Disagreement looms over Akarigbo’s succession plan
Since the Akarigbo of Remoland, Ogun State, Oba Adeniyi Sonariwo’s demise on July 25 2016, there has been popular demand by the people of Sagamu/Remo for a youthful but educated successor, someone that would uphold and respect the traditions of the land.
Such demand has forced constituents to draw the attention of Governor Ibikunle Amosun and the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) to the need for a free, fair and transparent succession arrangement that would not throw up any unpopular candidate.
Oba Sonariwo, who was the Chairman of Ogun State Council of Obas until his demise, ascended the throne in July 1990.The succession arrangement is already generating excitement within the Torungbuwa Ruling House, which is to produce the next ruler going by The Guardian investigation.
The Guardian reliably gathered that the people of Sagamu/Remo have made up their minds to reject any candidate that does not match their desire.
The Torungbuwa family comprises of three wings, which are the Famolu, Oluyomade and Oguntade. But the leadership of the family seems to be in a dilemma over whom it will present to the King makers and the local government for onward transmission to the state government for approval as Sonariwo’s successor.
Five contestants have already indicated interest-Prof. Gabriel Ogunmola, Prince Adedapo Opeaiye, both of the Famolu wing, while Prince Babatunde Ajaiyi, Mutiu Adebayo and Hakeem Kazim are from the Oluyomade wing.
The Oguntade wing was said to have conceded the nomination right to the Oluyomade wing based on mutual understanding.When contacted, Opeaiye said he has nothing against anybody’s ambition but that nobody can be a player and at the same time a referee in the same match.
Kazim, on his part said though he is as qualified like any other person to vie for the throne, he promised to abide by whomever the family nominates and presents to the king makers and the local government.
According to him, “I am doing well in my profession, the issue of becoming a king should not be a do or die affair.”Ajayi, on his part said the headship of the family has the final say.
While other aspirants concurred it would serve the family right to present a younger candidate, their major grouse is that some persons within and outside the state are not willing to allow free, fair and normal nomination process to take place.”
They alleged that the state government might have been compromised in the matter, as they also insisted that Amosun should make sure that the rules and regulations guiding the nomination process prevail, instead of submitting to undue pressure to influence the process in favour of any unpopular candidate within the family.
When contacted, Prof. Ogunmola dismissed insinuation of any crisis surrounding the nomination process. He said there was nothing of such.He said there is a process that must be followed based on the stipulated rules and guidelines; “this has nothing to do with the title anybody bears, his influence or age.”
According to him, “When the nomination process shall take place all eligible contestants would be given the chance to prove their popularity. There are no issues or crisis because the nomination process is yet to take place.”
The State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr. Jide Ojuko also allayed the fear of any looming crisis, saying the nomination process is yet to commence.”
According to him: “The information with the government at present was that the ritual process for the passage of the deceased monarch is ongoing and whenever it is completed the nomination process will follow, after which the king makers and the local government will pass the name of the king elect presented to them by the family to us for necessary ratification. There is a standard and written rules and guidelines for this.”
Although, he confirmed there was a petition written against one of the candidates, he said: “I can confidently say that Governor Amosun is not supporting any contestant as it is been insinuated.”
But the Secretary of the Torungbuwa Family, Alhaji Nuru Kazim also alleged that one candidate has been parading himself as the choice of the family saying: “This is not only unacceptable, but also contradicts an ongoing court case in the Sagamu High Court in suit HSC/246/16.
“The suit did not however stop the government from going ahead with the nomination process,” he said.He therefore urged Amosun and the people of Remo/Sagamu not to allow themselves be used to enthrone any stooge as the new Akarigbo, who will be dancing to the tune of some moneybags in the society.
Taking the importance of the Akarigo stool into consideration, the entire Sagamu and Remo people have also put their voice in the mouth of The Sagamites Club, one of the foremost clubs in Sagamu, to urge the Torungbuwa family not to present an unacceptable and uncommitted candidate.
In a letter titled: ‘Nomination for the Stool of the Akarigbo of Remo’ dated November 28, 2016, signed by the President and Secretary General, Professor Okalanwon Odusoga and Dr. Kolawole Olayinka respectively, the people demanded that the candidate must not be older than 55 years at the time of ascending the throne, well educated and not less than a university degree and must be gainfully employed. He must be financially independent and comfortable and one who respects tradition and must be ready to lift and uphold the tradition of Sagamu and Remo.The people also offered to render whatever necessary assistance to the family in ensuring the best among the candidates emerges.