Disquiet as Oyetola is accused of illegal imposition of kings in Osun communities

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BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

Uba Group

One of the liabilities that the incoming administration in Osun State will inherit is a traditional institution enmeshed in crises of varying dimensions.

From alleged impositions of monarchs on citizens by the Governor Gboyega Oyetola led administration to attacks, violent protests, and total disregard of court pronouncements by some stakeholders and threat to life, the royal institution is being weakened, humiliated and disempowered.

Checks by The Point revealed that no fewer than six major towns in the state are in chaos over chieftaincy tussles.

While some monarchs, who are expected to be next to gods by virtue of the spiritual powers they are believed to possess, have raised the alarm over threat by some of their subjects to kill them, others have been receiving backlashes over their partisan roles in the politics of the state.

In this shambolic state, the current government has been fingered.

AKIRUN OF IKIRUN

In Ikirun, violent protest by indigenes erupted immediately the state government announced the appointment of Prince Yinusa Olalekan Akadiri of Oba-Ara Ruling House as the new Akinrun of Ikirun.

No fewer than three persons were confirmed shot as violence erupted in Ikirun, headquarters of Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state over Akadiri’s emergence.

Announcing the appointment of the new Akinrun of Ikirun after the State Executive Council meeting, Osun government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Funke Egbemode, said Akadiri’s emergence followed majority votes in his favour at a meeting of Ikirun kingmakers held on November 19, 2021, where Akadiri polled six out of seven votes, beating 17 other candidates in the process.

The Akinrun stool became vacant on February 8, 2021, following the demise of Oba Rauf Adedeji (from Adedeji ruling house) who mounted the royal stool in 1991.

According to a gazetted arrangement in the town, it was the turn of Gboleru Ruling House to become the next Akirun of Ikirun.

But, the state government said it decided to pick the new Oba from Oba-Ara ruling House because Gboleru Ruling House was fighting one another over whom to present as the candidate for the throne.

There are three ruling houses in Ikirun. They are Oba-Ara, Adedeji and Gboleru.

Immediately news filtered into the town of the appointment and approval of Akadiri (Oba-Ara ruling house) indigenes of Ikirun, especially youths, staged violent protest in rejection of the choice of the new monarch.

The protesters set up bonfires at the popular Oja-Oba/Palace Market road and other strategic locations as means of venting their anger against the government’s appointment.

The crisis took a fetish dimension when some of the aggrieved protesters hung charms on the palace gate to prevent the monarch from accessing it.

Gboleru Ruling House said the government neither invited them for the selection process and nor did members of the ruling house take themselves to court over paternity and rightful candidature.

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Speaking for the family, one of the contenders to the throne, Prince Tajudeen Adesegun Gboleru, insisted that it was the turn of Gboleru, saying it was wrong for the state government to have approved Akadiri who is from Oba-Ara.

Meanwhile, the state government has said it was the turn of Gboleru but that they were ignored because of the alleged infighting between the ruling family over the person that they would present as the new Oba.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Rasaq Adeosun, disclosed that a State High Court in Ikirun had ruled that the state government should move to the next ruling house following the crisis in the Gboleru family.

Officials from the Osun State Police Command have arrested nine youths of the town and arraigned them before a Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Osogbo for allegedly shooting five persons and staging riot against the appointment of new Akinrun. They have been cooling their heels in the custody of Ilesa Correctional Centre while uneasy calm rents the town.

“A socio-political group, Osun Liberation Movement, in a statement by its president, Olumide Adio, and secretary, Rahmon Akindele, described illegal imposition of monarchs on Osun towns and communities as an attempt by the outgoing government of Governor Gboyega Oyetola to spite the incoming administration of the governor-elect, Ademola Adeleke”

AREE OF IREE

In Ikire, investigation byThe Point revealed that a sum of N15 million was parted with, as precursor to the purported installation of Prince Raphael Oluponle Ademola, as the new Aree of Iree in Boripe Local Council Development Area of Osun State.

Governor Oyetola approved the installation at nightfall, following which the new monarch was shepherded to the Iree palace by praise singers, amid tight security.

However, informed sources revealed that the new monarch, believed to be a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, was made to pay through the nose by political hawks in Okefia Government House, Osogbo.

“They demanded N15 million from him as a bribe to twist the tradition of Iree.

“Indeed, the road to the installation of Oba (monarch) for Iree is a bazaar and harvest programme for the Oyetola administration. First, all the 11 aspirants to the throne were made to pay N500, 000 each to the purse of the local government, and N150, 000 to the state government.

“They were also asked to pay sundry sums to cover three-year tax clearance; yet, none of them was allowed to go through the screening of the community’s recognised kingmakers,” a top source in Boripe LCDA, who opted for anonymity, confided in our correspondent.

The source added that after siphoning the sums from the contestants, the state government approved the appointment of a female Chief, an Iyalode, to fill the vacancy created by the death of a top kingmaker, the Eesa.

“Yet, the Chieftaincy Affairs Commissioner, you who is from our town knows that it is a taboo in Iree to make a woman a kingmaker. Again, during the selection process without the kingmakers in attendance, one Prince Alwajud, the younger brother to Banik, supervised the process,” the source protested.

He further informed that when the sum of N15m was released to some persons in government circles, they wrapped up N4m to give to the community’s kingmakers as their share but the chiefs turned down the money, thus spiking the desperation to install Ademola, at all costs.

Having met with brick walls in the attempt to draft in the kingmakers, the government’s caste reportedly appointed six warrant officers, joined by the new Iyalode, and took Ademola to the Boripe LCDA secretariat where they made his selection as new Oba.

Other sources also informed this newspaper that Ademola was also being compensated in a way, as he allegedly spent a fortune during the governorship election campaigns of Governor Oyetola of the APC, which the latter eventually lost to Ademola Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party.

The state government, investigations further revealed, had in its calculation determined to compensate all loyal party members and supporters before it leaves office for the new administration on November 27, this year.

Even where there was a motion on notice on the Obaship tussle, the state government went ahead to elect warrant chiefs and appointed the Aree.

The kingmakers, again, approached an Ikirun High Court with a motion ex-parte seeking stoppage of further action on the Aree stool.

Justice I. Adeleke expressed displeasure at the lawless posture of the government and ordered that further action on the stool be suspended till the final determination of the motion on notice.

Further checks by The Point revealed that Ademola has gained entry to the palace and has been parading himself as monarch against the order of the court.

In videos and pictures sighted by our correspondent, Ademola mounted the throne after an inauguration exercise was said to have been conducted by the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Adeleke Adebayo, popularly known as Banik.

Meanwhile, Banik had denied any shady deal or undue influence on his part, and on the part of Governor Oyetola.

In Igbajo, Boluwaduro Local Government Area of the state, the town has been without a king since 2020. The peace of the town is currently being threatened over who ascends the throne.

Princes and Chiefs in the town have alleged that the traditional crowns of the ancient town are now missing. Speaking during a protest held in Osogbo to demand transparency in the selection of a new monarch for the town, they accused some politicians of trying to impose the State Chairman of Osun APC, Prince Gboyega Famodun on them.

According to them, the traditional crowns were supposed to be kept with Chief Looye of Igbajo after the demise of a king until another king assumes the throne. He alleged that the traditional crowns were not kept with Baba Looye but instead brought to the house of the APC chairman in Osogbo.

“The case concerning the stool of Igbajo is still in court but some people are bent on imposing someone on us,” the Loogunde of Igbajoland, Chief Aderemi Adeife said.

It was gathered that the state government had anointed Famodun for the stool but has delayed the processes till after the expiration of his tenure as the APC Chairman.

ALAWO OF AWO

There has been tension in Awo, a community in Egbedore Local Government Area of the state over the reported refusal of the dethroned traditional ruler, Oba Taiwo Rasaq Adegboye to vacate the throne after a Court of Appeal sitting in Akure removed him.

Justices Habeeb Adewale Abiru, Ayobode Lokulo-Sodipe and Yusuf Alhaji Bashiru had on August 8, this year, while delivering judgement in the matter marked CA/AK/58/2021, set aside the selection, appointment, approval and installation of Adegboye as the Alawo of Awo and barred him from wearing crown and parading as a monarch of the community.

But, the monarch has refused to respect the court order, a situation that has pitched most of the indigenes of the community against him.

IPO-ARAKEJI

In the same vein, tension has been brewing in Ipo-Arakeji town in Oriade Local Government Area of the state as the traditional ruler of the town, Oba David Ajetomobi, (Arobiere III), is locked in battle with some of his chiefs over his style of ruler ship.The monarch accused three of his chiefs of impersonating him by creating a palace for themselves where they allegedly ganged up against him to give conflicting orders to his subjects and breed thugs to extort the people, thereby causing confusion and making the community ungovernable for him.

Oba Ajetunmobi, who said that he had deposed the erring chiefs namely, Olatunde Joseph Omobogunje, Olalere Oguntufehinti and late Johnson Gbadurami Atanmokun as Elemo, Ashaye and Aremo of Ipo-Arakeji community respectively, explained that they were still defiant to his orders.

ARAGBIJI OF IRAGBIJI

Similarly, the Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Oba AbdulRasheed Ayotunde Olabomi, has alleged that one of his subjects, a businesswoman, Alhaja Falilat Oyetunji popularly known as Ero Arike is after his life.

Aragbiji accused the woman of hiring assassins to kill him and three persons among his subjects. The traditional ruler therefore cried to all authorities to save him.

Falilat had reacted saying the monarch was jealous of her “blessings” and that she would expose what transpired between her and the traditional ruler to the world.

“Speaking during a protest held in Osogbo to demand transparency in the selection of a new monarch for the town, they accused some politicians of trying to impose the State Chairman of Osun APC, Prince Gboyega Famodun on them. According to them, the traditional crowns were supposed to be kept with Chief Looye of Igbajo after the demise of a king until another king assumes the throne. He alleged that the traditional crowns were not kept with Baba Looye but instead brought to the house of the APC chairman in Osogbo”

ATAOJA OF OSOGBO

In Osogbo, there was an outrage last Thursday over an alleged plot by Governor Oyetola to depose the Ataoja of Osogboland, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Oyetunji, Larooye ll. Some indigenes and traditional Chiefs of the state capital took to the streets of the ancient town in protest against the alleged dethronement.

Over 56 Osogbo traditional Chiefs and 65 Heads of Village (Baale) led hundreds of indigenes of the town to stage the peaceful protest, and they said that such rumoured dethronement by the state government when the pending litigation on the stool has not been determined, was capable of disrupting the existing peace in Osogbo and Osun State in general.

Governor Oyetola denied the alleged plans to depose the monarch, saying he had no issue with the monarch.

Oyetola in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, described the rumour as falsehood, saying Ataoja is directly under the supervision of Osogbo local government.

With these litanies of crises among others, stakeholders have expressed concerns and lamented that the traditional institution is gradually losing its relevance, regard and respect.

They called for concerted efforts to purge the system of imposition while calling on traditional rulers to stay off dealings that could subject the institution to ridicule.

A socio-political group, Osun Liberation Movement, in a statement by its president, Olumide Adio, and secretary, Rahmon Akindele, described illegal imposition of monarchs on Osun towns and communities as an attempt by the outgoing government of Governor Gboyega Oyetola to spite the incoming administration of the governor-elect, Ademola Adeleke.

OLM called on President Muhammadu Buhari and other stakeholders to call Governor Oyetola to order.