Alaaje of Aaje in Ogbomoso: How the battle was fought and won *It is liberation for us – Alaaje *The stand of Soun

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By Femi OGUNLANA & Enoch OYEDIBU

The first ever Alaaje of Aaje, High Chief Reuben Adesina Amao, has been installed. He is a retired director of State Security Services (SSS), who served as director in many states of the federation including Kogi, Borno, Katsina and Lagos and led the team that provided security during the state visit of the former president of the United States of America to Nigeria, Mr. Bill Clinton in 2001. He also trained the team that provided security for Bill Clinton when he later visited Ghana, assignments that earned him recommendations from former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He was installed during a colourful ceremony which came up last week Friday, August 14 at Aaje a.k.a. Ologo in Ogbomoso North local government.
The installation was a culmination of years of struggle to have the Alaaje chiefdom created.
The installation was sequel to the approval granted by the Engineer Seyi Makinde-led government recently in a letter signed by Mr. Opatunmbi ’Femi Lawrence, director, chieftaincy maters on behalf of the Oyo state commissioner for the ministry of local government and chieftaincy matters, and made available to The Insight
The ceremony was performed by the chiefs and elders of the community.
After the installation ceremony at Aaje Ologo, off Ikoyi road, the new high chief led his people to Aaje Ile Nla in Aaje area in Ogbomoso metropolis where some other rites were performed.
The entourage returned to Aaje village to the waiting hands of some traditional rulers and dignitaries who swelled their ranks as they danced hilariously to the new Baale’s residence, which was swarming with people.
The royal fathers on ground included Onisapa of Isapa Oba Buraimoh Amodu Akinsowon II; Alarolu of Arolu, Oba Zaccheus Olabayo Adedeji; Oladanbon of Odanbon, Oba Adepoju Gbadebo; Oba Olugusi and Olutafon of Tafon, Oba Busayo Ogunsola.
Some other dignitaries are Alhaji Sheu Babalola, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police; Mr. Dickson Atiba, a former Administrative Secretary, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; Mr. Gbemisoye Oyewale, liaison officer, Ogbomoso Sons and Daughters in North America, OSDNA; Alhaji Solademi Ganiyu, a retired Chief Superintendent of Custom; Chief Gbadebo Oyelade, a former chairman, Oyo State Post Primary School Teaching Service Commission, TESCOM; Chief Lola Ladepo, a retired principal and Jagun Onisalalu; and Chief Timothy Beyioku a retired principal and politician.
There was much merriment with Asiwaju Ojo Oluwatanna adding pep to the celebration with his stirring Ewi rendition. The whole of Aaje was agog over the installation of the pioneer Baale of the community, who rode in an open roof vehicle, a Honda Accord (Evil Spirit/Anaconda), acknowledging cheers by waving a horse tail. The heaven also opened its bowel that morning after cessation of rain for weeks to pour down water, a good omen for the reign of the new traditional ruler.
In a chat with The Insight, High Chief Reuben Adesina Amao expressed thanks to God, to Engr Seyi Makinde, the Oyo state governor and to the Soun of Ogbomosoland Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, remarking that Oba Oyewumi played a significant role in his installation as the traditional head of Aaje a.k.a. Ologo.
He said, “I feel good, I feel happy that God made it possible for us to be liberated and made us winners, victors and made us feel humans. I also thank Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde for granting approval to us.
“I want to thank the Soun of Ogbomoso for deeming it fit to choose me as the head of this place. Sincerely speaking, I can’t forget him. He has been so good to me, we approached him and he anointed me as the head of this place. I also thank our ancestors for making me the first Alaaje of Aaje.
“Baba Soun sent a team to Aaje to verify our claim of distinctiveness between Aaje and Ikose and the chiefs he sent found out that Aaje is different from Ikose.”
Baale Adesina reached the position of state director of the State Security Service (SSS) before retiring; this is an enviable accomplishment, what then is enticing him with the title of a traditional ruler, he was asked.
His response, “Sincerely speaking, I was propelled by our ancestors, they made me seek the position, left to me, I wasn’t interested, I should have been staying in Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt enjoying my retirement.
“I have received several offers on security matters that would have occupied me and which would have been yielding me cool money but I found myself stuck here.
“So, it is our ancestors that planted me here, they put me here to be our Joshua, our Moses, to liberate this community from oppression, harassment and intimidation.”
He affirmed however that his elevation is a challenge, that he was bound to do well; maintain peace and initiate development, noting, “If I worked successfully in Sokoto, Bornu and Lagos states Aaje is a smaller sphere and I must succeed. There must be development, we will turn this place into rural London.”
Meanwhile, his first goal for Aaje is facilitating the establishment of a public secondary school, expressing disgust that children of the community trek long distances everyday to attend schools at Ogbomoso and Ikoyi.
“I have never been happy seeing our children trekking from here to Anglican Grammar School, to Ori-Oke Community Grammar School, to Ogbomoso Girls’ High School, it is painful. And when they come back they give them garri and kulikuli. So, I am never happy about this, even myself that I believe I suffered it was not to this extent. I will use my connection and meet people to get this done by God’s grace.”
High Chief Amao harped that Aaje and Ikose remain brothers but urged that each should mind its domain.
He went further to charge his subjects to change their orientation, positing, “If I a son of a widow could make it, there is no one that cannot make it.”
On his NGO – Abigail Ebun Asakun Amao Widowhood Foundation – he assured that it would run on a higher pedestal.
He also promised that with his ascension to the stool of Aaje, land grabbers who were said to have been having a field day over lands in Aaje would be checkmated stating that this persisted because of lack of leadership previously in Aaje. He insisted this would stop.
He maintained his dream was to enhance the fortune of Aaje and bring forth its glory.
Also speaking with The Insight, chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ogbomoso North local government, Hon George Ogunlade, who disclosed that his maternal grandmother, Mama Aina Apinke, was the chief priestess of Oosa Olufon worshiped in Aaje family, expressed joy over the installation of the first Alaaje.
According to him, his grandmother worked tirelessly to have a Baale installed over Aaje before she passed on in 2018.
Ogunlade said, “I am very, very happy because my maternal grandmother, Momo Aina Apinke was the chief priestess (Iya Oosa) of the family and she made great efforts to see to the installation of an Alaaje in her lifetime.
The former Leader, Ogbomoso North local government’s legislative arm backed the creation of Alaaje stool saying Aaje is a big community occupying a large chunk of land within Ogbomoso metropolis while describing the new Alaaje as a generous and accommodating person.
“High Chief Adesina is an omoluabi, generous, accommodating, humble and he has helped a lot of people.”
Ogunlade expressed his congratulation and wished him a successful reign.
In a similar vein, Mr. Kayode Salako, a bosom friend of Baale Adesina Amao from childhood, and who attended the same schools in Ogbomoso and Jos with the Baale, spoke glowingly of the celebrant.
He noted, “He is fit to occupy the seat. He fought relentlessly for it and thankfully he won. It was never a mistake for installing him as Alaaje of Aaje. I know him very well. He is my friend. He is neither lousy nor proud; he is humility, integrity and sagacity personified.”
Meanwhile, this came on the heel of the victory recently attained by the Aaje family at the High Court of Justice, Ogbomoso in suit no HOG/14/2015 between Baale Ikose, Chief James Ilufoye Alagbe, Joseph Amao, Aderounmu Adedokun, Oke Adeyi and Taye Ojo who were claimants and Mr. Ademola Ogunmola and Sunday Adigun, the defendants on the holder of suzerainty over Aaje family land among others.
Ruling on the matter, the presiding judge, Hon. Justice Bayo A. Taiwo dismissed the claims of the claimants.
Justice Taiwo hinged his position on a previous Supreme Court judgment which gave ruling in favour of Aaje family over a land suit between Aaje family and Abogunde chieftaincy family, noting, “Hierarchy of Court is sacrosanct and it amounts to judicial rascality for a lower Court to set aside or look into a matter already decided by the Supreme Court.
“As it stands, if the claimants want any interpretation of the Supreme Court matter, the proper Court to approach is the same Supreme Court which has power to interpret, correct slip if any and not the High Court.
“I refuse to be lured into such dangerous adventures and in view of the above; I hereby dismiss the claims of the claimants.”
The journey to the creation of Aaje Chiefdom has spanned many years and several battles including legal as highlighted above. It also led to the founding of a socio-cultural organization in Aaje styled, Aaje Descendants Progressive Union (ADPU), headed by (now) High Chief Reuben Adesina Amao, under the umbrella of which the proponents of Aaje chiefdom coalesced to pursue the daunting goal.
Oba Oyewumi was lobbied, the Oyo state government was brought into the fray, and the battle polarized a large section of Ogbomoso.
The Ikose people led by Baale Ikose chieftaincy family insisted the eternal bond between Ikose and Aaje cannot be broken on the altar of what they termed pursuant of self-aggrandizement. They vehemently opposed the move that Baale Ikose held suzerainty over the two communities and two others – Ile-Igbo and Eyeba; they even claimed that the chieftaincy should be rotated between Ikose and Aaje but the ADPU had moved beyond that, its members had become implacable. Their main grouse was that their heritage, Aaje lands were being sliced by land grabbers in a fraudulent manner without anyone checking them that if they had a chief of their own this would be stopped, they even alleged Baale Ikose, High Chief James Ilufoye of complicit in the unwholesome sales of their lands. They also insisted that Baale Ikose was recognized and gazzeted as Baale ikose nad not as Baale Aaje-Ikose. They went further by excising Ikose from their name – which used to be popularly known as Aaje-Ikose became known as Aaje Ologo. They went beyond the Rubicon. Monies were said to have exchanged hands in many fronts to compromise verdicts, the tension reached the heavens.
A letter was dispatched to Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde to request for the establishment of Aaje chiefdom.
The letter titled, “Aaje: Request for installation of Alaaje/Baale of Aaje,” states, “The community has become very important, so, it is imperative that the Baale’s stool be created so that it can be traditionally administered and a chief installed to serve as the custodian of our cultures and traditions.”
The letter, signed by Mr. Reuben Adesina Amao (JP) fsi DSS retd; Mr. Sunday Aremu and Mr. Laniyan Otun Ajayi, chairman, vice chairman and PRO respectively further notes, “We have a neighbouring town – Ikose – which has a Baale, and which is often confused with Aaje but it is a distinct community. However, it should be noted that Ikose is an offshoot of Aaje because the people who founded it were originally from Aaje; some of us moved to the main road to take advantage of the then newly constructed trunk A road farther from the main village. It is therefore an irony that the “baby” has been conferred with the Baale title while the “parent” is still groping in darkness over the natter.
“To affirm the veracity of Aaje being the ancestral town, it is the host to Olufon Shrine, Olufon is the two communities’ deity, a primary school founded in the fifties, the Ajagbon tree that was planted to symbolize link with Ogbomoso etc. Thus, it is an irony that it is without its own Baale.”
ADPU adds, “Meanwhile, it is instructive to note that the families that founded Aaje have all nominated a retired Director of the Department of State Security (DSS), Adesina Reuben Amao as the candidate for the stool and all traditional rites have been performed. This was in 2015 when he was still in service. That is why we found it inexplicit that some vested interests in Ikose are thwarting and frustrating the process of his official installation.
“We humbly remind Your Excellency that Oshodi/Isolo communities as well as Ikotun/Ijegun both in Lagos State have similar relationship as ours and yet the two communities have their separate traditional heads. So also in Ogbomoso zone, Iresadu and Iresapa in Surulere Local Government are twin communities and there are separate kings for each of the domains.
“The dynamic is similar but surprisingly, the Baale of Ikose, Chief James Ilufoye is stoutly against this move and has been frustrating it, for God knows why.
“The absence of a Baale in Aaje has predisposed the community to various hazards – uncontrolled land grabbing, criminal activities, community disturbances and whatnots which we believe will be stemmed if a Baale is installed.”
The two sides waited with bated breath. First to come however was the court judgment which had direct bearing with the issue, then came the response of the Oyo state government via the ministry of local government and chieftaincy matters.
To the elation of the ADPU and the consternation of Baale Ikose family, the state government approved the appointment and installation of Baale for Aaje, and specifically Reuben Adesina Amao, the vanguard of the struggle.
In the said letter of appointment signed by Opatunmbi ’Femi Lawrence and addressed to the caretaker chairman, Ogbomoso North local government, titled, it was asserted:
“I am directed to refer to the above subject in respect of the petition received by the Ministry from the Aaje Descendants Progressive Union and inform you that the State Government has graciously approved the appointment and installation of Baale Aaje for the community.
“You are by the letter expected to liaise with the Local Government Traditional Council and formally recognize Mr. Adesina Reuben Amao as the pioneer Baale of Aaje town (as agreed by the Community) and include his name on the Traditional Council’s payroll.”
That letter sealed the victory for ADPU which wasted no time in installing Adesina as their pioneer Baale.
Meanwhile, the Soun of Ogbomoso, who is the consenting authority, is said to have written a petition to government in protest against the creation of Aaje chiefdom.
But while reacting Alaaje said Soun approved of his installation since 2015 adding that the monarch only suspended the process due to the then pending court case between Baale Ikose and 4 others & Ademola Ogunmola and one other in suit no HOG/14/2015, which had been decided in favour of the latter who represented Aaje.
Alaaje stated that since government had approved my installation, it is a ratification of what Oba Oyewumi began.
In the meantime, peace which can described as that of the graveyard pervades the two communities both waiting for the outcomes of the appeal of the said suit by Baale Ikose family and cross appeal by the defendants, Ademola Ogunmola and Sunday Adigun.

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