Soun: 82yrs history repeating itself in Laoye family, as 2 go to court

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Soun: 82yrs history repeating itself in Laoye family, as 2 go to court

Khalid ABRAHAM

In 1940, that is 82 years ago, it was the turn of Olaoye ruling house of Soun Dynasty of Ogbomoso to produce successor to the throne sequel to the transition of Oba Bello Afolabi Oyewumi Ajagungbade II (father of immediate past Soun, Oba Dr Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III), but it took four years before the matter was settled to pave way for an authentic monarch to emerge.

Governor. Seyi Makinde

The succession impasse generated had to be resolved by court – the Privy Council in London, which is equivalent to today’s Supreme Court of Nigeria, this is after the process had passed through both the High Court in Nigeria and Appeal Court of West Africa.

The case lasted four years (1940 to 1944) before ruling was delivered. It was the first and only time Ogbomoso succession process got adjudication in court until now. History now has repeated himself! The Laoye ruling house is at it again. The family, whose progenitor is Bayewuwon Kelebe, is to produce the next Soun aftermath the death of Oba Oyewumi Ajagungbade III (on December 12, 2021), but seven months on, the matter is unresolved. Worse still, it has become a matter of litigation like it happened in 1940.

Other succession processes before or after that episode never witnessed such ugly scenario, the transition process was always resolved in time. Those who lost out usually accepted the fate even in the face of what was considered a compromised process in the spirit of sportsmanship borne out of the realization that only one would wear the crown amidst a plethora of contestants.

Prince Ghandi Olaoye

One could indeed say the most fiercely contested succession battle in Ogbomoso was in 1969 when Prince Babatunde Okanlawon struggled with the eventual winner, Oba Salami Ajiboye Itabiyi II, both from Aburumaku ruling house. Twice was Okanlawon announced as Soun-elect and twice was his choice annuled. Yet, he refrained from instituting litigation.

In 1940, the kingmakers chose Prince Oyekola Olaoye, the Aremo (Crown Prince) of Oba Olaoye Orumogege I (1876-1901) as Soun-elect but unfortunately few days to his installation, he died, which threw the process into confusion. The kingmakers and the British-led government in their wisdom settled for Oyekola’s son, Amao Oyetunde, and subsequently crowned him as Soun.

However, Oyetunde’s emergence was met with stiff opposition from a section of the family backed by the elite of the town. Their grouse was that if Prince Oladunni Olaoye, their original choice in view of his educational attainment, exposure and connections was rejected previously on the ground of not being a direct son of a former Soun, in accordance with the prevailing law at the time (he was a grandson of Oba Olaoye Orumogege I), then, Prince Amao Oyetunde also could not ascend to the throne on the basis that his father never became Oba but Oba-elect and as a result he also was a grandson of Olaoye Orumogege I. The law that was used to stop Oladunni Olaoye (incidentally father of Prince Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, who was selected by the kingmakers in the present contest), was now applied to truncate Oyetunde’s bid. The matter went to court and so he was deposed in 1944 aftermath a landmark judgement in the Privy Council.

His removal paved way for his uncle, his father’s younger brother, Oke Olanipekun Olaoye to assume the throne and reigned between 1944 and 1952.

That was the only time in history the Soun succession struggle went through judicial process.

The British foisted colonialism at the beginning of the twentieth century and with it came the advent of formal court system. In 1901, Orumogege joined his ancestors; Ajibola Elepo Aran succeeded him in 1902 without resort to judicial process; after his demise in 1908 Adegoke Atanda Olayode came on board without recourse to court; following Olayode, Ajiboye Itabiyi I, in 1914, assumed the throne also without the ugly scenario of litigation; on his heels was Bello Afolabi Oyewumi Ajagungbade II, 1916, his ascension likewise was devoid of legal tussle; the next, Olanipekun Olaoye Orumogege II, in 1940, became the first to be enmeshed in the mess; while the subsequent three – Olatunji Elepo II (1953), Emmanuel Olajide Olayode II (1966) and Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III (1973) – unveiled smoothly.

It’s the turn of Olaoye ruling house and we are witnessing yet again this distateful distraction in the succession process.

As at today, two legal cases have been instituted by aggrieved contestants challenging the process that led to the selection of Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, on the basis that it was dogged by irregularities.

These are aside tons of petitions earlier submitted to the state government.

Prince Taofeeq Korede Olaoye of Aremo sub-group wants among other prayers a declaration of the court that it’s the turn of his lineage to produce the next Soun.

Another contestant, Prince Kabir Muhammed Olaoye (Kapelaye lineage) among others want the process to start afresh.

This is just as the two applicants are seeking injunctions to stop the approval of Afolabi Olaoye by the state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde.

This development has provoked unsavoury remarks and is discomfiting many residents who are eager to have a new monarch to spearhead the precipitation of a new dawn of progress.

Meanwhile, many are blaming Governor Makinde for the stalemate. They are of the view that his dithering is the stimulus for the present gridlock.

“As the state helmsman, on whose table the buck stops, if he had acted swiftly either approving or disapproving the choice of Ghandi, the present impasse wouldn’t have emanated.

“He had the name submitted to him by the kingmakers since March 23, yet he made no pronouncement on it, whether it’s okay by him or not, that isn’t good leadership.

“Our fathers say if a matter is unattended to, it grows more difficult to resolve as the parties involved exacerbate it with more complications,” a concerned indigene notes.

 

 

 

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