The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo has installed Chief Suarau Bankole, the father of former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole as the new Apena Egbaland.
The monarch installed Bankole at his palace in the presence of the Osile of Oke-Ona,Oba Adedapo Tejuoso and the Olowu of Owu, Oba Prof. Saka Matemilola.
The event had in attendance two former governors of the state, Segun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel and the immediate-past Nigerian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Sarafa Isola among others.
The Apena is the secretary to the government in Egbaland, the mouthpiece, the representative of Egba Alake section in that government because all the others represented certain interests.
Speaking during the installation, Osoba said the new Apena was the right choice for the exalted chieftaincy position in Egbaland .
The former governor said the choice of Bankole was a payback time for him,following his contributions to the Egba traditional council.
Osoba recalled Bankole’s roles during the process that led to the emergence of Oba Gbadebo as the 10th Alake of Egbaland.
Also speaking,Daniel described Bankole as a man of integrity.
Th former governor added that the new Apena of Egbaland is competent and would be helpful to the Egba traditional council.
In his remarks, after he was installed Bankole pledged to be loyal to the Alake and accord respect to other rulers in Egbaland.
He said “I want to assure you that we are going to work together. We will ensure peace.
“I promise to be loyal and to all the Obas I will respect them.”
Speaking on the significance of the tittle, Bankole said the first person who occupied the position of Apena between 1898 and 1919 was his great-grandfather.
The new Apena said he had rejected the offer a few years ago for some reasons which include th favt that the just passed away Apena of Egbaland was his younger classmate in elementary school.
He said, I am about a year and a half older than he was. When he was to be appointed, the authorities that be in the palace then wanted me. But for two reasons, I couldn’t take the position.
“The constitution clearly mandates that the position be rotated within two royal houses. Chief Toye Coker was my cousin, and he came from my own ruling house.”
In his inaugural address, the new Apena expressed concern over insecurity in Egbaland most especially kidnapping incidents.
He said it’s sucidal for any traditional ruler to allow kidnappers to operate freely within his territory.
“It’s suicidal for any oba to allow kidnappers in their area. From now on, you have to be very careful. If I have my way and Kabiyesi allows me, any oba who allows kidnappers to operate in his area will be arrested because you know about them.
“There is no way you can not know about people living in your area,” he said.
The Apena called on the traditional rulers to be ready to work with Alake, a retired military officer, in order to get rid of criminals from Egbaland.
He also asked the youths to wake up and sustain the records of the Egbas in leadership positions.
“To you, Egba youths, it is time to go to work. Gone were the days that we claimed that the best lawyer was from Egbaland, the president from Egbaland, the speaker from Egbaland, what are we doing to keep such records going? So, the youths, let’s wake up and make sure we keep the flag flying,” Bankole said.
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