Ilunwamiloye 1: Makinde and Obaship bind in Ogbomoso

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Ilunwamiloye 1: Makinde and Obaship bind in Ogbomoso

Femi OGUNLANA

When I see him beaming with smiles on tvs, on social media, in newspapers, I am often overwhelmed with the thought – does His Excellency know conversely he is hurting Ogbomoso people who earnestly yearn for a new Oba following the demise of the last Soun, His Imperial Majesty Oba (Dr) Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III JP, CON, CFR? I always think, is the governor aware that his hearty cheers grieve hundreds of thousands of the inhabitants of the ancient city whose connection to the culture and tradition of a natural ruler still runs deep? He savours his moments, junkets around the world, receives august visitors, hugs the limelight, spins power in the direction that catches his fancies. But does he know his vacillation on the Obaship question riles not a few indigenes and residents?

To him like most men in power in this part of the globe especially governance or leadership starts and ends with the infatuations that roil in the recesses of their minds – public opinion is abhorrently insignificant. Assuming leadership in government elicits a new reorientation in them, that makes them to begin to think themselves as phenomenal, as prodigious, superhuman, and as sole repertoire of knowledge and wisdom. They spurn counsels, defiant to people’s ardent yearnings, propel themselves in a (false) sense of self-assurance of infallibility, flawlessness and poles ahead of everyone else. They shrink back conceitedly into their cosset, malignant of people’s thought, immune to people’s feelings, beset with inviolable faith in the veracity of whatever decision that springs off them, and to rub salt into injury they never deemed it felicitous in the true provision of the social contract existing between them and the people to humbly offer explanation regarding their actions; the people, ironically upon whose back they rode to power can blast all the way into blaze. No explication is owed anyone.

Pastor Ghandi

If truth be told the vast majority of the people of Ogbomoso now see Engineer Seyi Makinde, the governor of Oyo state, as the major factor encumbering the enthronement of a new monarch in the ancient city, nine months after the transition of the last occupant. The name of the choice of the kingmakers, Prince Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, got to the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters on March 23, according to information obtained at Ogbomoso North local government secretariat and from the kingmakers headed by High Chief Sobalaje Otolorin. True, intense oppositions arose against the choice especially from the Olaoye ruling family on various grounds ranging from the ludicrous to the compelling. But does he expect to have a hitch free, defect-proof selection process? Contending for the throne always comes with fierce feuds. The Chieftaincy Laws as well as the Soun Chieftaincy Declaration confer legitimacy of selection of the heir on the kingmakers, not in any other authority, not in the ruling family, not even in the governor, except the governor decides to be arbitrary and usurp the function. If the kingmakers erred the court is there to look into the matter and adjudicate. Government is not in the position to arbitrate on that as long as the basic rules regarding the process are adhered to. It is not within the confines of the governor to sit on the matter. It is within the powers of the court to determine the validity or otherwise of the process that produced the heir, whether abidance with the chieftaincy provisions is upheld or not. For the governor to withhold assent or dissent indefinitely is toying with the sensibilities of a community of hundreds of thousands of people. March 23 is a time far away without him offering a raison d’être for the delay! It is misapplication of power. It is nonchalance taken too far to say the least. It is executive arrogance. Why must a whole community be subjected to suspense on the alleged pallet of parochialism? It smacks of disdain. The irksome thing about it remains his perpetual silence as if to say it is a non-consequential issue. But his silence hurts, very deeply and extremely grievously. As a sensitive, prudent leader, a simple explanation as to the propriety or impropriety of the choice of the kingmakers would have dissolved the anxiety of the people, rationalize his insouciance attitude, and he would now be justified to give a new directive. But overtly keeping mute elicits only one analysis, which is nonchalance to a burning issue so dear and important to the destiny of the community and wellbeing of the people concerned. Hurtful emotion nurtures spiteful sentiment.

Makinde

A very insignificant number of people were aware of any prince by name Pastor Ghandi prior his emergence, so the issue is not really about Ghandi. However, as contents of his CV began to seep into public domain opinion began to sway in his favour. His persona, achievements, educational attainment, connections, affluence, influence and integrity coalesce into ladders that stand him in good stead and swing support widely towards him and the larger majority of the people of Ogbomoso started to take interest in him, now perceived as a worthy successor, as one eminently qualified and capable of upholding the indestructible “Sword of Jogioro.” What is the essence of monarchy in this age other than to serve as rallying point for development! Beyond his religious leaning he is generally seen as someone with the requisite wherewithal to spearhead the lunge towards conquering new enviable heights for the second largest city in Oyo state. The way Oyo state people saw glimpses of brilliance in His Excellency that made them voted for him in the belief he would be a stimulus of development is the way Ogbomoso now sees Ghandi as the next big thing to happen to their community and so the more the people think of him and the more more of him is uncovered the more the admiration for him swells and the more the long for having him as king unravels and deepens – he has become the quintessential “Ilu-n-wamiloye” (My people long for me to be on the throne)!

Thank God none of his challengers has made the claim, even in fortuitous manner, that he is not of Soun lineage, he is bonafide Olaoye Orumogege, whose grandfather (Oba Atanda Olaoye Orumogege) reigned as Soun between 1871 and 1901! That is the first prerequisite. There was a historical account in which an Alaafin threw his weight behind the crowning of a new Soun on the simple basis of being of Soun lineage in place of the incumbent roped in a case of perfidy, “Is this Prince also of Soun race?” With answer in the affirmative, the Alaafin cast his lot with him and the said Prince got enthroned forthwith as new Soun. That is the minimum requirement and is as contained in the chieftaincy laws – all princes of the next ruling houses are eligible implicitly a direct son or grandson of a former Soun. But in the present circumstance, none of the contenders is a direct son or grandson, the nearest are direct grand grandsons. Though it is learnt there is a direct grandson of the last Oba from the ruling house – Oba Oke Olanipekun Olaoye, but close to eighty years old, he recoiled from contesting and the law is not specific about the way forward when a situation as that arises, whether he reserves the right to nominate a person. That is the debacle. As a digression meanwhile perhaps the ruling houses will after the present hullabaloo settles, sit in a conference to tinker with their chieftaincy declaration to make it conform to the present realities. Life expectancy in the previous centuries was shorter or perhaps traditional rulers had shorter reigns and so there were always direct sons to succeed to the stool.

Areago of Ogbomosoland Chief Otolorin who is head of kingmakers – We did what we needed to do

Ghandi according to the laws meets that minimum requirement; he is not only of Soun, but a great grandson of a former Soun! So, other allegations as infractions leveled against the kingmakers and the Ogbomoso North local government and compromise of the process should be issues for the court to determine. Therefore, for the governor to have rebuffed his statutory duty in regard of approval or disapproval of the kingmakers’ nominee is lackadaisical. There is certainly more to it than meets the eyes. Even still the bottom line is that the governor owes the community an explanation even if terse. After all, he has personally spoken on the selection of a new Alaafin that is also ongoing pointing out that the state government would adhere strictly with the provisions of the chieftaincy laws/Alaafin Chieftaincy Declaration, and on Wednesday this week his Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, reiterated this stand. So, there is need to come clean regarding the matter of Ogbomoso too if to pacify the increasingly agitated people. Our fathers say, “Oro o ki n tobi ki a fi obe bu!” So that the whirling narratives that the governor is weak, the governor is selfish, the governor is infusing the matter with political consideration on a perspective that confers advantages on him, the governor has something against Ogbomoso, the governor is anti-Ogbomoso and so on, will be diffused.

For now his action hamstrings the desire for development in the city, he is seen as arm-twisting a community of over five million people in which the majority longs for the emergent “Ilunwamiloye.” What the people expected is for him to deploy his magic wand again with which he resolved the quagmire that reared its ugly head to stultify the process of the emergence of a new king in Ibadan earlier in the year. His Excellency unleashed the intelligence everybody knew is embedded within his marrows to pacify those who needed to be pacified, to temper frayed nerves and to provoke everybody to think in the greater interest of Ibadanland. He met major stakeholders and was able to solve the Ibadan quandary within record time, why then has this taken so long? Is this a harder nut to crack? Or is there truly more to it than meets the eyes? The court dramas, the insipid intermittent outbursts from opposing sides and so on, they all appear to serve the unknown purpose of His Excellency. In street lingo they will say, “O serve si mi lowo!” (He played into my hand!) The court restraining order this week appears to be something that suits the shrouded intention of the governor. His malingering posture constitutes the mechanism for fueling the lingering of the Obaship bind in Ogbomoso.

In the final analysis (of this piece) meanwhile, Ogbomoso needs a new Oba to salvage her and to leap forward with renewed vigour towards greater glory. If it is Ghandi that will be the catalysis of this so be it! Governor Makinde should expedite action on the matter to remain a hero of the people in that divide of the state. The posers now are why the delay? What does he know that the people do not know that justifies his action – this is a traditional matter of public interest, doesn’t the public deserve the right to get apprised with developments on the matter? Why did he tarry for court actions to be instituted? Is he contented now that there is a restraining order? Will he now base his action on that plank? If he is an ordinary citizen will he have opposed somebody of Ghandi’s standing rising to the throne of his city? These and many more! Nonetheless, what will be will be!

 

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