Erelu Abiola Dosunmu Succeeds HID Awolowo as Yeye Oodua - Global Quest Magazine


Sunday, July 24, 2022

Erelu Abiola Dosunmu Succeeds HID Awolowo as Yeye Oodua

By Omolara Gold

The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has announced the appointment of Her Royal Highness, Erelu Abiola Dosumu, the Erelu Kuti IV of Lagos, as the new Yeye Oodua and Queen Mother of the House of Oduduwa. With her appointment, Erelu Dosumu would be stepping into the shoes of the formidable Chief (Mrs.) Hannah Iduwu Dideolu, the late Yeye Oba of Ife and wife of the first Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.  However, Dosumu’s new elevation has a wider import as she would now be the Queen Mother for all Yoruba kings who claim Ile-Ife and the House of Oduduwa as their source.
In almost half-a-Century of public life, Erelu Dosumu has proven herself to be an outstanding woman of stamina, integrity and far-reaching influence.  In 1974 when she was just  26,  the late Kabiyesi Adeyinka Oyekan, the Oba of Lagos, installed her as the Erelu Kuti IV of Lagos.  With that appointment, she becomes the right hand person of the Oba of Lagos.  Since then, she has executed her charge with maturity, sagacity, courage and commitment.  Indeed since then, the beautiful and ageless Queen mother, has become the Face of Lagos; its traditional allure and ageless charm.

By bringing Erelu Dosumu into the Court of Oduduwa, Oba Adeyeye is paying tribute to the age old tradition of the Yoruba people that recognizes the power and position of significant matriarchs who dominated and continue to dominate the social, political and business landscape of the Yoruba nation.  Erelu Dosumu would be adding value to the Court of Oduduwa as a well connected aristocrat who for many years has been part and parcel of the influential class of Nigerian royalty.  During the days of Adeyeye illustrious predecessor, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse  II, Dosumu was a welcomed and honoured presence at the Ooni’s Palace. Now she is going to become an even more significant member of the most ancient court in Yorubaland.
Dosumu is much like the first Erelu Kuti, the 18th Century Queen Mother, who reigned in Lagos and finally started a new dynasty which is still ruling till today.  Erelu Kuti was the daughter of Ado, the first Oba of Lagos who founded the Benin line of Lagos kingship.  Her two brothers, Gabbaro and Akinsemoyin were to serve as rulers of Lagos.  It was after the death of Akinsemoyin in 1750 that Erelu Kuti became the Queen Regent. She later installed her son, Ologun Kutere, as the 4th king of Lagos, bringing an end to the Ado dynasty from Benin and replacing it with her own.  She was married to Baba Agba, an itinerant Ijesha Ifa priest and they had two sons, the first being Ologun Kutere.  Since then, the descendants of her two sons have been ruling Lagos.  The current Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Osuolale Akiolu, is one of the descendants of Erelu Kuti.
Since her accession in 1980 as Erelu Kuti IV, Dosumu has followed the example of her illustrious forebear, building a business empire and creating a wide-ranging network of friends and influence in Nigeria and across the globe.  Though she had never held any political office, she has become well-known as a significant member of the power elite of Nigeria.  She had been married twice.  Her first husband was Major Elegbede, a hero of the Nigerian Civil War who was involved in the decision of the General Yakubu Gowon government to create Lagos State.  He died in a motor accident shortly after the war. After his death, she later married the international business man, the late Chief Deinde Fernadez. Her social status was confirmed by Nigerian leading Juju music star, King Sunny Ade, who waxed a memorable record in her honour.
 Dosumu was born in Kano on July 29, 1947, to OmoOba Adewunmi Dosumu, a Lagos prince and his wife, Adejoke.  She was educated in Nigeria and in the United Kingdom.  She went into business early and became the first Nigerian to open a shop on the highbrow Bond Street in London, United Kingdom. She had made a fortune dealing in the lucrative oil business and promoting the Yoruba traditional wear, Aso Oke, which she has sold all over the world.  

As a traditional aristocrat, she has found a conspicuous place in the traditional power structure of Lagos when her uncle, Oba Adeyinka Oyekan made her the Erelu Kuti.  
With that title, she became the leader of the Lagos women and the official Queen Regent of Lagos when the oba passes on.  She is a member of the Council of Kingmakers and an official principal adviser to the Oba.  She is also the head of the various women organizations in Lagos as well as the leader of the powerful women market guilds.    She also holds royal titles In Egbaland and other places.  She has been honoured in many countries and also bagged honourary doctorate degree from the Crescent University, Abeokuta and Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State.  She has a reputation as a shrewd businesswoman as well as a painstaking fashion pacesetter.
The new honour coming from Ile-Ife is only a confirmation of the role she has been playing for many years as among Nigerian royalties. She is at home in many palaces across Nigeria. During the challenging days of military rule, she used her far-reaching influence to help establish the National Council of Traditional Rulers which has the Ooni and the Sultan of Sokoto as co-chairmen. She also facilitated the rapproachment between Oba Sijuwade and his estranged old friend and rival, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, the Alaafin of Oyo.
Her new pedestal as the Yeye Oodua would afford her greater field of play but also impose on her wider responsibilities across Yorubaland and the Diaspora.  The thanksgiving and reception party will take place on the 29th of July 2022 in Lagos.

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