By Shina Abubakar – Osogbo
In Yorubaland, one of the most revered authorities is the traditional institution. This is because traditional rulers are deemed to be the second in command of the deities. However, some of the deputies to the gods have thrown caution to the winds and engaged in a royal rumble.
Royal boxing ring
The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, was alleged to have lost his temperament when a fellow monarch, Oluwo claimed to be a junior, the Agbowu of Ogbaagbaa, Oba Dhikurulahi Akinropo interjected while he was speaking during a peace meeting at the instance of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone XI, Bashir Makama, last week.
The Oluwo allegedly descended on Oba Akinropo and dealt some blows on the Agbowu.
The injured monarch had to be taken to a hospital for treatment.
Sometimes in October 2019, the Oluwo had written a petition to the AIG’s office after several parley meetings to caution members of Iwo Traditional Council, comprising of about 35 monarchs, failed to yield the expected result.
The former AIG, Leye Oyebade, summoned all the stakeholders and pleaded with them to find a common ground to resolve their differences and direct efforts to ensure that peace does not elude the communities for whatever reason.
Several other meetings at the Council Secretariat of Iwo local council were disrupted allegedly by miscreants from Iwo.
In a bid to solve the royal crisis, the new AIG summoned another meeting, this time, with the Osun State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the representative of the Commissioner for Lands, the Chairman, Iwo local government, Raji Kamoru in attendance.
But rather than allow civility to reign, the Oluwo, according to the Olu of Ile-Ogbo, Oba Habeeb Adetoyese, allegedly scuttled the entire proceedings.
Oba Adetoyese said: “We held a meeting sometimes in August in Iwo, but he (Oluwo) disrupted the meeting, he came with thugs and everybody returned to their domains.
“When that meeting failed, another date was fixed for Friday, (last week). At the gathering, he alleged that we, the other monarchs in the area, were selling his land, including me, Olu of Ile-Ogbo, Agbowu of Ogbagba, Onigege of Gege. But I responded that I am selling Ile-Ogbo’s land not Iwo’s lands ditto other monarchs.
“After Oluwo had told his own side of the story, Oba Akinropo was recognised to speak on the alleged land grabbing levelled against him.
While defending himself, he said monarchs in their respective domain have rights to their lands without having to seek consent from the Oluwo. He was interjected by the Oluwo, accusing him of disrespect. “While the Oluwo was speaking, he descended on Agbowu, punching him severally before he was rescued by the AIG.”
How Oluwo attacked men— Akinropo
When Vanguard trailed Agbowu to the Trauma Centre of the state specialist hospital last Friday, he could not speak to journalists as doctors were attending to a scratch on his cheek before he was placed on observation.
Narrating his experience the following day, Oba Akinropo said he was bewildered with the attack on him by the Oluwo.
“I could not believe it. I never had the premonition that Oluwo could physically assault me being a monarch. As a traditional ruler, I cannot engage in acts that could be said to be public misconduct. That explained why I held my peace when I was being attacked and besides, I was surprised that Oluwo would pounce on me such that it required efforts of security operatives in the office of the AIG to rescue me from his hold”, Akinropo said.
Meanwhile, princes in Iwo, stated that the Agbowu and other monarchs transgressed against the stool of Oluwo.
Prince Abolusode Adebayo alleged that the monarchs and the others had agreed at traditional council meetings held last August to stop indiscriminate selling of lands in Iwoland.
Adebayo said: “All the monarchs under the Iwo Traditional council had, during their August 2019 meeting here at Oluwo’s palace, agreed to stop selling lands indiscriminately.
They also agreed that the Oluwo would be appending his signature to any land they intend to sell before it could be valid for sale. Also, they agreed to append Iwo as part of their titles.
For example, Onigege would no longer bear Onigege of Igege land but Onigege of Igege Iwo. They also agreed to include Iwo in the signpost of any government establishment in their respective domains, such as school, healthcare centres.”
Sale of land
However, a copy of the minutes of the meeting obtained by Vanguard showed that the Oluwo appealed to the monarchs to agree to the terms claimed by the prince to which none of the monarchs presents commented on.
It reads in part: “The President of the Council also preached for unity among the community that made-up of Iwo Land, that each Community in Iwo Land should be able to Identity and addressed themselves as Iwo and emulate towns in Ibadan when putting up a signpost such as Erunmu Ibadan, Lagelu Ibadan, should do same in Iwo to witness rapid development as seen in Erunmu that associate with Ibadan adding that in unity we stand and divided will fall, he added that he is not asking each community not to promulgate their own town which they are given but to see themselves and to be addressed as Iwo”.
The document, under its General Matter also reads: “His Imperial Majesty, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akanbi, Oluwo of Iwoland Implored council members to get his signature while selling land more than 10 Acres in Iwo Land that getting the signature, is not purposely because of money but as the consenting Authority in Iwoland.
It will also make the deal have an edge whenever there is a dispute over the land at the court and added that a letter will be communicated to the Ministry at Osogbo and Boundary Commission to that effect and the council unanimously, resolved
“that selling of land more than 10 Acres must have the signature of the consenting authority, the Oluwo of Iwoland to make the deal legitimate.”
Reacting to an agreement to attach Iwo to their titles, Onigege of Igege, Oba Kazeem Oyediran said no one signed an agreement to that effect.
According to him, the Oluwo was only giving directives which no one either consented to or commented on. He insisted that the land matter was also an alone decision by Oba Akanbi.
Fisticuffs unfortunate — Iwo Board of Trustees
READ ALSO: I did not assault fellow monarch — Oluwo
Meanwhile, the Iwo Board of Trustee described the fisticuff between the two monarchs as unfortunate, unpleasant and avoidable.
A statement by its Chairman and Secretary, Dr. Oluremi Atanda and Alhaji Tayo Giwa charged the state government to investigate the remote cause of the crisis with a view to finding a lasting solution.
The board, however, urged the state traditional council to wade into the matter.
Protest and counter-protest
However, monarchs and residents of Ayedire and Ola-oluwa local government areas have asked the state government to create a separate traditional council for monarchs in the area in the interest of peace.
Chief Raphael Akanmu said they have no problem with the people of Iwo, whom they believe are peaceful and loving but the present Oluwo is capable of truncating the peaceful co-existence that existed in the communities for centuries with his actions.