Aaje, Ikose communities settle feudsAs Alaaje I takes Alaaje II to court
Twist, twist, twist has in recent time become associated with Aaje, a community in the western extreme of Ogbomoso North local government. First it was a breakaway move by Aaje from its twin town, Ikose claiming unfair treatment in matters of land and other sundry issues from Ikose chieftaincy family as its reason for seeking autonomy. It opined that this was perpetrated because it lacked a traditional ruler of its own and hence initiated moves to create chiefdom for Aaje community. Reuben Adesina Amao, a retired director of State Security Service (SSS) became the arrow head and leading light of Aaje and pursued these aims under the aegis of a socio-cultural organization – Aaje Descendants Progressive Union (ADPU).
In the struggle to be independent crises ensued with Ikose chieftaincy family headed by Baale Ikose, Chief James Ilufoye Alagbe. Court cases over lands trailed the imbroglio as Ikose opposed the move to have Aaje stool created claiming its Baale is the overlord of the two communities. The predicament got to a head when Adesina Amao (DSS retd.) got approval from the state government via Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters as the first ever Baale of Aaje and was subsequently installed by elders of the family. But the Baale Ikose chieftaincy family would have none of this, it pulled several strings to reverse “the abomination” just as several other stakeholders including Soun of Ogbomosoland Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III who is the prescribe authority over the area, were alarmed and so “the upstart” as Adesina was seen must be stopped. Soun caused a petition to be written to the state governor protesting the installation of Chief Adesina Amao without his consent and that Aaje stool is not recognized within his domain and consequently demanded that the approval granted Adesina’s elevation be invalidated. The state government acceded to the demand, as the governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde directed that the approval given earlier be withdrawn.
Following that however, a new twist was introduced as Soun installed another person, Ademola Ogunmola as Baale Aaje. This is a contradiction of Oba Oyewumi’s earlier stance that Aaje chieftaincy was not an existing one in Ogbomoso, the ground upon which he caused the abortion of the appointment of Reuben Adesina Amao, thus two Baales suddenly emerged in Aaje. Ironically, the two are brothers from the same compound and according to findings Baale Ogunmola used to be the domestic assistant to Adesina when that one was in service. The way the chieftaincy tears brothers apart!
The coming of Ogunmola introduced another twist as his opponents have alleged him of highhandedness; they alleged that on the day he was installed he instigated attacks on real and perceived enemies in the town and caused destruction of private properties including that of Baale Amao. He was also alleged of exhorting money from residents of the town on the ridiculous claim “that they had to contribute to his installation ceremony.” Efforts of The Insight to reach him to comment on the allegations against him have not however yielded results as calls to his mobile line were not answered.
Community members spoken to corroborated these claims against him and even said the man had no house in Aaje as against Amao; they also stated he had no known means of livelihood and that what was known last of him was that he was a commercial motorcyclist. They described him as a man who lacks the wherewithal in all ramifications to be their Baale.
The faction loyal to Amao also did not relent, they continued to make various moves to consolidate their position as the man (Amao) did not at all stop parading himself as Baale of Aaje the withdrawal of his approval notwithstanding. He keeps on insisting that it was his people that nominated him to be their traditional head stressing that the matter of approval can come later. His position thus remains that his family duly nominated and approved his ascension to the stool. But he has at the same time been toeing the path of peace, perhaps as a security czar he refrains from violence. He was in fact harassed by some supporters of Ogunmola in from of The Insight office some weeks ago at Osupa for daring to ride in a car with plate number bearing “Alaaje,” yet he continues to appeal to his followers to avoid reprisals.
But amid the crisis Baale Amao began peace moves; first he brought together all factions in Aaje, summoned several peace meetings, in the process stirring those hitherto with lackadaisical attitude in the affairs of the town to begin to take interest, albeit from his prism. Within a short time every one united behind him and as at today almost the whole community is queuing behind him against the rival Baale. Rising from securing the support of his people he moved to broker peace with Baale Ikose chieftaincy family. He proceeded with this with vigour and presently, tranquility is gradually returning to the two families of Baale Ikose and Aaje. It is also learnt that he has been sending emissaries to Soun and the Ilu chiefs to plead his case just as he is reaching out to other vested interests. He is unrelenting!
The Insight spoke with Baale Ikose on the development and he confirmed that truly Baale Amao had been meeting with members of Baale Ikose chieftaincy family but insisting he never held private meetings with him. “Yes, he is making moves to make amends with Baale Ikose chieftaincy family, after the conflicts he ignited, but members of the family are meeting with him however I must clarify that I didn’t have any meeting with him.” It is thus that the latest development points at the likelihood of amicable resolution of the rift between the leadership of the two communities. As situation unfolds Baale Ogunmola seems to be getting increasingly ostracized even as he is presently involved in a land tussle with the Baale Ikose chieftaincy family at the Appeal Court in Ibadan. It is also claimed that his visits to Aaje have become infrequent with a resident noting “because he feels the hostility against him in the community.”
As it is now, members of Ikose chieftaincy family are leaning towards Baale Adesina Amao and as reported grey areas are being ironed out between him and Ikose pointing to the fact that Ikose chieftaincy family might have acknowledged Aaje chieftaincy just as the chieftaincy has inadvertently been recognized by the Soun as Ademola Ogunmola was installed as Baale of Aaje in Ogbomoso palace.
Amid this is a court case which is recently instituted by Adesina Amao against Ademola Ogunmola in the state High Court sitting in Ogbomoso.
The case with suit no HOG/28/2020 has as claimants Adesina Amao and Ajeodi Adeleke (who is Mogaji of Aaje chieftaincy family) with Ademola Ogunmola, Oba Oyewumi Ajagungbade, Ogbomoso North local government and Oyo state government as defendants.
In its statement of claim the plaintiffs among others are seeking a declaration that the Mogaji of Aaje family is the one entitled to present the nominee of the family for the chieftaincy to the second defendant who is Oba Oyewumi affirming that the latter only needs to approve the nomination as the prescribe authority; a declaration that the appointment of Ademola Ogunmola by Soun “without the knowledge and consent of the Aaje chieftaincy family is contrary to the native custom and tradition of Aaje people and as such is null and void;” and a declaration that the approval granted by Ogbomoso North and Oyo state government for the appointment of Ogunmola and that the recognition accorded him as Baale are “null and void,” saying this is against the native law and custom of Aaje,
Some other reliefs sought are a perpetual injunction restraining Ogunmola from further parading himself either as Baale of Aaje or performing the duties and functions of same; and an injunction retraining Oba Oyewumi, Ogbomoso North local government and Oyo state government from further recognizing the 1st defendant as Baale Aaje and to desist from dabbling into picking candidate for Baale Aaje stool in the future.
In another development, the annual Abigail Ebun Asakun Amao (Nee Adigun) Widowhood Foundation programme, which is a festival for widows, orphans and fatherless children in Aaje and environs, will come up on December 26.
The festival that is a philanthropic project of Baale Reuben Adesina Amao will be held in his expansive compound in Aaje where he has put up a huge hall.
In a statement Amao informed that this year’s festival which is the 8th edition will hold under the watch of Deaconess A. Alade as chairperson.
Alade (DSS retd.), is a partner in the project according to Baale Amao recalling that the woman paved the way for his rise in the Department of State Security (DSS).
He further noted that Mrs. Alade annually donates a sum of N1, 000 each to fifty widows aside other contributions to make life easier for widows and orphans.
“The woman who is my mentor has also promised to offer shawarma (an assorted cuisine consisting of roasted meat cut into thin slices, and stacked in a cone-like shape) to fifty orphans during the programme.
“The purpose of this is to make the children feel special as humans so that they can be motivated to struggle to break the shackles of poverty. If someone like me, a fatherless boy from a very young age can become educated and rose to become a director in the DSS, then these children can become great in life too especially if the society assists them,” he remarked.
In a chat a member of the organizing committee for the programme observed that it is becoming an Aaje festival disclosing that would involve the whole community.
Ogbomoso, when silence is not