The Canary Icon of the Quarter: Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi

Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi

Oba Saheed Elegushi was born on the 10th of April, 1976 to the family of His Royal Majesty Oba Yekini Adeniyi Elegushi and Olori Sinat Titilayo Elegushi.

The month of April known as “Igbe” in Yoruba calendar, is very important to the family of Kusenla of Elegushi Kingdom.  Late Oba Yekini Eleghusi was born on the 10th April, 1940, while his son, Oba Saheed Elegushi was also born on the 10th April, 1976 and he succeeded his father, and became Oba of Elegushi Kingdom on the 27 of April 2010.  But beyond the April wand is the fact that the current Elegushi is appropriate to be called Atobatele, ko to joba. His communal grandfather Dauda Fasanya Elegushi who was the 19th Elegushi (1945-1991) bestrode the Lagos high class society to his satisfaction.  Although, Chief Dauda Elegushi could not transform his dukedom to a kingdom, he was arguably the most visible and popular Idejo Chief during his time. It is also not trite to say that he laid the foundation for the emergence of Elegushi kingdom.

Late Oba Yekini Adeniyi Elegushi, the 20th Elegushi was already an industrious prince by 1976 when Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi was born. The birth of Oba Saheed Elegushi put appropriateness to the establishment of a dynasty even though the kingdom, was by that period, an idea.

The then little Saheed Ademola stayed with his mother at number 181 Bamgbose Street on Lagos Island. His mother, who is a retired Police Officer later changed her name from Elizabeth to Sinat Titilayo Elegushi in compliance with the requirements of the culture and religion of her husband, late Oba Yekini Elegushi.

Education in Lagos was dominated largely by the missionaries who had established vast primary education networks to act as pools for their secondary schools. This monopoly was broken by the incursion of the Ahmadiyyah later Ansar-Ur-Deen Society of Nigeria into education of Muslim Children in Lagos and beyond.  The interventions by various Muslim societies in the education of Muslim children (without losing their religions identity) did not totally prevent the enrolment of Muslim children in Christian schools.  The result often is the clash of culture and civilization, between Christian education and their Islamic faith.

Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi grew up in this cultural milieu, attending a Faith- based primary school at Saint Mathias from 1982-1988, where he cultivated friends who were non-Muslims and he himself continued to sink deeper with the Christian faith and followed the Roman Catholic denomination because his close friends were in church services like altar boys, choirs, etc.  It was not long that Oba Saheed Elegushi changed his name to Richard and he was popularly known as “Richie” amongst his peers.  In fact, the Young Prince was about to have a faith confirmation of “Richard” as his name when his father Oba Yekini Elegushi got wind of this and stopped him, and re-channeled his religious values towards Islam and he reverted to “Saheed”.

Oba Saheed Elegushi also attended Methodist Boys High School (MBHS) Lagos, from 1988 – 1994.  MBHS is one of the very prestigious secondary schools in Lagos; others are Saint Gregory’s College, King’s College and a few others. All of these schools are first choices of quality secondary education in Lagos Island even till date.   While at the MBHS, Oba Saheed Elegushi cultivated the friendship of individuals like Tomi Shobowale who is now a successful businessman.  Oba Dosunmu, the current Akinsiku of Lagos , Ebenezer Odiaze, Dapo Makanju who lives in the United Kingdon, Tosin Akande  who currently works with Lagos Inland Revenues and a host of others.

After his secondary education, Oba Saheed Elegushi attended the Lagos State University where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics in 1998 and later got admission to the same University for his Master of Science degree in Economics in year 2000.  The life of the young Saheed Ademola appeared to be channeled towards managing business and people, his education in Nigeria prepared him for the business world.  In the year 2005, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi proceeded to the University of Manchester, England where he obtained another Master’s degree in Public Administration, thus coasting home to an eventual breed of human and business manager.

The story of Oba Saheed Elegushi is self-told because of his direct line of descent link to the Elegushi royal family-starting effectively from his communal grandfather, Dauda Fasanya Elegushi, to his father, Yekini Elegushi, before the emergence of Oba Saheed Ademola himself as the Elegushi. However, he had a spatial early life, like any child brought up on Lagos Island – a community renowned for its bright side and rugged terrain.

The return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999 played its part in the making of Oba Saheed Elegushi’s foray to public domain.  The civil rule made Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu a formidable figure in Nigerian politics and he was governor of Lagos from 1999-2007. Oba Saheed Elegushi was personal assistant to Tinubu and he was later appointed as Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties, to former Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola. Oba Saheed’s closeness to Asiwaju Tinubu was later to gain a social positive calculus as a photograph surfaced on the social media where Oba Saheed, Mr. Fowler and another political acolyte were seen with Tinubu at the early stages of their public careers.   The very fact that the three gentlemen who featured in the photograph made it to the pinnacle of their careers is a good advertisement of the Midas touch of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

The second factor which brought Oba Saheed Elegushi to limelight was his constant mention by the fuji maestro, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal.  Amongst many other praises  and salutations, he was called “Anobi Saheed” Mohammadu Saheed”, Ademola Elegushi, all combined to announce the arrival of an Elegushi Prince to the Nigerian social circle.

As Special Assistant to Asiwaju Tinubu and Raji Fashola, both former governors of Lagos, Oba Saheed Elegushi was basically grooming himself or perceived to being groomed to occupy the Oval office at Alausa.  The two former governors related to Oba Saheed Elegushi in a circus of paternalism – a context which proved ultimately beneficial to Oba Saheed Elegushi.  At the close of year 2009, the then Prince Saheed Ademola Elegushi had his eyes on the ticket to the House of Representatives in Abuja and by November 18, 2009, the news that changed the course, content and context of the Young Prince’s  sojourn was broken – the demise of Oba Yekini Elegushi was announced.

After all the burial rites of 19th Elegushi were concluded, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was reported to have sent for the Prince Ademola Saheed Elegushi and told him to consider the idea of becoming the next Oba of Elegushi Ikate.  This idea, for the young Prince, was antithetical to his political dream, which a royal stool would deny him. Due to this and largely because of the demand of the people who wanted him as their representative, Prince Saheed wanted to shy away from the Asiwaju’s admonition. However on a particular day, fortitude brought, Asiwaju, Governor Fashola and Prince Saheed Elegushi together, where Asiwaju was said to have reported the Prince to Fashola about his lack of interest in the throne and the Asiwaju wrapped up by telling Fashola.

“Tunde, ba aburo e soro, ba, so ro:

Meaning – “Tunde talk to your brother, talk to him.”

It was the vintage Fashola who told Prince Saheed Elegushi that service to the people could also be by becoming their traditional ruler. It was at this stage that the Prince acceded to the admonitions of the two former governors, whom he (Oba Saheed) had mentioned elsewhere as his mentors.  The Prince submitted himself to the clearance of Ifa Oracle to check his blood line to the throne and his acceptance by the gods of the land. On the 26th of April, 2010, His Royal Majesty, Oba Mohammed Saheed Ademola Elegushi was crowned the 21st Oba of Elegushi Ikate, the kusenla ll.

Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi (Kusenla II) has God Almighty to praise for his journey so far, but he is grateful to some individuals too that he met in the narratives of his life. One visible mentor that HRM Oba Saheed Elegushi would mention is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is an experienced adviser and supporter to his aspirations.  HRM, was looking up to Asiwaju as his political leader, but the events of the 8th day fidau prayer of his late father, Oba Yekini Elegushi proved Tinubu to be the “path turns up hill” when he (Asiwaju) suggested the Elegushi royal stool to him, with that Oba Saheed Elegushi’s life followed different course.

Another of Oba Saheed Elegushi mentor was Babatunde Raji Fashola, a former governor and Minister of the Federal Republic whom the HRM described as “Uncle with a keen taste for good judgment. According to HRM, the administrations of BRF have proved to be of inevitable value in his discernment and choices in life.

The late Chief Fatai Lawal, the Olumegbon Ajaiye of Lagos who was very close to the late Oba Yekini Elegushi, made a genial contribution to Oba Saheed Elegushi ascendancy to the throne.  According to a source, the late Oba Yekini Elegushi had told the Olumegbon in many private discussions about his wish that his son, Oba Saheed Elegushi reigned one day as paramount King of Ikate-Elegushi. The Olumegbon in his characteristic manner did not equivocate in impressing this on the then Prince Saheed Elegushi.  Little doubt therefore, the Ajaiye was a focal point in the state of full readiness of the Young Prince, when he was called to stand instead after the demise of his late father.  One of the highly held advice of the Olumegbon to the then Prince was that, there is no King who would sail to the throne without a struggle.   But Ajaiye would also emphasize that; eventually the King will have to take care of the interest of everyone after coronation as King.

Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi also values the tutelage of Mr. Benson Ebonyen who is younger brother to his mother.  Professor Fatiu Akisode also played key role in the life of Oba Saheed Elegushi while a student at Lagos State University and outside till he died in 2003.  Mr. Yakub Aromasodun also played significant role in his life.

Undoubtedly, Eti-Osa in general and Ikate-Elegiushi in particular witnessed breath-taking transformation during the reign of His Royal Majesty, Oba Yekini Adeniyi Elegushi (Kusela II). Before this time, Eti-Osa was corridor of deadassets yearning for development.

Now Eti-Osa is one of the most dynamic housing hub in the Lagos metropolis where old building have been replaced with modern edifices; a health centre named after Yekini Adeniyi Elegushi- that caters for the people of Ikate Land sits at the reconstructed entrance of Ikate Land, major roads within Ikate and Eti Osa in general have opened up the ‘ancient’ kingdom for commerce and entrepreneurship to thrive.

In the course of Oba Yekini Adeniyi Elegushi’s reign, Ikate-land accommodates all and sundry and at the same time, all peace loving people have embraced Ikate land.  Kusela II has ushered in uncommon prosperity and purposeful leadership in his continuing glorious era.

In his quest for modernisation, Oba Yekini never compromised his traditional responsibilities and duties; he sought for and gave advices, counsel and sessions to all strata of society.

What held primacy in his life was the good fortune of Eti-Osa and well-being of others; history will never forget the heroic contribution of Oba Elegushi when the repossession of Eti-Osa ancestral land was a contentious issue during the dark days of military government in Nigeria. Oba Elegushi, a natural born leader, fearlessly confronted every tyrannical usurper. For these reasons, all loved Oba Y.A Elegushi; these deep affection continues till date.

Today, Oba Saheed Elegushi has, over the years, contributed to the various sporting events and initiatives, these includes sponsorship of the complete renovation of the pavilion at the Lagos Tennis Club; he is one of the biggest donors to the sporting events in Eti-Osa; he has consistency donated cash prices to the different sporting events within and outside his kingdom.

A golf enthusiast, Oba Elegushi is presently a 24- hole player in golf and he is regularly at the Golf course at Ikoyi club where he is a member and also plays at other courses around the country where his skill is always applauded.

Oba Saheed Elegushi is also involved in other socio-philanthropic activities which haven’t gone unnoticed. He is currently the Chairman of Africa Fashion Week, Nigeria and he is also the Patron of International Women’s Society, the biggest professional association promoting the interest of women.

Oba Saheed is a recipient of many honours.  He holds an Honorary Fellowship of the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State; Excellent Leadership Award in Community Development, Babcock University; Outstanding Leadership, Peace and Community Development by the European-American University, amongst numerous honours and awards.

In the course of his reign as the 21st Elegushi of the Ikate kingdom, Ikate and Eti-Osa continue to witness tremendous improvement in the area of accessible health-care, good networks of roads and other infrastructural development, which has translated to increase in trade, commerce and economic activities of the kingdom.

A prominent late monarch once referred to Kusenla III as GOLD STANDARD of the royalty and royal success. Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi is a king well loved by his people first. He is married and blessed with children.

Congratulations to our Icon of Quarter 1, 2024!

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