Soun: Cost of not having an Oba – 10 highlights

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Soun: Cost of not having an Oba – 10 highlightr

Femi OGUNLANA

In a few days time, precisely on July 12, it will be seven months since the demise of the paramount ruler of Ogbomosoland, His Imperial Majesty Oba (Dr) Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III JP CON CFR.

His Majesty’s transition on December 12 engendered national sympathy; his death attracted a lot of very important personalities to Ogbomoso.

However, the conclusions of the 40 day firdau rites on January 22, 2022, had sympathy subsumed in a feeling of eagerness and enthusiasm over the prospect of having a new Oba. Who will be the new Soun?

All eyes were focused on the Olaoye ruling house, which is to produce the next monarch. Who are the princes it has on offer? What kind of man will emerge? These were some of the questions that played in people’s minds.

In earnest, the battle kicked off, and within one and a half months, the second stage of the contest ended with the selection of Prince Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, a US-based pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and businessman, by the kingmakers.

The kingmakers, led by High Chief Sobalaje Otolorin, screened the aspirants on Tuesday, March 22, during which Afolabi Olaoye emerged and on March 23, his name was forwarded to the Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, for final approval.

Indigenes of the city basked in the euphoria of having a new Oba, moreover, someone of such high standing in view of his rich and intimidating resume and topnotch connections, which extend beyond the shores of Nigeria. A larger majority of the indigenes of Ogbomoso shared in the rhapsody.

However, some members of the Olaoye ruling house, have other ideas as they rose in protest against the choice of Ghandi. Many were the grounds of opposition ranging from the tedious to the sublime. Some of which were that he was not nominated by the family, that the process was hijacked by local government officials, who served as observers and monitors, that the kingmakers were financially induced to compromise the process in his favour, that the principle of internal rotation was flagrantly breached as a branch of the family claimed it was its turn, alleged violation of provisions of eligibility that states that only a direct son or grandson of a former Soun can succeed to the throne and so on.

In the grapevine too, insinuation of religious leaning of Ghandi was rife as a major reason for the intense opposition with suggestions that the governor is wary of courting the anger of the opponents in view of his second term bid.

They called for outright cancellation of the exercise. But with passage of time some of the combatants among whom was the Mogaji of the family, an octogenarian, Prince Amos Olaoye, backed out of the anti-Ghandi plot and lent their total support to his emergence. The Mogaji wrote a letter to the Oyo state governor Engr Seyi Makinde, to the effect.

Nonetheless, the waiting game continues, the governor, for inexplicable reasons, has refrained (publicly) from acting on the matter, fueling people’s apprehension. It has been mute all the way.

The stalemate, which ignites absence of an Oba on the throne of Soun meanwhile comes at a cost. The community as a whole, individuals and the royal houses are certainly incurring losses on the basis of this scenario. ogbomosoinsightonline.com highlights some.of these below:

Late Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III JP CON CFR

1. Future political loss – 2023 is the year of another general election in the country. Contestants for various positions are now widely consulting, building consensuses and generally seeking support. Royal fathers as a matter of fact rank high in the calculus in this regard as they are believed to hold massive electoral value. This period therefore is the period of political negotiations; candidates seek vote advantage through royal heads, while the shrewd traditional rulers seek concessions for their domains and people in return. This is aside other immediate benefits. But in the circumstances – Ogbomoso without an Oba, the city may be shut out in this respect and be denied of future gains. That’s why patriots of the community are appealing to Governor Makinde to expedite action on the matter of installing another Oba for Ogbomoso.

2. Stunted growth and development – Without an Oba the pace of development grounds slowly. An Oba, a good one especially, stands in the forefront of attracting and facilitating developmental projects to his community. This was witnessed extensively during the reign of the late Oba. An Oba is expected to be the rallying point in matters that will bring benefits to their kingdoms and people. Ogbomoso is now denied this role without a monarch. Late Oba Oladunni Oyewumi played crucial roles in the establishments of LAUTECH and Federal Polytechnic Ayede in Ogbomoso zone. Also, he singlehandedly provoked the commitment of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to awarding 132kv power station in Ogbomoso.

His developmental strides are visible in several other sectors and will remain eternal. Unfortunately, the wheel now grounds very slowly.

3. Lapses in observance of culture, tradition and customs rites – Yorubaland is a land of tradition and culture. Though the advent of Christianity and Islam has indeed whittled down the influence, still there remain core adherents of traditions, who keep the light aglow. There are several rites as well as rituals that are observed, many traditional festivals that are celebrated that adherents of them believe are harbingers of peace and orderliness in the society and serve other significant purposes. The Oba as the custodian of tradition and culture is expected to be the chief proponent of this. In the absence of Soun the observance of this definitely takes a monumental dip, which probably imposes detrimental consequences on the community. The deaths in quick succession of prominent persons in Ogbomoso in recent times are being attributed to this in some quarters.

4. Royal houses suffer denial of rights and privileges – Also hit are members of the royal houses. Their exalted positions ought to make certain rights and privileges accrue to them, which now elude them. Recently, there is an uproar in the royal houses when slots for employments at the Federal Polytechnic Ayede in Ogbomoso were distributed and they were ignored. This wouldn’t have been so if the throne isn’t vacant.

5. A judge, arbitrator and mediator is missing – In the olden days a traditional ruler performs such stabilizing role. They still do today. This is another area the city suffers.

6. Vulnerability in the face of insecurity – In this perilous season when the threat of insecurity from terrorists and herdsmen is at all time high, the role of an Oba cannot be overemphasised. Coordination of defensive measures, mobilization of traditionalists to perform certain rites to ward off dangers, instilling of confidence in his subjects and so on. The inauguration of the popular defence grove – Ogun O Jalu – in Ogbomoso, to checkmate the daring ambition of jihadists to subjugate the town under its rule in the nineteenth century is an example of what a royal father can do to preserve his domain. Oba Oladunni Oyewumi was known to have caused several traditional rites and sacrifices in line with the beliefs of our ancestors to be undertaken to protect the kingdom.

7. Absence of a respected advocate that could be deferred to:/Communication gap with the powers that be – Powers and political patronages are now the exclusive preserve of democratic governments at different tiers. Ogbomoso is presently denied a respected voice in advocacy for development.

8. Community slips into the throe of whittled reverence and respect in the comity of towns – A town that lacks a monarch loses humongous reverence and respect. This is undeniable.

9. Traditional leadership suffers – Traditional leadership consists of a conglomeration of chiefs. With the non-enstooling of Soun, vacancies being created with the passage of traditional chiefs are left unfilled. As at today, existing vacancies in the traditional hierarchy of Ogbomoso include Balogun of Ogbomoso, Osi Agoro, Baasegun, Araba Awo and so on. With this some significant functions lag behind.

10.. Anxiety and tension envelope the land – Many people have been asking, “What is with our new Oba?” So, tension and anxiety pervade the land unnecessarily.

It’s on this basis that Governor Makinde is called upon to give his verdict on the appointment.of a new Soun.

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