‘God himself made me a king’ – Oba Tejuoso
The Osile of Oke Ona Egba in Ogun State, His Royal Majesty, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, Karunwi III, in an interview with PUNCH, talks about life as a Christian king, the history of the community and the custom of the Egbas.
The king also talks about how God walks him through every challenges he should have faced till he became a king.
Here is a part of the interview on how the king wouldn’t have become a King if God haven’t been with him all through.
As the only child, and being a male, has it always been clear to you that you would one day be a king?
Let me answer your question this way; I have never for once called myself a prince. If I was aware, everybody would be calling me Prince. What you didn’t know about me is that God has been ordering my steps for a long time. When I was about 35 years of age, my predecessor fell ill and was admitted at the hospital. That day, some of my friends and I were discussing in front of my hospital in Lagos and one of them just said our king (the then Osile) was ill in the hospital, and that if anything happened to him, I could be called to become king. I asked them how on earth anybody would call me to become the king, at 35. I told them if I was called, I wouldn’t answer. I felt at the age of 35, what have I done that I would become a king? Assuming I was 50, I would understand and maybe I would go but at 35, they should forget it. The king got better, he was discharged from the hospital and he went home. The king did not die until I clocked 50 years and four months. The minute they told me about his death, I said Oh my God! What have I walked myself into? That was how I got to this seat. Indirectly, you can say I prolonged the life of that Oba. If I had said that I would accept it at the age of 35, he would have gone. I didn’t know I was making a pronouncement about myself that I would do it when I clock 50. There was no excuse again, because I knew I had committed myself by the words of my mouth, unknowingly. And as a principle, my word is my bond, so, I became king and I came to Ipebi at the age of 51. I was running my hospital and I was into business then.
Sometimes, there are prophecies before one could become a king, was there any in your own case?
There were prophecies but they were all towards the time I was to become a king. One day, there was a prophecy that came to me that I would be invited to become a chief but that I shouldn’t take the chieftaincy. They said it would be like a trap. It didn’t mean much to me. But soon after, my uncle, who was the second in command (Oluwo) to the Oshile, unknowingly told me a vacancy was existing in Ile Ogboni Ago Oko. That vacant position was the Lisa of Ago Oko, who was supposed to be next to the Oluwo, my uncle. He wanted me to come and fill that position. He sent for me in Lagos because they wanted me to occupy the position, so when I met him, that message struck me. That my uncle was my late father’s elder brother, so I couldn’t afford to say no outright, just like that.
What did you do then?
I thanked him and told him to allow me get home and tell my mother about it. Of course, I knew there and then that I wouldn’t take it. When I got home, I told my mother about it and I had earlier told her about the prophecy. So, she was the one who contacted my uncle to say no. Soon after that, another prophecy came. About five of us were praying at home in Surulere and the lead prophet in the prayer group said he could see that it was time for Dapo (myself) to go and take the mantle of leadership that David left behind his door and put it on. I’m Karunwi the third. David was Karunwi Shokunbi Farounwi the second. He was the one killed on the throne. He spent 14 years on the throne before he was killed. That prophecy said God said it was time for me to go and pick it up. It was soon after that that prophecy came that I would be called to be a king and that I should accept it. It happened that all the predictions came to pass. I told God if He was the one who called me to be king, I asked him to do me one or two favours. I didn’t want to go and beg or bribe anybody for me to become a king. I added about two other things that I can’t remember now. Throughout, I didn’t have cause to go and lobby or beg anybody. The trap that first prophecy spoke about was that if I had taken the position of Lisa, I would become a kingmaker, and a kingmaker is not supposed to become a king. That was the trap. And that may not have been obvious to my uncle who invited me to come and be the Lisa. He felt very disappointed when I didn’t accept.
Does it mean there was no serious contest?
God had already set everything in place. My mother was the head of the family of the ruling house that was to present the king and she was Iyalode of Egbaland. Initially, four people were nominated, and when the divination was done, the chief priest said one of them was good but that there was another person that was better and they should look for him. The four people were the princes that were from the male line. So, they threw it open to say princes from the female line should be allowed. I’m from the female line, so I joined. One Prof. Soboyejo and some others also joined, and we were seven. They went to consult the oracle again and found that mine was the best, even better than the one from the previous four, and that I should be chosen. After the Ifa divination, it was only my name that was presented to the family. God did that, and He perfected His work. I believe God knew that it was me He wanted to be there. We left there and went to the kingmakers. Only my name was presented to the kingmakers. It was virtually a walk through. Where did I have to start lobbying? No need. God had perfected His work, because He knew what He wanted me to come and do here, and I had not done anything yet. What God has in plan for us in Egbaland and Oke Ona, we will all live to see in Jesus name.
You were already a Christian before you ascended the throne. Did it prick your heart that some of the things you would go through during the rituals were against your faith?
Before I came to Ipebi, God had also sent a message to me that anything they do or anything they asked me to do at Ipebi, I should do it. He (God) was with me. When I got to Ipebi, they started all the rituals. My teacher, Olomodosin, who wrote the Oshile’s anthem, was already the provost of St. Peters. The minute he heard I was coming here to be the king; he started the Morning Prayer there every day – Monday to Friday. And the rituals were going on in Ipebi. But God had told me I should go ahead. A few days later, somebody came and said he saw a vision that I was in black all through. At that time, I was not as close to God as I am today. So, all these things didn’t have meanings to me. But I know that if you say God said and you are telling lie, it’s your fault, not mine. But I would do what you say God said I should do, if it tallies with the bible. So, everything they did in Ipebi, I did. After about two months, another message came to me that God said He had removed the black dress on me and I was covered in white.
Since God speaks to you, did He tell you why he wanted you to go through the rituals?
Much later in life, I discovered why God wanted me to go through all the things I went through. God wanted to show me the secret of the people who would wish to frighten me in the future. If I didn’t know their secret, all the things they would use to frighten me, God had allowed them to open the secret to me. And they are the same people now fighting me that I’m doing God’s work. Of course, all their secrets I know. There is hardly any other secret they can use against me that I have not gone through. I believe God’s purpose was for me to go and learn what the traditionalists were doing, so that it would be useful for me in the future and it has been very useful.
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