Ooni of Ife confers chieftaincy on Gbajabiamila, Foli Coker, others at Alara’s first enthronement anniversary

August 22, 2021
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Ilara Kingdom in Epe Area of Lagos State was a beehive of joyful activities on Thursday, August 19, 2021, as His Imperial Eminence, Ooni of Ife and Adimula of Yorubaland, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, installed some eminent personalities with honorary chieftaincy titles in commemoration of the first anniversary of the enthronement of the Alara of Ilara Kingdom, HRM, Oba Olufolarin Olukayode Ogunsanwo, Telade IV.

The event, which was attended by people from all walks of life, was preceded by the launching of Aje Festival in Ilara-Epe by Oonirisa.

Ooni of Ife, who was not physically present at the event that had all the trappings of the rich Yoruba culture, was ably represented by the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon and Vice-Chairman, Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, HRM, Oba Francis Olushola Alao.

Indeed, who-is-who in the South West and beyond, including traditional rulers, business tycoons, political office holders, and celebrities were on hand to witness the installation of eminent Nigerians including the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and wife as Agba Akin and Yeye Agba Akin, Mr Folorunsho Folarin Coker as Baba Eto, and Surveyor JK Olayemi as Asoju Oba of the kingdom.

Obviously elated Oba Olukayode Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, in presenting the Chiefs with their crowns, staff and certificates urged them to continue to be good Ambassadors of the kingdom and by extension of the entire Yorubaland.

The monarch, who promised to continue to do his best for the community, stated that he will work hard to sustain the rich Yoruba culture and bring development to the kingdom in his time, adding that Ilara will soon be transformed with his pet project; “AGAPE” and urged everybody to join hands with him.

The Oba then called on the people of the town and other stakeholders to rally around him to move the community forward and thanked the Ooni of Ife for his leadership role in the entire Yorubaland over the years.

On his part, the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mr Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, popularly known as Folly Coker took over from his late father, Chief Nathaniel Folarin-Coker.

And as the 12th century English poet and writer, William Langland aptly wrote that “Like father like son: Every good tree maketh good fruits,” Folly Coker has stepped into the shoes of his late father.

Indeed, Folly Coker took after his father, the late Chief Nathaniel Folarin-Coker aka ‘Baba Eto’ in service to family, state, country and royalty. A true life of service. No wonder he is being honoured by society.

This is reflected in the conferment of the Chieftaincy title of ‘Baba Eto’ of the Ilara Kingdom on Folly Coker by HRM Oba Olufolarin Olukayode Ogunsanwo.

The installation event began on time and a lot of eminent personalities were conferred with chieftaincy titles at the ceremony.

A distinction was however made among the top dignitaries that were installed when the Alara of Ilara made Forunsho Coker the Baba Eto of Ilara Kingdom.

The socialite-cum-philanthropist was installed around 3 pm in the presence of family members, friends, well-wishers and residents of the community.

When Folarin Coker was called to be installed in the presence of other traditional rulers from far and near, the whole hall, where the installation was held, erupted in jubilation with paparazzis and journalists scrambling to take his shots.

The man of the moment was regaled in beautiful traditional Yoruba attire (Aso Ofi) with a befitting cap.

Folly Coker was the cynosure of all eyes with his friends, including top government functionaries, big boys from across Nigeria and sweet looking society women, who came to celebrate with him and his beautiful wife.

When Folarin Coker stepped into the podium with his wife, the traditional ceremony began immediately with Alara extolling the virtues of Folarin Coker as a true son of Oodua and a man of the people, who makes sure that everything is done in order wherever he is.

Folly Coker was also announced as the Baba Eto of The Source by the representative of the Ooni.

Meanwhile, while the ceremony was on, the mother of Folorunsho Folarin-Coker stood up and took permission from the monarch and expressed gratitude to her son, saying that he is very caring as he takes good care of her and other members of the family. At this point, Folarin-Coker became emotional and burst into tears of joy on the podium as he knelt down for the installation.

The Alara then thanked the mother of Chief Folarin Coker for what she said and stressed that everyone knows about his good deeds.

The Oba thanked Folarin Coker for taking care of his mother and other members of the family and said that it was indeed a day of joy.

The installation continued as Alara directed an Oba in Ijebuland, Ogun State to decorate Folarin Coker with traditional beads and chieftaincy leaf (Akoko) and cap.

The whole place went into a frenzy with celebration as a multitude of friends went into jubilation.

As Folarin Coker left the podium, he went straight to prostrate for his mother before his friends, while the musician, Ayo Ajekigbe of Faith Music sang his praises to high heavens.

Another enviable achievement of the new Baba Eto of Ilara Kingdom, Chief Folorunsho Folarin-Coker is that he took after his father, the late Chief Nathaniel Folarin-Coker as a public office holder.

As Folorunsho Folarin-Coker is currently serving his fatherland at the federal level, his father, Chief Nathaniel Folarin-Coker also had a robust career as a public officer.

Chief Nathaniel Folarin-Coker served as the Secretary, Industrial Promotion Commission, Western Region, Ibadan from 1960-1961, Chief Information Officer, Western Region, Ibadan, 1961-1962, and Secretary, Public Service Commission, Ibadan, 1962-1963.

Chief Folarin-Coker was also Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Information, Western Nigeria, Ibadan, 1963-1964, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Ibadan, November 1965, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Tourism, Lagos State, 1972-1975 and promoted Administrative Officer, Principal Staff Grade, Salary Group 3, 1st April 1972 amongst other positions he occupied in the service of his fatherland.

On his part, Folorunsho Folarin-Coker was Personal Assistant to a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. In 2003, he was given another appointment to serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Bola Tinubu.

After a year of working as the Deputy Chief of staff, he was handed over an additional responsibility to run a number plate production agency.

He continued to work at Lagos State Number Plates Production Agency for 10 long years and when he finally made a move, he became the Managing Director.

In June 2014, he began working as the Special Adviser to Governor Fashola on The Central Business Districts of Lagos.

He later worked as the Commissioner for Tourism and culture in Lagos State in 2015.

As commissioner, he initiated “One Lagos Fiesta” that is organized by the state government across the five divisions in the state every December to date.

As a sociable and well-loved individual across the country, in April 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mr Coker as the new Director-General for Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) where he has been turning the fortunes of the nation’s tourism industry and winning laurel and medals for his Midas touch in the industry.

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