Kingmakers Appeal For Peace As Adejimi Emerges Ikere-Ekiti Monarch
Though they envisaged no crisis, because the town has a rich tradition and established process of choosing a new monarch, which is by consulting the Ifa oracle, according to the tradition of the ancient town, and casting of votes by the kingmakers, but the events that followed the process proved them wrong.
Immediately after the mourning period of Oba Adegboye, who spent 43 years on the throne, a Regent, Princess Oyinlola Oye (Adegboye), was appointed in the interim and the kingmakers swung into action to search for the next person to wear the crown.
About 14 princes were said to have signified interest, but after a thorough screening, they were reduced to six.
The six candidates were subjected to Ifa oracle in the presence of the kingmakers, the Secretary to Ikere Council, two representatives of the three ruling houses- Akayejo, Ogbenuote and Agabaola- and supervised by the Ologotun of lkere-Ekiti, Chief Emmanuel Olajide, according to the tradition of the town.
The Ifa oracle was said to have picked Prince (Captain) Adu Emmanuel Adejimi as the best among the candidates for the stool.
But the kingmakers did not stop at that; they conducted oral interview for all the six candidates, perhaps to guide them in their voting.
Adejimi was said to have scored over 80 per cent, while the next candidate came a distant second with 53 per cent.
This must have informed the decision of 11 out of the 14 kingmakers that voted for Adejimi, while three cast their votes for Prince Oyebanji Olajuyin.
Curiously, the voting pattern did not cause any disagreement among the kingmakers, as 13 of them signed the letter to Adejimi to convey the message of his selection to him.
The letter dated March 5, this year and titled, ‘Selection as Ogoga of Ikere-Ekiti,’ reads in part: “The Ikere kingmakers, after series of exercises in respect of the selection of the candidate to fill the vacant stool of Ogaga, have found you appointable to occupy the position based on the prediction from Ifa oracle that your regime will be peaceful and progressive, coupled with your success at the election conducted by 14 existing kingmakers in Ikere, which placed you far above other contestants.
“You are, therefore, being informed through this medium that in accordance with Ikere traditions, you have been selected to occupy the vacant stool of Ogoga by the kingmakers. Please accept our congratulations.”
The letter was signed by High Chiefs Omotoso JKM (Sao); E. O. Ayeni (Ologotun); S. O. Jayeola (Edemo Okekere); Gabriel Ajayi (Odunro); Foluso Olowolafe (Saya); Kayode Aregbe (Ekuosa Odo Oja); and Aniodun Sofin (Ekuasa Uro).
Others were M. S. (Dr.); Jayeola (Oisa Odo Oja); S. A. Daramola (Oisa Uro); M. A. Owoeye (Oisa Okekere); J. B Oluwafemi (Asae Odo Oja); I. O. Adeyemi (Asao Uro); and S. O. Oloro (Osolo Okekere). J. Oluwamusanmi (Ojomu) did not sign the letter.
And the Oba-elect had through his letter of March 6, this year, on behalf of Ogbenuote ruling house, thanked the kingmakers, saying: “It is, therefore, with utmost humility that I accept this honour and the accompanying responsibilities for peace and continuous progress of our common heritage.”
There was jubilation in the town immediately news filtered in that Adejimi had been chosen and many prominent indigenes applauded the transparency and painstaking methods the kingmakers adopted to arrive at the choice.
But hardly had the celebration died down that some people began to fault the process. The opposition that started from a faceless group in the town later grew wings to challenge the age-long traditional institution and made several attempts to cause chaos in the town.
Subsequently, a group of people claiming to represent the three ruling houses addressed a press conference and said the kingmakers erred in electing Adejimi, alleging that the Oba-elect was not from a ruling house.
They accused members of Ikere Development Forum (IDF), chaired by a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Wole Olanipekun, of planning to foist Adejimi on the town, despite their stiff opposition to his candidacy.
A statement read by the spokesman of the protesters, Prince Ojo Ologundoye, said Adejimi would suffer immense eligibility crisis among the indigenes if he succeeds in his quest to become the next Ogoga.
Last Monday, some women held a peaceful protest, alleging plans by the state government, collaborating with the kingmakers, to impose Adejimi as the next monarch.
The women also alleged that most of the kingmakers have been compromised and expressed fear that should the process of selecting the Oba be subjected to voting, the right candidate might not emerge.
One of the protest leaders, Mrs. Funmi Adegbesan, said they were protesting against the decision to subject the selection process to election, which she said was against the tradition.
“We want them to commence the process afresh and they should consult the Ifa oracle. “We don’t want the Ogoga to be chosen through an election by the kingmakers, who have been compromised,” she said.
The Deputy Governor, Mr. Kolapo Olusola, who arrived the scene and calmed the protesting women, also appealed to them to maintain peace.
Olusola, who also met with the Regent and some chiefs, denied the allegation that the Ayo Fayose administration wanted to impose a candidate as the Ogoga, disclosing that neither he nor the governor has interest in who becomes the king, which is in the hands of the kingmakers, saying government cannot impose any of the candidate, but the law allows the kingmakers to use voting to choose the Ogoga-elect.
But 11 out of the 14 kingmakers that elected Adejimi rose stoutly to defend their choice, warning troublemakers to desist from causing unnecessary crisis in the town.
They insisted that the nomination of Adejimi to the state government followed due process and tradition of the town.
The kingmakers also debunked insinuations that the Ogoga-elect was not a member of any of the three ruling houses in the town, noting that his late father had once headed a lineage of Ogbenuote Ruling House.
They also claimed that the screening and selection process was carried out through the consultation of the Ifa oracle and voting in the presence of two representatives of each of the royal houses and a government representative.
They, therefore, urged Fayose to announce the result of the screening exercise presented to government in the interest of peace.
Addressing journalists in Ikere-Ekiti on the issue, with 10 other members in attendance, the head of the kingmakers and the Sao, Chief Omotosho James, said the opposition to the emergence of Adejimi was satanic and aimed at truncating the existing peace in the community for selfish reasons.
“Fighting a sacred war, which one has failed to win through the due process, by hiring the media is an insult to our tradition and this belittles our revered throne before the whole world.
“What do they actually want? The Ifa oracle was consulted in the presence of everyone. Out of the six contestants shortlisted, his ‘ifa’ was the best.
“To fulfill all righteousness, we went into voting and he got 11 votes, while Prince Oyebanji Olajuyin had three and others had no vote.
“If we are not authentic, how come they subjected themselves to be screened by us?”
The head of Agirlala-Ogbenuote Ruling House, Chief Abioye Ojo (Atewologun), bluntly refuted the claim that the Oba-elect was not an offspring of the royal family.
“Those who are saying those things are either drunk or beclouded by their thirsts for office. Adejimi’s father was our family head around 1991.
“When his father died, the children presented to the family a live cow, which we all slaughtered and ate to celebrate his father in line with our tradition.
“If they have a genuine claim, why have they not raised this alarm before his emergence?”
ln the same vein, the Ologotun, Chief Emmanuel Olajide, who coordinated the Ifa oracle consultation, harped on the need to allow peace to reign in the town and the entire state.
“The whole exercise took place in my presence. The Secretary to the Local Government, Mr. Wale Olanipekun, the heads and secretaries of each ruling house were there. Everything was transparent,” he insisted.
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