Trouble brewing in Edunabon, as intrigues trail selection of new Oba
Edunabon in Ayedaade, Osun State, is an agrarian town located in Ife North. On August 4 2017, His Royal Majesty, Oba Elijah Omoloye Oyelade (Agunbiade 1), the Salu of Edunabon land joined his ancestors. On September 1st and 2nd 2017, the late Oba was given full traditional burial. Since then, there have been maneuvers and intrigues by five princes, who desire to succeed the late Oba. This is threatening the peace in the town.
Expectedly, the Ooni of Ife’s palace and Ife North Local Government Council have waded into the matter in an effort to resolve it. But in spite of everything, the problem is yet to be amicably resolved.
In a bid to find a lasting solution to the problem and get a suitable replacement for the late Salu of Edunabon land, a town hall meeting was held on September 26, 2017. At that meeting, each of the ruling houses, comprising Amoloye, Lamba Joge and Ajimojasan, was requested to present two candidates for the throne. One Pastor Bankole Adeoye was selected as Secretary of the Selection Committee. Some members of Ife North Local Government Council, alongside members of the Edunabon Progressive Union (EPU), were also nominated associates of the committee.
The group immediately asked all interested candidates to submit their curriculum vitae for screening. While the screening committee was still working on these documents, a senior member of Ife-North Local Government Council, who pleaded anonymity, told Palace Watch that without any formal notice, the committee heard in a radio interview in Osun State Broadcasting Service that Nasiru Adebayo, one of the leading contestants to the throne, said the screening committee had been dissolved and the entire process was, therefore, cancelled.
According to him, by that singular act, the committee decided to exclude Nasiru from the entire process, never to allow him participate in the new process whenever another one was initiated. He said although they were all shocked by the revelation at that interview of Nasiru, they decided to adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
Expectedly, the intrigues and maneuvering have produced some casualties, among whom is Alhaji Karimu Adewumi, a former Bale, and Head of the family who was removed, when the town rose in anger and protested the alleged selection of Nasiru Adebayo, even though they were yet to complete their job then.
When contacted, Nasiru Adebayo said he was still very much in the race for the throne. He explained that the so-called protest his opponents are referring to was nothing but a gang-up by those envious of him.
He said: “On the day I was announced as the Oba-elect of Edunabon land, the current head of Amoloye Compound, which is my linage in Edunabon, accompanied me to the Ooni’s palace and signed that I am a true son of Edunabon. Contrary to all their claims, my grandfather was never buried in Moro.”
He explained that when his opponents made this allegation among others in Ile-Ife, the chiefs there took their time and came to Edunabon to verify their claims. And when they arrived Edunabon at the site his grandfather was buried, they consulted the Oracles and asked the ground there whether it was Abegunde his grandfather that was in there. Without much ado, the ground answered yes to the surprise of everyone present. After this, the Ife chiefs asked the people making the allegation to take them to the site where my grandfather was buried in Moro to verify the claim, but they said they did not know the place.
“Contrary to their other claims that I have no house in Edunabon, the chiefs from Ile-Ife discovered that I have two houses in Edunabon, aside from my father’s personal house where his remains was buried in front of his house,” he explained.
Nasiru expressed shock and surprise at the extent his opponents could go all in an effort to discredit him.
He said: “After the passage of the immediate past Oba of Edunabon, a delegation from Amoloye nucleus family came to meet me in Lagos, sometime in August 2017. They pleaded that I represent the family and contest the Obaship position. Initially, I didn’t take the emissaries seriously, because I had a lot doing and didn’t want to go into the
Obaship tussle. In September of that same year, after the burial of the former Kabiyesi, I decided to travel to Edunabon to see things for himself before making up my mind.”
Nasiru’s elder brother, Alhaji Rasheed Adeboye, a retired Customs officer, who is the Oloriebi (head) of Adeboye’s family told Palace Watch that he was the first person to be approached in the larger Amoloye nucleus family to come and occupy the throne, but he said he declined, telling them he would rather prefer his younger brother to ascend the throne, since he was already 66 years old.
He stressed that the Adeboye’s family are no strangers in Edunabon, and that those making such unfounded statements have no proof whatsoever, that his family are strangers in Edunabon. He said it is all political talks.
Another family member Bashiru Ajiboye Makinwa, who is the President of Amoloye family in Lagos, told Palace Watch that he initially indicated interest in the throne, but that he decided to step down, since his people said they wanted a younger man, and he is already 70 years plus.
“In an effort to disqualify Nasiru, they came to asked me here in Lagos whether or not Nasiru had been attending family meetings regularly in Lagos, and I told them that Nasiru has been regular in attendance,” he said.
However, Pa Oyebamiji Oloyede, who was nominated to replace Karimu Adewumi as the new Bale and Head of the Family, spoke with Palace Watch through his lawyer, Barrister Oyebamiji, who said: “What led to Karimu’s removal was the fact that they selected a person the town did not want to sit on Edunabon throne. The selected person, one Nasiru Adebayo, is not an indigene of the town. Nasiru Adebayo’s father came from Moro, and when Adebayo’s great grandfather died in Edunabon town many years ago, his body was taken to Moro for burial. As such, Nasiru had no right whatsoever to contest for the throne he wanted to occupy at all cost.”
He explained that though this fact is known to every indigene in the town, but Nasiru feigned ignorance, and tried to occupy the throne, a move, which he said is not only wrong, but unacceptable to the people of Edunabon.
“He went for the throne because he (Nasiru) has money. He thought he could influence or buy his way through and occupy the throne,” Oyebamiji said. “He did not only stop at Edunabon town, but also penetrated the Palace of the Ooni of Ife, who we expected to be an impartial arbiter in this matter, to influence his choice.
“In spite of these known facts, when the kingmakers and princes, who are the rightful candidates to the throne went to the Ooni’s palace for a proper adjudication on the matter, the Obalufe of Ile-Ife and other chiefs, who were expected to look at the matter dispassionately in line with our customs and tradition, surprisingly ended up begging them to cooperate, so that Nasiru could ascend the throne.
“That was when the town’s representatives refused, saying they wouldn’t be party to or encourage it. Initially, the Obalufe-led group was not ready to listen to us, but when they discovered that we were adamant, they asked us to return home and let all the elders in the town nominate the person we think is the right and proper person for the throne.
“Immediately we returned home, we decided to set up a 10-man committee to screen all the qualified princes, out of which one person will be nominated and his name forwarded to the Ooni’s Palace for ratification.”
After this submission, Palace Watch told Oyebamiji that although efforts were made to get through to the removed Bale, Alhaji
Karimu Adewumi, but he was reluctant to speak, as he requested that Palace Watch call him back later, but refused to pick subsequent calls.
Palace Watch later reached out to Mr. Kole Adeoye, Secretary of the committee set up by the people of Edunabon to screen and present a candidate to Ile-Ife for ratification.
And though he acknowledged being the committee Secretary, but he said he couldn’t speak, unless the committee chairman gave him permission.
He also wasn’t ready to disclose the chairman’s name and number. And all efforts to reach him subsequently failed.
However, Palace Watch reached out to the Oloshi, Edunabon’s current Head of Kingmakers, Chief Oyedokun, who asked that he should be given sometime until the meeting scheduled for Tuesday, 28 August and 2nd September, 2018 at the Ooni’s Palace, before he could speak on the matter.
When contacted on September 5, 2018, he said: “We have done our job diligently and submitted a name to the Ooni’s Palace, it is up to them to give us the candidate we want for the throne.”
But another source, who was also present at the Ile-Ife meeting on September 2, 2018, who pleaded not to be mentioned, said contrary to the Oloshi’s claims, there was a new twist to the whole matter, as the people who went to seek the divination’s intervention came up with the name of one of the five candidates submitted and that particular name the Ifa Oracle selected to occupy the throne was one Ayoade Idowu.
He said during the consultation with the Oracle, Ayoade Idowu’s name was picked twice. Hence, the people who went and sought that divination agreed that Ayoade Idowu was the favoured candidate for the throne.
“But when those people met with the Olori Ebi, Pa Akinropo, he told them, ‘We need a more qualified person.’ Whatever that means. While all these intrigues and maneuvering were going on, another meeting was called at Ile-Ife North Local Government Council on the way forward. A group of Bale was sent to the Ooni’s palace to inform them that they were working on the matter.
“Surprisingly, when the meeting with the Local Government Council was held, they asked that all those interested in occupying the throne should obtain a form for the sum of N550, 000, which was to be returned before September 7, 2018.”
In his view, this was another ploy to frustrate indigenes, who, though qualified for the throne, might not be financially strong, so as to pave way for those who are not qualified but rich.
“So, I was not surprised when the delegation of chiefs, sent from Edunabon to Ile-Ife came back and made it clear, that the Obalufe and other Ife chiefs were still strongly supporting Nasiru Adebayo’s candidature, despite the fact that he is not qualified to occupy the throne. However, meetings are still going on with the Ile-Ife group.
“But if the wrong person is foisted on Edunabon people, the hitherto quiet town will not know peace, as we are not going to close our eyes and allow a stranger occupy our ancestors’ throne. This is not done in any Yoruba land, and ours is never going to be an exception. We are, therefore, appealing to all men and women of goodwill, especially the media, to intervene and stop this illegal move, which is induced by nothing but money.”
As at Friday, September 7, 2018, four princes had obtained the form to contest the throne from Ife-North Local Government Council. They are Prince Isaac Olawole Adeboye and Nasiru Adebayo both from the Amoloye ruling house. The others are Kehinde Oladepo and Ayooade Idowu.
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