There are several memories and stories on the life and times of Chief Olokun Igbaro, many pleasant and some not so pleasant.
Some recall the Chief as a great statesman, some as the leader of the Nation when IMF policies that adversely impacted the working class were implemented.
This article is not intended to repeat the myriad of political, social and mauvis lange stories that will appear as Chief Olokun leaves the Earth plane.
This article is intended to take note of the historical fact that a Diasporan African of humble origins that rose to be the Prime Minister of his country was elevated to the position of a Traditional African Chief in Ile – Ife, one of the Spiritual centres of Africans who arrived on these shores either as enslaved Africans, Africans who were not able to draw upon their rewards for engaging in military service in America and so were brought to Trinidad or as free Africans who in some instances came to manumit their enslaved family on the plantations of the Caribbean.
When Chief Olokun Igbaro A.N.R Robinson got his Chief title many Trinbagonians were downright disrespectful of the honour and titled conferred on him by the Ooni of Ife Oba Sijuade Okunade Olubuse II of Yorubaland.
I was among one of the first critics of how Chief Olokun Igbaro manifested his title.
I wrote to one of the daily newspapers making some statements on Chiefs titles and social responsibility. I was not yet a Chief myself.
I requested a meeting with Chief Olokun Igbaro and he afforded me a private audience at his Ellerslie Park residence.
This I took to be a courageous act since it was after the 1990 “insurrection ” and many Trinbagonians made no distinction as to Africans clothed in African apparel. Many Orisa devotees were sometimes taken for Muslims and many if not all of us were designated ” Black Power ” advocates and other such designations that made us security threats and ” persona non grata “.
Several years later I too became a Chief in Ile – Ife and met with him as the International Coordinator of the organization Egbe Onisin Eledumare .
As Chief Olokun Igbaro departs his Earthly life ther are now several Chiefs of Traditional African practice in Republic Trinidad & Tobago who are currently scheduled to meet with the incumbent President of the Republic Trinidad & Tobago H.E. Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona with a view to ensuring that these honours and titles are appropriately engaged in our multi ethnic, multi racial society ” where every creed and race find an equal place”.
At our private audience I pointed out some of the responsibilities and duties of Chiefs in traditional society to members of the community they serve.
When the Council of Traditional Afrikan Chiefs of Trinidad & Tobago was being formed, H.E. Chief Olokun Igbaro was contacted and invited to become a member.
Unfortunately we never had his participation.
The Council of Chiefs though are mindful of our duties as Chiefs and the appropriate private actions that are to be engaged as Chief transit this life will be engaged on behalf of Chief Olokun Igbaro.
We pray that this short article would draw attention to our population that ther are traditional African Chiefs in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago,and that not all of these titles are held by members of traditional African spirituality.
Just recently the Council of Traditional Afrikan Chief of Trinidad & Tobago requested and received the support of citizens and international friends in engaging in prayer for Chief Omowale of Ikoyi Dr Slinger Francissco – Mighty Sparrow and Chief Olokun Igbaro on their FaceBook page.
We consequently take this opportunity to offer our public condolences to all members of his household and family and pray that they will be guided in the fulfillment of their destinies and responsibilities.
Friend or foe, Chief Olokun Igbaro A.N.R.Robinson was called to serve this Nation and his people. He was called at a time when it would appear that even himself did not comprehend the tremendous responsibility of the title that he received. He was called at a time when many Africans did not identify with their racial heritage and roots. As he leaves we give him the respect and protocols of his offices and titles and we bless him as a living soul that struggled to understand his own life and it’s impact upon ALL THAT IS.
May all come to a conclusion as it should