It was a marriage of culture, glamour and styles on Saturday 13th August, 2022 when the Elegboro of Ijebu-Jesa, HRM Oba (Engr.) Moses Oluwafemi Agunsoye conferred the honourary chieftaincy title of Otun Atayese of Egboroland on Okey Paulicap Ebunoluwa Okeke.
The event brought together family, friends and acquaintances of the newly installed chief who trooped in from different works of life to celebrate the amazing figure in Paul Okeke.
The event started with the traditional homage by the various cadre of chiefs, including the honorary chiefs and council members of the Eze-ndi-Igbo of Ilesa who are all in attendance.
The highpoint of the day was the installation where the profile of the Otun Atayese was read. The Elegboro then permitted the Eze, Okeke’s son and one of Okeke’s childhood friend, Mr Dare to say a bit about the celebrant.
Mr Dare went the memory lane in extolling the various positive character traits of his friend. He told the gathering of Okeke’s large-heartedness and foresight which saw them forming a football club in Ilesa when they were about 11 years of age. He further affirmed the humility and openness of the Otun Atayese which still bond all of them together since childhood days in Ilesa.
The Elegboro told the story of how Chief Okeke had sent his mother to Ijebu-Jesa to pay homage on the kabiyesi while still in seclusion after his enthronement. That singular act and respect for tradition sparked a relationship that has since blossomed into family friendship.
The Abikehin-Ekun Agunsoye II also narrated how the Otun Atayese led the entourage of Ijesas in Canada to the naming ceremony of Prince Busayo Agunsoye a few months back. Thereafter, the new Chief of the land hosted a reception, with a live band for Olori Omolara Agunsoye on her recent visit to Canada. All of these pointed to how much of respect he has for tradition.
The event got to a climax with a keynote address by Professor Ademiju Bepo of the University of Jos whose address centred on saving the Yoruba culture and tradition from going into extinction. The erudite scholar highlighted roles to be played by the government, parents, the traditional institutions and the society in order to save the Yoruba heritage.
In his response, Chief Okey Paulicap Ebunoluwa Okeke thanked the Elegboro and Olori profusely for doing him the honour. He nearly betrayed emotions while eulogising his mother who could not make it to the event. He also thanked his friends, family and associates, most of whom he described as having impacted his life through the different stages.
Speaking in raw Ijesa dialect, the Otun Atayese noted that he has always loved Ijebu-Jesa from years back. He further pledged to continue to contribute his own quotas to the growth and development of the kingdom.
Okeke, an Igbo man whose parents hail from Enugu State, is the president of Ijesa Progressive Association of Canada (IPAC), the umbrella association for sons and daughters of Ijesaland from Osun State living and working in that country.
He is many qualities rolled into one entity. He is a writer, a theatre artist, clinical social worker and entrepreneur who has lived in the North American country for over two decades.
He is the author of ‘Biribamba The Lonely Elephant’, a children’s storybook published in the United States.
Born and raised in Ilesa, Okeke had his primary and secondary education in Ilesa before proceeding to the University of Ibadan where he studied English and Theatre Arts. He later relocated to Canada where he is currently thriving as the Chief Executive Officer of Blueplanet Inc. Canada.