Our people deserve highest respect, says Aseyin
The Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba (Dr.) Abdulganiyu Adekunle Salau has called on the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi (III) to leave Oke-Ogun Obas and its people alone. Aseyin’s reaction was based on a letter written by the Alaafin to all traditional rulers in Oke-Ogun in which he accused them of planning to go and beg for money from the Ooni of Ife with a motive to embarrass Governor Abiola Ajimobi. While Aseyin dismissed Alaafin’s allegation as an insult, he also urged him to show the highest respect to the people of Oke-Ogun. SEYE OLUMIDE reports.
Alaafin’s allegation is that Oke-Ogun monarchs wanted to seek financial favour at the planned visit to Ooni of Ife. How true is this?
If such insinuation is coming from the Alaafin of Oyo against the traditional rulers of Oke-Ogun, it is absolutely unfortunate. It is unbelievable that an elderly man could make such funny claims. I was in Saudi Arabia for prayers when the news was published but I read it online in one of the newspapers and my immediate reaction was that he (Alaafin) could have addressed the issue differently if he is uncomfortable or has any misgivings with our planned visit to the Ooni of Ife. I would have expected him to address the matter maturely instead of rushing to the media.
On second thought, I felt strongly in my mind that he simply wanted to cause problem between the people of Oke-Ogun and Governor Ajimobi.
We are not denying the fact that we intended to pay a visit to the Ooni of Ife because there is a serious reason for that. Oba Ogunwusi just ascended the throne recently and we are made to understand Yoruba people came from Ile Ife, so there should be nothing wrong if we decided to pay him a courtesy visit based on the fact he just ascended the throne. And don’t forget that since he ascended the throne, he has been meeting with traditional rulers across the Yoruba nation to discuss the need for unity. Oke-Ogun region has been neglected in the past but this is an opportunity for us to key into the mainstream, not just for our progress but that of the Yoruba race.
Maybe the Alaafin of Oyo is still nursing the hostility between himself and the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade; otherwise, I don’t know what he has to lose if we (Oke-Ogun Obas) decided to pay a visit to the newly enthroned Ooni of Ife. Would that have reduced him from being the Alaafin?
Could it be because you did not seek his approval for the planned visit?
Is there any law, guideline or chieftaincy rule that says we, Oke-Ogun Obas must obtain permission from the Alaafin of Oyo before we visit anybody?
Answer my question and tell me if there is such a law anywhere in this country? Let us imagine that I am married from Ile Ife and the Ooni of Ife happens to be my in-law, do I have to go to Alaafin of Oyo to obtain permission before going to see my in-law?
As the number one traditional ruler in Oyo State…
Number one what? Who gave us numbers? Anyway, I am not contesting that with you but my concern is our fundamental human rights in Oke-Ogun. I believe there is no law that compels me to go and take permission, even from my father, before going to visit anybody.
It was also alleged that the Asiwaju of Oke-Ogun, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde initiated the planned visit to slight Governor Ajimobi?
I repeat it! It was unfortunate. When someone of that age is making false allegation it gets one angry. We wanted to reserve our comment but because he called us beggars and also attempted to instigate the governor against us, otherwise I wouldn’t have answered him.
The Oke-Ogun Development Council (ODC) described Alafin’s letter as an insult because he addressed it to the Obas individually, do you share similar position with the organisation?
He did that because he wanted to use divide and rule tactics to split our ranks. I laughed when I got the letter. The Alaafin of Oyo thinks he is still in the imaginary Oyo Empire that is no more in existence. As I said before, we are only reacting because of the bogus allegations and the attempt to instigate the governor against us.
The votes Ajimobi got from Oke-Ogun made him the governor. How many votes did he (Ajimobi) get from Oyo? The governor himself knows. How do we now destroy the same house we built?
Would you say, as some people want to believe, that the Alaafin’s step was aimed at undermining your region from achieving its aim of producing the next governor of Oyo in 2019?
I can imagine so. What he wanted to do is to envelope everybody in Oke-Ogun. He wants to cow us into submission but he has forgotten there is aspiration, education, which brought liberation. Actually a lot of Oke-Ogun Obas don’t have the courage and the zeal of saying what they have in mind about what is happening, but I can assure you that we are not going to capitulate on this issue.
The Alaafin’s plan is to cow everybody in Oke-Ogun so that he can continue to be a political contractor.
How true is the insinuation that the Alaafin has been trying to cause division among the traditional rulers in Oke-Ogun region?
I cannot doubt that because this is a man who will meet this and say one thing and when he meets another he says another thing. The old man is causing a lot of confusion but thank God, the law states clearly who gives crown. He has been claiming that he is the one that gives beaded crown but I do not know when that responsibility becomes his. It is the duty of the governor to give beaded crown. This is clearly stated in the chieftaincy law.
What is the Conference of Oke-Ogun Oba doing on the matter?
What I am doing now is on behalf of the conference. I am talking because we have a conference. I believe the old man (Alaafin) is protecting something. Naturally he is a wise man if not because of the oppressive tendencies in him, he is very intelligent and crafty.
Why is he after Oke-Ogun?
If you were in his shoes you would have done worse. For instance, Ibadan is no longer with him, Ibarapa, Ogbomosho, Ijebus and almost all Yoruba are no longer with him, so do you expect him to walk naked. He is almost alone now. This is a man who loves people to follow him wherever he goes. The problem with him is that he cannot accommodate contrary opinions. If he had embraced contrary opinion from us, this problem wouldn’t have happened. We would have loved to stand by him, protect him and support him in his course but he doesn’t want to embrace contrary opinions. He would want to start the meeting, coordinate it and also end it.
He also claimed to have attracted some development to Oke-Ogun region?
Please mention the one you know and if your answer is no then what has he done for us? He just wants to see us as slaves. He wants everything to be in Oyo. Let me also debunk one of his claims that Oyo is supreme. The question is what is Oyo’s supremacy? Is there any law or geography that says there is Oyo zone? We have three senatorial districts in Oyo State, the North, South and Central. Where then is Oyo zone? Oke-Ogun belongs to Oyo North. Maybe he is still nursing the old mentality of Old Oyo Empire.
Did you reach out to Governor Ajimobi to debunk the Alafin’s claim?
Governor Ajimobi is a civilized man who cannot be pushed by anybody. He has good relationships with some of us. Maybe the Alaafin is unaware of this. The governor will not want to take any step against the law. The intention of the Alaafin of Oyo is to incite the governor against us by telling him lies. I do not know how a man who is up to 80 years old can be fabricating lies in that position. The position he occupies is so powerful and respectful in Yoruba land and even in Africa. How can someone like him be fabricating lies against us?
We are not struggling anything with him. He should be contented with Oyo zone and leave us alone but I must add that it is unfortunate that some traditional rulers in Oke-Ogun are part of the causes of this problem.
What is your special message for the Alaafin?
My advice is for him to respect his age and not allow the younger ones to insult him. Would his children be happy reading all these things in the newspaper? We wouldn’t have talked if he didn’t go to the press.
Have you ever heard the Emir of Kano and Sultan of Sokoto discussing or controverting each other on the pages of newspaper?
It is an insult to us for the Alaafin to say we wanted to go and beg Ooni of Ife for money. We are not inferior citizens in Oyo and Nigeria as a whole. Oke-Ogun has produced prominent, influential and educated people. We have worth, character and value and nobody should take us for granted or look down on us.