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Olobun: A journalistic account of history, tradition of Ondo kingdom


It was a moment of relaxation on Sunday, February 11, 2024, as journalists from different platforms gathered to support one of their own in her foray into storytelling, however, from another perspective.

This time around, it was for the launch of two books, ‘OLOBUN’ and ‘Dates from Hell’, written by Onaolatomirin (Tomi) Falade, the Life Editor (Saturday) at Independent Newspapers.

Read also: A Journey from Pain to Prosperity: Daniel Moses’ book launch event

Falade, an entertainment editor, backed by her journalistic knowledge and research into the history and tradition of the people of Ondo, opened up on her foray into the world of writing as an author with Olobun.

‘OLOBUN: Matriarch Of Ondo, Mother Of Legacy’ is a rich drama set in 15th-century Oyo, which explores themes of adventure, exile, and the birth of the lasting legacy of the Ondo Kingdom.

Her research into the history of the kingdom exposed some intriguing stories about the Olobun, the matriarch of Ondo kingdom, who is also regarded as the mother of legacy. “Olobun’s story is an integral part of the people of Ondo’s history”.

However, beneath her significance to the Ondo Kingdom lies a beginning the author attempted to document. “I have always been surrounded by strong women, especially my mother. Against the odds, she transforms into whatever role I require in my life – a defender, a financier, an adviser, a manager, an editor, a critic, or simply a friend. She is the foundation for my profound connection to Olobun’s story”.

According to her, Olobun, like her mother, adapted to fulfill the needs of history. “Yet, with the passage of centuries, historical details fade, risking distortion”. She disclosed further that the publication is her endeavour to secure history, anchoring it with her skills as a writer.

“It is noteworthy that I have taken creative liberties with the original story for the sake of artistic beauty. Some parts of this work are entirely fictional, albeit mythical. Nevertheless, the core of the story remains true to the history of the esteemed Ondo Kingdom, and these parts can be validated by custodians of the Ekimogun lore,” she said.

According to the author, a child on an unplanned journey finds it difficult to predict the end of that journey, “she can only hope.”

She disclosed that when she started the journey into telling the story of ‘Olobun’ about 14 years ago; she lacked a clear objective or endpoint.

“All I knew was that I needed to tell a story. 14 years after I started writing this, my efforts have yielded better fruit beyond my wildest expectations,” Falade disclosed.

Narrating her personal experience as a journalist and playwright, Falade said: “My love for literature is what led me to journalism, and after over a decade in the media industry, my flair for telling extraordinary stories has not waned.

“I believe it is time to share another facet of my literary exploits with the world in drama and story form.”

As a result of her belief in sharing another facet of journalistic training through drama as a playwright; she also launched ‘Dates From Hell’ as a collection of short stories based on true events of people on romantic dates.

According to her, each narrative reflects the not-so-glamorous ordeals of people on their experiences in dating. “Parks, picnics, and romance are not the subject of these stories. They are date experiences best read than survived – that is what this book will serve you”.

Falade’s ability to capture the essence of human experiences and translate them into captivating narratives has earned her respect and admiration within and beyond the journalism community.

Her flair for scripting extraordinary stories is evident in her extensive body of work, which includes well over a thousand stories and articles.

Her portfolio encompasses a variety of genres, with dozens of published features and investigative stories that reflect her commitment to delivering compelling narratives.

On why she chose to launch the two books together, she revealed that it was mere coincidence. According to her, the initial plan was to launch ‘Dates From Hell’ in 2023; however, prevailing circumstances at the time pushed the public presentation to 2024.

“Now that the two books are ready I just thought that I could do both at the same time, so here we are.

“This is why I tagged the event a book party. Many people do not realise that literature can be fun, this event is to show that we can genuinely have fun with literature,” she said.

The book launch, which was tagged ‘The Tomi Falade Book Party’, was also an avenue for both senior and contemporary colleagues in the newsroom to also narrate their personal experience with the author both within and outside the newsroom.

Top among them was Taiwo Obe, popularly called ‘TO’, who attested to Falade’s dedication to work and her desire for personal development on the job.

He told the guest about his first meeting with the author and how she was always the first to get to class for a training programme, which he said revealed her desire for learning.