Peace eludes Osun town over Obaship tussle

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BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

Uba Group

Since Wednesday, October 26, 2022 when the Osun State Government announced the appointment of Prince Yinusa Olalekan Akadiri of Oba-Ara Ruling House as the new Akinrun of Ikirun, peace has taken leave of the ancient town.

No fewer than three persons have been 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 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 government’s appointment.

A resident of the town informed The Point that some of the aggrieved youths carried guns and cobs in anger. They were also said to have locked the palace to prevent the new Oba-elect from gaining entry.

The demonstration brought tension to the ancient town as properties were destroyed amid gunshots.

A security source informed The Point that no fewer than three persons sustained gunshots in the crisis.

Some security operatives deployed by the state government to the town to restore peace were attacked by the rampaging protesters.
Some of the security operatives were said to have sustained injuries in the violent encounter.

“We were chased away when we got there. They had started the protest on Wednesday night. Even the Amotekun men that had been there before we came couldn’t overpower them because no security operative wants to record casualty. I can confirm to you that three persons sustained gunshots and they are receiving treatment in the hospital,” a security personnel who craved anonymity because he was not authorised to speak said.

CHARM USED TO SHUT PALACE AGAINST NEW MONARCH
The crisis took fetish dimension at the weekend when some of the aggrieved protesters hung charms on the palace gate to prevent the monarch from accessing it.

The kingmakers and chiefs loyal to Akadiri were said to have carried out coronation rites and placing of the traditional leaves on the newly appointed monarch in his private residence in the town amid the turbulence. The installation ceremony was held indoors and overnight, apparently to avoid distruption by protesting indigenes.

An attempt by the new monarch to access the palace was frustrated by the aggrieved residents, who placed a charm on the palace entrance gate.

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A resident informed The Point that the gate was locked from behind to avoid easy access for anyone, but added that he could not ascertain on whose instruction the gate was locked. He said the charm was to prevent both the king and others from getting into the palace.

The tense situation, according to the resident, prevented market women and other traders from opening their shops as the market and streets have been deserted since the crisis broke out.

The source said, “The gate was locked because people are angry about the choice of the monarch elected by kingmakers and eventually appointed by the state government. I can’t confirm who gave the instruction that the gate should be locked or charms placed on it.”

WE WERE CHEATED, CAN’T RECOGNIZE AKADIRI AS KING – GBOLERU RULING HOUSE

Gboleru Ruling House said the government neither invited them for selection process and neither did members of the ruling house took themselves to court over paternity and rightful candidature.

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.

The Canada-based businessman from Daudu Gboleru Ruling House , said, “the announcement was a total surprise for everybody. It was wrong because Oba-Ara was the one who arranged the gazette that after him, it is going to be Adedeji and after Adedeji, it’s going to be Gboleru. Adedeji is the one that just left and it’s our turn. Everything they are saying is that Gboleru members are fighting and I wonder where that exists because we don’t have any disagreement with each other. They are the ones who created who is fighting and they are the one who created who will settle it and went to court. We were never involved in anything. So, selecting Oba from Obaara is a complete wrong decision.

“Did they (state government) ever present a letter to us that asks us to present a candidate? The answer is no. They just made their kangaroo decision. In every ruling house, there may be crisis between ruling a house but that doesn’t disqualify us from presenting a candidate. We were not part of the process. The coup plotters only participated. Before, we use to consult the oracle but this time, they went to the local government to vote. Who votes to select an Oba?

“The installation (of Akadiri) was carried out at night and there had been crisis in the town. He can’t even go to the palace. He has supporters in government. I am not happy with the thing going on in Ikirun ad the whole town is not happy with it. Why forcing somebody on the throne and on the entire town? I am not desperate to be a king but the right thing must be done. This is Gboleru’s turn, it’s not Obaara.

“I don’t recognise Oba Akadiri as the new Akirun. That’s the official decision of the entire Gboleru and myself. The said coronation happened in his private house and not at the palace. The palace has been locked. If he is the one the people want, let him walk to the palace. Ikirun would have improved if not for this injustice and politics,” he said.

While appealing for calm, Adesegun said, “I am appealing to all the youths to calm down. Don’t fight and don’t do anything illegal. What is going to be is going to be. It’s unacceptable to cause mayhem. I don’t accept it. The oracles are not happy with what is going on in Ikirun. We can’t achieve this with violence. If the kingmakers would vote, Obaara shouldn’t have been there.
There was no single Gboleru at the local government where the voting took place. We were never invited to the voting and there was no official invitation from local or state government.”

COURT ORDERED US TO IGNORE GBOLERU AND PICK AKIRUN FROM NEXT RULING HOUSE – OSUN GOVERNMENT

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 Gboleru family.

Adeosun said, “I will like to state categorically that it’s the duty of the government according to the law that Chieftaincy matters in what we call the Chief Law. The matter of selection is entirely different from the power of appointment. It’s the kingmakers in a town that will select, it’s only the responsibility of the state government to make sure that things are done in compliance with the extant laws guiding appointment of traditional rulers in the state.

“So, it wasn’t the state government that selected, it was the kingmakers of the town that met on November 19, 2021 and selected a king for the town and it was in the ratio of six to one. There were about 18 contenders, one of them secured six votes, the next one secured only one and all others secured zero. Since then, there had been other stages of the procedure that we have to observe, the Ministry of Justice must be brought in to make sure that things are done in compliance with the extant law. So, all those processes were done all along and it’s discovered that as far there is no legal incumbrance, it’s just the responsibility of government to approve. So, what we did was an approval and not a selection.

“It was actually the turn of the Gboleru Ruling House and we wrote to the local government to go and supervise election of an Oba from that particular ruling house. Along the line, they took themselves to court for reasons known to them and at the end of the day, there was a judgement of the Ikirun High Court that says that the state should move to the next level because the family, Gboleru that supposed to produce, were not ready because the family was enmeshed in crisis. There was division in their house and they were challenging themselves over paternity. And the court ruled that it’s only a court of competent jurisdiction that can determine who and who are original members of the family. So, there was this problem of identity in the family that was to produce the King. They challenged themselves to court and the court ruled that government should go to the next ruling house because the ruling house that was to produce are not ready. So, when the judgement came, we got it and we moved to Oba-Ara ruling house. This governor won’t do anything that is not in line with the law.

“The local government wrote them (Gboleru) but we didn’t know who to even give the letter. I asked the local government to call the entire members of the ruling house but they started fighting and challenged themselves in court. Even in court, they would start fighting. The judge then said he doesn’t think there is an end in sight to their imbroglio.”

GIVE PEACE A CHANCE, AKIRUN-IN-COUNCIL APPEALS

The Akinrun-in-council in a statement at the weekend appealed for calm and urged aggrieved parties not to take laws into their hands.

According to the council, “the race for the throne became fiercely competitive and was keenly contested among the eligible royal blood before the noble kingmakers, the only body of wise men who has the statutory roles in the selection process of new King divinely selected Oba Yunus Olamilekan Akadiri (Oyewole IV) as the next Akirun of Ikirun among over 22 Princes who were jostling for the throne.

“It’s for these reasons and others that we are expressing our immense gratitude to the Governor of Osun whose fatherly and impartial role added much-needed value to the transparency and fair selection of the process.

“We, therefore, use this opportunity to appeal to all those people who are still nursing grievances over the long-time concluded selection process which was held on November 19, 2021, to give peace a chance in Ikirun and find the soft part in their hearts to join hand with the Palace in moving our great town, Ikirun Agunbe, forward.

“While we concede that it’s not abnormal to be aggrieved where a particular expectation failed to materialize to one’s favour, we however consider resorting to self-help as a means of settling scores very much avoidable and abhorrent. It is on that note we call for the promotion of calmness, harmony and tranquillity that the wise and industrious people are reputed for.”