Know your palace: How oba Akanbi administers Iwo town

Shittu, Oluwo and his Canedian wife

In this week’s edition of Know Your Palace, we are presenting proceedings from the palace of Oluwo of Iwo, where the young and charismatic Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, presides over the affairs of the town with his Chiefs.

Iwo is a major town in Osun State and the seat of Iwo Kingdom. Iwo people, like most Yoruba, are said to belong to Ile-Ife, from where they migrated sometimes in the 14th century. They are primarily of the Yoruba descent, and were of African Traditional Religion, until Islamic missionaries came and converted many to Islam. Soon after, the Christian missionaries followed. With evangelism, directly and through established secular schools, many were converted also to Christianity.

Iwo people are, presently, a mixture of the three religions, with a higher population of Muslims, and still fewer traditionalists. Everyone lives happily and harmoniously with one another, and usually join the others in the celebration of any of the major religious festivities, as every family has members in each of the religions. The town was formerly part of the old Oyo State, but later became one of the major towns in Osun State.

The Oluwo-In-Council is the apex traditional institution in Iwoland. It serves as both the Executive and Judicial arms of the Iwo people. It sits when matters of urgency and importance arise for deliberation.

The Council is constituted, when the high chiefs of Iwoland are present. It is made up of the Oosa, who is the head of all the Chiefs in Iwoland. He also deputises for the Oluwo of Iwo whenever he is not around. Other chiefs include the Balogun, Aro, Ajagun, Oto, Oloshi and a host of others. The Oluwo of Iwo is the head of the Council, and he presides over its affairs.

Before any issue gets to the Oluwo-In-Council, oftentimes, efforts must have been made at various levels to resolve such at the Baale and Princes’ levels. It is only when an issue becomes intractable and can’t be resolved at these levels that they are brought before the Council.The Palace Watch was recently in Iwo to observe proceedings at the council, where two matters were adjudicated.

The first case to be heard was a chieftaincy tussle between the Malebe families: three members from different branches of the families were struggling to present to the Oluwo of Iwo a member of their families to be appointed the next Malebe of Iwo, a traditional chieftaincy title. Before the matter was adjudicated upon properly, the Oluwo-In-Council asked members of the three families: “which of the families was the last that held that title?” As the family member signified by putting up his hand, he was asked by the Oluwo to step outside, and that it was the turn of another family member. The two remaining families’ representatives were, therefore, given ample opportunity to marshal their cases as to why they were the most qualified for the title, while the chiefs and Oluwo took notes.

In the final analysis, while one of the families’ representatives was referring to dates and times and mentioning the traditional and native names of past family members that had held the post, the second family representative’s argument and submission was not so convincing, as he mostly called the Islamic names of his progenitors, who once held the title. The Oluwo-In-Council unequivocally resolved that the man with the better history was better qualified to hold the title. The decision was binding and final.

The second case to be heard was that of the Osun State Motorcycle Union Association in the town of Iwo. The union was said to have a very large membership. One of the union’s senior members, who felt he was not properly treated, wanted to break away to form his own union. This move was strongly resisted by the umbrella body, thus resulting in a serious disagreement.

After hearing both sides, the Council ruled that, “it would be wrong for the union to use force to prevent its members from leaving the union.” The Council stressed that it would amount to a breach of the fundamental human right of such a member, and that if the union doesn’t want any member to leave, it should know what to do to placate him. As all parties in the cases filed out of the palace, there was an air of justice and fair play in the way and manner their cases were treated.

Shittu Hails Oluwo’s Selflessness, An Example For Yoruba Obas
The Nigerian Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, last week, paid the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi Telu I, a courtesy visit in his palace. In his remarks, the Minister said the incorruptible stance of Oba Akanbi and his determination to improve the lots of Iwo people is a shining example worthy of emulation.The Minister said Oba Akanbi’s aversion for corruption and corrupt practices is similar to that of President, Muhammadu Buhari.

He appealed to Nigerians to be patient and pray for the success of the current administration, explaining that the present hardship in the country is a ripple effect of past government’s misdeeds, which the present administration is working very hard to correct.

Shittu said what is required now is a leadership that is dedicated and selfless in whatever it does. He said the present economic recession in the country is due to massive corruption in high places in the past, and the downturn in the sales of crude oil, which is the main source of the country’s revenue, and that efforts are in top gear to revamp the economy, as well as diversify it.

The Minister stressed that Oba Akanbi’s unique approach to rulership in Iwo will not only bring about massive development to the town, it will also further engender confidence in the traditional institution as a body and as a vehicle for rapid development.

He described the Oba as a compassionate, incorruptible and selfless leader that most traditional rulers in the country must strive to emulate. He said since Oba Akanbi’s ascension to the throne, lots of transformation has taken place in the lives of Iwo people. In his view, this is the beginning of so many good things to come. He said he was speaking as someone that knows Iwo very well, as he had lived there for well over 30 years. During this period, he was turbaned as an Islamic student and a legal practitioner, and made an adviser to the Mogajis of Iwoland.

In this article:
Oba AbdulRasheed Akanbi
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