Queen Oluwabukola Mariam Saliu has just spent a year and few months in the beautiful palace at Oworonshoki, Lagos. A fashionable queen, she clocked 40 years in March 2023 amidst pomp. Married to HRH Oba Babatunde Saliu, the Oloworo of Oworonshoki kingdom, she is quite intelligent and a journalist’s delight. A sociable queen who handles her things with discretion, Oloori Bukola remains a popular figure in Oworonshoki as her husband delivers his dream of making the town the most envied in Lagos. Speaking to Owambevibes in an interview, Oloori Bukola lets you into her world…
Owambevibes: How has it been living in the palace for over one year?
Queen Bukola: The past one year has been interesting. I am still trying to adjust to some dictates of tradition here. Even the kids are also trying to adjust and they keep asking why everyone is prostrating for their dad. We have taken it upon ourselves to teach our kids (our firstborn is 14 years old, then another 10-year-old and my last is 6 years old) the rudiments of culture and traditions.
Owambevibes: What kind of man is Kabiyesi? Is he adapting to his new life as a monarch in Oworonshoki?
Queen Bukola: HRH Oba Babatunde Saliu is a good man who loves peace. He is very God-fearing and a good Muslim too. He is a lover of people and very peaceful. We have been through thick and thin and thank God for where we are today. He loves his people and he is also concerned about their welfare. Since he ascended the throne, Kabiyesi has embarked on empowerment programmes for the various communities in Oworonsoki. There are programmes whereby we give out work tools—barbing equipment, sewing machines, grinding machines, hair-dryers and cash gifts.
Owambevibes: How and when did you meet your husband, the king?
Queen Bukola: I met Kabiyesi around 25 years ago in Abeokuta. Then, I was in St Peters College, Abeokuta and he was in Aiyetoro Comprehensive High School. I started dating him when I was in JSS 2. But we got married over 14 years ago. He was my first boyfriend, confidant, my best friend, my backbone.
Owambevibes: What has changed about your relationship since he ascended the throne?
Queen Bukola: Apart from going to pay obeisance in the palace, we still relate as friends. Our relationship remains the same, I’m still his babe and he’s still my guy. This is what happens when you marry your best friend.
Owambevibes: What about your social life?
Queen Bukola: I have always been a socialite but I had to reduce my outings because of my status—I can’t be seen everywhere
Owambevibes: Describe how your lifestyle has been tailored to your position as queen?
Queen Bukola: To be married to a king demands more from you and that makes you a role model to many people especially the youth. That simply means you live a life worthy of examples. You are who they see and want to pattern their lives as yours; so behave like a good leader. You will be shocked at how you are being rated as their role model and what they say about you when you aren’t there. In a nutshell, royalty bestows so much on you and you have to behave accordingly. That has been my watchword since we came to the palace.
Owambevibes: Did you grow up in Oworonshoki?
Queen Bukola: I grew up in Gbagada and schooled at Lantana Nursery/Primarry School, Gbagada. Then, we relocated to Abeokuta where I attended St Peters College – I was there for my Junior Secondary School 1 and 2. Then, I returned to Lagos and attended Eva Adelaja Model College, Bariga. I later proceeded to the University of Lagos where I studied Banking and Finance.
Owambevibes: How has your husband’s reign impacted the Oworonshoki communities?
Queen Bukola: Everything has been going on perfectly well in our community since Oba Babatunde Saliu ascended the throne. This has been with the support of the people of Oworonshoki, our families and friends have all thrown weight behind us and shown us much support. Oworo is now a safe haven for investors— no cult wars, no hooliganism, no more robberies and the palace is constantly in touch with the communities. Kabiyesi wants to make Oworo an enviable place to stay in Lagos.
Owambevibes: Do you still cook for your husband?
Queen Bukola: Why not? I still cook for him.
Owambevibes: What is his favourite dish?
Queen Bukola: No favourite meal but he loves waterleaf and Fufu.