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Sanwo-Olu installs former commissioner as monarch

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has installed Gbolahan Lawal as the 15th Iru Kingdom of Oniru, in a simple ceremony which held at the Oniru Palace, Victoria Island on Sunday.

In a statement made available on Lagos State Government website,  while installing the new traditional ruler, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the event heralded a new dawn and an era of prosperity in the kingdom.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that Governor Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, appointed his former commissioner for agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, as the new monarch of Iruland.

Mr Lawal resigned his position as a commissioner on Thursday to pick up the new role.

According to the statement, the Oniru installation came two days after the State’s Executive Council approved the selection of Lawal, the immediate past Commissioner for Agriculture, who was nominated for the traditional stool by the Abisogun clan of the large Oniru dynasty.

Presenting the monarch to the Governor for formal installation, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Wale Ahmed, notes that the process of selecting the new Oniru was fair and open to all contestants. He said the choice of Lawal was well received by kingmakers and citizens of the kingdom.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who described the monarch as a seasoned technocrat and distinguished administrator of international repute, said Lawal’s ascension on the throne marked the next phase of Irú journey to the future.

The Governor admonished citizens and residents of the kingdom to rally behind the new king in order to move the city forward. He urged Lawal’s opponents and aggrieved individuals to put the event of Oniru’s selection behind them and join hand with the new king for progress.

Sanwo-Olu pointed out that Iru land had grown in leaps and bounds in the previous decades to become one of the economic nerve-centres in Lagos, assuring the monarch of the State Government’s support towards the realisation of his vision for the kingdom.

The Governor said the future of Iru Kingdom looked bright and promising, given the leadership credentials of its new monarch. He said Lawal’s performance as Commissioner under three administrations in the State and his legacy in the Ministries of Agriculture, and Housing stood him out as one who will bring further positive transformation to the kingdom.

Sanwo-Olu said: “My administration will continue to accord this part of the State, like all others, the attention it deserves, in terms of infrastructure, economic empowerment, human capital development, and security.

There is no doubt that the future of Iru Kingdom continues to be bright and promising as it begins the next phase under Oba Lawal.”

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Governor of the State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who sent his greetings to the new king through Gov. Sanwo-Olu, eulogised Lawal for his leadership qualities, praying his reign would usher in peace and prosperity in the kingdom.

Chairman of Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs, the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, said the event that led to Lawal’s installation as the 15th Oniru was ordained by God and was done in fulfilment of the wishes of the kingdom’s founding fathers.

Akiolu, who went into the history of the kingdom, said the monarch was duly nominated and qualified for the position, having been a descendant of Aromire through Abisogun clan.

Having successfully ascended the Iru stool, Oba Akiolu advised the new Oniru to extend an arm of fellowship to his opponents to move the kingdom forward. He urged Lawal to adopt an open-door policy in directing the affairs of the kingdom but admonished him not to tolerate advice that may promote division and cause friction among his subjects.

Akiolu said: “As you are ascending the throne of your forefathers, I pray that your reign shall be long-lasting. Now, you are the king, I urge all sons and daughters of this kingdom to join hands with you to move this land forward.

“I advise you to personally make an effort and gather all members of the ruling houses and citizens for the sake of unity. You must extend an open arm to everyone so that you can leave the Iru Kingdom better than you met it. However, you must be careful with those that will flock around you as advisers. Don’t tolerate advice that may cause division in your kingdom.”

In his acceptance remark, Oba Lawal, noted that his ascension to the throne was the icing on his public service career and came 85 years after any member of the Abisogun Ruling house ascended the throne.

The monarch praised Governor Sanwo-Olu for approving his selection while hailing Asiwaju Tinubu, for years of mentoring in leadership and administration. He waved the olive branch to his opponents and promised to pursue an open-door policy in leading the kingdom.

He said: “Iruland is central to the commerce and economic development of Lagos. I want to assure all that Iruland will continue to accommodate business development on all fronts, and remain home for all tribes, and races.

“With my experience in public service, I will continue to work with others not only to bring more development to Iruland but the entire State. I promise to live the rest of my life for my people.”

Oba Lawal started his public service career as a police officer and retired as Assistant Superintendent of Police. He served three consecutive administrations in the State as a Commissioner in the Ministries of Housing and Agriculture.

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