By Dayo Johnson
AKURE— AN obaship tussle is presently threatening the peace in Ayetoro, a coastal communist community in the oil rich Ilaje council area of Ondo State.
The three year Ogeloyinbo Obaship tussle is best described as the peace of the graveyard.
Efforts by the Ondo State government to end the crisis was recently threatened by one Prophet Oluwambe Ojagbohun, who reportedly embarked on a self coronation exercise, thereby, violating the peace agreement reached with him and a former diplomat, Oba Micah Olaseni Ajijo.
Recall that the kingship crisis in one of the last surviving communist community said to have come to being in 1947 by some Christian adherents on the principles of justice and equity was dated back to 2015 when the last king, Oba Gad Asogbon died.
The community had been in crisis three years ago over the emergence of Oba Micah Olaseni Ajijo as the Ogeloyinbo and Spiritual head of the Holy Apostolic Church Ayetoro community.
Traditionally, the community had always been under the sole authority of the Ogeloyinbo, who also double as the spiritual head of the only community church in the enclave.
However, the narrative changed for the first time, as a division was introduced when Prophet Ojagbohunmi emerged as General Overseer of the Holy Apostolic Church and Ajijo became the king.
This separation of power had being the crux of the matter leading to palpable tension and anxiety in the community.
To avert bloodbath in the volatile community, the government waded into the crisis by inviting the two gladiators and their supporters to a meeting chaired by the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, who hails from the same council area on September 28th this year.
The state government, therefore, ordered the two camps to have a joint church service in the Holy Apostolic Church that had been under lock and key for over two years so as to appease both sides.
Ajayi used the opportunity to disabuse the minds of both parties that the government was neutral in the chieftaincy tussle but out to find lasting solution to the inherited chieftaincy crisis in the community.
However, barely 10 days after the peace meeting, Ojagbohunmi reportedly crowned himself, a move that ignited another round of controversies in the community.
Addressing a press conference, the highest traditional council in the community, the Ogeloyinbo-in-Council said Prophet Ojagbohunmi had ruptured the peace in the community by crowning himself as king when the throne Ogeloyinbo was not vacant thereby inviting bloodshed and total break down of law and order.
The Secretary General of the community Otunba Dele Kudehinbu accused the prophet of “breaching the peace accords recently at the behest of the state government by crowning himself as the new Ogeloyinbo of Aiyetoro contrary to the tradition of the community.”
Kudehinbu said: “Ojagbohunmi defied the September 28 and 30, 2018 meetings which resolved that Micah Olaseni Ajijo should be the king while the former remained the Head Prophet in Aiyetoro community.”
The Council members who decried the October 7, 2018 illegal coronation include Arch Bishop Eremibo Eretan, the Baba Ijo; J.I. Ajijo, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Henry Ojagbohunmi, Rachael Akinluwa and Folajimi Iretolu.
“It should be emphasized at this stage that Mr Ojagbohunmi has been able to sustain the crisis since 2015 till now by relying heavily on violence, gun-running, sea piracy and cultism.
According to the council, the prophet led his group to forcibly enter the church, Holy Apostles Church, after it was reopened after two years, to embark on a self-coronation exercise.
“As evident in the video coverage of the event which was widely circulated in the social media, a hurriedly prepared and strange crown was brought forward by someone who Mr Oluwambe hurriedly seized from the person and looked into it before placing it on his own head.
“This was a self-coronation at best, a sacrilege to the doctrines of the church and the community. It is also an abomination in Yoruba land in general and in Ilajeland in particular.
“This young man embarked on all these actions in his desperation to become the king of Aiyetoro community and the leader of Holy Apostles Church, even though it is generally well known that the position is not vacant.”
The Ogeloyinbo-in-Council urged “Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and security agencies to call this impostor, Mr Oluwambe Ojagbohunmi, to order with a view to preventing a complete breakdown of law and order in the community.”
The deputy, through his Chief Press Secretary, Leke Akeredolu said the Prophet had breached the agreement insisting that “the status quo should remain and that Oba Micah Ajijo should remain the recongised king.
“The government was shocked to read on the national dailies few weeks after the peace meeting that Prophet Oluwambe Ojagbohunmi has been crowned by the state government as the sixth Ogeloyinbo and Spiritual Head of the Holy Apostles Church. Government will no longer tolerate any attempt by any individuals to use selfish interests to cause unrest in Ayetoro.”
Ojagbohunmi’s camp faults allegation
But, the camp of Prophet Oluwambe Ojagbohunmi dispelled the allegations against the prophet, insisting that his coronation was legal and in line with their tradition.
Ojagbohunmi’s spokesperson, Victor Akinluwa said: “The mandate had been given to Oba Oluwambe Ojagbohunmi and we are committed to defend it any time and anywhere. Our fundamental human rights must be protected. The people of Ayetoro community had chosen their king. The will of the people must prevail. We must let the general public know that no amount of intimidation, false accusations and prosecutions can change the mandate and the people’s will.
He challenged the leaders to make public pictures and videos where Oba Ajijoh was installed as the monarch, noting that no form of accusations would change people’s mandate.”