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Olukere’s individuals savour recognition after long-drawn battle

•Ogoga’s supporters fault Ekiti verdict, to problem choice in courtroom

ABIODUN NEJO traces the journey into the popularity granted the Olukere stool in Odo Oja, Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti State and attendant improvement

There was marked elation on the faces of the folks that trooped into the palace of the Olukere within the coronary heart of Ikere Ekiti on Friday, October 8, as information filtered in that the state authorities had recognised the Olukere because the monarch of the newly accepted autonomous Odo Oja, Ikere Ekiti group.

The gait, dances and noise on the occasion captured the comfortable second for the Odo Oja group and certainly Ikere Ekiti.

The Olukere himself, Oba Ganiyu Obasoyin, was not not noted of the ecstatic second as he paced the palace in joyful temper, acknowledging greetings and hailing from well-wishers and topics representing mighty and the lowly who thronged the place to savour the enjoyment of the second.

Clad in regal apparel, an elated Olukere, who was notably in need of phrases, known as for order because the individuals celebrated the success, whereas he dashed to Ado Ekiti, the state capital, to obtain the instrument of appointment and workers of workplace from the state authorities.

The palace turned to a beehive of actions as individuals from completely different elements trooped in to verify if actually the age-long battle for recognition of the Olukere stool by the state authorities had achieved success.

The auspicious second was vital within the lifetime of the traditional group which had for a while been embroiled in supremacy battle between the Ogoga of Ikere Ekiti stool and the Olukere of Ikere Ekiti (because it was then identified) stool.

The Ogoga stool was recognised by the state authorities, whereas the Olukere stool was not–a improvement that drew unhealthy blood particularly as the 2 sides claimed genuine monarchy of the group.

A authorities assertion titled, “Ekiti govt recognises Olukere as oba, grants autonomy to Odo Oja group of Ikere Ekiti,’’ signed by the Government Secretary of the Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Adegboyega Morakinyo, did the magic.

It famous that the state authorities, in furtherance of the continuing evaluate of the implementation of the White Paper on the report of the Chieftaincy Evaluation Fee led by Justice Jide Aladejana, revisited the advice on the appliance by the Odo Oja group of Ikere Ekiti.

It acknowledged, “The Odo Oja group of Ikere Ekiti submitted a memorandum to the fee together with an utility for recognition as an autonomous city and its conventional head as an oba. The fee discovered advantage within the utility and additional affirmed the eligibility of the Odo Oja group to be recognised as an autonomous city and its conventional head as oba.

“Authorities accepts the advice of the fee. The Odo Oja group of Ikere Ekiti is accordingly granted autonomous standing and its conventional head, Olukere, is hereby recognised as an Oba.’’

A local of Ikere Ekiti and human rights lawyer and activist, Morakinyo Ogele, who captured the temper of the individuals, mentioned, “The autonomy is pure, historic and symbolic. It’s a image of fact, justice, tradition and custom. All we’ve been saying is that Olukere, who’s the founding father of Ikere Ekiti, deserved recognition.

“We thank the federal government for realising that the Olukere is entitled to recognition. In Ikere Ekiti right this moment, particularly Odo Oja, we’re celebrating independence, freedom and emancipation. It was like we had been in shackles following non-recognition of the Olukere stool. However now, Ikere individuals have been given their freedom and all what they missed since nowadays.’’

The Head of the Olukere household Home, 84-year-old Pa Adeniyi Obasoyin, traced the start of the battle between the Olukere and Ogoga to the problem of sporting of crown, which he mentioned was the explanation a previous Ogoga dragged the Olukere to courtroom, which he mentioned led to victory for the latter.

The octogenarian mentioned, “The difficulty grew to become extra critical when the Olukere demanded recognition and workers from the federal government, which had been resisted within the final 25 years till Friday when the state authorities did the needful.

The Olukere stool

Like others in Yorubaland, the Olukere stool, mentioned to have been occupied by 28 previous Olukeres and the current Oba Obasoyin because the twenty ninth, ís traceable to the traditional days.

Obasoyin, tracing the historical past of Olukere mentioned, “The stool of the Olukere was the primary conventional stool in Ikere Ekiti as a result of my forefathers based this city. Intelligence report of this group acknowledged clearly that Ikere Ekiti was based by Olukere Oloje, who was the primary Olukere of Ikere Ekiti.

“When my forefathers based this place, they have been farmers. One in all their main merchandise was ‘ukerekere.’ Individuals got here from close by villages to purchase ukerekere, then they might say they have been going to ‘Baba Olukerekere’ to purchase ukerekere. That was the place my fathers expunged Ukere (Ikere) because the identify of the group.

“Olukere as a title didn’t come out from Olukerekere, it got here out from Ikere, Ikere was from Ukerekere. In lots of Yoruba cities, Ekiti particularly, most obas who based cities are known as Olu–Oluyin, Oloye, Olusi and so forth. That’s the primary citizen of that city. Since Ikere was named from Ukerekere, the primary citizen in Ikere was the person promoting the Ukerekere – Olu Ukere (Olukere),’’

The Olukere mentioned that his forebears have been hospitable and accommodated those that migrated to the group to settle alongside the road together with the Ogoga, who he mentioned got here as a hunter from Benin through the reign of the sixth Olukere.

However the second-in-command to the Ogoga and chieftain of the Ogoga-in-Council, Prof. Olufemi Babatola, who’s the Sapetu of Ikere Ekiti, whereas narrating the story of Ikere Ekiti, mentioned, “Ogoga has all the time from time immemorial been the king in Ikere Ekiti. The Olukere has by no means been in administration in Ikere. He has all the time been the priest.

“Aladeselu was the founding father of Ikere. When Ikere got here into being, Ogoga had not come, however the Ifa oracle instructed them that the king was nonetheless on the best way and that when he got here, the signal could be that he would kill an elephant.

 “When Ogoga was looking for an elephant that he killed, he met Aladeselu, Ogoga instructed Aladeselu that he was a hunter, a prince from Benin and that he had killed an elephant and Aladeselu organised a search social gathering for the elephant. From the Ifa prediction, they’d seen someone with the anticipated indicators, that was how they knew Ogoga was the anticipated king and made him king” the Sapetu mentioned.

The journey to recognition

Sunday PUNCH gathered that the epic battle   began way back even earlier than the creation of Ekiti State because the Olukeres, having realised that they’d misplaced recognition resulting from oblique rule by the colonial masters, intensified efforts to regain “the misplaced glory.”

Explaining the way it all started, Obasoyin mentioned, “One way or the other alongside the road, my forefathers, by the use of omission or fee, accepted Ogoga right here as a visitor. Whereas he was nonetheless with them, due to his capability to talk pidgin English as a person who got here from Benin, not from any royal home in Benin, my father began sending him on errands.

“Later, the white individuals got here they usually launched ‘Pelupelu’ assembly for obas after they needed to begin oblique rule. The then Olukere despatched Ogoga to attend on his behalf. When the colonialists have been taking attendance, they wrote Ogoga to be from Ikere; that was how the identify of Ogoga began showing on the listing of obas.

“That was over 200 years. Ikere had existed for years earlier than Ogoga got here. We already had six Olukeres. It was through the reign of the sixth Olukere that Ogoga got here to Ikere. That was how we got here to this example even after Nigeria obtained independence.

“My forebears didn’t take it critical then as a result of they’d nothing to look ahead to from the federal government. Then, obas have been the supreme, they have been governments unto themselves. The Olukere requested Ogoga to be representing him and he would return to report back to the Olukere. That was why they neglected it till it grew to become a critical difficulty.

“After getting his identify within the file of obas, the Ogoga began working in opposition to the curiosity of the Olukere to ensure he didn’t get recognition when the problem of recognition for obas got here.

“Initially, it was both you based a city otherwise you conquered a city to be the pinnacle and be in management, no one gave obas any recognition then. It was when the whites got here and began utilizing the monarchs for oblique rule that obas began having ogas,” the Olukere mentioned.

He famous that the Olukeres earlier than him, except for his quick predecessor, Olukere Ijasan, weren’t educated and, as such, couldn’t do a lot on the problem of agitation for recognition particularly as their efforts have been being annoyed by the Ogoga, who he mentioned used the popularity he loved and closeness to authorities as a weapon.

 Obasoyin mentioned that he picked up the battle from the place Ijasan stopped however the obstacles, difficulties and hardship to the extent that he was even framed up with a trumped-up homicide allegation to place him in jail to frustrate the agitation.

He mentioned, “I encountered obstacles primarily from the elite locally and from the Ogoga and Ogoga-in-Council. Many of the elites locally accepted it as a destiny that Ogoga ought to proceed to be oba. They didn’t need something that will upset the apple cart. After I got here in and began the agitation, all of them backed the ogoga in opposition to me.

“It obtained to a stage that I used to be framed up with a homicide case and I landed in jail. However later, the courtroom realised that it was a body up. I used to be launched after over a month, later, the courtroom threw out the case. I encountered many troubles however like I mentioned, with God on our facet, we’re in a position to overcome all of the troubles.’’

Nevertheless, the chance of the Aladejana-led Chieftaincy Evaluation Fee got here and the Olukere’s individuals submitted a memorandum earlier than it “to hunt the formal recognition by the Ekiti State Authorities of the Olukere as Oba (head chief) and the current occupant of the stool, Ganiyu Ayodele Obasoyin, as an oba.”

Within the memorandum, the individuals additionally made a case for autonomous Odo Oja group, which they described as a definite space with boundaries away from any overlapping and ambiguities, with the Olukere as oba.

 They added, “Not one of the remaining areas of Ikere can be deprived if and when Olukere is formally recognised as oba. Reasonably the peaceable co-existence of Ikere would have been enhanced.’’

The Olukere’s individuals additionally acknowledged that “non-recognition of Olukere can solely improve disaster, rifts, riots, demonstrations, unrests and agitations in Ikere and thereby subjecting your entire group to safety threats repeatedly.’’

They famous that “Olukere is the founding father of Ikere-Ekiti, that Olukere migrated from Ile-Ife to discovered Ikere and that Olukere was a prince of Ile-Ife having been born by Ooni. The Olukere developed Ikere right into a city of three most important semi-autonomous quarters of Odo-oja, Uro and Okekere. By historical past, tradition, custom and precedents, Olukere is the standard ruler of Ikere.’’

Other than the Olukere’s Odo Oja, different communities in Ikere Ekiti together with Are, Uro and Afao additionally submitted memoranda earlier than the panel, in search of autonomy and recognition for his or her heads as oba, however the committee dismissed different communities’ functions for lack of advantage.

The courtroom case

Nevertheless, in its report in 2019, the Aladejana Fee acknowledged, “The appliance is meritorious. The Odo Oja group has what it takes to be recognised as an autonomous city and its conventional head, Olukere, are really helpful to be recognised as a city and an oba respectively.’’

Consequently, the ‘White Paper on the Report of the Hon Justice JBK Aladejana Chieftaincy Evaluation Fee, 2019’ dated December 2019, acknowledged, “Authorities notes the advice, authorities additionally notes that the matter is a topic of litigation. The group ought to keep its present standing.”

The litigation being that the Ogoga and the Ogoga-in-Council had approached an Ekiti State Excessive Court docket sitting in Ado Ekiti to problem the legitimacy of the declare of the Olukere being made an oba.

The candidates sued the Olukere, state authorities and the police, in search of declaration that the Olukere ought to cease parading himself as chief in Ikere Ekiti; declaration that the Ogoga is the prescribed authority in Ikere Ekiti and an order that the state authorities shouldn’t implement the advice of the Justice Aladejana Fee.

However ruling on a movement by the state counsel that the applicant’s matter in opposition to the state authorities was statute barred, the Chief Choose of Ekiti State, Justice John Adeyeye, on Friday, eliminated the state authorities and the Lawyer basic as events within the swimsuit and dismissed the aid most well-liked in opposition to the state authorities within the swimsuit.

Ogele, who corroborated the monarch, mentioned that the highway to the popularity was tough and filled with challenges, threats and difficulties, including that the individuals cast forward and have been in a position to obtain the specified end result.

The rights activist mentioned, “We went to courtroom each time, submitting motions, typically threats, however thank God for persistence and perseverance. There was danger all over the place. There have been fights, riots, with out justice, there can’t be peace. When you’re combating on your rights, there can be difficulties.

“There was a time when the Ogoga went to courtroom that Olukere shouldn’t put on a crown once more. There was litigation even earlier than I used to be born. However right this moment, individuals are jubilating in Ikere Ekiti as a result of the proprietor of Ikere has been given the workers of workplace. Peace has been restored to Ikere Ekiti. When there’s justice, there can be peace.’’

The set up 

Following the courtroom verdict, Fayemi on Friday carried out the White Paper and introduced instrument of appointment and workers of workplace to the Olukere of Odo Oja Ikere Ekiti, Oba Obasoyin, saying, “This occasion marks the start of peace, prosperity, unity, cooperation in Ikere Ekiti.’’

Fayemi, represented by his deputy, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, charged the monarch and the individuals of the brand new autonomous group saying, “It is best to replicate and be grateful that what you might have been striving to attain for a few years has now been achieved. We would like peace in Odo Oja Ikere, Ikere Ekiti and the entire of Ekiti State.’’

Oba Obasoyin, who described the occasion as vital within the lifetime of Ikere Ekiti, lauded the state authorities for making the autonomy for the group and recognition of the stool a actuality.

The monarch mentioned, “This improvement will usher in a brand new period of peace, tranquillity, progress, unity and prosperity in Ikere Ekiti. What the federal government has achieved will stay an indelible and unforgettable occasion within the historical past of Ikere Ekiti. I humbly settle for the honour bestowed on me by the federal government and it’ll stay a major occasion within the historical past of Ikere-Ekiti. At the moment is a revelation of the reality.’’

Significance of recognition

Primarily based on the event, the Council of Omowas, comprising princes and princesses in Ogoga’s area on Tuesday expressed opposition to the autonomy granted Odo-Oja group, Ikere Ekiti and recognition to the Olukere by the state authorities, saying it was alien and could be counterproductive.

The Omowas, in an announcement signed by their chairman, Prince Samuel Ogunleye; Secretary, Prince Adesuyi Ezikiel; and Treasurer, Prince Alademomi Michael, mentioned. “The present step of the state authorities is able to inflicting disaffection and chaos locally. The state authorities has succeeded in creating each geographical and demographical confusion in Ikere, including that, “The Ogoga of Ikere has all the time been the standard head for the reason that starting of Ikere historical past” and urged the Fayemi authorities to rescind its choice.

The Ogoga-in-Council, whereas accusing political leaders of something to disrupt the present organisation in Ikere Ekiti, mentioned, “We’re going to problem it” (the creation of an autonomous Ido Oja group and recognition of Olukere).

However Ogele, who disagreed with those that mentioned the step would disunite the group, mentioned, “Reasonably, It should carry strong unification of Ikere individuals. Have you ever heard about rioting for the reason that recognition? No. Individuals are jubilating. No trigger for bother. Individuals can be coming collectively. There can be no division once more in Ikere.’’

The lawyer, who mentioned the positive factors within the recognition have been monumental, famous, “Even now, the state authorities has carved out a neighborhood council improvement space out of Ikere Native Authorities. So, we now have two -Ikere LGA and Ikere West LCDA.

“Once more, there can be peace. Peace is now reigning as a result of justice has been achieved. There can be improvement. The individuals of Odo Oja have come collectively to develop their quarters. There are collection of conferences; they need to restore their roads, rehabilitate their colleges and so forth. One can really feel the air of progress within the city already.

“There are additionally monumental advantages from the state and native governments as nicely. Once more the Ereja Market (Olukere’s market) can be developed right into a modern-day market. With all these items and extra, the group can be going ahead,” Ogele mentioned.

Additionally, a group chief and the Saya of Odo Oja Ikere Ekiti, Excessive Chief Foluso Olowolafe, who mentioned the popularity was lengthy overdue, mentioned, “If we’ve two, three, 4 kings in Ikere Ekiti, it’s a good improvement. There are cities not as huge as Ikere in Ekiti State which have three or 4 kings.

Olowolafe mentioned, “This recognition will carry progress to Ikere little kids. Wherever they need assistance, Olukere will stand with them. It should entice improvement to the group as nicely. It is best to count on a contemporary palace right here in addition to the federal government’s improvement efforts since it’s now a recognised establishment and a brand new group.

“The popularity will strengthen the power of the Olukere to push extra for our little kids in search of placements, employment alternatives and suggestions particularly in federal establishments. He had been doing it, however now with recognition, it will likely be rather a lot simpler.

“Even the creation of an LCDA out of Ikere LGA, which is in view of this recognition, is for the 2 obas to be on their very own. It’s improvement. There can be chiefs now, the chiefs can be paid. This may enhance the financial system of the city and the individuals,” the group chief mentioned.

Additionally talking, the state Commissioner for Native Authorities and Neighborhood Improvement, Prof. Adio Folayan, mentioned Odo Oja, Ikere Ekiti, had rather a lot to learn by being autonomous.

 Folayan mentioned, “Have a look at it from the angle of somebody who noticed himself beneath one thing like an enclave however is now liberated. Like someone who has been clamouring for freedom, self-determination. The entire place went agog when the pronouncement was made as a result of they know what they will profit. They’ve their very own spiritual actions, custom and tradition separated from the opposite facet, to allow them to now keep and maintain them. They will stay as free autonomous group simply as different communities granted such with their oba, crown and workers of workplace.’’

Rejection of govt’s choice

Regardless of the jubilation by the Olukere and his individuals, a former secretary of Ogbenuote Household which the present Ogoga (Oba Adejimi Adu) belongs to, 86-year-old Prince James Ogunlade, who described the popularity of the Olukere by the state authorities as a “deliberate mistake” by the federal government, mentioned, “We’ll pray and God will give us justice.”

Ogunlade mentioned, “The popularity is a critical mistake. It’s fallacious. Governor Fayemi did it intentionally as payback to the Olukere for supporting him through the 2018 governorship election.

“Of the three quarters –Okekere, Odo Oja and Iro – in Ikere, Odo Oja is the smallest. How do you count on that the smallest of the three be made to face by itself? The Olukere traditionally is a priest.

“Olukere got here to Ikere with a illness. It was within the technique of getting cures for the ailment that he obtained to his present-day location. His primary operate within the city was for the worship of the Olosunta annually. He was not even a chief in Ikere, however the chief priest.”

He added, “Traditionally, Olukere was a later comer to Ikere Ekiti. The Olukere that he’s being addressed as has nothing to do with Ikere Ekiti. His identify was Oloje. He was a farmer planting Okerekere, these patronising him would say they have been going to Baba Olokerekere. That was how Olukere got here into being. It was when there have been points within the city that they known as on him to worship Olosunta.

“A part of the error by the federal government is that if there’s to be a king in any group, there can be kingmakers. Ifa oracle can be consulted, however there was nothing like that. Olukere didn’t have a single chief, no kingmakers, Ifa was not consulted wherever.

“The historical past of Ikere was that of individuals coming to settle. Ogoga is a descendant of Oduduwa. Oduduwa had 16 kids. Akenzua of Benin is likely one of the kids. Ogoga is likely one of the branches. Ogoga is likely one of the grandchildren from Benin.

“What occurred was that Ogoga, out of anger that his youthful brother was chosen over him, moved out as a hunter. Earlier than the arrival of Ogoga to Ikere, the individuals had consulted the Ifa oracle on methods to get a frontrunner. Ifa had revealed that the chief would quickly come. So when Ogoga arrived after killing an elephant, the Aladeselu household consulted Ifa once more and it was revealed that Ogoga was the chief.’’

Additionally, a group chief, 79-year-old Pa Debo Adeyeye, mentioned the popularity of Olukere and the autonomous standing for Odo Oja was a “breach of custom.’’

Adeyeye, who mentioned Ikere Ekiti by no means had confidence within the management of the Aladejana Fee, mentioned, “In 1987, the Augustus Adebayo Fee of Inquiry had returned a verdict that Olukere is a priest of Olosunta. Not too long ago, when the case resurfaced, the governor referred it to the Council of Chiefs and the council reiterated that Olukere was a priest of Olosunta sporting a coronet, not an actual crown”.

“Once more, by all requirements, morally, legally, politically, you can’t carve a city inside a city. Odo Oja is a part of Ikere. Odo Oja is within the centre of Ikere, how will you simply carve a city inside a city? It has no outlined boundary with the opposite sections of the city. The Yoruba custom has it that it’s only a prince that may be made a king,” he mentioned.

The group chief mentioned, “Ogoga’s father was Oba of Benin. Olukere got here from Ife, however from a small quarter. His identify was Oloje and he was not from a royal household. No royal member of the family bears Oloje. Oloje means somebody accountable for masquerades. He got here from Ilebe Quarters.

Expressing confidence within the judiciary to make sure justice, Adeyeye acknowledged, “Once we get to the courtroom, we’ll know. It has by no means been the custom. Olukere has by no means been a prince or king, so, you can’t simply decide anyone from 1 / 4 and make him a king.

“He’s a priest. In reality, probably the most junior chief in Ikere is superior to a priest. How will you simply decide a priest and make him a king? Once more, there can’t be two kings in a city, there can be battle. That’s the reason Ikere is against it.’’

Apart from, in an announcement titled, “Ikere chiefs reject granting of autonomy to Odo Oja Quarter and recognition of Olukere as an oba of Odo Oja by Governor Fayemi’, signed by the Sapetu, Babatola and 15 different chiefs, the chiefs vowed to hunt judicial redress for ‘the injustice perpetrated in opposition to us by Governor Fayemi and his workforce.’

They acknowledged, “These two pronouncements (autonomous standing and recognition) are unquestionably sacrilegious, aberrant and absurd within the excessive. Ikere has been an undivided complete beneath one king, the Ogoga of Ikere for hundreds of years. This evil machination by the governor to spoil our traditions, tradition and customs as bequeathed to us by the founders of the land and our forefathers won’t endure.

“Ikere is one city and Odo Oja is an inexorable half thereof. In Yoruba custom, a city can not have two Obas. At no matter occasion, in all our historical past there has all the time been one oba and that’s the Ogoga of Ikere. Olukere has from time immemorial solely been the priest of Olosunta, a deity in Ikere.’’

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