BREAKING: Mogaji Laoye makes U-turn, says ‘Gandhi is our son,’ calls for calm

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Mogaji Olaoye
Prince Olukayode Olaoye Olatunji

The hullabaloo over who becomes the next Soun of Ogbomosoland following the submission of the name of Prince Afolabi Gandhi Olaoye by the kingmakers to the Oyo state government for approval, has taken a new dimension as the Mogaji of Olaoye Ruling House, which is to produce the next monarch, Mogaji Olaoye Amos Olawole (JP), has declared that the choice of the kingmakers, Prince Afolabi Gandhi Olaoye, is after all a bonafide member of the ruling house and so eligible to the throne of their forefathers. His new position is contrary to the earlier stance jointly taken by the family’s screening committee, which emphatically rejected Prince Gandhi, stopping short of calling him a persona non grata in the family, with many interpreting this as denouncing him.
However, in an interview this afternoon by, the Mogaji along with one of his sons, Prince Olukayode Olaoye Olatunji, declared that Prince Gandhi is indeed a true born of the Laoye Ruling House, who is eligible to sit on the throne of Soun. The interview switches from the father to the son, who were both overwhelmed with zealousness to pass their messages, which nonetheless align, across. Excerpts:

The Mogaji

Tell us your name and your position in the family
My name is Prince Olaoye Amos Olawole (JP), I am the Mogaji of Olaoye Ruling House.

When did you become Mogaji?
This is the 15th year.

What is the furor about the choice of Prince Afolabi Gandhi Olaoye as next Soun?
We thank God. In the first instance, I thank all chiefs in the palace on this matter of Soun. I thank Baale Masifa, Baale Pakiotan, Bara and all the chiefs for holding forte (since the demise of Baba Soun), may we not have crisis. On the issue you asked, Gandhi is our son in Kape compound. In the whole Western Region, in those days, everyone knew his father. His father was Oladunni Olaoye. He was the higher technical officer, in the road department in the defunct Western Region. He was their head in the whole Western Region and everyone knew Ladunni as belonging to the Kape family.

And Kape is a branch of Laoye ruling house?
Yes. Let me put it this way. Bayewuwon gave birth to Laoye (Orumogege), Laoye sired Oladayo, Oladayo sired Oladunni, Oladunni sired Afolabi Ghandi. He is of Kape compound. It is nowadays you refer to your father’s brother as uncle or “buoda,” Ladunni was a younger brother to my father, so Ladunni was a father to me (we didn’t call it Buoda but Baba). So, Afolabi is a son of Kapelaye compound.

Does that mean he is entitled to the throne?
He is eligible. He’s not a bastard, he was not brought from outside, he is a true born of Kape. I want the whole of Ogbomoso to be calm and rest assured, Olaoye family is never known for causing trouble. Whoever wishes to foment trouble will be apprehended by the law enforcement agents, he will solely answer to his crime; we are not sending anyone to cause mayhem. I thank His Excellency, the Governor of Oyo state, Engineer Seyi Makinde for his patience and for bearing the heavy burden of leading Oyo state and as God lives, he will succeed.

You spoke about those threatening to foment trouble
Whoever is planning that should desist, the Laoye family never supports fomenting trouble, whoever does so will be taken in by the law enforcement agents, we have no hand in it.

The son of Mogaji Laoye takes over

What is your name?
My name is Prince Laoye Oluwakayode Olatunji, a son of Mogaji Laoye. I just want to make an addition to what Baba has been saying. In the first instance, I am saying Afolabi Gandhi Olaoye is of the Kape royal house. Whoever claims ignorance should come to the Kape compound, we will show such Gandhi’s part of the compound, Gandhi himself knows his father’s section of the house. Secondly, the late Kabiyesi, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III (may God grant his soul rest), a book was published about his life a few years ago, titled, ‘The Merchant Prince and the Monarch,’ inside the book, it is stated that in 1940, Oladunni Olaoye who gave birth to Afolabi Olaoye was one of the most prominent persons in Ogbomoso then, there was an organization in Ogbomoso ath the time, called OPU (Ogbomoso Progressive Union), it was an elite group, Oladunni Olaoye, the father of Gandhi Afolabi, was the choice of the elite for the Soun stool at the time but he wasn’t chosen to be the Soun of Ogbomoso in 1940. SO, Afolabi Gandhi is a descendant of Olaoye, which means he is entitled to the throne of Soun in accordance with the Gazette in respect of the Soun Stool of 1958. The Gazette stipulates that whoever will be crowned Soun firstly must be a prince of the male line. In this wise Oba Olaoye sired Oladayo, Oladayo sired Oladunni and Oladunni sired Afolabi Gandhi, which implies that he is a bonafide member of the family of the male line and so, he is eligible, which is why he collected form and was interviewed as a prince.

But in reference to what you said, it is also stated in ‘The Merchant Prince and the Monarch’ that whoever will be Soun must be a direct son or a direct grandson of a past Soun.
That is my argument, Olaoye was an Oba.

But is Afolabi Gandhi not the third generation from Laoye?
Let me tell you the truth, all those contesting the throne are fourth generation.

Are you saying that none is direct son or grandson of Oke Lanipekun?
There is none, all in Oke Lanipekun’s line are his great grand children. None of his children or grand children is in this contest.

Does that mean that none of the 23 applicants meets this criterion?
None, so, they all have equal rights under the law, including myself. It is people like the Mogaji that are of the second generation from Laoye (i.e. grandsons of Laoye).

Baba Mogaji is how old now?
He is 90 years. All the 23 contesting the throne are fourth generations, none is third or second generation either from Laoye or Lanipekun. They were interviewed, however, the family did not agree on a consensus candidate and that is why they were all proposed to the kingmakers. So, it is in the hands of the kingmakers now.

As the law stipulates?
I won’t dwell on that. What I know is that they are all fourth generations (from a previous Soun of Laoye Ruling House) and whoever claims otherwise should explain. Even (Prince) Kabiru that is being mentioned is third generation from Lanipekun (he is a great grandson) as Afolabi is third generation from Laoye (great grandson). There are many who showed interest. Within Kapelaye lineage, five collected form; from Bode house, five; In Aremo house, five; in Bayewuwon lineage, five; Alatipo – one; Daodu Lateju, one; Ajiteru, one, making 23 and they are all third generation from a former Soun.

Mogaji Laoye
As the kingmakers chose Ghandi, if he is approved by the governor, will you be satisfied as the Mogaji of the family?
All those who collected forms, the 23 princes, are all my children. There is none of them that would rise to the throne and would debar me from entering the palace. That is the 23 are my children. I am not Magaji of Kape family alone but of all Laoye Ruling House. None will prevent me from accessing the palace, if he emerges. They are all my children.

Someone even said ascending to a throne is never an easy task, that all that is happening is normal.
Normally, it elicits crisis but we have settled our differences. There is no crisis. May God spare us.

So, you are saying if Ghandi is approved by the governor, his reign will be peaceful?
I said Chandi is my son. All the 23 are my sons. I am their Mogaji.

Prince Olukayode Olaoye
In addition to what Babs said, all the 23 were interviewed in this parlour, except the one that could not attend the screening, who is based abroad. So, the other 22 were interviewed here.

Including Ghandi?
Yes, the 22 of them not only Ghandi. Let me reel out the name of some of them I can readily recollect. Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, Olaoye Johnson Olusola, Olaoye Peter Olusola, Olaoye Kabiru, Alebiousu Taofeeq, Akeen Olabode and so on, all the aspirants they came here to do the screening, in this sitting room.

But some people argued that Gandhi is not Yoruba name, is he of this house?
His full name is Afolabi Oluwafemi Olaoye. It is normal to align the customs of where we live, Gandhi is a name he took while living in Washington DC. Go and check his record at the University of life, where he did his first degree and at the University of Ibadan, where he studied for his second degree. Afolabi Oluwafemi Olaoye is what is on his certificate.
Then on security I want to corroborate Baba, Laoye family did not ask anybody to foment trouble, we are at peace with everybody, whoever wants to cause trouble on account of this matter is on his own and not on behalf of Laoye family. Secondly, we implore people not to hide under the banner of religion to cause mayhem in the town, God is one. We plead with the people, peace unto us.

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