By: Adeboye Ado
The lingering crisis over the new Olujare of Ijare has continued to threaten the fragile peace of inhabitants of Ijare community, as the processes of selecting a head for the community has hit the brick wall with suspension, litigation, accusations and counter accusations.
Olujare’s stool became vacant two years ago when Oba Adebamigbe Oluwagbemigun, Kokotiri II, joined his ancestors
TRACE gathered that the Obaship tussle reached the boiling point a few days ago after a reported exclusion of some candidates who had shown keen interest in the stool were allegedly disqualified, a move which some factions in the area considered as deliberate act to forcefully draft candidates who are not entitled to the throne to the race.
Ijare has been in the news lately sequel to lack of cohesion among royal families and kingmakers over the emergence of new Olujare. it was also gathered that the royal fabric of the community had been blemished with social media war as death threats, chanting of oppressive songs had also hijacked the whole selection process.
This was even as the Council Chairman of Ifedore Local Government area of the state, Hon. Alex Oladimeji, was fingered in the commotion. He was alleged of plotting to install one of his cousins as the new Olujare.
As the chaotic situation snowballed into social bedlam, a group who identified itself as Concerned Indigenes of Ijare, in a press statement, said it lamented that members of the Sejeokun ruling house have been united since the selection process started until some self-appointed adjudicators came on board to deny some candidates the right to be part of the selection process.
This, according to the Concerned indigenes led to litigation, alleging the local council chairman, Alex Oladimeji, who hails from the town of planing to force one of his cousins in the race on the community as Olujare.
The statement reads, “the purported forwarding of four, out of the thirteen names that applied to be Olujare and initially emplaced before the Kingmakers (Afobajes), was a product of arbitrariness meant to unlawfully nay illegally exclude the names of candidates that are believed to constitute a threat to the candidates some cabals want to desperately force on the people.
“It is heartwarming that aggrieved stock of the Sejeokun Ruling House, the Olukekere/Osunpamisi descendants, has gone to court to challenge the purported illegal suspension of Chief Aarinmo.
“The unlawful exclusion of his candidate, Prince Kola Oyewole, and the moonlight frivolous narratives that seek to dislocate the inextricable link the Olukekere/Osunpamisi stock of Sejeokun Ruling House as to the Olujare stool.
“Traditionally, it is within the purview of the Kingmakers to choose the Olujare, and the leader of the distinguished Chiefs has cautioned himself from embarking on illegality by processing the four selective candidates sent to him, on the receipts of letters of complaints of unlawful exclusion and court processes contesting the legality of the advancement.
“It is needless, to say the least, that High Chief Wemimo Olaniran, the Sapetu of Ijare, has been subjected to vicious attacks by paid agents who want to goad him to tread the inglorious path of injustice, unfairness and illegality.
“Permit us to state, very unequivocally, that the government of Ondo state has since distanced itself from being dragged into legitimizing illegality, as the Chairman of Ifedore Local Government, Hon. Alex Oladimeji, who is prejudicially pushing for one of the candidates that is his cousin, has made the whole world to believe”
But the Head of Kingmakers and Sapetu of Ijare in Ifedore local government area of Ondo State, High Chief (Barrister) Wemimo Olaniran, last Tuesday, said he was not working for anybody but only calling for a level play field for all contestants from all branches of the Royal House.
The Sapetu in a statement noted that the process was going on well until a section of Sejeokun Royal House wrote a second letter to purportedly screened out 9 out of 13 candidates, despite the fact that the first letter from the same Royal House cleared the 13 contestants.
The Kingmaker pointed out that the first letter was duly signed by the Head of the family, Chief Oluwole Oni (Aarinmo) and others, while the second letter was not signed by authorized headship of the family.
The Sapetu explained that the exclusion led to a litigation by Olukekere stock of Sejeokun Ruling House which filed a suit in the Ondo State High Court, Akure Division challenging the exclusion of the name of the only contestant (Prince Kola Oyewole) put forward by them in the contest.
High Chief Olaniran said “Olukekere stock (of Sejeokun Ruling House) filed a suit in the Ondo State High Court, Akure Division challenging the exclusion of the name of the only contestant put forward by them in the said letter of 13th June, 2023, praying the Court to grant an injunction stopping any further action on the selection/ election exercise (of new Olujare).
“Okilorigbokun stock wrote a letter through their lawyer to me dated 20th June, 2023 dissociating their linage of the Sejeokun Ruling House from the said letter (excluding some contestants).
“Notwithstanding his membership of Adamoyoyo stock, Prince Salami Shittu Fatai, a contestant from the Adamoyoyo stock, wrote a letter dated 3rd July, 2023 rejecting the said letter (excluding some contestants), because his name was not therein contained.
“Flowing from all the above stated facts, particularly the action pending in the High Court challenging the letter of presentation dated 13th June, 2023, could I have done anything when it is overtly clear that the Centre is not yet holding in the Sejeokun Ruling House, as a man of honour.
“All the while the Executive Chairman of lfedore Local Government, (Engr Alex Oladimeji) did not hide his interest in the selection/election process, taking steps to make things go the way he wants as against the provision of the Olujare Chieftaincy Declaration, the custom and tradition misrepresenting the neutral position of the State Government on the exercise – claiming that the Government is interested.
“Therefore I make bold to say that I have not in any way or manner attempted to use my position to unduly influence the selection/ election process of a new Olujare of ljare, all I continue to pray for dispassionately is that all the lineages of the Sejeokun Ruling House and the contestants should be given a level playing ground to ensure fairness, equity and justice,” Sapetu said.
However, the Sejeokun ruling house denied the allegation levelled against them that some candidates were denied right to be part of the crucial stage of selecting new Olujare of ijare which led to a litigation.
The allegation of exclusion was disproved in a press release sent to journalists in Akure and signed by the chairman and secretary of the Royal family, Prince Jimoh Aliu and Prince Sunday Adekanbi with seven other members .
The Royal family said when the list of thirteen applicants for the vacant stool of Olujare of ijare initially arrived, the representative and the leader of the Royal family, Chief Oluwole Oni, stressed that that the list should not be screened by the family and held meetings with the Sapetu when the Omomas had disassociated themself from the list.
The family stressed that having realised that Chief Oluwole Oni, “the Arinmo who was supposed to be a neutral party was having an interest in one of the contestants, (Prince Kola Oyewole) for the stool was imediately suspended by the ruling house from playing the role of family head”
“The family hinted that the suspended leader of the ruling house insisted that his candidate must be forwarded to kingmakers even when he had been screened out by the family screening committee set up by the Sejeokun Ruling house.His candidate was not the only one screened out”
“The family who later screened down the thirteen (13) contestants to four after traditional consultation and thorough screening based on some criteria that were not met by the contestants said it is the responsibility of the Royal family to select Omooye and forward it to Kingmakers to complete the process”
“While one of the unqualified contestants was a taxi driver, lack basic education, and with critical characters defect, other was a young school leaver, and still reside under the roof of his parent”
“The four (4) contestants selected as Omooye were carefully and painstakingly selected by the family based on different factors, including IFA consultations (three instances), character, community participation, and ability to represent the community on such highly exalted position”
“Olujare stool, having recently promoted to the position of first class Oba in the state can’t afford to present someone who is known in his early life as a thug or with other strange characters. The Omowas urge other contestants to join hands with the committee to make the selection process a successful one for the betterment of the ijare community” the family said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Ifedore Local Government in Ondo State, Hon. Alex Oladimeji, had cautioned stakeholders especially kingmakers and Princes who are candidates battling to become the next Olujare of Ijare Community to stop dragging his name into the selection process.
The Council Boss noted that he had no power to impose new monarch on the town considering various Chieftaincy laws in the state.
Reacting to the allegation that he was sponsoring one of the candidates, Oladimeji insisted that the allegation against him was unfounded and baseless.