Pastor Afolabi Olaoye, formerly of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in the United States, has been selected as the new Soun of Ogbomosoland in Oyo State by the revered Ifa oracle. The appointment has generated controversy and curiosity, given his Christian background.
Having dedicated over three decades to Christian ministry, Pastor Olaoye decided to resign from his pastoral position to embrace his new role as the traditional ruler of Ogbomosoland. His transition from the pulpit to the throne raised questions about how he would navigate the intricate blend of traditional practices and his Christian faith, but he appears to be adapting, following in the footsteps of former pastor Kehinde Olugbenle, who became a monarch in Ilaro, Ogun State.
The significant day arrived on Friday, September 8, 2023, in Ogbomoso, as kingmakers initiated the traditional installation rites for the new Soun. High Chief Sobalaje Otolorin, the Areago of Ogbomoso, led the installation and proclaimed Afolabi Olaoye as His Imperial Majesty, the Orumogege III, and the 30th Soun of Ogbomoso.
The vacancy in the Soun position arose following the passing of Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III, in December 2021, who had reigned for 48 years. Prince Amos Olawole-Olaoye, the Mogaji of Laoye family, affirmed that the new Soun is a recognized son of the family and has a rightful claim to the throne. However, some dissenting voices argued that he was not part of the selection process from the outset, leading to legal disputes.
Abdulwahab Laoye, the Chairman of the Screening Committee for Laoye Ruling House in Ogbomoso, clarified that the family had not initially selected Afolabi Olaoye and that the council had intervened, increasing the number of applicants.
The Oyo State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Olusegun Olayiwola, stated that the appointment followed the stipulated legal processes. He congratulated the Soun-elect and emphasized the role of the traditional ruler in fostering unity and understanding among the people.
Despite a recent court injunction restraining the government from installing Olaoye as Soun, the state government plans to officially present him with the staff of office, further solidifying his position as the traditional leader of Ogbomosoland.