‘Lucky Child’! From the Barracks to the Palace: How Tinubu Made Gbolahan Lawal

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‘Lucky Child’! From the Barracks to the Palace: How Tinubu Made Gbolahan Lawal

‘Lucky Child’! From the Barracks to the Palace: How Tinubu Made Gbolahan Lawal
June 05
19:54 2020

If Bola Tinubu sometimes forgets that he is Jagaban Borgu, the Lion of Bourdillon and Asiwaju, Gbolahan Lawal, never forgets that he is Asiwaju’s  adopted son. 

Yes, he has experienced life in the police and the corridors of power. By some powerful intervention, however, Gbolahan Lawal, who resigned his appointment as Commissioner for Agriculture and Co-operatives in Lagos State Thursday, June 4th, is about to spend the rest of his life in the palace after being anointed and announced as the new Oniru-elect of Iruland. 

In a statement signed by the Lagos State government today,  the appointment of Prince Lawal as the Oniru-Elect, which takes immediate effect was made on Friday afternoon, during the State’s Executive Council meeting, where final ratification was made on his nomination.

Lawal’s emergence, no doubt, came as a shock to many considering that he was not even in the frame for the revered stool. Since Oba Idowu Oniru died in 2019 at the age of 82, the throne had been vacant. Expectedly, the late King’s son, Adesegun, a wealthy former Commissioner for Waterfront and Infrastructure in Lagos State; and Hakeem Ajasa, a retired police officer and immediate past Chief Security Officer to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, were the two leading contenders for the throne. But the odds favoured Ajasa whose Abisogun Ruling House had never occupied the throne, unlike the Onirus who are an integral part of the families that comprise the Akiogun Ruling House that had been on the throne for about 72years. 

Beyond just being the first son of the immediate past king making him the heir apparent to the throne, Prince Adesegun also had going for him, money and powerful connections as a major stakeholder in the Eko Atlantic City and a very close associate of billionaire Aliko Dangote. Not forgetting that he is one of ‘Tinubu’s Boys’ (a crop of young men who worked with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and have gone on to immense prosperity and power). So, it was universally assumed that with these factors, Adesegun’s perpetuation of the Oniru rulership was just a matter of time. 

None of the contenders reckoned that fate, or, well, the godfather had other plans. Lawal’s name had cropped up in the early days of the scramble for a new king but he was thought to stand no chance because it is his mother that is an Oniru, not his father¸ late Chief T. A. Lawal- Akapo, the Ojora of Lagos (1977-1993). Having accepted that he stood no chance, Lawal rooted, reached out and campaigned for the emergence of Ajasa believing that it was the turn of the Abisogun Ruling House where he also is from. 

Apart from being cousins, Lawal and Ajasa were both policemen. Though a 1992 botany graduate of the University of Port Harcourt, he joined the Nigerian Police and was commissioned as a cadet assistant superintendent. As a police officer, he served as ADC (Aide-De-Camp) to Tinubu during his reign as governor of Lagos from 1999 to 2007. Lawal retired voluntarily in 2008 as a superintendent of police and went on to obtain his post-graduate degree in violence, conflict and development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

He was in his third term as a Commissioner having been first appointed as a Senior Special Assistant to former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) on special projects and coordinated the agriculture-based Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-YES). Gbolahan was appointed as the Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives in Lagos State in 2011.

In October 2015, former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode appointed him the Commissioner for Housing, a position he occupied till 2019. He was reappointed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Now, fate and the godfather have colluded to make him king over the flora and fauna of Victoria Island and neighbouring communities under Iruland.

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