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Intrigues, as two Oba elects emerge in Edunabon, Osun community

By Gabriel Omonhinmin
02 December 2018   |   3:36 am
Rather than abate, the intrigues and deft manoeuvres that characterise Edunabon Obaship tussle are taking a frightening dimension. Within a short interval, two oba elects have emerged, with each of the parties involved in the selection process insisting its candidate is the legitimate one. On November 9, 2018, a 39-year-old Police Sergeant, Prince Kehinde Odelade,…

Nasiru Adebayo

Rather than abate, the intrigues and deft manoeuvres that characterise Edunabon Obaship tussle are taking a frightening dimension.

Within a short interval, two oba elects have emerged, with each of the parties involved in the selection process insisting its candidate is the legitimate one.

On November 9, 2018, a 39-year-old Police Sergeant, Prince Kehinde Odelade, in a selection exercise packaged by the Chairman of Ife North Local Government Area, emerged the Oba-elect of Edunabon town in Osun State.

Just four days after this event, the Secretary of Edunabon Progressive Union (EPU), Gbenga Olasunmbo, called to inform Palace Watch that the entire process leading to Odelade’s emergence had been voided by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who has final say on the validity or otherwise of any Oba-elect for the town, on the ground that due process was not followed.

He said: “In view of the manner Ife North Area Council Chairman and his co-travellers wanted to manipulate the selection process of an Oba for Edunabon, at the meeting held at the Ooni’s palace on November 13 2018, the Ooni has graciously given his permission for the former front runner, Prince Nasiru Adebayo Adebanwo to be pronounced the Oba-elect. He is, therefore, our new Salu Elect of Edunabon.

“If you must know, the Ooni, who gave this directive and endorsed the new Salu Elect, owns Ile-Ife and Edunabon in particular.

So, whatever he says is final, never to be challenged by anybody. The Ife North Area Council Chairman, who wanted to precipitate this monumental crisis, is not from Edunabon but Moro.

“If the people opposing Nasiru’s candidature, the new Salu elect are not satisfied, they should go to court.

People, who are talking nonsense that the new Salu elect is from Moro didn’t say that, when Nasiru bought the chairs and canopies in the Amoloye family compound. We have done our job, and we are very satisfied.

“This matter is not only about the royal houses alone. The masses of this town want Nasiru, and we have to make sure we act according to their demands.”

The process leading to Prince Kehinde’s selection began as early as 7.15am on November 9, 2018, when people trooped to Ife North Local Government Area Council Event Centre, venue of the event.

Before the programme commenced, people were seen in clusters, discussing in hush tones whether or not it was proper for Warrant Chiefs to be appointed in Edunabon, when the town’s kingmakers were still alive to conduct the exercise.

The dignitaries at the event included politicians, the council chairman, councilors and some contestants for the royal stool, who were made to sign their names.

But conspicuously absent was Chief Oyedeku, the Olosi and Head of the kingmakers, who was supposed to direct the day’s affairs alongside the two warrant chiefs, who were said to have been appointed by Osun State Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs, at the behest of Ife North Local Government Area Chairman.

When it became clear that Chief Oyedeku was not making an appearance, the programme began, with the two Warrants Chiefs rising one after the other to cast their ballots for their preferred candidate.

At 10.46 a.m., the result of the ballot was announced, revealing that the two warrant chiefs voted for Prince Kehinde Odelade.

Seven candidates were said to have vied for the position. They are Prince Olawale Isaac Adeboye, Oladepo Olatunde, Kehinde Odelade, Samson Adeyemi Odelola, Ayoade Ebenezer Idowu, Akinropo Olorunfemi and Nasiru Bola Adebayo, the former frontrunner to the throne, who was also absent.

Immediately after the event, Palace Watch asked Mr. Oluwagbemigbe, Chairman of Ife North Local Government Area, why Chief Oyedeku was not there.

The council boss replied, “I am not in a position to say why Chief Oyedeku was not present at this event. Because I wanted to ensure I was fair to all the contestants, I did not only write them formal letters of invitation, I also sent everybody, including Chief Oyedeku SMS inviting them to this very important event.

As you can see, majority of the contestants to the throne were all present, except for Nasiru Adebayo, who has not given us any reason for not showing up.

“Well, the event has come and gone and a king has been chosen. My next step is to invite all the contestants to a roundtable discussion on how to bring about cohesion and lasting peace in the town. With this, my job would have been done.”

Palace Watch immediately reached out to Chief Oyedeku to ask why he wasn’t present at the selection ceremony.

He said: “I have no business with warrant chiefs, when my kingmakers, Manigbere and Olukotun, are here with me. They have been on the council’s payroll for some years now, collecting monthly salary. They are not dead. They were appointed in accordance with 1976 Declaration, which made it expressly clear that I am the only person to supervise the selection of an Oba for the town. And before any announcement is made as to who is selected as an Oba elect, the name picked must be forwarded to the Ooni of Ife, who is to personally announce the Oba elect for Edunabon town.

“From this explanation, you will see that what they did at the Area Council Event Centre is nothing but void.

My kingmakers were duly selected and presented by members of their respective compounds in Edunabon long before the immediate past Oba’s demise.

Up till today, nobody has objected to their selection as kingmakers. They were only waiting to perform their “Iwuye” initiation before the passage of the immediate past Oba. But because they are yet to perform their initiation does not in any way make them less qualified as kingmakers.

“The appointment of warrant chiefs through the advice of Ife North Area Council boss is not only unacceptable, but is also strange to the customs and tradition of Yoruba people.

It was Edunabon people that asked me not to show up at that venue, because what they were doing there was illegal, and I had to stay away from the place for the safety of my life. I had no other option than to obey my people’s advice.

“Anyhow, I would want Ife North Council Chairman to show me any other place in Yoruba land where this type of appointment of warrant chiefs was made. We are used to this type of acrimonious process of picking an Oba.

In the case of the immediate past Oba of Edunabon, it took about seven years for the matter to be resolved.

“I am, however, waiting for further information or instruction from the Ooni’s Palace, before I know the next line of action to take.”

Palace Watch also contacted Nasiru Adebayo on November 9. He looked calm and unperturbed by the turn of events.

But why didn’t he show up at the selection venue?

He said: “I was shocked when I heard that an Oba had been selected for Edunabon. I was never invited by Ife North Area Council Chairman, who convened that meeting. Anyhow, there is nothing to kill oneself about in this matter, as this Obaship thing is for us to serve our people.

“I am waiting to see Edunabon people’s reaction to Kehinde’s selection as the Oba elect. If he is the one Edunabon wants, it is well and good, and I won’t object. Whatsoever the people say they want, I will abide with it.”

On November 13, 2018, when he was announced the Salu elect, Palace Watch contacted Prince Odelade.

He said: “I told you when you first reached me on last week, that the good people of Edunabon will not allow that injustice to go unchallenged. I was very confident that they would react.

Now that the Ooni has given his approval, within two weeks from now, my installation will take place. We will immediately begin the preparation now.

“As soon as I ascend the throne by the Grace of Allah, I intend to do a general overhauling of Edunabon town.

The town is blessed with good and prominent sons and daughters. But because of the disunity among us, the people have refused to come home.

Instead, they prefer to settle in their towns and cities where they live. We must act fast to correct whatever bad impression they have about this place.

“These ill feelings are as a result of lack of love among elders of Edunabon town. The only way to rebuild Edunabon is to re-establish that love.

Before the death of one of our very loved and cherished elders, one Pa Oyeleye, who was once a Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs, we had love in Edunabon.

It was Pa Oyeleye, who ensured that numerous sons and daughters from our town were recruited into the Customs.

That love lasted till sometime in the early 90s, when things began to fall apart. I am going to deliberately work toward bringing about this lost love in Edunabon.

“I am happy this race is coming to an end. I am always shocked and surprised, when my opponents, rather than come up with a tangible excuse, always say I am not a son of Salu and as such, I am a stranger in Edunabon.

Before now, they have made all manner of allegations, which have been varied and discovered to be lies.

“I remain a bonafide son of Abigunri in Edunabon. My family emanated from Abewela compound in Ile-Ife.

No one family can claim ownership of Edunabon, because it was a village then, that belonged to Ile-Ife. It was majority of the people that migrated then from old Ile-Ife that settled in Edunabon town of today.

Abewela family is under the Obaloron family of Ile-Ife and Obaloron is in charge of Edunabon. So what are they talking about? We are moving forward, and we had better allow sleeping dogs lie.”

Palace Watch reached out to Prince Olawale Isaac Adeboye, a Chartered Accountant, and one of the contestants to the throne.

He said: “I had no hesitation congratulating Kehinde as the Oba elect, as he is my brother. We have no iota of doubt about his background. And since he is from the same Amoloye compound as me, I have to accept him. If it is he Edunabon people say they want, that is okay by me. You see, the genuine ruling houses in Edunabon are seven.

“Let me emphasis that all the seven ruling houses, particularly, Amoloye sons rejected Nasiru Adebayo, because he is not the son of Salu. His root is from Moro. As for Kehinde, he is my brother from Akinrinsa family. He is, therefore, a true son of Salu.

Although, this particular process might not be perfect, so long as, what was done here today is legal, Amoloye ruling house would never object to it. We will not have any problem with it.

“Again, I am bold to say the Olosi, the present head of kingmakers, is not from Amoloye ruling house and cannot know us better than ourselves.

Sadly, most people parading themselves as Nasiru Adebayo’s family members are not from Amoloye family, but from Okeose paternal home of Alhaji Karimu. But the strangers, now claiming to be indigenes, are more than us in number. They have about 30 or more houses.

If we had a good Oloshi, this particular matter would have been amicably resolved long before now. But out of selfishness, it was allowed to fester and get nasty by the day. But see the way it has turned out.”

For the oba elect: “There is no victor no vanquished in this particular matter. Much as I am grateful to Edunabon people for finding me worthy to be their Oba, there is no way I can do this job alone without the support and assistance of other contestants.

“It is normal for people to be aggrieved, when an incident like this happens. But I will do my utmost best to ensure we all reconcile for the betterment of our town.

Since I emerged the Oba-elect, I have not slept. I have been making frantic efforts to reach everyone that contested with me, to plead with them to join hands with me to move Edunabon forward.”

On November 12, 2018, Chief Oyedeku, the Oloshi of Edunabon invited Palace Watch to come over to the Ooni’s Palace and witness first hand what was going on.

He said the wrongs of Ife North Council Chairman and his so-called Warrant Chiefs were to be addressed at the Ooni’s palace.

The Council boss was said to have been summoned to the Ooni’s palace on November 13, 2018, to come and explain how he came about the strange process that led to the selection of the Oba elect, which is the prerogative of only the Ooni.

At about 2.15 p.m. same day, the Secretary of Edunabon Progressive Union (EPU) called to inform Palace Watch that the process that threw up Kehinde had been overturned by the Ooni of Ife.

Surely, the drama continues!