Nine ruling houses have asked the Oyo State Government to halt the ongoing process to select the new Alaafin of Oyo, pending the determination of the cases in court.
Addressing a press conference in Oyo town, on Monday, Prince Ademola Adesina, from Adeitan ruling house, who spoke on behalf of the other ruling houses, said the Oyo State Government should allow the process in court to conclude before continuing with the process of selecting a new Alaafin.
Adesina noted that the remaining nine ruling houses from the Atiba royal family have been sidelined and called on the state government to come to their rescue by discontinuing the selection process of the new Alaafin.
He said: “In 1961, upon the dethronement of Oba Adeniran, Alaafin Gbadegesin of Agunloye ruling house made a declaration. He declared that two ruling houses will benefit from the stool out of the 21 children of Alaafin Atiba.
“You will recall that the 1963 constitution housed the jurisdiction of the court to challenge anything on chieftaincy matter, upon the fact that, the so called declaration was trite to the customary law of Yoruba land, which stated that every member, the children or the descendant of a founder of a town can benefit from the stool of his forebearer. This is not in line with what late Oba Gbadegesin declared in 1961, with petitions and protests registered before Western Region Government, upon the take over by the military.
“After the death of Oba Gbadegesin in 1968, everybody started running for the throne of Alaafin among the children of Atiba. When this happened, they urged our fathers to be patient with them to choose a king, out of the declaration made by Oba Gbedegesin and upon that, they constituted a panel of enquiry that will listen to the yearnings and aspirations of all other children of Atiba. This was done by late Adeyinka Adebayo who happened to be former of governor of Western Region. He constituted a panel of enquiry, headed by Honourable Justice Oladeinde Adekunle, and they looked into the matters affecting the children of Alaafin Atiba in relation to the stool of Alaafin of Oyo.
“After this, every children of Alaafin Atiba, including those that had benefited in the past. Everyone presented their memorandum and after the memorandum, the commissioner of enquiry made a recommendation.
“Upon the decision of the commission of enquiry in 1976, they declared all the existing ruling houses to be null and void and constituted Atiba ruling house, to include all Atiba descendants.
“The 1976 commission of enquiry declared the 1961 Alaafin of Oyo declaration defective. This was done by Justice Adekunle Oladeinde’s commission of enquiry. Subsequently, in 1993, Oloko commission of enquiry also upheld the decision of Honourable Justice Adekunle Oladeinde of 1976. That, there should be a single ruling house in Oyo regarding the stool of Alaafin to be called Atiba ruling house, which is to include all the descendants of Alaafin Atiba.”
Adesina further explained that in 2001, the governor at the time, late Alhaji Lam Adesina, through the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Micheal Koleoso, gazetted the white paper and decision of Oloko enquiry, with an option that Atiba Local Government should make amendments which will include all other excluded royal families.
“Justice Ladeinde in 1976 declared 11 royal families to be the descendants of Alaafin Atiba–Agunloye, Alowolodu, Adeitan, Adediran Ese Apata, Adesiyan, Iteade Abidekun, Olanite, Adelabu Baba Ibadan, Adesokan Baba Idode, Tella Okiti Papa and Tella Agbojulogun royal families–should all be included in the new order which can benefit and contest for the stool of Alaafin.
“In year 2004, there was another development which is negative and was not in our knowledge; the late monarch, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, went to court with Oyo State Government to amend or remove the sections of the consenting authority of the Volume 21 of 2001 gazette. This happened without our consent and we were not even notified; We are not in any way part of that.
“We were the direct families that this matter really affected, but unfortunately we were not served, so we could not make any contributions.
“In 2020, one of us, Prince Olanite went to court on the implementation of year 2001 gazette, but to his surprise, they said that there was no gazette of 2001, no white paper regarding that, not until he started the application, we did not know that there was a judgement restraining the government from making any amendments,” he added.
He, therefore, called on Oyo State Government to look into the matter, saying “when there is an injury, there is always a remedy.”
According to Adesina, section 10, sub-section three of Oyo State chieftaincy laws empower the state government to set up a committee to amend any law that is against the interest of the people.
“Recall that out of the 11 families, only two are beneficiaries of this stool, the nine others have been sidelined.
“We appeal to Oyo State Government to allow the process in court since 2020, to complete its full course. They should allow the judiciary to complete and conclude the matter before continuing with the process of choosing or installing new Alaafin, because only the Agunloye family was favoured in the letter written to Baba Iyaji, dated August 9, 2022.
“So, we seek for discontinuation of the process of choosing Alaafin that is ongoing for the past one week, which excluded all other royal families that was recommended and approved my the commission of enquiry,” Adesina said.
The representatives of the nine ruling houses at the press conference include Prince Remi Azeez (Tella Okiti Papa ruling house); Prince Makanjuola Adediran (Adediran Ese Apata ruling house); Prince Adediwura Olanite (Olanite ruling house); Prince Agbonyin Olayiwola (Adelabu Baba Ibadan ruling house); Prince Adebowale Adesiyan (Adesiyan ruling house); Prince Adetunji Adesokan (Adesokan Baba Idode ruling house); Prince Adekunle Bello (Iteade Abidekun ruling house) and Prince Tella Agbojulogun (Tella Agbojulogun ruling house), who was away in Lagos but was said to have given his consent.