The historical city of Ogbomoso was on Thursday, September 14, 2023, agog as the newly installed Soun of Ogbomoso land, Oba Afolabi Ghandi Laoye Orumogege III, moved to the main palace to receive members of the community and dignitaries who converged to rejoice with him on his coronation. His coronation as the 28th Soun of Ogbomosoland, followed the approval of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.
On the day of his installation, prayers were said by the Bishop of Ogbomoso Diocese of Methodist Church Nigeria, Right Rev’d Ademola Moradeyo; the Chief Imam of Ogbomoso, Sheikh Talihat Oluwashina Ayilara; and the Araba Oluawo of Ogbomosoland, Chief Opeyemi Ifamakinde.
Before his installation, a serious controversy had trailed his selection from his own Laoye Royal Family.
Soun of Ogbomoso interview
In a short interview, the new monarch of Ogbomoso spoke on why he chose to become Soun after being a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) for 30 years in Washington, United States of America. He spoke to his congregation in March 2022 in Washington revealing that he received a divine call to become the Soun of Ogbomoso Kingdom which was why he left the pulpit for the palace
Oba Laoye said: “I was born into the royal family. But one way or the other, the Lord took me on a completely different path. He made me a pastor. In December 2021, I was on vacation in Nigeria, like I normally do every August and December. If I was not in Nigeria, I would be in other parts of the world.
“So, I was in Nigeria when the king of our town joined his ancestors. We have five royal families in Ogbomoso. After the Ajagungbades, we know that it is my royal family – Olaoye, that is the next to produce the king. Everybody in Ogbomoso who knows about the tradition knows that. Of course, I knew about it but I was not interested in it at all because I believe that I have gone on a completely different path. My father never sat me down to say, Ghandi, if you want to become Soun of Ogbomoso, you can be. He never told me and I never bothered. My dad tried to be Soun of Ogbomoso in 1940 but it was not what God wanted for him as the people rejected him.
“But in December 2021, people started calling me, saying: ‘Ghandi, why can’t you do this? -especially people who were close to me and knew that the Laoye Royal Family would produce the Soun after the Ajagungbades. I insisted I did not have interest because I believed I had a different path. Sometime in 2021, I said in the church that I was going to retire. I said that at the age of 60, I was going to retire. People asked me what I would retire into and I said I have done 30 years as a pastor, I felt there are other expressions of ministry.
“I planned that I was still going to do other things in the ministry. It was that time that I appointed Pastor Chinyere as the Executive Pastor and Pastor Olumide as the Lead Pastor of the Church. When I was doing all that, I did not have a plan of what I was going to do. All I knew was that I have had 30 years of pastoring, and Pastor Olumide has been my assistant pastor for 21 years; that is a long time to be somebody’s assistant. Twenty one years! That is nearly a generation, since a generation is about 25 years.
“When I was being told to come and be Soun of Ogbomoso, I told them the life I wanted to live after 60 years is very simple. I wanted to travel the world because I like travelling. I tell people that I was born in a car, and maybe that is why I am just restless as a person; that is my nature. It has been a little difficult to change that. Today, I am just restless, I just want things to happen, I just want to be on the move. I know that is the way God created me. So, that was my plan for 60.
“Then, people started calling me a lot. I insisted I was not interested. Of course, as a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, I didn’t want Daddy G.O (Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the church) to hear. Of course, he is my spiritual father. So, I called him and told him what was going on. I said: ‘I don’t want you to hear. My people wanted me to come and become Soun of Ogbomoso. But I just want you to hear what people are saying. It is not because I am interested, but I don’t want you to hear it from other people.
“The next I asked him was if he knew of any pastor, who left pastoring and went to become an oba. He said of course, he could tell me four. He told me two among them. He then said: ‘You can go ahead, that is all I have to say.’ He also told me that he never wanted to become General Overseer and I can see what General Overseer is today. He told me: ‘Go ahead and do whatever you have to do.’
“To cut the long story short, I had planned that on January 2nd, 2022, which was first Sunday of 2022, I would tell the people calling me to become Soun of my final stance. I was going to tell them to