Prince Akanni Idowu Oyefusi, is the son of the former Ayangbure of Ikorodu, His Royal Majesty, Late Oba (Dr) Salaudeen Afolabi Oyefusi, and the Executive Secretary of Oba Oyefusi Foundation. He owns a fashion designing outfit known as Nobel Afrique. In this interview with Kunle ADELABU, the Publisher/Report-in-Chief of THE IMPACT Newspaper, he bore his mind on the humanitarian nature of the late Oba, plans of the foundation to immortalize him and the kind of support the foundation is expecting from the public among other issues. Excerpts:
IMPACT: As part of the activities marking the five years remembrance of former Ayangbure of Ikorodu, the foundation commissioned the Oba Oyefusi Foundation’s Secretariat and also donated equipment, foodstuffs and other things to the General Hospital, Ikorodu, and rehabilitation home,Owutu, Ikorodu. What is all these about?
Prince Oyefusi: For the foundation, we try to immortalise baba and his legacy that he loved to do in his lifetime. We all know that he was a cheerful giver. He supported people in the area of healthcare, education and other aspects of life. That’s why we decided to do what we did to mark his fifth year transition anniversary.
Beyond that, during his lifetime, he always supported the General hospital and rehabilitation center. Like you had from the hospital that he always donated generously in term of their needs and some of the things that we gave to them are not just what we deemed fit to give them but what they told us that they needed. We usually check on them from time-to-time. Those things cost us lots of of money but it’s worth doing because when you put smiles on people’s faces, it’s something that you can not really measured. That is the fulfillment of today’s event. If he’s alive, these are things that he would have loved to do but since he is no longer around, we are doing what he loved to do to mark his anniversary.
Furthermore, he was a man that loved seeing people meaningfully engaged because he believed that if you are idle, you will not be able to help yourself. I had seen him picking up sons and daughters from other families and brought them up. Many people that we didn’t know from anywhere had stayed with us based on this gesture of his. We usually had new addition to the family and he saw them through schools and today, some of them are pharmacists, doctors, engineers and the rest.
Again, for his legacy, we chose to revert to the initial dream of the foundation which were skill and empowerment because we discovered that that’s the future of our society. If a man is doing well, an average of 5 to 10 people would also do well. His children would go to school and their teachers, landlord would be paid. There is a lot that comes from a person that is doing well. We decided to go for empowerment and support people that could not go to conventional universities and those that could not further their education due to death or incapacitation of their sponsors. We shall obtain a website for entries very soon. Now that the secretariat is opened, people can come around to talk to us about their challenges which we are going to vet to determine if they are real or not. We are not going to exchange money with anybody, rather, we would pay directly to the skill providers and schools. We shall also put in place a strong and effective monitoring system to monitor those that the foundation would be catering for. We need the support of everyone to achieve our goals and make our society safer and better.
THE IMPACT: Today marks the fifth year of the passage of Oba Oyefusi who brought so many developments to Ikorodu, made impact at national and international levels and assisted lots of people; will you say that justice has been done to his memory by his people?
Prince Oyefusi: That’s a big one for me. During the life time of Jesus Christ, some people hailed him while others sought for his cruxification. It is the people that will say, “ade gun”(accept him), “ade o tun gun mo” (reject him). For me, Ikorodu people are loving and good in keeping stories and histories. They might not have done as we expected, I think that it’s still work in progress. It might not be much now, but I know that with time, they will give our baba the honour that he deserved. We thank those that are on ground to keep his legacies alive and people like you that still believe in what he has done. We are not saying this because he was our father; rather, it’s s because we saw him impacting lives. We were deprived for some people to progress and we’re really appreciative of what he was able to do. That’s life. He has done his bit and left. For those yet to appreciate him time would tell and for those around, I think that they have their reasons for staying by.
THE IMPACT: Where do you see the foundation in the next five years?
Prince Oyefusi: By the grace of God, the foundation has come to stay. It’s going to be bigger, better and impactful . It’s going to go international because we have lots of plans in place to make it very successful. We have lots of positive vibes. We intend partnering with people and organizations to make life easy for the common man. We are going to be training people on photo journalism, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), fashion designing and many more. We are going to go to people that do all these things and partner with them and in the process, we are also going to support those organizations too by adding value to them too. For me as owner of a design label; Nobel Afrique, we are going to show leadership by example by training people. We will be generously supporting the foundation with our skills, fund and everything that we know as well as with our friends and contacts that we believe can support us.
THE IMPACT: What kinds of support do you think the foundation will be requiring from the people of Ikorodu and the general public to make it succeed?
Prince Oyefusi: The kind of support that we are requiring from the public is not necessarily monetary because you may reduce your person when you ask people for money all the time. We would prefer that people support us by adding value to those we will be training by engaging them in their organizations after their trainings in order to set them up . We will keep writing and engaging people for support but it is left to them to decide the kind of support they would be rendering. Like Yoruba will say, “Owo kan o gberu lori, agbajo owo l’afi n sanya” (we can only impact on the polity collectively). We will solicit for supports in the area of skill, mentorship and resources which could be from any company that is ready to engage our trainees. We intend having a media partner that will regularly publish our operations, achievements and progreses so that people can know about the foundation and its programmes. We are doing it more for the people of Ikorodu; either you are an indigene or resident, in as long as you were born or residing in Ikorodu, you will be entitled to benefit from our gestures. This does not mean that those outside are precluded. We are going to have a team that will vet every claim to ascertain there genuity.
IMPACT: Thank you sir for your time.
Prince Oyefusi: It’s a pleasure sir.