By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
Crisis has hit the selection process to fill the vacant stool of the Olowu of Owu Kingdom in Abeokuta, Ogun State, as two royal families have cautioned Governor Dapo Abiodun against the appointment of Prince Saka Matemilola as the new monarch for the town.
The two royal families, represented by Prince Tajudeen Adelani, and Princess Aminat Adesina, have separately petitioned the Ogun State Government, warning against the appointment of Matemilola, who they described as a non-indigene, as the Olowu of Owu.
Matemilola is one of the seven princes screened by the Owu kingmakers led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Balogun of Owu, on March 30, 2022.
The candidates were nominated by the Otileta Ruling House, the next in line to produce a new Olowu.
The seven candidates include an Archbishop of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Adegbemi Adewale, who scored 1,027 at the end of the selection process.
Others are Prince Adeyanju Bakinson, a registered Town Planner from Ile Otopo; Simeon Soyele, a veteran journalist from Ile Lumosa; and Adesina Adelani, a Project Management Consultant from Ile Soke.
In their separate petitions to the Ministries of Justice, Local Government, and Chieftaincy Affairs, Adelani and Adesina, said Matemilola “is a native of Ibadan in Ibadan North East Local Government Area of Oyo State,” making him ineligible to the throne of the Olowu.
They insisted that the candidate had alluded to his Ibadan indigeneship in an affidavit he swore, dated May 15, 2000, at the High Court Registry, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
It was gathered that, at the end of the screening exercise, the kingmakers had forwarded their report to the state governor, Abiodun, who is expected to announce the next Olowu of Owu Kingdom.
However, the two petitioners from the royal families in their petitions asked Abiodun and Obasanjo-led kingmakers to be wary of appointing a “non-indigene” as the next Olowu.
Both petitioners, Adelani and Adesina from Ile Omoleefon and Aderinoye, two of the compounds that make up the Otileta ruling house, objected to the choice of Matemilola, who was reported to have been selected by the kingmakers during the screening process.
Reacting to the petitions in a statement, on Sunday, Matemilola described the affidavit he swore to as “correct and consistent.”
“What I am saying is that the affidavit is absolutely correct and consistent and I also have a birth certificate to it which shows I was born in Ibadan. So, just check the consistency of that, check the meaning of the word ‘native’ as opposed to the word ‘indigene,’ then do your story.
“Apart from that, no other reaction from me,” Matemilola said.