The lingering chieftaincy tussle between Oba Sikiru Obatula and Oba Salisu Yusuf over the Olu of Ojodu stool in Ifo Local Government Area of the state may not end soon.
The fear of an outbreak of violence and hostilities between the supporters of the two rival monarchs in Ojodu Abiodun has left the people of the town in fear, confusion and anxiety.
Hardly does the heat from one threat of violence simmer down, than another begins to rise.
The tensed situation in the town, created by the rivalry betweeen the two claimants to the throne has continued to be a source of worry to not only the residents but also to government and security agencies, who fear a looming breach of peace.
For fear of not being caught in the crossfire in the event of an outbreak of hostilities between the supporters of the rival monarchs, many business owners in Ojodu Abiodun, especially those engaged in estate management and related areas, are said to have closed shop.
Now, the pertinent question on the lips of every resident in the town is who, between the two claimants, should exercise traditional authority over the community.
The confusion in the town over who the rightful occupant of the Olojodu throne should be is said to have even put on hold several activities, which require the authority and blessing of the traditional ruler.
A resident who simply identified himself as Mr. Ramon Oladimeji, explained that the ongoing royal tussle between Oba Obatula and Oba Yusuf has continued to have negative effects on developments within the community.
Oladimeji lamented that inspite of the intervention of security agencies at both the state and federal levels, the rival monarchs and their supporters had continued to lay clams to the stool of the Olojodu.
He added that the tussle had “seriously” divided the residents, resulting sometimes into occasional crisis.
“On many occasions, various activities of the residents have been affected, since both parties contending at the same time usually give different orders. The situation, as I am talking to you, has caused many business owners to desert our community because they know that the outcome and effect of the ongoing crisis will be tough and grievous.”
Oladimeji also claimed that an ongoing house project belonging to one of his friends was forcibly halted since the crisis began.
He said that the two claimants to the throne ordered his friend to obtain permission and endorsement from both of them before the workers on the project site could be allowed to continue.
Meanwhile, some residents who have pitched their tent with Oba Obatula have continued to insist that he is the rightful and recognised traditional ruler of the town.
According to one of them, Mr. Yakubu, Oba Obatula was legally endorsed by the Ogun State Government and the consenting traditional authority of Awori land.
“The only king that we recognise in this town is Sikiru Adetula. He was ordained by the government and the Olofin, the paramount ruler of Awori land, and this means that he is our recognised king. Chief Salisu Yusuf was never a king in this town. He was a chief and was later sacked over some misdeeds before Oba Adetula emerged,” he said.
Another resident, who identified herself as Iya Alaso, explained that the town had been in serious confusion over the tussle between the two monarchs, say ing, “It is a big surprise and disappointment that two obas are fighting over a small town like Ojodu Abiodun. But with what we know so far, Adetula is the recognised king. He has the necessary documents from the government.”
However, our correspondent gathered from the Ogun State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs that Oba Yusuf’s name is not on the list of the recognised traditional rulers in the state.
A source told our correspondent at the chieftaincy office that the ministry recently wrote to FCID, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos, upon request, to confirm who between the two claimants was the recognised traditional ruler of the town.
A copy of the letter with reference number 3000/x/ xs/vol.61/439 and entitled “Re:impersonation as king of Ojodu, threat to lives of Oba Sikiru Adelani Obatula…”, confirmed Oba Obatula as the traditional ruler of the town.
The letter, signed by the Director of Chieftaincy Affairs for the Permanent Secretary, J. O Olatoye, stated, “Salisu Hassan Yusuf Abiodun is not among the legally recognised Obas in Ogun State. He is not a gazette traditional ruler…The authentic traditional ruler in Ojodu is Oba Sikiru Adelani Obatula, Olojodu of Ojodu in Ifo Local Government Area.”
OBA SALISU YUSUF REACTS
Meanwhile, Oba Yusuf, in his reaction, described as false, allegations allegedly levelled against him by his rival, Oba Obatula.
He said Oba Obatula had only been “fooled” by some people who illegally installed him as the town’s monarch while he’s still alive.
Oba Yusuf, who spoke with The Point in his palace through his Personal Assistant, Olalekan Majeed, claimed that, having been crowned the Olu of Ojodu over 10 years ago, he remained the only authentic traditional ruler of the town.
He further explained that Oba Obatula was only made the traditional ruler of the town six years ago by former governor Gbenga Daniel, allegedly to spite him for not supporting his political aspiration. The monarch said, “I remain the valid king of Ojodu Abiodun, Ogun State since 2006. Before I became the king in 2006, I had reigned as Baale in the land for over 16 years. And during my reign as Baale, Adetula Sikiru was one of my chiefs. He was the Jagunmolu of Ojodu Abiodun. “After serving my people for over 16 years, I wrote to the Ogun State Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs on the need to be upgraded as Oba and I was referred to the Egba Council of Obas in Abeokuta. After this and other traditional consultations, I was crowned as the Olu of Ojodu Abiodun in 2006 by the Olowu of Owu, Oba Dosumu Adegboyega.“Since this time, I have been ruling as the king of the kingdom, until former governor Gbenga Daniel came to install Adetula as another king in this town.”
Oba Yusuf added, “The advent of Obatula as unrecognised Oba never bothered me because we all know who is the king and who has authority in this land. He is just a ‘figure head king’. He doesn’t have a say in this town.” One of the aides to Oba Yusuf told our correspondent that Oba Obatula had been rendered ineffective in the community, as he had to seek permission from his rival before he could celebrate his birthday in the town. “When Adetula wanted to celebrate his birthday, Oba Yusuf told him to halt all preparations because he was not the authentic traditional ruler of the town. But following several pleas from him and other notable people in the town, Oba Yusuf allowed him to have the celebration after he had signed an undertaking,” he said.
OBA OBATUNDE’S DEFENCE
Rolling out facts to defend himself, Oba Obatula said, “I am Oba Sikiru Adelani Obatula, Olojodu of Ojodu Kingdom, Ogun State. I was made the Oba under Ogun State in 2010, December 9. I did the coronation on February 19, 2011 and I received the staff of office from the state government.
“But since then, one man who calls himself Saliu Hassan Yusuf rose and started parading himself as the king of this land. He claimed he was made the Oba by Olowu of Owu kingdom in Abeokuta.”
He added, “Meanwhile, I was officially crowned by both the Ogun State Government and the Olofin, the leader of kings in Awori land under Ogun State. Since then, Salisu Yusuf has been breaching the peace in this community with the use of some hoodlums.
“On several occasion, he halted different community programmes with the influence of hoodlums, boasting that he would kill anyone that crossed his path.” Also recounting some of his encounters with Oba Salisu, Obatula explained, “When I was about to celebrate my first year anniversary, he stopped me with the use of hoodlums and others. He also reported me to the police. But as God would have it, he was charged to court by Oba Olofin, the paramount ruler of Aworiland, that he did not have any right to parade himself as king in this community, and the court asked him to refrain from the act.
“After this, he went ahead and sued me to court four good times but he also lost.”
On how Oba Yusuf became a traditional ruler of the town, Obatula added that “Yusuf just rose one day and bought a crown from Abeokuta and started calling himself king. That was how this town and the Olofin got into a fight with him.
“He was a Baale but he was later removed by the government and the community when he was accused of various misdeeds. But after this, he decided to upgrade himself to the oba of the community.”
When contacted, the Olofin of Aworiland, Oba Niyi Adekanbi, told our correspondent on the phone that he did not recognise Oba Yusuf as the authentic traditional ruler of Ojodu Abiodun.
He said, “I don’t have much to say over this issue. The authentic Oba of Ojodu Abiodun is Sikiru Obatula. He is the king that is recognised by both the government and the Awori people. Whoever claims to be another king in the same town, should be asked to provide the gazette confirming him by the Ogun State Government as the traditional ruler.
“Salisu is a fraud and tout parading himself as king in that land. The court has ruled on the case that he is never a king. So, what else does he want?”
The state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Jide Ojuko, declined to comment on the crisis in Ojodu Abiodun.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Police Command has assured residents of Ojodu Abiodun of adequate security and peace within the community.
“Police is aware of the development and necessary action has been taken to ensure there is no breach of peace in the community,” the command’s Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said.