As controversies continue to trail Aaje chieftaincy

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Yinka ADETUNJI
Aaje, dubbed Ologo by Aaje’s socio-cultural organization, Aaje Descendants Progressive Union, ADPU, is again in the news, it has since months ago. Bones of contentions vary from trivial to complex. The community, sitting in two locations, one in the heart of Ogbomoso, bordering Osupa, Laka and Okelerin in Ogbomoso North local government and the other, the Aaje village, at the western periphery of Ogbomoso, towards Oriire local government area, first had issue with Ikose, its twin town. Among its disputations with Ikose is a land issue which went to the High Court with the matter being ruled in its favour in a judgment delivered last July.
However, the court’s verdict did not put an end to the imbroglio, it only served as further motivation to the leadership of ADPU which was seeking a higher goal – the creation of Aaje chieftaincy and installation of Mr. Reuben Adesina Amao, a retired director of Department of State Security (DSS) and who is its leader, as first Baale Aaje. ADPU tirelessly worked for the realization of these two well defined goals. It had actually been pursuing these since 2015 but had to put it on hold in deference to the advice of Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III JP to wait till the court gives verdict. Therefore, the moment the community gained victory at the High Court, ADPU intensified its effort to nick the goals, dispatching series of letters to the state government to the effect.
Meanwhile, Ikose Chieftaincy family allegedly frustrated the process. This was on the ground that Aaje and Ikose are one and that the two communities are under the suzerainty of Baale Ikose, who presently is headed by Chief Ilufoye Alagbe.
The course of event took another dimension however as other forces joined the fray to stop Adesina Amao from ascending the stool of Aaje. But ADPU and Amao did not sit idle too, they rather pursued their goal with zeal until the government granted recognition and approval to the creation of Aaje chieftaincy and specifically approving Adesina Amao as the first ever Baale Aaje.
Not only that, the Ogbomoso North local government was directed to immediately include his name for monthly allowance. Adesina Amao and all Aajes felt relieved and fulfilled over what was considered a hard-earned accomplishment. The people were elated with a strong belief that the community was at the threshold of a wave of development by virtue of the eminent position Adesina reached in life having served as a director of DSS in several states of the federation before retiring.
He was a well-known figure in security circle across the world. It is on record that he led the team that provided security during the visit of former President Bill Clinton to Nigeria in 2001, a mission he creditably performed leading to a commendation letter in his honour from the then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He would later be deployed to Ghana to train a security team for the same purpose of providing security when Bill Clinton similarly visited that country.
True to anticipation, Adesina Amao, the new Baale, shortly after his installation in a colourful ceremony got down to business to make Aaje a truly glorious community in line with its newly created appellation – Ologo i.e. Aaje Ologo. One of his first steps was reviving his intention to have a government secondary school established in Aaje. The community has a public primary school but no public secondary school. Thus, children in the community often trek kilometers every morning afternoon in quest of secondary education. To achieve this goal he was willing to donate a parcel of land with structures on it for the purpose, and he had earlier written to government to take this over as starting point. Thus, when he was installed he went to Ibadan armed with a reminder letter on the proposal.
In addition, he wrote a letter to a government agency in Abuja to lobby for asphaltic tarring of roads in Aaje. He was bubbling with several ideas to activate progress and development in the community and in Ogbomoso at large.
But opponents were active against him, being seen in some circle as an individual being propelled by unreasonable ambition and particularly he was being seen as a divisive element. An interested party blasted him at the time, “I don’t know what is wrong with this man, Aaje and Ikose have been known to be a single entity from time immemorial, he only wants to bring division.” Another person in Ikose, said, “Adesina is too desperate, he doesn’t mind to be made Baale today and dies tomorrow.”
Reacting however, Baale Amao stressed all these were misconceptions. “Ikose evolved from Aaje; Aaje used to be the original settlement but when the road from Ogbomoso to Igbeti was constructed, some of our forefathers moved to the side of the road to be nearer civilization, and the name Ikose evolved because of an ose tree at the spot.
“One Baba Buraimoh who plied the route then with a Bedford vehicle popularized the name Aaje-Ikose while calling for passengers. And like the Yorubas say, Ile ki je ti Baba ti omo ki o mo ni aala (no matter the bond between two persons, there are still boundaries they must respect). The major reason Aaje desires a chieftaincy is to have control over its lands and initiate development. Ikose is having a field day on our lands, selling them off without our consent and we do not enjoy development. If we have a Baale of our own, a lot of things will change,” he stated.
While still locked in the euphoria of achieving their goal, a petition emanated from the Ogbomoso North Local Government Traditional Council addressed to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state against the creation of Aaje chieftaincy and installation of Adesina Amao as first Baale. Pressure was brought on Makinde, who speedily beat a retreat and ordered a revocation of the letter granting approval to the creation of Aaje stool and appointment of Adesina Amao as Baale.
This turn of event exhilarated not a few people who are opposed to the elevation of Adesina Amao as was partly revealed in the various radio announcements in regards of the matter. He was seen as an upstart. Among others Amao was accused of removing and breaking pillars on parcels of lands belonging to buyers of lands in the area but he claimed the action was to verify ownership of lands on their territory explaining he was only requesting for receipts of lands. “Many lands have been sold illegally we have to put things right,” he submitted.
There was an interregnum, though behind-the-scene actions were ongoing and when the matter came to the public knowledge again another Alaaje had been installed this time in the palace of Soun, on October 6, 2020, graced by his supporters. Ademola Sunday Ogunmola emerged the preferred Baale of Aaje. The interesting thing however is that the new Baale is a cousin to Baale Amao, and used to be a domestic aide of the latter; he was appointed to be the keeper of his manor in Aaje when he was still in service.
Baale Ademola Ogunmola, then carried many activities on behalf of his elder cousin, Amao; they were however to part ways when the issue of chieftaincy arose. According to investigations, when the former Baale Ikose died the people of Aaje attempted to have one of them fill the vacancy but this move was said to have been resisted by the Ikose chieftaincy family which claimed to own the chieftaincy. The Aaje’s elders then sent for Adesina Amao, that was in 2015, to prepare to fill the vacancy, he was still in service at the time. He was pressured to assume the stool but when this move was opposed by the Ikose chieftaincy family, the process to have Aaje chieftaincy too created, began.
At this time, Ademola Ogunmola began to nurse interest in the stool as well. He covertly sought people to sponsor him. Crisis later ensued between him and Ikose for selling lands and along with another person; he was taken to court on the matter. Adesina Amao contributed the most to the court case as it became clear that it was a battle for territories between Aaje and Ikose. It was a battle for freedom cum independence from Ikose in the eye of Aaje’s elders. The court ruled on the matter last July with Aaje gaining an emphatic victory. The court affirmed that Aaje is distinct from Ikose and so the coast was clear for the installation of an Alaaje.
The surprising fate suffered by Adesina Amao now created a twist as Ademola Ogunmola gained ascendancy, as he was helped to the stool by forces opposed to the former.
Ademola Ogunmola was however alleged of instigating attacks in Aaje against perceived supporters of Adesina Amao, on the day he was installed as Baale. According to findings, on this day, as he returned to Aaje from the palace of Soun some of his supporters began to harass those perceived opponents, while also demolishing a concrete post in front of the residence of the rival Baale (Adesina Amao), which bore the inscription “Baale Aaje” among others.
An over 80 year old woman, who claimed to be a victim of attack, Mama Ojuolape Adigun, told The Insight that she was sitting in front of her house, when she was violently pushed to the ground by supporters of Baale Ogunmola, wounding her arm as she hit the ground.
“I was sitting in front of my house, which I built with my late husband who happened to be an elder brother of Ademola Ogunmola; they were dancing and jubilating, they then approached the house, saying they wanted to go in to pray at the grave of my husband, I declined asking them why I should allow them to go in, where I am sleeping; and as they danced they were sprinkling some white items, so, I stood my ground that they would not go in. That is when they pulled me down and I fell on cooking stones wounding my arm in the process. They beat me with plastic chairs before people came to my rescue.”
Also, the head of Aaje family (Baale) Pa Sunday Aremu corroborated Mama Ojuolape Adigun, disclosing that if he were at home that day, only God knows what they would have done to him.
Pa Aremu however insisted that the whole community is supporting Adesina.
“If they meet me at home perhaps they would have killed me. Gbogbo igboro Aaje including youths are behind Adesina as our Baale anyway,” he said.
In same manner, Pa Joseph Alabi, chairman of Aaje community stated, “We were sitting, six of us relaxing when they just came and he (Baale Ogunmola) tried to beat me with his horsewhip, but as I dodged it, the people following him started threatening me, shouting, ‘if you dodge it, a ge o lori, a ge o lorun (we will be-head you); they were asking for Baale (Pa Aremu), raining curses on us. But we did not resist them or else there would have been crisis.”
Interestingly meanwhile, Baale Ikose, High Chief James Ilufoye Alagbe was one of the chiefs that blessed Baale Ademola Adeleke on the day of his installation, making one to wonder over that turn of event. This is because he earlier opposed the creation of Aaje chieftaincy.
The people of the community in the interim anticipated trouble on the day the new Baale was to observe the mandatory 7th day ritual following installation (ikije) but this was not to be in view of the prevailing EndSARS riots in the country which spread to Ogbomoso earlier, making the event to be aborted.
In the meantime, normalcy is returning to the community, at least on the surface even as brothers are at loggerheads over the single tool of Aaje.
Efforts to speak with Baale Ogunmola on the matter was not successful as calls put to his mobile phone were not picked, and he is not resident in Aaje as the roof of his father’s house had been blown away by rainstorm.

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