Posted by News Express | 20 December 2019 | 532 times
The Obalufe of Ile-Ife is an important title in the Ife traditional authority, being the second in command to the Ooni himself. The Obalufe is likened to the Prime Minister within the Ile-Ife traditional authority, who, on behalf of the Ooni discharged certain responsibilities as delegated to him.
To a large extent, the Obalufe acts as a stabilising factor in Ile-Ife political, and administrative polity. Authority to appoint an Obalufe is vested in the Ooni, nonetheless, such appointment is still subjected to the provision of the Chieftaincy Declaration gazetted by the state government.
But the ripples generated since the demise of the last Obalufe, Oba Folorunso Omisakin, who died on October 15 2015 are yet to abate. After his death, the subsequent selection and appointment of his replacement has become a bone of contention.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi had installed Idowu Adediwura of the Ado Gbodo ruling family as the Obalufe which generated a lot of reaction, especially from the Aga Orunto Ruling family who believed it is its turn to ascend the stool.
The Aga Orunto Ruling family, apart from strictly objecting to the process, also organised a protest, bearing placards with different inscriptions alleging that Adediwura was imposed on the people.
One of the leaders of the protesters, Prince Oluwasegun Olayade, said it was wrong to deny the family of its rights.
“We are protesting today because my family has been deprived of the Obalufe position that we are entitled to based on the order of the gazette.
“Four ruling houses are entitled to it (Obalufe position) based on that existing arrangement and there was no disorder until now which is our turn.
“The Ooni called us to present candidates that can occupy the throne and that if we do not present the names on time, he would choose for us. We submitted the names as and when due but he refused to call us back as we agreed.
“Suddenly, we heard that the Ooni had appointed someone that is not from the Aga ruling house, which is the next house to be appointed Obalufe.
After several protests without reaction, Abayomi Elugbuji on behalf of the Aga Orunto ruling family wrote to the state government seeking its intervention but to no avail, before heading to the court to seek redress.
At the initial stage, the state government filed a preliminary objection against the suit challenging the eligibility of the plaintiff being of a female lineage, on which grounds the case was dismissed.
However, the Appeal Court returned the issue for trial after which the state High Court dethroned Adediwura and ordered the Ooni to install Abayomi as the Obalufe.
The Aga Orunto Ruling family was the first to react to the Judgement, and Femi Akande described the Judgement as landmark. Akande said: “Nobody is above the law.
The judge gave the judgement in accordance with the dictates of the law.
The Ife Chietaincy Declaration of 1957 cannot be disregarded.” One of the Aga family members, who pleaded anonymity, told Vanguard that the family has observed compliance with the Judgement as he claimed that Adediwura has stopped dressing or going about with the paraphernalia attached to the office.
Meanwhile, Kayode Olowolagba said the judgement has been appealed, hence, status quo has to be maintained pending the decision of the Appeal Court.
Similarly, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi through the Palace Director of Media, Moses Olafare urged Ife residents to remain calm, pending the final resolution of the dispute, pledging commitment to respect the verdict of the court.
“The Palace is aware of the recent court judgment as well as the appeal filed by the defendant against the pronouncement.
These attest to the fact that it is an ongoing matter and we must treat it as such, we are all respect the rule of law and the overall interest of kingdom of Ife is paramount”. “
Once we get to the end of all the court processes with the final verdict given by the Appeal court, the Ooni will not hesitate to do the needful.
“In this regard, the complaint and the defendant must continue to show their utmost loyalty to the kingdom of Ife by shunning actions and utterances that are capable of misleading the public”, the Ooni emphasised.
Also, Abayomi Elugbuji sought total compliance with the Judgement. “We are not ready for arbitration any more, and we believe in the rule of law, our father, the Ooni should obey the order of the court to install me as the Obalufe, since, Adediwura has failed to secure a stay of execution on the existing judgement”.
We believe the Ooni who is father of all would ensure that the law is respected and peace allowed to reign in the town as he preaches around the world, we believe he would install me as Obalufe as pronounced by the court on or before the expiration of the 21 days given by the court in the interest of all parties”, he said. (Vanguard)
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