Tug of war over Ilaro stool
..As 2 brothers struggle to wear Olu crown
By Moshood Adebayo, Abeokuta
Friday February 17, 2012

Princes Adedeji Olugbenle and Kehinde Olugbenle are two of the six contestants for the throne of the Olu of Ilaro in Yewa South Local Government area of Ogun State. Although, the kingmakers had submitted one of the two names to the state government as winner of the election conducted, the continued silence of government is giving indigenes of the town a serious worry.

Chairman of the town’s Regency Council, Chief Jas Oyekan, announced Adedeji, as the winner of the election conducted last month. According to him, Adedeji scored five votes to beat his younger brother, Kehinde, whom he said trailed with 4 votes. He explained that the council of chiefs nominated six princes from the Asade Agunloye Ruling House, namely Victor Olugbenle, Adeyanju Taiwo, Adedeji Olugbenle, Gbadebo Olugbenle and Adebola Dada. He stressed that Adedeji emerged winner after getting the highest votes from members of the regency council in an election held on January 26, 2012:

“As the regent of the town since the past four years, I received a letter from the family and the council (of chiefs) saying that six people were selected from the Asade Agunloye Ruling House. The letter stipulated that we must act on the candidates within seven days. “I wrote to all the living kingmakers. We were 13 but only nine are living. I summoned a meeting held on January 26, 2012, in the palace for the election. We read the names of the candidates before the kingmakers. Council officials were there to supervise and to give us the process of selecting a candidate. The council secretary said if there was any tie, the chairman of the regency council had the deciding vote.

“Prince Deji Olugbenle scored five, Prince Kehinde Olugbenle scored four and the other four candidates scored zero. The five of us that voted for Deji Olugbenle signed a Certificate of Return and the council took the certificate, which was sent to the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs for further processing.” Although, Oyekan said that the government had 21 days, starting from the date Adedeji was elected (January 26, 2012) to process his nomination and make its nomination official, the state government had kept quiet over the election.

Oyekan, who is also the Adele of Ilaro disclosed that there were some indigenes who still bear grudges with the election despite the transparency of the election process, which he said had officials of the State Security Service (SSS) and men of the Nigeria Police in attendance: “There have been a lot of rumours spreading round Ilaro about the election. I want to state that the Ilaro people have spoken. They have chosen Prince Deji Olugbenle as the Olu Ilaro-elect. The Government of Ogun State should take the rightful decision and should not listen to the manoeuvering of some people. The government of Senator Ibikunle Amosun knows the importance of tradition of the people.

“Nobody can interfere with the tradition of any community without having some problems. He is our father, he is our governor; he should treat all of us his children equally without being bias. I trust him he will do the right thing.”
But Oyekan’s announcement of Adedeji as the next Olu of Ilaro has sparked controversy in the town as some chiefs have dissociated themselves from the announcement. They claimed they voted for Kehinde and not Adedeji. Led by Chief Kamoru Musa, the Onosokun of Ilaro, the chiefs insisted that it was Adedeji who got four votes while Kehinde got five votes. Others allegedly in support are, Chief Fagbenro Shittu (Asipa), Chief Gabriel Ajayi (Osi-Agoro) and Chief Gabriel Adeleye (Basorun). The chiefs called for the arrest and prosecution of Oyekan for allegedly usurping the responsibility of the state government and precipitating crisis in the town.

According to them, it was the responsibility of the state government to announce the appointment of the new monarch after the regency council had forwarded the name of the person they wanted to the government and not the Adele Olu. Onosokun, who warned Oyekan to stop parading himself as the chairman of the Regency Council stressed that Oyekan’s tenure expired nine months ago. But the head of the Ashade Agunloye Ruling House, Chief Yisa Olusoji appealed to the state government to wade in: There is tension in the land, I appeal to the state government to prevent it by announcing the name of the winner submitted to it by the kingmakers. We as a royal house does not support protest in whatever form as witnessed recently in the town. We are peace loving people and we do not want rancour among us.”

Olusoji said all the contestants agreed before the election that whoever emerged the next Olu of Ilaro shall receive the support of other contestants: “We still stand by it.” One of the contestants, Prince Tayelolu Adeyanju corroborated Olusoji’sposition: “The kingmakers have spoken and we should allow the state government to make the final prouncement. We dissociate ourselves from any protest or crisis in the town relating to the choice of anyone submitted to the state government by the kingmakers.”

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