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Ijebu-Igbo: Twenty-four years after, Orimolusi stool remains vacant

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Ijebu-Igbo is one of the major towns in Ogun State. It is bordered by Oyo, Osun and Ondo States. The town was one of the three earliest settlements in the state in 15th century.It is the home town of late eminent politician and Afenifere Chieftain, Chief Abraham Adesanya and Senator Buruji Kasamu. Former Senator Adegbenga Kaka, a former Deputy Governor of the state is also from Ijebu-Igbo.The Orimolusi Stool is a First Class title recognised by government.The last Orimolusi, Oba Sami Adetayo joined his ancestors in May 1994, which was 24 years ago. Ever since, the seat has been without an occupant due to a dispute over who should succeed him.

The protracted quarrel is among nine contestants from the same Ojuronmi Ruling House, whose turn it is to produce the next king.The Chairman of Ijebu-Igbo Elders Council, Prof Layi Ogunkoya, told journalists last week that all the kingmakers in the Ruling House have died since the tussle began, while six out of the nine contestants have also passed away during the period. The dispute is still in court. 

Worried that their glory is gradually being dimmed due to lack of traditional headship, elders in the community, under the aegis of Ijebu-Igbo Council of Elders have initiated moves to find lasting solution through dialogue.Few days ago, the council organised a stakeholders’ meeting, where participants were encouraged to make contributions towards finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the disagreement.Ogunkoya said: “The generality of our people believe enough is enough, after an agonising 24 years interregnum, likeable to an internecine war or internal struggle for traditional power that had seen the demise of all kingmakers and six out of the nine initial contenders.”

Though the ongoing lapse is not the first to befall Orimolusi stool, it is, however, the longest.Ogunkoya told The Guardian: “This is the third interregnum that has marked the Orimolusi stool. The first one was between 1887 and 1889, while the second happened between 1905 and 1928.“While the consequences of the earlier two intervals happened in the past, the current one is, to say the least, demoralising and embarrassing to the entire community, affecting its citizens, home and abroad.

“The community has been treated to various interpretations of what constitutes the current Orimolusi Chieftaincy of 1957. The consequences of which led to the various litigations and judgments at different tiers of our judicial system.”Ogunkoya explained that though the dispute is still in court, in the Elders Council’s view, the best way to settle it is through dialogue.

The meeting unanimously appealed to the state Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona to assist them in putting an end to what they described as “Twenty-four years of despicable ugly past” behind them.Their opinion was that, “The struggle has badly polarised the town and put it into avoidable pitiful and embarrassing situation.”

Ogunkoya believed that the absence of a king in the town has resulted in so many social vices, including insecurity and cult activities, among others.He said: “From insecurity of lives and property that successfully crippled a once sprawling economic, social and cultural life to infrastructural and moral decadence, it has been a tale of woes till date.”

The Professor of Chemistry continued: “Now in a state of deja vu, in deplorable conditions in all spheres of life, divine intervention and pleasure of men and women of immeasurable good will is required to navigate it through.”He listed incessant killings and destruction of properties by hoodlums, indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources and uncontrolled influx of criminals and cultists into the town as some of the vices threatening their peace.

He appealed to the remaining contestants to the throne to “align themselves with the aspiration of the community and select a new Orimolusi by putting the community and people’s interest first and reaching a consensus that will benefit all concerned. 

Another elder, Adesina Alausa also said: “The elders have been on the issue for the past 24 years and the case is still in court. If a king is installed, there will be peace because in a town where there is no leader, crises are inevitable.”Abayomi Kujore, also an elder, told The Guardian: “There are many people, but there is no king. So, what do you expect in a community without a king? There is insecurity in the town, which is why we are experiencing wanton killings and rioting.”


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