•As RCCG pastor installs Onimeko of Imeko
On September 10, 2014, Imeko in Imeko-Afon local government, a border town about 12 kilometers from the Nigeria-Benin border and about 60 km to the West of Abeokuta, Ogun State Capital was agog with eminent personalities from all walks of life as the new Onimeko of Imeko, Oba (Pastor) Benjamin Oyediran Olanite Akanku IV was installed the monarch of the town.
The people of the town were full of joy as they all throng in large number to celebrate the official installation and presentation of staff of office to the new monarch. Why there was this large crowd? To the people of Imeko, if they should have a graduate as monarch, that wiIl attracts development. It was gathered from the people that this is the first time they are having a graduate as monarch. They said they have been denied goodies which has made the town to be underdeveloped.
In Imeko, two families from Ketu and Old Oyo ancestral lineage are entitled to become a king. According to Professor Anthony Asiwaju from University of Lagos and Balogun of Imeko, the original settler in Imeko was from Elesi nucleus lineage in Ketu of the current Agbote ruling house but later Ndoko who were predominantly of old Oyo ancestry from eastern rift valley abandoned their homestead to join the Ketu lineage in Imeko and become the second ruling house. “The numerical dominance of the Oyo probably explained the growth of Oyo political influence which eventually led to a spell of an anti-Ketu rebellion and temporary change of allegiance in the late 1860s”, he said. The name ‘Imeko’ according to Prof. Asiwaju, is derived from the function of the place originally as the point where travellers stop over to customarily take pap or ‘eko’ for breakfast before they continue their journey. The name of the town therefore means to take pap ‘Mu eko’ that is, Imeko.
The new monarch was born into Agbote (Elesi) ruling house to late Prince Simeon Olanite Oyekan in March 3, 1977. As a man of God, he served in Redeemed Christian of God (RCCG), Aworo, Imeko RCCG Abule Peter and RCCG, Owode. He is the founder of Dominion Life Mission and a teacher in Nazareth High School, Imeko until his apointment and enthronement as the Onimeko of Imeko.
Although Imeko is the home of great men of God like Pastor Olusegun Oshoffa of Celestial Church of Christ, prophet F.A Adeoye, founder of Mount of Salvation and others but the worship of ancestral idols and rituals still much alive in this community. The new monarch was attending a Deeper Life Ministry but according to him, he got saved in RCCG. Since then, he had developed a strong faith to work in God’s vineyard and never to compromise this standard. Oba Benjamin has been nurturing in his mind that he will one day become a leader but did not know which capacity of leadership he will occupy. In 1996 when he went to seat for a Polytechnic exam in Ilaro in Ogun state, he saw in his dream at night dried leafs in fire but are not burnt. According to him, he sought the face of God in his quiet time to reveal the meaning to him but could not hear anything. But in the following day when was leaving for the park,he said “I heard a voice saying I should go to Abule Peter to work for Him. This time I thought to myself this is voice of God and failure to hearken to it, it might spell a doom. All I have been running after may be a loss and the kingdom of heaven as a place of eternal rest may elude me if I refuse to hearken to this voice. As a result, I came to Abule Peter in Imeko where we planted RCCG church and later another one in Owode now as zonal headquarter. In Ifela, we also planted RCCG there as well.
He continued “in 1999, I had admission into Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. While I was here, I had another dream in which I was told to have a 7 days fasting and prayers for Imeko. When I woke up, I started asking myself, ‘what is my business with Imeko’ when I don’t have food to eat? But I heard a second thought that maybe it might be for the sake of generation unborn. That is how I started it”, he said.
“In the sixth day of fasting, I had a dream in which I saw three hefty men blocking an old man in a pure white attire from coming to me. In the dream, when the man finally maneuver his way to my side, he revealed the secret of Imeko on how it can be developed to me. That time, I went to the chiefs and they said I should go and relate the dream to the then Onimeko and that they will later consult the Ifa Oracle to demystify it”, he stated.
The new monarch, Oba Benjamin maintained that his kind heart may be one of the reason he is considered for the Obaship. “I’m very kind to the chiefs by assisting them with my car to take them wherever they are going anytime I sight them on the way. Also, I facilitated how Imeko got market because there was a rancour between Iyaloja and Iyalode which has deprived people of Imeko to have a place to trade. I was warned when I was engaging myself in the issue of the new market to stay off the matter that if not, I may lose my life but thank God I succeeded” he said.
For every glory, there is a story. Few days to the demise of the immediate past Onimeko, his late father called and warned him never to engage in any leadership tussle. But a day after, his wife said she saw a revelation that Onimeko died and the 16th Onimeko was crowned. The monarch continued, “Two weeks after the demise of my father, the 15th Onimeko died and four days after I was called that I’m the next to become Onimeko. Immediately, I started calling my fathers in the lord like Pastor Alayande, they all said I should accept the offer that God wants to use me in that capacity. Later, they started asking from me my credentials but I declined. After all the pleas and persuasion, I accepted. While I was declining, some people have came up with court cases claiming the obaship but eventually, I was prevailed”, said he.
The question on the lips of many people is how a devoted pastor as an Oba will not serve the deities as a supposed custodian of ancestral culture of worshiping idols? But while reacting to this, the new monarch said “religion is a medium of communicating with God according to popular belief. But Jesus said in the bible that he is the only way, truth and the light, no one can come to the father (God) except by him. Just as Jesus is the intermediary between Christians and God the way, traditional religion worshippers have their intermediaries. But I’m a Christian to the core. I told them I’m a child of God that I can’t go to shrine but they later insisted but wherever I appear before the shrine, I pray in the name of Jesus. I make sure I went to the shrines with my fellow pastors to summon courage and erode all doubt by people that I have not compromised my standard”, he explained.
The dream of the new Onimeko is to make the town a new Jerusalem that will be dedicated to God as he had earmarked 3 acres of land to build church. And also, the Onimeko’s aspiration is improving on education of youths as a pivot for development and bringing higher institution of learning to the town. Part of his plan, is to make Imeko, an industrialized community and construction of new roads network and rehabilitation to improve trade with neighbouring towns. He said as an agrarian community, he wants agriculture to be improved as a way to improve people standard of living.