NEWS: Latest on Ajaawa crisis and the unanswered questions

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’Yinka ADETUNJI

The Oyo State Commissioner for Police, Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko has intervened in the crisis which engulfed the ancient town of Ajaawa last week in which one person lost his life and several houses including business outfits of a contestant to the throne of Alajaawa and popular businessman in the town, Prince Gideon Oyekunle a.k.a. Ade Master were torched by enraged youths leading to his fleeing the town with his family.

CP Ngozi Onadeko


According to information gathered by ogbomosoinsightonline.com, the day after the mayhem, on Thursday, June 3, a meeting was convened at the office of CP Onadeko at Eleyele, Ibadan, attended by the principal actors in the imbroglio including Alajaawa, Oba Thompson Adeyeye Oyetunji; Prince Ade Master; chairman of Ogo-Oluwa local government, Prince Seun Ojo; Babanifa and a few others.

The deceased butcher
The late Dubel


The meeting reportedly centred on amicable resolution of the crisis with each side saying its own side of the story, however, it was learnt that the police authorities approached the matter from the angle of chieftaincy crisis believing that it was sparked by the tussle over the enthronement of Oba Oyetunji, which is still a matter before the Appellate Court.

Ade Master


It will be recalled that one of the contenders to the throne Prince Azeez Oyebunmi of Olumole ruling house like Oba Oyetunji, had sued the Oba along with others resulting in a court ruling that removes Oba Oyetunji, which had however been appealed.
Ade Master, an hotel owner in Ajaawa and a traditional medicine practitioner is held to be opposed to Oba Oyetunji by the latter’s supporters and that he is scheming behind the scene to have the Oba removed and that he is orchestrating evil occurrences so as to discredit the Oba.

Alajaawa


The thinking appeared more real following the role allegedly played by Ade Master after the foiling of a kidnap attempt on Babanifa, a traditionalist, who is Araba Awo of Ajaawa and a staunch supporter of Oba Oyetunji. It is a complex matter indeed.
The attempted kidnap of Babanifa indeed birthed a conspiracy theory bearing in mind that two kidnap incidents had occurred in the hitherto peaceful community within the last one month, one involving a family of nine, which allegedly paid a ransom of N4.8m before regaining freedom and the other, leading to the death of the victim, a butcher and son of the Chief Imam of Ajaawa.
So, when the Babanifa’s case unfolded, the subsequent events birthed the conspiracy theory that the rising wave of kidnapping in the community was an attempt to portray the reign of the Oba as inauspicious. And that, by kidnapping Babanifa, the supporters of Oba Oyetunji believed, a strong pillar of support to the monarch would have been removed. As it is known, the kidnap of Babanifa was foiled by the people of Ajaawa, who confronted the suspected kidnappers despite the heavy shootings by the “suspects”. Four of the raiders were apprehended while the others allegedly ran to the police station in Ajaawa for protection.
At the station, the DPO and his men claimed the “suspects” were police operatives from Ajaawa on a special mission to arrest Babanifa. But the people were said to have demanded the arrest warrant and queried the manner of “arrest” of the peaceful man that saw the said “policemen” firing gunshots indiscriminately at his residence, and why no policeman from Ajaawa police station known by the people was included in the team. People were dazed by this new twist and while battling with the information and with some youths rearing to pounce on the suspects, Ade Master burst into the scene.
To the surprise of many he made frenzied attempt and succeeded in rescuing the men with the aid of policemen from the nearby Opete Divisional Police Office, from the mob trying to exact vengeance on the suspects. The people were actually angry because the spate of abductions in the town had become embarrassing in view of their reputed familiarity with strong African science. But Ade Master defending his action, told ogbomosoinsightonline.com that the Area Commander of Owode Police Area Command Headquarters was the one that asked him to rescue the “men” so that jungle justice would not be meted out on them. This was suspect too as people wondered why the Area Commander would ask a civilian to rescue “policemen” in a police station.
Thus, this role played by Ade Master and the police made the conspiracy theory gain traction even as people began to point accusing fingers at the police of giving cover to kidnappers.
From that time, Ade Master became a suspect in the eyes of the people of Ajaawa especially those supporting Oba Oyetunji. Crisis was thus ignited after a young man in the community, Dubel, was allegedly shot and instantly killed by Ade Master’s security men during a peaceful rally by youths of the town in the evening of Tuesday, June 1.
That was the act of provocation. Early morning on June 2, the youths hit the street in protest, Ade Master had fled the town, and so, his property were razed down including his hotel. His shrine in a forest was also vandalized and some parts razed. It was claimed that it is a ritual den.
Tension has pervaded the town since the mayhem. Thus, the police during the peace meeting at the CP’s office warned all the parties to remain calm and maintain peace. The deceased (Dubel) was buried over 24 hours after he was gunned down, his corpse having lay unattended to at the spot, at a place not far from Ade Master’s residence.
Meanwhile, the police had made no arrests and didn’t seem to have commenced investigations into certain cloudy areas. One, what led to the death of Dubel and who fired the shot that killed him? Did that lead to the arson on the houses of Prince Ade Master? What about the allegations of masterminding kidnap incidents in Ajaawa and ritual killings against Ade Master? What of the allegation of Ade Master being a target of persecution on account of his aspiration for the throne of Ajaawa? And many inexplicable things! The scenario thus looks as if there is a grand plan to let the matter slide into oblivion so as not to open some Pandora Box. Or perhaps, it is a measure not to break the fragile peace in the community.

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