1 and his father is late Prince Israel Adeyoju Ajakaiye. His mother is late Chief (Mrs) Henrietta Folorunso Ajakaiye (Nee Agbaje) of the Ologbosere Aragbo Oketoro quarters in Iyin Ekiti who was until her death the Olori Olori of Iyin Ekiti.
His primary education was at the foremost All Saints School at Iyin Ekiti, where his father served meritoriously as Headmaster for many years. From there he gained admission to the prestigious and highly-venerated Christ School, Ado-Ekiti, and then off to one of Nigeria’s Ivy League universities, the University of Ife (Now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Sciences.
He proceeded to the University of Ilorin, where he bagged a Master’s Degree. Adeniyi has two post-graduate Diplomas to show for his endless quest for knowledge: Diploma in financial management (PGDFM) and Diploma in computer data processing/Management Information. He is also a member of Nigeria Institute of Management (MNIP) and Associate Member of the Certified Pension Institute (ACIP).
Adeniyi has a wealth of professional and administrative experience both in the private and the public sectors. After his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme with Steel Works Limited at Oluyole Estate, Ibadan, Oyo State, between 1983 and 1984 as an Administration/Account Officer, he started his working career with the Lagos State School Management Board in 1985 as a class teacher, helping to mentor future leaders. From there, he proceeded to the Ondo State Civil Service in 1989 as an Audit Officer, where he was responsible for personnel audit inspection and verification of government projects, among others.
He subsequently joined the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund as Senior Manager in charge of operations, with responsibility for compliance and administrative duties, a position in which he had to traverse the North Central, Southwest and South East. He was briefly engaged as the General Manager of Sight and Sound Limited, Global Polls Consult Limited, where he was responsible for the efficient operations and management of the organisation; appointed the General Manager in charge of Public Affairs at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in 2005; worked briefly as Director of Operation at Cannonball Media between 2007 and 2008; appointed the Managing Director Consolidated Alliance Nigeria Limited between 2008 and 2009; and then fortuitously reappointed to FAAN, this time on a higher pedestal, as Director of Administration, between 2009 and 2011.
He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Hengrade Ventures, the position he held from 2011 to date. Adeniyi has attended several seminars, workshop and training programmes within and outside the country, including the United States of America, United Kingdom, Kenya, Singapore, Botswana, Senegal and Gabon.
Adeniyi, the royalty whose assignment is servant hood, has indeed lived up to the billing. The eagerness to serve humanity saw him joining, as a foundation member, the prestigious e-11 club, a group of professionals of Ekiti State origin who are dedicated to service. While serving in FAAN, he employed at the Authority over 25 Iyin sons and daughters. Charity, they say, begins at home. That explains why Adeniyi has made sure that he participates fully at all Iyin day celebrations, contributes immensely to the progress and development of Iyin at various levels, and serves prominently as a member of Eminent club, Iyin Ekiti.
He is also a member of the Ikoyi Club 1938 and Club Triumph, both in Lagos. For Adeniyi, a humble royalty and a devout Christian who is happily married to his beautiful and dutiful wife, and is blessed with children and grandchildren, his best years of service are still ahead.
INTERVIEW WITH PRINCE ADENIYI ADEOLA AJAKAIYE, A CONTESTANT TO THE STOOL OF OLUYIN OF IYIN EKITI
As many as seven male children from the ruling house have indicated their interest in occupying the coveted throne of the Oluyin of Iyin Kingdom in the Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government in Ekiti State.
It is however natural that only one of these prominent contestants will eventually sit on the throne that was last occupied by the Late eminent jurist, the Late Oba Justice John Ademola Ajakaiye, one time Administrator of the National Judicial Commission, and pioneer Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General in the old Ondo State, before he ascended the throne as the Oluyin of Iyin-Ekiti, where he reigned for fourteen years before he joined his ancestors on the 20th of September, 2019.
To be sure, the succession battle as it were, is on in the community which is the gateway to Ado, the state capital coming from Lagos. And none of the claimants is taking things lying low. Prince Adeniyi Adeola Ajakaiye who is considered a front runner in the race in an interactive session with a group of reporters share his vision to turn the sleepy agrarian community into a bustling Agro-industrial and huge food market within a short time if God gives him the grace to ascend the throne. Excerpts:
How long have you been dreaming of occupying the throne?
No, it is not a matter of dreaming; it is by right of birth. Any male child born in the Oketagidigidi Royal Family is entitled to vie for the stool, so I am qualified.
What are the three things you will make your priorities when you ascend the throne?
By the grace of God, if I get the nod of my people to be their Oba, my first task shall be the restoration of peace and harmony within the community of Iyin Kingdom. Then the security of lives and property of the indigenes and residents in the whole kingdom, will be the next.
And I will ensure that our sons and daughters feel this necessary sense of belonging that encourages them to come and invest at home, especially in the establishment of cottage business ventures in the agriculture sector. We are already receiving assurances from some of our people in the Diaspora.
What is your vision for the youths, especially in the face of the issue of unemployment in the nation?
The youths occupy a very special place in my heart. Apart from the popular saying that they are the leaders of tomorrow, I see them as the reflection of what it was like when growing up. In our days, our elders provided us mentorship, the necessary encouragement to give us direction, and that helped much in making us the successful adults that we are today.
We shall provide the right leadership that will encourage their interest in education, and upon graduation, Iyin sons and daughters in positions of influence will be encouraged to provide them the required mentorship, assist them in securing employment while some of them will be engaged in the business enterprises to be established in the different quarters in the town. Modern agricultural practice will be encouraged so that youths who want to go into agricultural will enjoy patronage from the town and surrounding communities.
The peaceful environment to be created will attract investors as well as consumers to the town and the various interactions will provide the required means of positive and profitable engagements for the youths.
Where would you want to see Iyin Kingdom in the first three years of your reign?
Rome, as you know was not built in a day, but with the help of God and the co-operation of a united citizenry, the place will easily become the envy of the neighboring communities.
The process of building relationship which our revered late Kabiyesi had commenced before going to join his ancestors will be pursued with vigour because it is our belief that rapid development can only take place where there is unity, and peaceful co-existence by various interests in a society.
And where there is the fear of God and the palace does not unduly favour any particular interest against others, then the socio-economic growth of such a community will be guaranteed.
There is also the added advantage of the dual carriage road from Ado, the State capital being construction by the Ekiti State government which will be leveraged to boost the economic growth of Iyin because it will take less than five minutes to get here from Ado-Ekiti when completed. It will even make a lot of sense for many people to reside here and go to work in the State capital. As a matter of fact, the State secretariat will be closer to Iyin than to most parts of the capital.
We shall also develop Odo-Uro settlement to an –all- year round food market to draw customers from far and near to buy food and crops, in and out of season. The place as it is presently, has registered itself in the consciousness of travelers going and coming from Abuja and other northern cities for the purchase of yams and other farm products.
We will approach government to provide it with infrastructural facilities and social amenities that will encourage residents there to be more productive and expand their trades. All these are achievable within a short time as we intend to use our already established good will to get things done in this direction.
What will be your message to those contesting the throne with you?
Very simple, that it is not a do- or- die affair. No need for indecent desperation over who becomes an Oba. God already knows who will benefit the people most and He will give the crown to the person. All the contestants are brothers from the same Ruling House, and once someone has been picked to become the Oluyin, we shall all remain sons of Oketagidigidi, and bonafide indigenes of Iyin Ekiti.
There is no doubt that our revered Kingmakers will carry out their roles with required sense of history, and the fear of God, and that the government will play its constitutional role transparently, with that done, Iyin people will be happy at the end of the exercise as whoever is approved will enjoy unquestionable legitimacy and the co-operation from all Iyin sons and daughters at home and in the Diaspora.
What philosophy drives you in life?
Live and let’s live. I am a lover of peace and I have allowed this to guide me everywhere I find myself.