A FIRST class monarch in Ondo State, the Olowo of Owo, Oba Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi, is dead at 77 years.

A palace source said the traditional ruler, who ascended the throne in 2003, attended a security summit held in the town on Tuesday.

The monarch, it was learnt, developed complications after he retired to the palace and he eventually died.

Although the state government was yet to make any official statement on the death of the traditional ruler, the news of Oba Olateru-Olagbegi’s death has spread across the state and beyond.

Commissioner for Information Yemi Olowolabi said he was not aware of the development, stressing that only Olowo’s palace could confirm the story.

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who hails from Owo, is presently on an official engagement outside the country.

However, an official of Owo Local Government Area, who craved anonymity, confirmed the monarch’s death, stressing that the Chairman of the Local Government will later today announce it officially.

The council officail said the monarch had been receiving medical treatment for over a year, attributing his death to health challenges he suffered since ascension to the throne.

The late traditional ruler was a prominent lawyer and a lecturer in the Nigerian Law School, where he retired as a reader in 1999 to ascend the throne of his forefathers.

He was honoured with the national award of the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).

Besides, he was appointed the Chancellor, University of Benin in 2015 and later the University of Abuja.

The late monarch was a former chairman, Ondo State Council of Obas and Chiefs.

He is the eldest son of the late Olowo of Owo, Sir Titus Olateru-Olagbegi II, who ruled the ancient town.

He received the staff of office as Olowo on December 11, 2003, from the late former governor, Olusegun Agagu, after succeeding his father in 1999.

Palace sources confirmed his death but emphasised that “we cannot announce it now because of various traditions to follow”.

“Governor Akeredolu, who is an indigene of Owo, is presently out of the country for official duty, and must be formally briefed on Olowo’s exit before an official announcement,” a source said.

He received his first degree in law from London, United Kingdom (UK) and attended Nigeria Law School in 1968.

The late monarch later returned to Nigeria to practise Law under the late Fatai Williams.

He is married to Ololade Olateru-Olagbegi, a lawyer and law lecturer at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko and they are blessed with children and grandchildren.