Soun throne: The battle of Oluopo, Ologolo, Olukan families to become 6th, 7th and 8th ruling houses

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  • Femi OGUNLANA
    The demise of Soun of Ogbomosoland Oba (Dr) Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, JP, CON, CFR, on December 12, 2021, has brought to the fore the unrelenting struggle of three families seeking inclusion among the ruling houses of the Soun Royal Dynasty, which holds the sovereign power of Ogbomoso.

Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, the immediate past Soun (Gbagun Ruling House)


As presently constituted, there are five recognized ruling houses i.e. Abuirumaku, Gbagun, Laoye, Bolanta and Odunaro. The five rule in turn with the Abuirumaku which came out of Toyeje Akanni Alebiosu lineage, being the first in line. This order began in about the middle of the 19th century following a suggestion by the then Areago of Ogbomoso, High Chief Akinfenwa, to adopt the five families as ruling houses, it was ratified by the kingmakers (the Ilus) at the time. And in the Ogbomoso Chieftaincy Declaration that came into effect in 1958, these five ruling houses were captured and given official recognition.

Origin
Soun Ogundiran Ogunlola was one of the founders of Ogbomoso alongside Aale, Ohunsile, Orisatolu and Akandie. But by heaven’s will Soun Ogunlola got the scepter of state to hold the preeminent sovereign power. Upon the death of Ogunlola four of his children ruled in turn – Lakale, Kekere Esuo, Eiye and Jogioro. Jogioro was the most famous of the four, being a powerful hunter and warrior like his father. He also fought many wars. Three of his sons were mentioned in Iwe Itan Ogbomoso by N.D. Oyerinde, they are Oluopo, Kumoyede and Orisamateru (nicknamed Ologolo because he lived in a town called Ogolo). Ologolo was a step brother to Oluopo and Kumoye. After Jogioro’s demise, Oluopo the eldest son was beckoned upon to assume the stool as Baale (as the seat was tagged then) but he declined being a carefree person and possibly due to his advance age. Thus, Kumoye his younger brother ascended the stool. He grew powerful, and made his mark as Baale. After his death Ologolo mounted the stool. But he ran into trouble and was deposed. Adeniyi (nicknamed Olukan) succeeded him. Olukan was a grandson of Lakale (the second Soun). Lakale sired Osoru-so-koto. Osoru-so-koto sired Olukan. But he also was faced with difficulties as some people reportedly conspired against him. He also lost his stool.
It was after his reign that Toyeje Akanni Alebiosu, first of the sons of Kumoye, rose to the stool. Thus, began the dominance of the Kumoye lineage over the throne of Soun. Toyeje also served as Otun Aare Ona Kakanfo (commander of the right) to Aare Afonja. He subsequently succeeded Afonja as Aare Ona Kakanfo (generalissimo).
Unbelievably, four of his step-brothers, all by different mothers but same father – Kumoye, ruled in turn after him. They were Oluwusi Aremu, Bayewuwon Kelebe, Idowu Bolanta and Odunaro Apaebu. Each contributed his quota to the pageant of history. When the last of the brothers completed his reign i.e. Odunaro, the son of Toyeje (the first in the cycle), Ojo Abuirumaku, mounted the stool in his place, and the cycle was completed in the same order. According to Iwe Itan Ogbomoso by N.D. Oyerinde, it was at about this time that the Areago (head of kingmakers) at the time, High Chief Akinfenwa, suggested that these lineages be adopted as the ruling houses to the exclusion of the others. It scaled and so the descendants of the five progenitors – Toyeje, Oluwusi, Bayewuwon, Bolanta and Odunaro – have been ruling in turn. They are currently on the fourth cycle. While Toyeje and Oluwusi lineages have done four cycles Bayewuwon is gearing to do its fourth and Bolanta and Odunaro had completed three.

The resurgence of Oluopo, Ologolo and Olukan
However, the descendants of Oluopo, Ologolo and Olukan are staging a comeback, seeking legal means to be included among the ruling houses that will make the number of ruling houses in Ogbomoso to be eight instead of five. This struggle really began in the 1940s when these dissatisfied families first made a strong shot. The colonial government set up various commissions of enquiries for the identification and rotation of the ruling houses for the Soun throne before which the three families appeared to stake their claim but to no avail as the declaration made for the Soun Chieftaincy in 1958 failed to include the three families, thus the status quo remained. Nonetheless, they did not relent, they continued to press on. In 1988 the families instituted an action in court against their exclusion just as they presented their cases at different commissions of enquiries such as the Ademola Commission of Enquiry, Oloko Commission of Enquiry, Akinfisoye Commission of Enquiry etc instituted by various governments but they are still on it. A past government in Oyo state issued a white paper to amend the 1958 Chieftaincy Declaration in favour of the three families but the succeeding government promptly abrogated the gazette. Therefore, the matter remained in limbo until the demise of Oba Oyewumi.
The passage of Oba Oyewumi thus became another impetus for the three families to seek the attainment of their goal of inclusion as ruling houses in the Soun Chieftaincy Declaration. Hence, they filed an exparte motion in an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ogbomoso, seeking among other reliefs an injunction to stop the installation of a new monarch for Ogbomoso unless they are accommodated. So, last December 20, 8 days after the passage of Oba Ajagungbade III, they approached the court with their prayers.
The three families in Suit No. HOG/43/2021 wanted the court’s determination on the following question: “The claimants having been confirmed as royal families/direct descendants of past Souns of Ogbomoso by the judgment of the Oyo Stat High Court per Hon. Justice O.A. Boade in Suit No. HOG/53/2001 – Prince Kareem Oyewumi & 4 Ors. v. Suleiman Atoyebi Ajila & 5 Ors., delivered on 6th August, 2007, whether it is not repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience for the claimants’ families to have been excluded from the extant Soun of Ogbomoso Chieftaincy Declaration of 1958, royal lineage/past Souns’ descent being the ‘fundamental factor that qualifies the existing recognised/declared ruling houses?”
The three families represented by Prince Ibrahem Najeem-Olasubu (for himself and on behalf of Oluopo Royal Family), Prince Mustapha Adebayo (for himself and on behalf of Ologolo Royal Family) and Prince Solomon Oladokun Olatunbosun (for himself and on behalf of Olukan Royal Family) who are the claimants therefore are seeking three reliefs from the court, “An order of this Honourable Court directing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to include the claimants’ royal families as ruling houses in the Soun of Ogbomoso Chieftaincy Declaration.
“An Order of injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants from installing any person as the new Soun of Ogbomoso until the inclusion of the claimants’ royal families as ruling houses in the Soun of Ogbomoso Chieftaincy Declaration.
“An Order of injunction restraining the 4th, 5th, 6th 7th and 8th defendants or any member of their respective families from being installed or parading himself as the new Soun of Ogbomoso until the inclusion of the claimants’ royal families as ruling houses in the Soun of Ogbomoso Chieftaincy Declaration.”
The 1st to 8th defendants are the Oyo state governor, attorney-general of Oyo state, Oyo state commissioner for local governments and chieftaincy affairs, Prince Sikiru Oyeyiola (Mogaji Gbagun Ruling House), Prince Amos Oloyede Olaoye (Mogaji Laoye Ruling House), Prince Samuel Oyedeji (Mogaji Bolanta Ruling House) Prince Ilufoye Olayode (Mogaji Odunaro Ruling House) and Prince Olawuyi Oyelayo Itabiyi (Mogaji Aburumaku Ruling House) respectively.
The court sat on the matter again on January 10 during which it adjourned the suit yet again to January 25on technical grounds.
According to an insider in one of the three families, who preferred anonymity, they are bent on reclaiming their right saying, “we are royal families as we are direct descendants of past Souns of Ogbomoso, more particularly Soun Ogunlola, the 1st Soun of Ogbomoso. We have equal rights like the five families. We will not relent until we get justice. A new Soun can’t be appointed unless we are included.”
Asked what positions they seek in the order, he said they were content with being the 6th, 7th and 8th in the line.

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