Outrage trails alleged plot by Oyetola to depose Ataoja of Osogbo

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BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

Uba Group

Some indigenes of Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, on Thursday, took to the streets of the ancient town in protest against alleged plans by the state government to dethrone their traditional ruler, the Ataoja of Osogboland, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Oyetunji, Larooye ll.

Over 56 Osogbo traditional chiefs and 65 heads of village (Baales) led hundreds of indigenes of the town to stage the peaceful protest, and they said that such rumoured dethronement by the state government was capable of disrupting the existing peace in Osogbo and Osun State in general.

Armed with placards bearing various inscriptions such as; “Don’t Cause Confusion In Osogbo”, “Stop the Attempt to Depose Oba Jimoh”, “Efura oo, Ijoba Ipinle Osun Fe da Rukerudo Sile”, “Ataoja of Osogbo Is Our King” among others, the protesters said there is an existing suit challenging the selection and appointment of Oba Oyetunji, but stressed that alleged plans to force the monarch out of the throne before the final determination of the matter was uncalled for.

Some of the protesters argued that the state government was allegedly planning the dethronement because the monarch supported the state Governor-elect, Ademola Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party, in the July 16 governorship election.

The Baales and chiefs who gathered at the residence of Baale’s Chairman, Jimoh Buraimoh warned the state government under the leadership of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola not to embark on such moves.

They added that such a move was an attempt to usurp the power and function of the judiciary to adjudicate on the matter currently pending in the court of law and it was highly prejudicial and contemptuous of the process of the Honourable Court of Osun State.

Speaking with newsmen on behalf of others, the Asipa of Osogboland, Ajadi Badmus revealed that he and Governor Oyetola had a conversation on Wednesday evening and that the governor told him that no such plan existed.

He said, “We have been inundated with rumour that the state government is planning to depose Ataoja of Osogbo and we have reacted appropriately. I personally authored a letter that is flying on social media.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) night around 11pm, the governor called me and informed me that no such plan exists. So I’m here to brief our people of the conversation I had with the governor.”

Echoing a similar view, Jimoh Ibrahim said: “It has come to the notice of the good people of Osogbo land of the clandestine moves by the Osun State Government to depose the Ataoja of Osogbo land, Oba Jimoh Abidemi Oyetunji Olanipekun Larooye II without any just cause.

“The attempt by the Osun State Government to take this unholy approach is against the backdrop of the existing case instituted by the members of Oluwin Ajibilu/Oyekomi Family of Oyekomi’s Compound, Osogbo in Suit No: HOS/115/2022: Prince Sakariyau Alabi Adebiyi & 2 ORS VS HRM Oba Jimoh Olanipekun (Ataoja of Osogbo).

“The 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants represent the Osun State Government and the case is still pending at the High Court of Justice, Osogbo.

“It is to be noted that we cannot accept this unlawful attempt which will portray the Osun State Government as highly insensitive and blind to the yearnings and aspirations of the people of Osun State. The institution of Ataoja of Osogboland is the custodian of our traditional heritage. Attempt to illegally remove the occupant of the exalted office is an affront on our traditional inheritance which shall be resisted legally.

“The people of Osogbo will not allow this to happen and they are ready to resist this insult and blatant conspiracy to cause disunity, chaos, violence and disharmony among the good people of Osogbo and Osun State generally.”

While speaking at the Palace of Ataoja, the Osogbo kingmakers also said they unanimously rejected the alleged move by the state government to dethrone the monarch.

The head of the Kingmakers and Ajaguna of Osogboland, Gabriel Ojo Opaniran, who spoke on behalf of other kingmakers, said: “Oba Olanipekun is the 16th Ataoja of Osogbo and it has never been in our history that Ataoja was removed. So we won’t allow that to happen.”

Meanwhile, in his reaction, Governor Oyetola has denied the alleged plans to depose the monarch, saying he had no issue with the monarch.

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

“Ordinarily, the Ataoja is directly under the supervision of the Osogbo Local Government. Therefore, the governor has no business per se with his office. Besides, the governor has no issues with Ataoja.

“To this end, I appeal to leaders of thought and clerics in Osogbo to endeavour to find out the truth, know the truth and act based on the truth.

“I also urge the people to disregard the content of this fallacious letter as it does not fit the gentleman’s personality of a governor Osun people and the nation know too well,” Omipidan said.