Hardly will a day pass by without Oba Engr. Kabir Adewale Shotobi hosting notable dignitaries. Men of high profile in all walks of life, captains of industries, politicians, religious and spiritual leaders, notable academics, traditional rulers and military generals often visit the amiable ruler of Ikorodu Kingdom. Barely few minutes after wrapping up a major event at the royal palace, large convoy of military personnel, in trail of the newly appointed General Officer Commanding of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, drove into the palace on the 20th of August 2019.
The courtesy visit was conveyed to His Royal Majesty shortly before their arrival; yet, the monarch, despite his busy schedule, agreed to host the generals. The reason for the August visit was to pay homage to the Monarch and to get acquainted with His Royal Majesty. Major General Olu Irefin, the newly appointed General Commanding Officer of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, is the Official representative of the Chief of Army Staff in charge of Lagos and Ogun States.
All Army battalions, garrisons, and various units in the adjoining states are under his direct supervision. General Irefin was in company of high ranking Generals from Defense Headquarters in Lagos and Ogun State. About six army generals and two Colonels sat in order of seniority. The Commanding Officer of 174 Barracks, Odonguyan, Ikorodu, Lt. Col. A. H. Gwani, and the Army Defense Public Relations Officer, Lt. Colonel O. M. Daudu, led the way.
The military personnel of high ranking were gracefully ushered into the royal reception, where other traditional Chiefs and Council members were seated. While they waited, the Oba suspended other businesses and came into the reception. Everyone rose to their feet in reverence to the Monarch. The civilian chanted the obligatory praise, “Kabiyesi!” while the military personnel crisply saluted. The Alaiyeluwa walked to the General and led him to the guest chair next to the throne, on the right flank. Everyone took their seats as the official introduction commenced.
Trusted Chief and aid of the Kabiayesi, who was former Commissioner of Information in Lagos State, Chief Ayodele Elesho, welcomed the army general and his visiting party. He introduced the Chiefs and traditional groups in the palace and handed the microphone over to the Army Public Relations Officer, Lt. Col. O. M. Daudu. The Colonel carefully and formally introduced the visiting team of Generals, Colonels, Captains, and their aid de-camps. The militaries are known for their few and direct words; so the introduction took few minutes.
Oba Kabiru Shotobi finally spoke as he welcomed his noble guests and narrated the cordial relationship he had had with previous military leaders in and outside the State. The Monarch thanked the military on behalf of the people, for the security measures they have taken in the past and enjoined the new General to support the other security agencies to curb crime in Ikorodu. Oba Shotobi explained that the good relations between the Army and the Onyabo Vigilante Group was very effective as the group led the military to hideouts of the underworld. He added that such collaboration will help to bring criminals in the kingdom to book.
In his speech, General Irefin assured the Monarch of full support and cooperation in combating criminals in the kingdom. “Kabiyesi, I must say that we are ready to help at any capacity; we also require the cooperation of the citizens to carry out our task. The people should give us timely information about the hoodlums and miscreants. With that done, I assure you that we shall provide security to the community.”
The General understands the situation on ground, having served as Commanding Officer of Bonny Camp in Lagos Island and other military installations at different capacities. He is no stranger to the terrain, a fact Chief Ayodele Elesho described as a round peg in the round hole, considering the call for community policing across the country. The Chief believed that community policing is about appointing security chiefs to man terrains they are already familiar with.
The Ayangbure blessed the Chief and prayed for his success in the military foray. Thereafter, the General bowed in humility as the Monarch prayed on. After the prayer, Oba Shotobi invited him into the inner chamber for a tete-a-tete. Snacks and soft drinks were served. A brief photo session marked the end of the official visit, as the military convoy drove out of the palace.