Last week, news media were awash with the news of the arraignment of a nonagenarian and some of his children in Oko, Surulere local government area of Ogbomoso, Oyo state. Among those docked along with them was a former lawmaker who represented Surulere/Ogo-Oluwa federal constituency in the National Assembly between 1999 and 2003.
The nonagenarian Chief Matthew Wojuade (92), two of his children and four others including the ex-lawmaker, Hon Oyebamiji Folaranmi, who is the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Surulere local government, were arraigned by the Commissioner of Police, represented by the prosecutor, Mr. M.A. Ojei, before Chief Magistrate Muideen Salami at a Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Ogbomoso over alleged conspiracy and forgery, publication of false documents, threat to murder a traditional title holder and his family members.
However, Hon Folaranmi has described the charge against him as frivolous saying he was targeted for his refusal to join in perpetrating an infraction. He further said it was an attempt to tarnish his image and integrity.
The seven were charged in suit no. MOG/157c/2021 with conducts “likely to cause breach of peace of the state, contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code cap 38 Vol. II Laws of Oyo State, 2000.”
The second count reads: “Chief Matthew Wojuade Ademola and others at large in January, 2000 at Oko area of Ogbomoso, conspired and unlawfully forged signatures on letters and other documents written with the letter-head of Oba Oladunmoye Adaramola Oyenubi dated 29th May, 2011, purportedly conferring the title of Elejumo of Oko land on Wojuade Matthew Ademola and knowing it to be false and with intent that it may be used or in any way acted upon as genuine,” an offence, according to the prosecutor, is contrary to and punishable under Section 465 and Section 467 of the Criminal Code of Oyo State, 2000.
On the alleged threat of murder, the five defendants “threatened the lives of Chief Solomon Ojedayo and his household by sending defamatory and threatening messages to his phone via Facebook, that his life will soon be over as it costs nothing to eliminate him and his households, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 323 (1) of the Criminal Code Laws o Oyo State, 2000.”
They pleaded not guilty to the charges after which they were admitted to bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum, while the case is adjourned till October 18, for mention.
ogbomosinsightonline.com consequently spoke with Folaranmi on phone in which he defended himself suggesting it was a setup against him and others.
Hear him, “When the late Oloko, Oba Elijah Oladunmoye Adaramola transited, the administration of the town passed expectedly to the high chiefs otherwise known as kingmakers (afobajes), this is how it is from time immemorial. I am talking of Oko dynasty. When Oba Adaramola died, the kingmakers took control, and they kick-started the process of finding a replacement in time so that there won’t be vacuum in the town. So, they started that according to tradition, inviting nominations from ruling houses, five of the ruling houses nominated candidates and were scrutinized.
“Then, suddenly a rich man, who took us to court came from nowhere though he is an Oko indigene but nothing to show for it at Oko, he is agbeseode, not ile, his name is Solomon Ojedayo. He is the owner of Top One Garden at Podo in Ibadan. He is from Elejemu compound in Oko. He attends Molete Baptist Church. The person who is being called Oloko today also attends that church, and they belong to the same society. So, Ojedayo came from nowhere that he had found the person to be crowned as Oloko that he should be supported – (Oba) Solomon Olagoke Akinola.
“But the kingmakers told him after deliberations that there was a procedure and that what he proposed negated the tradition. He was told they had to consider all the interested candidates before a person could be picked. The person you have brought and you want us to pick we never knew him, we can’t ratify him, he promised financial inducement, but the kingmakers rejected the offer. That probably angered him. But he used his power because he was connected with the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi through Ajimobi’s younger brother, so they forcefully installed Solomon Olagoke Akinola without the consent of the kingmakers.
“Even in the process, the governor before he was penetrated and influenced constituted a committee of warrant chiefs to understudy the chieftaincy issue in Oko, members included Aresapa, I think Iba Abogunde, late Alajase, Onijabata and probably Olugbon, but funnily enough without consultation with the kingmakers they made the same recommendation as the kingmakers and so, one Razak Akinpelu was picked, after considering their past contributions to Oko development, conduct and so on. The person presented to the governor however scored zero, but through the connection of Ojedayo he was installed. In that kind of situation you don’t expect the kingmakers to compromise.
“So, they refused to go to the palace, he now said he sacked all of them, but they told him he is incapable of deposing them when he was not the one that ratified their appointments moreover what was their offence and were they allowed to defend themselves against the alleged offence? So, they insisted they could not be removed that way. The matter was taken to the High Court and an injunction was ordered that he should not parade himself as the Oloko of Oko. That is the standing injunction and the case is still on.
“In the process, he was looking for means to discredit them and so Elejemu of Oko – Chief Matthew Ademola Wojuade was targeted, from where Solomon Ojedayo hails from. Baba Wojuade was the pioneer local government chairman in Surulere local government. Ojedayo was penciled down to replace Baba, the same thing with the four others. So, they looked for documents saying their Baale (family head) at the time of Baba Wojuade’s installation about 15 years ago did not approve of it. They forged the document.
“Surprisingly, I never saw the document; Baba Wojuade never saw the document. They produced it, they presented it to the police, you know if we saw it we could have sued them for forgery first but we never saw it. Interestingly, when Baba Wojuade was installed as Elejemu of Oko, that same Ojedayo purchased cow, bought beads, he even put beads on the Baba to prove he was deeply involved in the installation ceremony, he is now alleging forgery against the same Baba he assisted to mount the position. We have photos to prove this. He is now the one alleging forgery that the documents which produced Baba Wojuade as Elejemu was forged.
“Is it a chieftaincy of my father’s house or why joining me, why should I forge a signature? For what reason? In respect of a chieftaincy whose stipend is not up to N5, 000 per month! I don’t forge a certificate to make myself a professor, is it a document that doesn’t give the occupier a N5, 000 stipends that I will forge? It is irrational!
“The question now is why was I joined?
“When they started the conspiracy; they wanted me on their side to leverage on my little influence and ‘inconsequential’ connections, and little prowess in language, so, he thought I could be brought over to their side, to face those elders. But first, I have conscience and so I said no. Secondly, among the five families that produce the kingmakers I have blood relations with four. Elejemu Agunsin, where Baba Wojuade hails from is where my paternal grandmother was born. This same Elejemu Agunsin sired Balogun another kingmaker which I am connected to too by blood. The third one as well. Then Aro compound is related to my family house – Olokose. The only one I am not related to is Ajagusi. So, I can’t join them to conspire against these kingmakers, old men, some who are as old as their grandfathers, this Baba Wojuade is over 92years old, I can’t conspire against them.
“Then, I do post in social media every morning mostly from my books, the books I authored, either the ones I had published or from those I am still working on, portions that reflect current situations in the country, I do this to advertise the books, those that are already on bookshelves and for the ones I am working on, to collate public opinions on them and garner pieces of advice and to pass my message far and wide. It happened with one of my works – Labutuke. It was Baba Adebayo Faleti that called my attention to a character in the book and advised me to change that aspect and I did. Since then, I have made it a habit to post portions of my work on my Facebook account.
“I am working on one presently – Dadandindin, there is a character in the book that portrays a bad person and so I called his name Sosoliso Ojedidakuda. You know Sosoliso is something bad in the country – you remember the Sosoliso plane crash? So, I used that name as a metaphor. Ojedidakuda portrays this infamous character – he is like a beggar, a jester. He eventually makes some money but his first action after making some money is to snatch the wife of a chief. And he starts to sell herbs in mosques followed by many masquerades and no one dares to talk, and then he starts to take galala dance steps into churches. Has Oje not turned into something bad?
“So, I put it that way, he now said I was referring to him because he is Ojedayo. He reported at the police station but I proved to him that the character in my book Ojedidakuda snatches a wife whereas you snatched chieftaincy title, so, where is the correlation? Also, my Ojedidakuda is tall and dark but you, you are short, fair in complexion and sedi bebere (heavy buttock). My Ojedidakuda is a beggar, a bard but your Ojedayo you sell drink in Ibadan, or someone who owns a hotel, is he not selling drinks? So, where is the correlation? We were on that when he joined me in the suit. So, Ojedidakuda is not the same as Ojedayo in terms of anything – pronunciation, sound and in terms of interpretation, ordinarily, literarily or metaphorically. It is far, far different. But since the first to take one to court becomes the plaintiff and his opponents become the defendants, so, that is what happened.
“You will also discover Baba Wojuade and others were charged for libel and murder, this is what happened. When he lambasted the Baba on Facebook the Baba’s children now replied him, this resulted in altercations on the Facebook and perhaps they said ‘enu e lo wa yen,’ that is why he alleged them of threat to murder. All these happened on his social media platform, I never ventured there o. that is what happened,” Folaranmi disclosed.