Nigeria: A New Alaafin – Why Oyo State Government Should Not Usurp the Role of Kingmakers

It is ILLEGAL for the government to interfere with traditional procedures and coerce the Baba Iyaji to clear 58 Agunloye princes and unjustly disqualify their remaining 61 cousins!

I believe that the Oyo State government will stand on the side of history and do what is honourable, just and fair, by giving ALL the heirs of Alaafin Atiba the opportunity to contest for what is legitimately theirs by right and ancestry, without discrimination or favour, as many have presently raised genuine concerns about the manner in which the selection process has been unfolding. May wisdom and good judgment prevail.

I am the ‘mother’ of ALL of the 119 Atiba princes, representing the 11 families that are eligible to the Atiba throne! I have both history and the law to support my stand on this matter. The Atiba throne should be justly, equally, equally and evenly rotated among ALL the Atiba heirs.

This is how my great grandfather, Alaafin Atiba would have wanted it done among all of his beloved children.

It is illegal to use the defective 1961 Declaration to select the next Alaafin of Oyo!

The 1961 Declaration has been rendered defective by the outcome of the 1976 Ladeinde Commission of Inquiry, whose outcome was gazetted in 2001 (ref. 16th July, 2001 gazette). It is ILLEGAL not to implement the content of the White Paper relating to this gazette!

Section 38.1.1. (ii) of the white paper (ref. 16th July, 2001 gazette) states that the Oyo South Local Government Council Chieftaincy Committee should amend the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration to provide for only ONE ruling house (The Atiba Ruling House), including ALL the descendants of Atiba.

As such, on what ground would 61 Atiba heirs be disqualified from having their hereditary right to sit on their father’s throne?

It is ILLEGAL for the government to interfere with traditional procedures and coerce the Baba Iyaji to clear 58 Agunloye princes and unjustly disqualify their remaining 61 cousins!

And, to exacerbate the issue, there was no formal meeting (before or after) with the disqualified 61 Atiba heirs, no formal notification of their disqualification or explanation of their disqualification!

With this chronology and outline, in the spirit of fairness and to foster continued unity within Oyo kingdom, the Oyomesi and Baba Iyaji, by the power bestowed on them and by virtue of their hereditary titles, have the responsibility to select the next Alaafin of Oyo from the remaining heirs of the Atiba Ruling House (Atiba Dynasty) who are yet to rule the Kingdom. They must ensure that the Atiba throne is justly, equally and evenly rotated among ALL the families.

Timely attention, intervention and wisdom of the Oyo State government in ensuring transparency on a simple matter like this would go a long way in dispelling some rumours on ground.

In order to clarify the context to the foregoing, I wish to state very clearly that contrary to the misleading notion that has continuous been circulated and which is distorting the field, there are not two, but only ONE ruling house in Oyo and this is the Atiba Ruling House or Atiba Dynasty.

In this Dynasty, there are several sons. However, only two (Agunloye and Alowolodu) families have alternately sat on the throne for over 100 years.

The several sons of Atiba include: (1). Adelu Agunloye (1st in line to the Atiba throne), whose lineage has produced four kings, namely: (i). Adelu; (ii). Lawani Agogo Ija; (iii). Shiyanbola Ladigbolu; and (iv). Bello Gbadegeshin.

If allowed once again to participate in this round of selection, it will be the Agunloye’s fifth time on the throne.

(2). The second eldest son of Atiba was Agboin Adelabu and His descendants have not yet ruled and are definitely THE VERY NEXT to rule Oyo Kindom. This is a chronology that has been well documented in Samuel Johnson’s The History of the Yorubas from the Earliest times to the Beginning of the British Protectorate (1921).

(3). Adesiyan is the third in line to the Atiba throne.

4). The fourth in line to the Atiba throne is Adeyemi Alowolodu, whose lineage has produced three kings, namely: (i). Adeyemi Alowolodu I; (ii). Adeniran Adeyemi II; (iii). Lamidi Adeyemi III.

This mandates the Honourable Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters to honour and implement the 1995 Oloko commision of inquiry white paper, which was gazetted in 2001 (and relates to the Ruling of 27 February 2004). Consequently, the Oloko white paper renders the 1976 Ladeinde Commission of Inquiry valid, honourable and implementable.

If allowed once again to participate in this round of selection, it will be the Alowolodu’s fourth time on the throne.

The other sons of Atiba included Adediran, Tella Agbojulogun, Adesetan, Tella Okitipapa, Adesokan and others.

With this chronology and outline, in the spirit of fairness and to foster continued unity within Oyo kingdom, the Oyomesi and Baba Iyaji, by the power bestowed on them and by virtue of their hereditary titles, have the responsibility to select the next Alaafin of Oyo from the remaining heirs of the Atiba Ruling House (Atiba Dynasty) who are yet to rule the Kingdom. They must ensure that the Atiba throne is justly, equally and evenly rotated among ALL the families.

The Honourable Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters in Oyo State must

execute the instructions of the 16th July, 2001 (Ibadan, Oyo State gazette) (Vol. 26), as mentioned above, which addressed the 1995 white paper relating to Chieftaincy Power on Prescribed Authorities on the State. In section 5.1 of this white paper, it was noted that SEVERAL GOVERNMENT DECISIONS ON CHIEFTAINCY ISSUES WERE DELIBERATELY IGNORED OR PUT ASIDE BY THE OYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT ON MATTERS RELATING TO THE ALLAAFIN OF OYO.

Section 5.1.1. of the white paper clearly defines what government decision is and how it must be followed.

This mandates the Honourable Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters to honour and implement the 1995 Oloko Commission of Inquiry’s White Paper, which was gazetted in 2001 (and relates to the Ruling of 27 February 2004). Consequently, the Oloko white paper renders the 1976 Ladeinde Commission of Inquiry valid, honourable and implementable.

I believe that the Oyo State government will stand on the side of history and do what is honourable, just and fair, by giving ALL the heirs of Alaafin Atiba the opportunity to contest for what is legitimately theirs by right and ancestry, without discrimination or favour, as many have presently raised genuine concerns about the manner in which the selection process has been unfolding. May wisdom and good judgment prevail.

Sidikatu Adebowale Ejide Olona, omo Adelabu Atiba, writes from Oyo. Email: atibadynasty@gmail.com.

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