The story of a man who saw tomorrow may not only fit into the narrative of the life and times of High Chief Olufemi Patrick Awe the newly crowned Odofin of Okebedo Quarters of Ilawe-Ekiti as he mounted the traditional rostrum on Saturday 13th of November, 2021. He went down memory lane to narrate how he survived as a child after his mother suffered several stillbirths after which his pregnancy matured to full gestation and delivery was unexpectedly heralded by the community folks.
High Chief Olufemi Patrick Awe said in his own words thus, “I was born to late Mr. Lawrence Oni Omo Odofin Awe and Mrs. Elizabeth Awe in the late 1960s. My birth to this family was divinely arranged as my mother had suffered loss of many children in marriages and was frustrated and almost losing hope of having a child of her own.
In the course of finding solution to the problem of having children and losing them abiku, she attended a program of Christ Apostolic on a mountain where she was prayed for and a prophesy of birth was made. The woman of God according to my mother, a prominent hunter from BIG-FAMILY would be the husband and two sons were already waiting and that they would stay and not die like previous ones. At this time, she was out of her last marriage due to loss of a child. She continued to pray for the prominent HUNTER from a big family to surface as she could not start to scout for Him on her own. She is from ADIN quarter and my father is from OKEBEDO. This made the waiting anxiety frustrating for her. When a hunter came for her, she was happy but ran back to the woman of God for confirmation which was negative. She felt bad but had faith in the prophesy of the woman of God. She was introduced to my father by a friend she met at cocoa plugging labour exercise. As it was the case in those days. After confirmation with Prophetess, my father in company of late Olofin Adeyemi Awe went for the marriage. Immediately I was conceived, all that needed to be done were carried out to protect the pregnancy because of the past experiences of my mother on child birth. Immediately I was born, she was assured by all the elders present that I would stay and not do the way of others before me.
I could remember a charm was tied to my neck for this purpose. This gave me a nickname ‘OJO OLOOGUN’ by my peers and friends. I started chewing off the charm gradually when the embarrassment was becoming unbearable. The day I successfully removed the charm by chewing my father and my mother were very happy. I did not know the reason for this until later when I was told that the man made it assured them that if I could successfully remove the charm that fear of death was over.
I got all the attention until my younger brother was born. Growing up in the big Odofin house was full of fun as it was competitive. Every mother wanted her children to excel and be proud of as OMOLUDOFIN. I attended Saint John Primary School, and a pioneer member of ILAWE GRAMMAR SCHOOL. After the completion of my secondary education, I had admission into three higher institutions at the same time, but I opted for Ondo State Polytechnics Owo, now Rufus Giwa Polytechnics where I obtained Higher National Diploma, HND in Hotel, Catering and Tourism Management. I had Post Graduate Diploma PGD in Corporate Governance from National Open University of Nigeria. I had attended many Courses, Seminars and training which qualifies and earned me membership of the following bodies-Nigerian Institution of management, Chartered National Institute of Hotel and Catering Management, Facilities Management Institute et.c .I had worked with Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC)for about 18-years before moving to another Oil and Gas Company-Erotion Exploration and Production Company in 2015 as a Facility Co-ordiantor. I am a Christian-Catholic by birth and I am still serving God as a Minister in Redeemed Christian Church of God my faithin God is strong and Unshakeable. I am married to Mrs. Bunmi Folashade Awe with children.
The journey to Odofin stool started long time ago unknowingly to me. The late Odofin Afolalu was fond of playing with me at any given opportunity and I enjoyed visiting him because being with him was a fun. He sent for me one fateful day and I was happy and looking forward to a nice time with him as usual. He entered his room, upon sighting me and come out with sword like cutlass which he handed over to me. I stood speechless admiring the cutlass but confused as to what it was meant for because . Because it was different from the one used for farming then. I left with the cutlass straight to show the gift to my father who just laughed and rubbed my head with his and instructed me to keep the gift safe. Odofin Afolalu passed on in 1984 and a replacement he had chosen by a gift of horse tail (Irukere) emerged without rancor.
Late Odofin Adeyemi Awe who was installed in 1997 and also passed on to glory in 2017. May the good lord grant the souls of the departed a peaceful repose. I witnessed the reign of Odofin Afolabi as a child and was abreast of all traditional rites especially the eating of New Yam Festival (Odun Ijesu) of interest is the making of announcement for Okebedo meetings at Imogun through the use of iron GONG agogo. I was fully involved. I still remember the chorus “In o ra o lomode ati alagba kinja pade lumogan laaro ola o o o , aseee” . Odofin Afolabi, though a devoted Christian who always woke us up by 5am for prayer everyday he supported other traditional rites for peace and development of Okebedo. His quality representation was first chiefs as the head, Afobaje of Ilawe. His death gave a big blow to the family and a big blow challenge to myself as the journey that started long ago by the gift of sword by Odofin Afolalu resurfaced and started. The demand for a new Odofin was almost immediately unlike the time of the late Odofin Afolalu.
There were lots of consultations, prayers and revelations. I had started getting the feelings of a big responsibility years before the death of Odofin Adeyemi. That People who do not know my background started addressing me as Chief, including my bosses at work place. After the death of late Odofin Adeyemi Awe , family met and their findings also pointed at my direction. The late Adofin Adeyemi had already told his wife his successor years before his demise. This was documented the gift of that cutlass (sword) by late Odofin Afolalu in the 1970s was symbolic. This is my story so far. My grandfather Odofin Awe Ifarua, to his brother Odofin Afolalu and to the immediate past Odofin Adeyemi Awe, Okebedo progress has been numbered one priority in there minds during their reigns. I shall strive to build on their achievements and bring in new innovations and ideas of modern governance that will usher in tremendous progress, peace and unity of Okebedo and Ilawe in general. God help me. Orile Okebedo a a gbe a o o, Ase.”
The celebration ceremony that accompanied the proper crowning of High Chief Olufemi Patrick Awe as the Odofin Okebedo Quarters of Ekiti was heralded with fun fare from friends and well-wishers including his former co-workers in Shell Petroleum Development Company SPDC and other Oil and Gas companied where he had worked. From Port Harcourt and South-South geopolitical region came his loyal associates and former bosses who had proclaimed him a High chief before November 13th, 2021 when they all witnessed his elevation to the traditional stool of ODOFIN OKEBEDO QUARTERS ILAWE EKITI.