Antics, interests stall installation of Onirun since 2011
• Segments Blame Ondo Government’s Undue Interference
People of Irun-Akoko community, in Akoko North West Local Council of Ondo State, have accused the state and local governments of deliberately throwing spanners in its process of selecting a new monarch. They are insisting that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu should order Akoko North West Local Government to ensure a transparent nomination and selection process, insisting on only traditionally and officially recognised kingmakers as members of the process within a month.
The throne of Onirun of Irun has been vacant since November 2011 after the demise of Oba Williams Adeusi, who was from Oke Omowa Ruling House. The succession procedure regarding the next lineage is clearly spelt out. Sadly, two royalties had while trying to secure the throne after Oba Adeusi passed also went to the great beyond. The late Oba’s son, late Prince Adeusi died in Ipebi, during the installation rites in 2015; and a regent died some months after she was appointed in 2015.
Like in previous attempts to select a new monarch to succeed late Oba Adeusi, the nomination process by the kingmakers on July 18, 2019 hit the rock as it was highly militarized, allegedly to favour vested interests.
Lamenting the undue interference of state operators, the people mobilised for a widespread protest recently in the community, to express their displeasure over the protracted antics to halt the selection process.
According to them, all efforts by the Council of Chiefs to have a transparent selection process were frustrated by local and state government officials with vested interest.
They specifically indicted the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Segun Ajiboye, who is also a High Chief and kingmaker. He was accused of arranging a kangaroo nomination that comprised of only five people to choose the next Onirun.
The Salaja of Ogo, a quarter in Irun-Akoko, Chief Raphael Oguntade, said: “It is important to note that the situation in the town where there is no Oba or regent is embarrassing and needed to be addressed.”Flanked by the chiefs and visibly angry youths, Oguntade added, “all efforts so far to install an Oba in the town have been frustrated by our sons in government and the government of the day.”
Opinion leaders also representing the community included: Prince Moses Agboola Aguda, Secretary of the Ruling House; Prince Owolabi Bada; Michael Adedayo; Evangelist Omotoyinbo Iwalowo; Femi Olokintuyi, Opinion Leader; Chief (Mrs) Selinah Adun, Women leader and Olorigbo of Irun, Prince Adelake Aladesuyi.
Meanwhile, the recognised kingmakers/warrant chiefs in the community are: Pa David Asamo of Ijowa Quarters; Sola Olaiya-Sajowa of Ipatare Quarters; Olokorun Oso-Ade of Ijowa Quarters and Adedeji Olajide, the Ajiboye of Ileo Quarters.
Others are; the Odoule of Ipatare, Ojo Olotu; the Olisa of Ipatare, Bayode Falade; Segun Ajiboye, the Ajiboye of Oke-Olu and Habiib Sanni, the Alaka of Ijowa Quarters.
Speaking with journalists on behalf of Irun Council of Chiefs during the protest, Chief Oguntade recounted: “The most worrisome part is the militarization of the aborted nomination exercise of July 18, 2019 organised by one out of the four royal families whose turn it is to produce the next Oba.
“In order to prevent violence in the town, the Council of Chiefs wrote relevant security authorities, but unfortunately the complainants are now being treated as accused as if the chiefs were wrong to have alerted the relevant agencies of the looming crisis in the town.
“Meanwhile, there is a pending court case, which ordinarily the stakeholders should have waited for its final determination and thus maintain the status-quo.
Unfortunately the insecurity in the town is being orchestrated by a retired security man, in person of Mr. Femi Oloketuyi, who is presently misrepresenting the town in Police Community Relationship Committee (PCRC). This man has been using this position to harass, intimidate Irun people and thereby giving negative image of the Police to the community.”
“The entire Irun community is in support of eight kingmakers/warrant chiefs earlier approved for selection process to remain for same exercise, while the fraudulent and purportedly procured arrangement of five kingmakers through the machination of our son in government is totally unacceptable.”
“Irun community prefers the eight originally approved kingmakers/warrant chiefs instead of five concocted kingmakers of Segun Ajiboye, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and his cohorts.”
According to him, it was the eight kingmakers and warrant chiefs that conducted the same exercise in 2015, but there choice was set aside on grounds of irregularities allegedly perpetrated by the local government officials and a fresh exercise was consequently ordered.
The chiefs and residents are worried that all efforts to get the attention of the government regarding the crisis had not been successful due to unjust interference of some top government’s functionaries.“The state government should therefore allow the eight kingmakers/warrant chiefs to complete the selection process in accordance with the mandate given in their letter to their appointment and in line with directive of the ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs on same.”
Among other demands, they urged the Governor to promptly intervene in the kingship crisis so as to save the town from unnecessary conflict and order his aides and other government’s officials to steer clear from interfering with Onirun stool’s selection process.
The community is praying the whole world to prevail on relevant agencies to facilitate credible selection process for the emergence of new Onirun that will ensure foster peace and unity in Irun kingdom.But Ajiboye, who is the Ajiboye of Oke-Olu, refuted all the allegations of interfering against him during the nomination processes, revealing that the process of appointment of a new Onirun was still at nomination level among the families.He denied any involvement other than as a kingmaker and explained that the community had been battling with the obaship tussle for over eight years while he only got appointment as the governor’s aide in 2017.
The governor’s aide, who said the protest was sponsored to tarnish his reputation, added that he had been working for the progress of the town, rather than causing conflict as alleged by some people.
The Chairman and Secretary Irun Patriotic Front (IPF), Deacon Bolade Bello and Mr. Ayodele Oguntuyi respectively, described the protest and allegations against the governor’s aide as unfair and an attempt to blackmail him.
“We, members of the above named organisation and bonafide sons and daughters of Irun Akoko, are saddened with the recent developments with regard to the Obaship in our place of birth. We and other concerned indigenes of this historic town are not unaware that the crisis has lingered since the passage of Oba Williams Adewumi Asabia, the Akanle Okuta 111 over eight years ago.”
The group lamented that the eight years without an Oba had dragged the image of the community in the mud and retarded its development on all spheres of life. Bello emphasized that the turn of events, sponsored protests and public name-calling is evidence of how little minded some people could be.
Speaking on the aborted processes since 2011, said: “Late Prince Adeusi emerged with five votes to defeat Prince Bayo Agboola, who got three votes while Chief Ade Elero polled zero. With litigation arising, later coupled with the demise of Oba elect, the town was back to square zero. All this while, no one was accused of trying to subvert the wishes of Irun people, despite the clandestine moves by some political office holders in the immediate past administration to install their candidate.
“We, under the umbrella of this organisation now queries why the inability of stakeholders to conduct a rancour-free selection is being blamed on the Chief Press secretary to the Governor?”
Absolving the aide of all allegations, the chairman said: “Chief Segun Ajiboye, for Christ’s sake, is a distinguished Irun son and a kingmaker who participated in the first selection process and appended his signature that the selection was well
“If Chief Ajiboye participated and signed when he was not a political officeholder, is it now that he is occupying a sensitive position in the state that he would be putting his hands in what could smear in reputation? What powers does he have as one out of eight kingmakers to prevent Irun from having an oba? In as much we don’t want to delve into the characters of those on the other side, our position is that they are supporters of one of the candidates and are being sponsored.”
Oguntoye added: “As students of history, we know what the past obaship tussle did to our land, hence, our appeal to those fuelling and benefitting from the recent crises to desist and stop maligning the name of an innocent personality.
“Suffice to remind our people that what Chief Ajiboye has done for Irun morally and financially since becoming the governor’s spokesman less than three years is heart-warming, compared to the anti-Irun actions of those self-proclaimed leaders, who held positions under the administration of former governor Olusegun Mimiko.”
The group, without mincing words, condemned the attacks on Ajiboye, and all actions regarding the tussle, warning the “people at home to stop dropping his name without proof.” They pleaded “for a timely resolution of this matter with all stakeholders coming together for lasting peace.