By Adeola Olanloko
Searching for a word to define him may prove to be a herculean task in the context of his larger-than-life persona.
Anyone coming in contact with Prince Gbolahan Idowu Oyegoke-Olaoye for the first time, and perusing his well-stocked rich resume and credentials, would certainly know he or she is meeting one of the rarest personalities of this present age.
Yet, Prince Gbolahan Idowu Oyegoke-Olaoye, foremost prince of Olaoye Orumogege Ruling House and scion of Kapelaye royal family of Ogbomosoland, Oyo State, exudes such a rare gift of humility and modesty.
An encounter with the Ogbomoso prince portrays an unassuming distinguished personality despite his soft and calm disposition. If I can describe him in just one word, a trait or quality, or attribute that stands him out of the pack is passion. The burning passion to serve and help people especially the less-privileged, the vulnerable and others beyond his immediate community; love for his community and in particular his native birthplace Ogbomoso is written all over him.
With a strong connection to his ancestral roots, the uncommon passion in this illustrious prince and heir apparent to the Soun throne is to see Ogbomoso emerge a stronger, greater and prosperous kingdom where her sons and daughters, residents and visitors alike make the ancient town their first and preferred choice home and destination.
‘‘My purpose in life is advancement of humanity and the society at large. I have a burning passion in me to promote and preserve the good of the ancient Ogbomoso kingdom for generations to come, and my love for people and the good of the people remain uppermost in my heart,’’ Prince Oyegoke-Olaoye summed up during an interview.
Born on the 15th of August 1965 of the Kapelaye royal family compound in Ogbomoso, Prince Oyegoke-Olaoye is a full-blood noble prince, a descendant of Oba Atanda Olaoye Orumogege, a past Soun of Ogbomosoland. His biological father, late Prince Olaleye Oyegoke-Olaoye, was the first son of Aremu Oyegoke Olaoye, a direct descendant of Oba Atanda Olaoye Orumogege. In his blood line was Oba Lawani Oke Lanipekun, also, a direct descendant of Oba Orumogege. One can say without gainsay that providence prepared Prince Gbolahan Idowu Oyegoke-Olaoye ready for the future role to occupy the throne of Soun.
A impeccable man of impeccable character, the multi-talented and multi-disciplinary Prince Gbolahan is currently the Head of Practice of a diversified group of companies namely: Gbolahan Oyegoke & Company (Chartered Accountants), Primehill Professional Services (Chartered Tax Practitioners), GIO Associates (Company Secretaries) and Capacity Building & Management Services.
With a clear understanding of his life’s journey, Prince Gbolahan Idowu Oyegoke-Olaoye as a young man had prepared himself well by acquiring sound education and professional certifications in multiple areas of disciplines. His academic laurels comprise NCE in Business Ed. (Accounting) from the Federal College of Education, Abeokuta; B. Sc.(Ed.) Economics from Lagos State University; Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing from the University of Port Harcourt, and another MBA (Financial Management) from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso. He also holds Masters in Education Administration and Planning from the University of Lagos and he is currently a Ph. D Student at UNILAG.
A Certified Forensic Accountant (CFA); Fellow, Chartered Institute of Administration of Nigeria (FCIA); Fellow, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (FCTI); Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA); and Associate member of the Business Recovery & Insolvency Practitioners (ABR), he also holds CertIFR (ACCA) – Certificate in International Financial Reporting Standards and Certificate of Participation in Effective Project Management of the prestigious Lagos Business School (LBS).
Prince Oyegoke-Olaoye has served and still serving in strategic senior, managerial and executive positions in a lofty career that spans over three decades across multiple sectors and industries thereby giving him deeper knowledge of diverse subject matters and wider perspectives to issues. His philanthropic and volunteering services also add to his enviable records of accomplishments. All these qualities shaped his path ahead of the royal and leadership role that he would play in life as a man for the people.
The longlist of his career journey includes Assistant General Manager/COO, Network Support Services Limited; Manager/Group Head (Finance, Project & Admin.), Bocom Communications Limited; Manager/Head (Finance & Project), Mobitel Limited; Manager/Consultant, Solomon Osunba & Company (Chartered Accountants); Clerk, National Bank of Nigeria Limited; Audit Clerk, David Osho & Company (Chartered Accountants); Part-Time Lecturer, Auditing and Cost Accounting, Lagos State Polytechnic; and Lecturer, Cost Accounting & Financial Accounting (ATS Final level), Alpha Tutors, ICAN professional examinations preparatory class, amongst others.
Indeed, Prince Gbolahan Idowu Oyegoke-Olaoye’s quest to ascend the revered throne of his forefathers as the next Soun of Ogbomosoland is without equivocation a predicted and ordained pathway. Characteristically, in the selection processes for the next Soun of Ogbomoso, Prince Gbolahan Idowu Oyegoke-Olaoye has put up unassailable performances among the 23 candidates that expressed interest as prospective successors to the late Oba Jimoh Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, who transited in December 2021.
In accordance with the Western State Chieftaincy Declarations 1957, the five ruling houses and the identity of each ruling house that produce the Soun of Ogbomoso are Aburumaku, Gbagun, Olaoye, Bolanta, and Odunaro.
Prince Gbolahan Idowu Oyegoke-Olaoye in his bid for the throne towered again above the rest of the candidates by scoring the highest point in the screening exercise. Having met stringent conditions set by the committee, he scored a total of 154 points to beat the remaining 21 princes. One candidate unavoidably absented from the screening. For Prince Gbolahan, he later went on to make the shortlist of 11 candidates recommended to the six-member Kingmakers comprising Chiefs Areago, Jagun, Bara, Ikolaba, Abese and Balogun.
Shedding more light on why he is in the race for the next Soun of Ogbomoso, Oyegoke-Olaoye said it is purely a divine call to service and a higher platform to uplift people and his birthplace. Over the past 17 years, the amiable prince has been actively involved in the affairs of Ogbomoso kingdom as well as the royal family part of which is the sponsorship of festivities and support to the palace.
It is on record that he has been a great supporter of the annual Odun Oba, Odun Oole and Christmas festivals. He also single-handedly bought a Toyota Sienna space bus in 2018 to ease the movement of members of the Olaoye royal family for social functions and other engagements. During festivities, Prince Oyegoke-Olaoye has been credited support to members of the larger royal families and less privileged members in the community.
An amiable man with strong Christian background, tender and kind heart, and a successful family man, loving husband and father, God has enabled him to also provide financial and moral support to families through payment of school fees, support to secure admission for qualified prospective students; financial support to start businesses for many people and assistance to secure jobs for the unemployed.
As an ardent believer in capacity building and youth empowerment, Prince Oyegoke-Olaoye also contributes to the economic prosperity of Ogbomoso by setting up large acres of farmland comprising a 10- acre farm at Jabata in 2012, and another 20-acre farm at Budo-Ora in 2015.
He stated that, when he becomes the next Soun of Ogbomoso (by God’s grace), the development and advancement of Ogbomosoland will be core of his vision and focus. Specifically, he noted that he would work towards bringing peace to the kingdom by ensuring genuine reconciliation of the princes, ensuring religious harmony among all faiths, and build capacity of the youth and create opportunities for young people especially graduates to develop their talents.
He also said the tourism potential of the town would be harnessed and developed into real socio-economic assets to bolster wealth creation. Also on his mind is to harness the great human capital asset by wooing indigenes of the town in the Diaspora to come and invest in the town, set up small businesses and cottage industries especially in the agriculture value chain.
Prince Oyegoke-Olaoye, a practising Christian and God-fearing man, is an active member of Ogbomoso Recreation Club, while his numerous community services, past and present, include Acting Chairman, Idofian Street Residents’ Association; Chairman, God’s Glory Community Development Association; and President, Chartered Accountants (Ikeja) Cooperative Multipurpose Society Limited.
At the professional level, his numerous volunteering services include Member, Governing Board, Society of West Africa Internal Audit Practitioners; Member, Finance and General Purpose Committee, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria; Chairman, Audit Committee, CITN; Vice Chairman, Education Committee, CITN; Member, Syllabus Review Sub Committee of Examination Committee, CITN; Member, Faculty of Indirect Taxation, Students’ Affairs Committee; and Chairman, Lagos District Society, CITN, just to mention a few.
Beyond every reasonable doubt, Prince Gbolahan Idowu Oyegoke-Olaoye parades all-round enviable persona, credentials and experience that make him the most suitable and qualified candidate for the vacant stool of Soun of Ogbomoso.
Adeola Olanloko writes from Ibadan, Oyo state