Two letters, two authorities create chaos over Edunabon throne
On December 19, 2018, violence erupted in Edunabon in Osun State, leading to one of the contestants to Edunabon throne, Prince Kehinde Odelade of the Amoloye Ruling House being stripped naked and beaten to stupor. In the process, the palace that took the townspeople seven years to build was burnt.
It took the intervention of the police from Oshogbo, capital of Osun State to put the ugly situation under control.
At the heart of the violence are two letters. The first letter is from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, with reference CD.12/15/243 dated November 28 2018, addressed to Prince Oladapo Olatunde Adesoji Kehinde (JP), declaring him as the Salu of Edunabon, Ife North West Local Council Development Area.
The letter entitled: “Notification of your appointment as the new Salu of Edunabon in Ife North West Local Council Development Area,” and signed by Femi Ogundun for the Permanent Secretary, informed Kehinde that the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola had approved his appointment as the next Salu of Edunabon in Ife North West Local Council Development Area of the state with effect from November 26 2018 in accordance with Section 20, sub-section (1) of the Chief’s Law (Cap.25) Laws of the state of Osun 2002.
But on November 22, 2018, a signed letter bearing the insignia of His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, addressed through the Executive Chairman, Ife North West Local Government, Ile-Ife, Osun State, to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Oshogbo, State of Osun, entitled “Salu of Edunabon Matters Affecting,” notified the ministry that Prince Adebayo Nasiru Bolawale of the Amoloye Ruling House of Edunabon of Ife North-West Local Government Council Development Area had been selected the new Salu of Edunabon, following the demise of HRH Oba Efijali Omoloye.
As the authority in Ife land and the prescribing officer for the selection of an oba in Edunabon, the Ooni requested “necessary action as regards his coronation and staff of Office.”
Palace Watch got in touch with the Chairman, Ife North-West Local Government Development Council Area.
Why did you by-pass the Ooni of Ife in your recommendation of Prince Kehinde as the Salu elect, which has resulted in the chaos that has engulfed the town?
As I speak to you, I am in the office of the Commissioner of Police in Oshogbo in respect of this matter. Presently, I can only tell you where I am. I don’t know and can’t say where Prince Kehinde is now. The situation in Edunabon is so bad that I can’t stay in the Local Government Area Council, as Edunabon youths are looking for my head. I ran to the State Commissioner of Police in Oshogbo, as I don’t want to be killed. I don’t know if you are already aware that Prince Kehinde was beaten and stripped naked, while the Salu’s Palace in Edunabon was burnt down. These were partly why I ran to Oshogbo to meet with the state Police Commissioner, so that he can give us some protection.
You still have not answered why you sidestepped the Ooni and sent Kehinde’s name for approval. Which of these two princes should ascend Edunabon throne?
As a journalist, you are free to weigh it yourself. As far as I know and concerned, Prince Kehinde’s appointment was approved by the State Government. His salary as the new Salu of Edunabon is due by the end of this December. Preparations are also in top gear to officially present him with the staff of office as the new Salu of Edunabon. If you must also know, Prince Kehinde has been gazetted as the Oba of Edunabon. I do not know and can’t recognise Prince Nasiru as the Salu of Edunabon.
It is not true that I by-passed the Ooni as the prescribing authority. I made strenuous efforts to see the Ooni in his palace. Seven times to be precise, I made attempts to see the Ooni. And on those seven occasions, the Obalufe and other chiefs at the Ooni’s palace didn’t allow me to see him. Was I expected to break the fence or burglary proof in the palace to see the Ooni? I was, therefore, left with no other option than to send Kehinde’s letter to the ministry for recognition.
I honestly don’t know what those people at the Ooni’s palace wanted me to do to please them. I am a very young man. I have my life to live after serving as council chairman. I am not from Edunabon, and I have nothing to gain from whosoever becomes the Salu of Edunabon. I also did not collect one kobo from anybody. My business was to make sure the right thing is done. I am very satisfied with what I have done. I did the job as laid down by the constitution.
What are you doing to restore peace to the area?
As the council chairman, I know I can’t abandon my area, which is why I am with the state police commissioner. He is presently at a programme, but once he is done, we shall jointly decide on what to do to bring lasting peace to my council area, especially Edunabon. I have told whoever cares to listen that I can’t preside over a place that is in turmoil. So, I am here to formally make complaints about what is happening in my area council. I have also made a formal report to the Department of State Security (DSS), and other security agencies in the state, so that they can help restore peace in Edunabon. It is a really serious matter. Overnight, the people behind this violence went about destroying and attacking law-abiding people. This can’t be allowed to continue. I just can’t just close my eyes while all this violence continues.
But I was told you were in the palace when the Kehinde’s group forcibly broke into the palace…
That is not correct. I am not a fool. Why would I accompany Kehinde and his group to break into the palace? What is my business with the palace? I am not a chief, neither am I the prescribing authority. I have finished my job as the local government council chairman. What concerned me most now is the presentation of staff of office to Kehinde as the new Salu of Edunabon by the Osun State Government. Once that is done, my job as the council chairman is also over.
When is the state government presenting the staff of office to Prince Kehinde?
I don’t know and I can’t say. With the situation on ground now, we all have to wait and see what happens next.
Palace Watch also reached out to the Ooni of Ife’s Palace to investigate why the council chairman was not allowed to see the Oon in the Edunabon chieftaincy case.
Chief Salami Idowu, the Traditional Secretary to the Ooni of Ife said: “Please ignore that man, who called himself Ife North-West Local Government Council Chairman. We have it on records that he met with the Ooni one on one, on two occasions. He is a confusionist. He has already made up his mind on what he wanted to do, and was not ready to listen to any other argument, no matter how genuine. He went ahead and did what he did, even when he was warned beforehand not to do so. Why is he blaming people in Ooni’s palace? He deliberately created this crisis. So, he should go ahead and solve it, in his own interest.”
On his part, Chief Oyedeku, the head of kingmakers in Edunabon, said: “It is sad that the situation has gone ugly. When it became obvious that the chairman of Ife North-West Council was hell-bent on perpetrating his mischief and deliberately created this crisis, we reached out to his traditional ruler in Moro and pleaded with him twice or thrice to come and speak with the chairman, not to do anything that would lead to the ugly situation we just witnessed in the town. But his traditional ruler refused to come, saying the chairman wouldn’t listen to him, no matter what he tried to tell him.”
He explained that they were trying to organise a press conference, and would notify The Guardian before hand.
Thereafter, Palace Watch got in touch with one of the senior aides to the newly sworn-in Governor of Osun State, who pleaded anonymity.
He said: “As far as I know, at the twilight of the immediate government of former Governor Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the state Executive Council met and approved the appointment of Kehinde as the Salu of Edunabon. The council, however, did not know that the chairman of Ife North-West Local Government Council did not follow due process, among which is to consult with the Ooni, who is the prescribing authority on the matter.
“However, the Osun State governor is on top of the matter, and action will be taken soon to restore peace in the town. The Salu issue would be resolved once and for all. This is part of the problems this present administration inherited, but we will deal with it.”
Ironically, some people in Prince Kehinde’s group have been calling and threatening Palace Watch, saying, “It is Palace Watch’s report on the matter that is giving the Nasiru’s group the impetus to fight on in the matter they have already concluded.”
Asked how this was so, one of Kehinde’s supporters, who claimed to be a journalist and media manager to Ayefele the musician, said: “Once Kehinde got his letter from Osun State Government as the Salu elect, it was wrong for Palace Watch to contact the Nasiru group, since the matter was by then considered closed.”
One Tosin Akanbi, who claimed to be the spokesperson to Prince Kehinde, threatened to eliminate me, if I refused to stop reporting what was happening in Edunabon.
Asked what I had done wrong, he said: “Your report is giving Prince Nasiru and his group the added advantage to fight on in a matter we have already concluded. From your report, we can see that you are a paid agent of Nasiru. And we shall deal with you accordingly when the time comes.”
Reports reaching Palace Watch indicated that Prince Nasiru Adebayo has gone into hibernation preparatory to his installation as the new Salu of Edunabon.