AKINALE: AN EMERGING DEVELOPMENT HUB IN OGUN
Akinale, 23 kilometres south of Abeokuta on the Abeokuta Lagos axial road, is a former hunting rendezvous of three Owu siblings – Lapeleke, Majeogbe and Akinwale – who migrated from Delesolu compound, Owu, Totoro, Abeokuta to found the settlement. The three brothers were among the stock of Owu bands relocated from the Orile Owu homestead as a result of the conspiratorial pogrom against the Owu people in the war of 1821-1826.
Lapeleke, being a sector commander of the Owu militia in the Egba Allied Forces that checkmated the Dahomey Amazons and other neighbourhood interlopers marauding Abeokuta and the Egba Federation between 1836 and 1843, made Akinale a military base where the militia settled to strategize, hence the foot prints of other Owu heroes such as Awaye Sonlu and Akindele Gbalefa, among others, on ground. Akindele Gbalefa's exploit in the Ado-Odo terrain during the military sojourn was accredited by the colonialists who named a delineated Peninsula in the area after him.
In company of his military sojourners, Lapeleke also exploited the terrain to inaugurate yet another village named after him-Lapeleke-which today has become a pot of wealth for many a soul (Lapeleke Village is one of the nine limestone depositories where the French/Nigerian partnership is extolled through Portland cement manufacturing by Lafarge/WAPCO Plc).
Oba Olufemi Adewunmi Ogunleye, fnipr, JP.,a great grandson of Lapeleke, was installed as the 14th Baale of Akinale in 2004. The veteran journalist and former Public Relations Manager with the defunct Nigerian Airways was subsequently crowned by the Olowu of Owu and Paramount Ruler of Owu Kingdom, Abeokuta, Oba Olusanya Adegboyega Dosunmu, Amororo II, to become the first Coronet in Akinale.
Bearing the royal title of Towulade of Akinale with the alias(s) of Afogunlanafade, Delesolu 1, and Arole Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Ogunleye has transformed the onetime sleeping rural village into a sprawling town, promoting community based self-enterprise via a mix of traditional core values as a design to eliminate poverty in the community.
Resultantly, Akinale and the environs are now provided with amenities such as electricity, pipe-borne water and road network. Economic activities are now rapidly on going with the establishment of cottage industries such as integrated farming scheme, cassava processing factory, truck haulage and micro finance banking, amongst others.
The secular community has been blessed with a modern church which replaces the dilapidated one built in 1921 by the Baptist Mission and a new mosque for the use of the Islamic faithful is under construction. Multiple of new residential houses are springing up to replace derelict mud structures of old as the environment is preparing to host a university complex.
The Palace of Towulade is constantly a beehive of activities every fortnight as it hosts a bi-weekly meeting of Obas and Baales in Ewekoro local government under the auspices of the League of Obas and Baales in Ewekoro Local Government, a forum that ventilates on problems and aspirations of the rural communities on the sub-section of Ogun State with a focus on progressive integration, youth development, peaceful co-existence and economic empowerment.
These noble roles of promoting socio-economic development of the ascribed domain and the extra jurisdictional activities such as peace keeping and settlement of inter and intra clannish conflicts among Diaspora settlers as experienced with the Owu Descendants Union in the UK where Oba Akinale was the messenger of peace from the Owu paramount king are evidence in support of the change that has evolved in our traditional system.
Without prejudice to the assumptive traditional convention and the selective perception on how and who should appoint a coronet in a given locale, the transformation and improvement in the living standard and renaissance of culture and heritage of people experienced within a short period of a coronet over a cluster of rural villages bedecked with poverty and in dearth of portable water, electricity, primary health care and other basics, which, surreptitiously expose the entire population to hunger, waywardness and uncontrollable migration to urban cities, has strengthened the popular rationale that there is need for a paradigm shift on the roles and functions as well as the modus operandi for the appointment and recognition of traditional rulers and governance, if obaship would retain its relevance in our society.
With the completion of the overhead bridge at the intersection of Ijoko/Ota in Sango on the Lagos-Abeokuta dual express road, Akinale, which is 20 minutes leisure drive into Abeokuta, is easily accessible within a short time from Lagos and the adjourning ECOWAS border of Idi-Iroko, making commercial entrepreneurship and tourism rewarding.