August 17, 2015

Kingship tussle tears Oyo community apart

Abodunrin Kofoworaola: One of the contenders in the race

By Ola Ajayi

IBADAN – Since things fell apart between supporters of Prince Abodunrin Oyetunji Kofoworaola and Prince Rasheed Oyewole Alimi Asiru Olakanla  in Ago Are, Oke Ogun in Atisbo Local Government area of Oyo State over the selection of a new king, the centre is yet to hold. The misunderstanding which started as a thunder from the blues has torn the two sides  apart.

Abodunrin Kofoworaola: One of the contenders in the race

The spirit of brotherliness and peace that the sleepy town had  enjoyed for ages has now eluded it immediately the selection process to fill the vacant stool of Are of Ago Are began shortly after the death of the immediate past monarch, Oba Jubrila Oladoke Oyesiji on May 5, 2015.

While one of the two feuding parties through the kingmakers allegedly used a democratic process  to pick the next monarch, the Edu ruling house is crying foul alleging that the selection process which reportedly produced Prince Abodunrin Oyetunji Kofoworaola was fraught with abnormality and failed to conform to the tradition in  Yoruba land.

Votes bykingmakers

Quoting Section 4 (2) of the Chieftaincy Declarations  Law, 1957 and the tradition of Ago Are, the kingmakers said they informed the authorities of Atisbo Local Government Council of their intention to carry out the selection  on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. The kingmakers are eight in number. They are Agoro, Maye, Jagun, Sobaloju, Egbeomo, Abese, Otun-Ago and Osi-Ago. Out of these eight, only six chiefs were involved as Maye and Osi stools are presently vacant after the death of the occupiers.

Claiming that the six kingmakers cast their votes after announcing that Prince Amusat Adewale Olagoke withdrew his nomination and pledged support for Prince Jubril Mutakilu Oladoke, the kingmakers indicated that all necessary things were done before they arrived at the decision.

No fewer than 14 contestants reportedly struggled for the stool. Among the contestants, Prince Abodunrin Oyetunji Kofoworaola was said to have scored four votes while Prince Rasheed Oyewole Alimi Asiru Olakanla reportedly had only two votes.

The kingmakers maintained that all steps necessary in the selection of an Aare were taken adding that, “normally, it is the duty of Maye of Ago-Are to carry out divination in that kind of situation. Presently, there is no one officially occupying that office. But there are still knowledgeable people in Maye family.


They know all that must be done. They did it at the appropriate time – which is usually at night. They informed us of the result of their exercise. It was after this that we moved to the next level which was the open selection process”. But, Edu Royal Family insisted that the selection did not follow the due process recognized by the chieftaincy laws at the instance of one of the family members of the kingmakers associated with it.

While calling for outright cancellation of the whole process, the royal family said it is “fully aware of desperation of sponsored mischievous elements in the society striving to determine weak unsuitable leadership and a bleak future for Ago-Are by misleading and cajoling the general public and authorities to accept the culture of immorality and impunity demonstrated by the six kingmakers who allegedly betrayed the throne and their privileged position by jettisoning the age-long tradition stipulated for appointing the Aare of Ago-Are land”.

Faulting the selection process, the ruling house through Princes Salam Kazeem Oyewole and Olalekan Olaniyonu said, “Ago-Are is not a club house or an association where members conduct simple majority vote to determine their leaders. It is also not a political party whose leadership must come through party politics. Let the defenders of the wrongfully selected candidate and the six kingmakers tell the world if anyone out of the past 13 paramount rulers in Ago-Are history was so enthroned.

“For avoidance of doubt, the Ago-Are customs and tradition which has been duly supported by the chieftaincy declarations never put the selection of a candidate for the throne of the Aare of Ago-Are land at the whims and caprices of the kingmakers. Checks and balances are incorporated in the selection process starting with family meetings of the Edu Royal Family for the purpose of nominating any number of candidates among the male descendants”.

“The divination of the Ifa Oracle is an important aspect for screening and deciding the oba, not chiefs voting for candidates of their personal preferences by succumbing to any form of inducements. During the voting, four kingmakers that are Christian voted for a Christian candidate while the remaining two kingmakers that are Muslim voted for a Muslim candidate. This orthodox religious method of selection is totally unlawful and against Ago-Are age-long tradition and custom.”

They also noted that the Maye chieftaincy family which should make the Ifa oracular consultations was not involved. Also, they dismissed the claims of their opponents that some members of Edu ruling house held a meeting on Saturday, August 8th  in the house of their head, Prince Lawal Olaniyonu where they approved the steps taken so far and reiterated their acceptance of Abodunrin Kofoworola as the next Aare.

The opposing side also told Vanguard in a telephone interview that it is totally unacceptable when the treasured and more respected customs would be thrown to the dustbin. He said, “How can they abandoned our tradition just like that.

Abandoning of tradition

Anybody to be picked has to emerge through the tradition. Even the Alaafin said we should uphold the normal tradition of electing Aare Ago. We are one here in Ago Are. We are not fighting with anyone. But, the kingmakers want to destroy the tradition”.

While those who have voted the next monarch called on the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who is a consenting authority and the Oyo State Government to expedite action on the approval and coronation of their own Oba elect, the Edu ruling House is calling on Alaafin, the government as well as the general public to “disregard the alleged false claims made by the kingmakers and the faceless Oke-Ogun professionals in their feeble attempts to uphold selfish interest at the expense of their community”.

Former chairman of Atisbo local government council, Chief Joe Makanjuola who was also commissioner for Youths and Sports in Oyo State under Otunba Adebayo Akala, called on the aggrieved party to bury the hatchet and move the town forward. Also speaking, the Chairman of Ago-Are, Mr. Mathew Ajewole called on the government to “help us resolve the matter as quickly as possible”.

He along with another former chairman of Atisbo LG who is also an indigene of the town, Dr. Jacob Ogunmola, called on all and sundry to allow peace to reign.

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