By Bose Adebayo
ILE-IFE in Osun State is adjudged to be the cradle of the Yoruba race and has over the years also served as a source of refuge for the Yorubas. Ile-Ife was for a long time a haven of peace until the late eighties or early nineties when communal crisis reared its ugly head in this ancient community. Since then, leaders and the government as well as various communities in Yoruba land have tried to find a lasting solution to crisis in this ancient community.
The crises have in many cases claimed several lives apart from leading to the destruction of property whose value has not been adequately established. One of such crises erupted when Modakeke, a minority settlement in Osun State, allegedly tried to claim supremacy over Ile-Ife which has been Modakeke’s benefactor for ages.
Ife is made up of four local governments such as Ife Central, Ife East, Ife South and Ife North. But today fear rules the land as fresh violence is widely perceived to be imminent there. In fact, the people are presently looking up to government to take urgent steps to forestal this. They are also praying influential individuals and the paramount ruler of Ife, the Ooni of Ife, to come to the aid of their aid as they have long suffered abandonment and neglect.
Vanguard Metro could authoritatively reveal that violence looms in Ifetedo community of Ife South and could erupt any moment unless the Ooni decides to use his good offices to pre-empt it. Some indigenes of Ifetedo are said to have even sent emissaries to the Ooni to draw his attention to a threatening chieftaincy tussle that could explode into violence.
To buttress the prevailing uncertainty in the area, a conference which held in the community last Saturday resulted in a fracas when some members of this community insisted that the right candidate be installed for the vacant stool of Olubosin.
Some of them who spoke on condition of anonymity said a particular family in Ile-Ife popularly called Obaloran or Oba yoju ran seem hell-bent on imposing one of their sons as the next Oba in a village called Bolorunduro/Egebejoda without regard to the consequence on the Ifetedo community. “If it is true that Ifes are agitating for equity and fair play, we in Ifetedo have suffered untold hardship for a long time. One of these is that a non-indigene was imposed as the incumbent local government chairman but we hope this kind of thing will not repeat itself in the upcoming elections,” they chorused.
The chieftaincy rule of this community derives from the Western State Chieftaincy Declarations, Ife Division of 1959 under the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs which stipulates succession by promotion. “This is contained in the Declaration made under section 4 (3) of the Chiefs Law, 1957,of the customary law regulating the section of the Baale of Ifetedo”. Hence succession to the Olubosin (Baaleship) is by promotion, in order of the seniority of the chiefs which is as follows: Baale, Balogun, Otun,Osi, Ashipa and Ekerin.
On the death of a Baale, the Balogun automatically succeeds him but if there is no Balogun as at that time, the Otun succeeds the Baale and in that order. However, a different ball game is being played in Ifetedo following the demise of the Baale Oba Tiamiyu Adegbite who died about four years ago. Since then, one Ilori Olowosoke has been allegedly parading himself as the Olubosin in waiting after presenting a document which endorses him as the Balogun since June 23, 2008.
“The late Chief Samuel Akinrodoye was the late Osi who died in 2009. Olubosin’s stool is vacant, the Ashipa is supposed to be the next Olubosin since the Balogun, Otun and Osi’s stools are vacant. I see no reason why Olowosoke should emerge from nowhere and start parading himself as the Olubosin in waiting,” said Emmanuel Adedoyin.
A septuagenarian, Mrs. Funmilayo Adedoyin also called on the Ooni to lend his ears to the plight of the indigenes. “I witnessed the Modakeke and Ife clash and I never pray to witness further crisis before I join my ancestors. The Osun State Government should install a credible Olubosin, not somebody who is not acceptable to Ifetedos both home and abroad because any wrong step could bring crisis in the town. If the government does not do its findings before installing a candidate as the new Olubosin of Ifetedo, this will cause problems in the land.
We use this medium to appeal to Kabiyesi, the Ooni of Ife, to use his good offices to call the Obaloran family to order and prevent any discord in the entire land,” she said.
In a swift reaction, Chief Olowosoke told Vanguard Metro he is qualified to occupy the stool. “I have followed due process; the matter was taken to court and I have won. Some members of the community still believe in the old and archaic method of rulership which the government has refused. I am the right candidate for Olubosin’s stool,” he said.