“Helping people around me have always been a source of joy, and I think I took this from my father, the late Oba of Lagos, Kabiyesi Adeyinka Oyekan II, who devoted his life to helping people around him.”
These were the words of Prince Ifalade Oyekan, who has been doing a lot to serve the humanity with his pet project, Erin Jogun Ola Life Foundation for Community Development, which is also known as Erin Jogun Ola Youth Movement.
Apart from being the Oba of Lagos from 1965 to 2003, Oba Oyekan II (June 30, 1911 – March 1, 2003) was a strong advocate for communal living and cooperative efforts in building a strong virile and stable society through human capital development, social interaction beyond the socio-economic boundaries of the modern societies.
Oba Oyekan, who was fondly called Papa by his subjects welcomed all humans with an open heart without mincing their religious affiliations, ethnic descents, social or economic status and treated all as humans.
To Prince Oyekan, a lawyer and Human Resources expert, the establishment of Erin Jogun Ola Life Foundation for Community Development, which has been registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria, is to further celebrate the philanthropic qualities and life well spent of the late Oba Oyekan II.
“This is our little way of acknowledging the good qualities openly displayed by Kabiyesi Adeyinka Oyekan during his eventful life and times as the Oba of Lagos. The Erin Jogun Ola Life Foundation for Community Development, as a youth focused and development driven organisation, was set up to espouse the ideals for which Kabiyesi Adeyinka Oyekan was well known and further entrench the ideals in the daily lives of the society with a view to building a great Lagos and of course a better Nigeria.
“The major focus of this organisation is to constantly mobilise the people of Lagos, especially Lagos Island towards good causes that will ultimately translate to community development,” said Prince Ifalade, President of Erin Jogun Ola Life Foundation for Community Development.
“As a younger generation, the Foundation is out to change the perception people have on Isale Eko. We want to tell the world that we are no longer a community of thugs, violence and all sort of societal ills. We are educated, civilised and hospitable people,” said Prince Oyekan, who is a member of Lagos State Football Association (LSFA) and chairman of Lagos Divisional Football Association (LDFA).
Recalling the birth of the Foundation, Prince Oyekan told P.M. EXPRESS that “it was a decision jointly made by members of my family who saw the reason in us building on the legacies of Papa, the late Oba Oyekan.
“I must confess, the Kabiyesi left behind a big shoe which is very big for me to wear. I could remember that Papa always did things about his heart not about his age. And the thing about his heart is always the passion to put smiles on the faces of the people and touch their lives positively. He would go the miles to make people happy.
“When you talked about the pasts of Oba of Lagos today, there is no way you won’t talk about the good deeds of the late Oba Adeyinka Oyekan. He lived his life for the people.
“So we came together to incorporate this Foundation to live on the legacies of Kabiyesi Adeyinka Oyekan, what he was able to do and what he would still be doing if he were to be alive today; giving back to the society.
“We are currently 27 in number in the Foundation. We are professionals and career persons contributing to serve the humanity. I am happy to say that the Foundation is waxing stronger everyday with people coming to us with long list of their needs. We are able to assist by prioritising these different needs and proffer solutions with the help of God.
“The Trustees of the Foundation is exclusively members of the Royal Family, while we have membership open to the public. We have branch in Hamburg in Germany. I went there to personally inaugurate the branch, and we are also planning a branch in the United Kingdom very soon.
“Through this Foundation, I want to let the world knows that helping people is very easy. It is not when you are rich that you can help people around you. How many people have you help today even with the little you have?
“You should begin to build the heart to give, unfortunately, many rich people in Nigeria today do not have the heart to give,” he said.
Due to what Erin Jogun Ola Life Foundation for Community Development has been doing, the political class on Lagos Island has come to identify with the Foundation and they have been able to help work through the electioneering campaigns especially during the last general election.
“Though we are not political party taking part Foundation, some politicians have however seen in us a veritable platform to reach out to the society. Rt. Hon Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni reached out to us to be part of his campaign, though reluctant initially, we were able to contribute our quota for his success at the election and by extension with the campaign of Hon Dolapo Badru in the House of Representatives poll, the Lagos Senatorial election with Senator Oluremi Tinubu, our amiable Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who we worked to ensure his victory in the governorship election and to the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We worked wholeheartedly without waiting for anybody to pay us back because we believed that doing this is part of our own little ways of helping people identifying with good leadership in the society. What we had done in the election we have done it and have moved on. We only pray that those elected should remember the people in the community. This will be our joy and the rewards for the support we gave them.”