By Ola Ajayi
THE spiral effects of the controversy that greeted the review of the 1959 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration and installation of 21 new kings in Ibadan may have spread to Ago Are, Oke Ogun area of Oyo State where the Edu Ruling House and Prince Bodunrin Kofoworola, who is the king-designate, are slugging it out over some chieftaincy titles.
According to the Edu Ruling House in a petition through Princes Olalekan Olaniyonu and Salam Oyewole, to the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and security agents, they pleaded with the governor not to recognise what they called “phoney chieftaincy titles” which the king is allegedly planning to confer on some people.
But in a swift reaction, the monarch, Aare of Ago Are, Oba Bodunrin Michael Kofoworola said all the allegations were mere ruse, noting that he had acted within the purview of the law with the conferment of the chieftaincy titles.
I have not contravened any law—Monarch
Oba Kofoworola, who spoke with Vanguard in a telephone interview, said he had already conferred the chieftaincy titles on the nominees whom he did not unilaterally choose.
He said: “With the conferment of the chieftaincy titles, I have not contravened any law. In the declaration they alluded to in their petition, it allows eight titles and there are only seven. Have we contravened the law by filling the remaining one vacant title? What they are saying is a mere ruse.
“I have conferred the titles on some of them and I will still do the remaining one. They too are interested but they could not get it. That’s why they are going about saying all sorts of things. About 16 of us contested for this throne. By the grace of God, I became the king and the governor has given me the staff of office. Since then, they have been moving from pillar to post. On Monday, we conferred the chieftaincy titles with over 600 people in attendance including security agents. Please, just don’t mind them; they have no legal backing for their claims?”
Oba empowered to confer chieftaincy
Also, Mr. Ajewole Ajedokun, who spoke in favour of Oba Kofoworola said their arguments should be taken with a grain of salt, noting that the only prescribed authority empowered to confer chieftaincy titles on nominees is the king wondering why Edu ruling house is kicking against the king’s decision.
According to him, the king is the representative of the people including the Edu ruling house and he is the only authority allowed by law to confer chieftaincy titles on people. “Today, it is the king that can do that and he has done what the law allows him to do.”
Edu House kicks
Edu Ruling House insists that the plan to appoint individuals as title holders is a ploy to further escalate disunity and confusion which it said had been destabilizing progress of Ago Are community. They listed the disputed chieftaincy titles as Baale Irewolede, Isale Sando, One Odo, Dabiri and Osi Ago of Ago Are. “The stated chieftaincy titles are not only inconsistent with the age-long customs and traditions of Ago Are but also irrational.
“Even though, the Osi Ago title is listed in the Chieftaincy Declaration of Oyo State as one of the kingmakers for the throne of the Aare of Ago Are, no one in the history of the town before and after the said declaration up to date, has been appointed into that traditional post. This is because the title was smuggled into the Oyo State 1957 Chieftaincy Declaration by politicians who employed political associations and political powers to trouble the reign of Oba Adesope Oyeniran who succeeded Aare Olakanla Arogundade Olanipekun in 1936.
“Besides the non-existence of any family bearing the title of Osi Ago in the town to date, the person slated for the appointment is not from Sando quarters in Ago Are where all the kingmakers who are all first class chiefs of the Aare are expected to come from following historical facts of the Ago Are monarchy.
“None of the reported titles is honorary and no one knows the yardstick employed in selecting the individuals selected as the new chiefs in Ago Are. Contrary to our native customs and tradition, the valid and reputable elders of Edu Royal Family were never consulted. The decision is therefore autocratic and selfish,” said the Edu Royal House.