IJARE OBASHIP CRISIS: SAPETU, AGBAAJO, ODUNWO, AGBAAKIN, OLOGODO CALL FOR PEACE
…suggest workable solutions
As a way to douse the lingering crisis over the filling of the vacant stool of Olujare of Ijare, some of the prominent High Chiefs of the community have waded in calling on all sons and daughters of the community to appeal to the aggrieved parties to abide by the advice of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs for the purpose of peace and development.
In this Special Report by the Democrat News Magazine, our reporters visited different Chiefs in the community as a way to proffer solutions to unnecessary delay bedeviling the filling of the vacant stool after the completion of burial rites of immediate past Oba of the community two years ago.
Some of the chiefs who spoke with journalists in a different interviews include High Chief Wemimo Adeniran, Sapetu, Agbaajo of Ijare land, High Chief Isaac Idowu Awe, Agbaakin of Ijare, High Chief Olatunde Awoleye, High Chief Odunwo and Head of Awo Ijare, Idowu Adebumiti and Chief Ologodo of Ijare Alaba Abodunde.
It is inferred in their interviews that the community would experience unprecedented development under peaceful atmosphere they called on all the warring parties to see the development of the community as most important saying that they should allow it.
Narrating the story of Obaship tussle in the community with journalists, Agbaajo of Ijare land, High Chief Isaac Idowu Awe said: “The process usually starts from immediately after the burial rites of the immediate past Oba as the custom of Ijare implies, all the High Chiefs and Ifa Priests converged at Sapetu’s House and deliberated on how to handle the process for the emergence of new Olujare.
“Sapetu has special roles to play towards the emergence of new Olujare of Ijare being the head of the kingmakers in Ijare, the head of ‘Ogbumo’, (Ijare Traditional Council of Chiefs). He is the door between the Oba and the other chiefs we call him ‘Oba Ode’.
“Whenever we want to consult Ifa oracle, it’s usually in his house we do it. The only Ifa we can consult in the Palace of Olujare is when it has to do with need of the general community of Ijare.
”Speaking on the way out to all the brouhaha, Idowu Awe said that Ondo State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs has advised that we should go back to round table and settle the matter amicable to ensure steady progress and development of the community and that it is unfortunate that Omo Owas had already taken the matter to court.
While reacting to the allegation that High Chief Sapetu collected money from some of the contestants to Olujare Stool, High Chief Awe said that the allegation was not true and that those who are saying that are just trying to stir dust in the community.
He pointed out that Sapetu has been the one warning all other chiefs against discipline in the process.He said so far, none of the chief collected a dime from any of the contestant since the matter has not taken proper and peaceful shape adding that it is because they would not want to drag their names in the mud.
Another High Chief who spoke with journalists, Agbaakin of Ijare, High Chief Olatunde Awoleye shed more light into the matter said High Chief Sapetu has never been the cog in the wheel of peaceful process of emergence of new Olujare of Ijare.
In his words: “Before the whole process started High Sapetu being the head of all chiefs called us and told us to maintain our integrity that we should not be moving from one candidate to the others saying that anyone that want to give us money will do that on a very clean ground and we all complied.
“After the consultation of Ifa, the kingmakers split into two groups; some five (5) people formed alliance and we in our group are ten (10) in numbers not that we are supporting anyone but we are waiting for the right time that we are going to vote and everyone will vote for whoever he likes, it is not possible for everyone to vote for just single candidate.
“We have consulted Ifa to guide us and having known what Ifa said we go to the field and vote for anyone we desired individually. For those who are spreading roumour that its Sapetu that is causing trouble, it is not so.
“My maternal grandfather, Adeka Ayero said it is not possible for some who had eaten taboo to bring forth good thing in his swollen belly.”
He said truth will prevail over falsehood, therefore calling those who form alliance to stir dust to repent and allow peace to reign in Ijare community noting that the truth is always better and pay off than lies and falsehood.
Also in his interview with journalists in Ijare community, High Chief Odunwo and Head of Awo in Ijare, Idowu Adebumiti, who explained the position of things since the commencement of the process last year said this avoidable crisis came as a result of those who refused to follow laid down rules guiding the selection of new Olujare.
According to him: “When we started this process Sapetu wrote to Omo Owa to present candidate or candidates for Ifa consultation and 13 names were submitted to us and we went to Chief Saadin (immediate past Head of Awo in Ijare) who is now late, then Ifa was consulted I, Idowu Adebumiti, Ayedogba Onigosi, Akowe-Awo, Chief Balowu of Ijare, Agbede Megbon and Adegori we were six in numbers.
The names of all the 13 contestants were written and put each one in brawn envelops and after we have consulted Ifa, we wrote the result at the back of each envelops and we handed them over to Kingmakers.
“I didn’t join the Kingmakers then because I was one of those who consulted Ifa, it was later I and Balou that are part of the kingmakers.
“In the history of Ijare its in the house of Sapetu that they usually consult Ifa to know what is obtainable in the selection of new Olujare of Ijare and when the whole thing was going on Baba Sapetu did not say anything for or against any of the contestants.
“According to Yoruba belief, we all agreed based on the outcome of Ifa as a guidance of truth. But we don’t have power to remove any of them and concluded that we will go by election and vote for candidates of our choices.
He said that they have never manipulated anything in the process and that the development has so far been freed and transparent calling on those making roumour to desist.
He used the opportunity to pray for the development and peace of Ijare community and the people in general.
One of the key kingmakers in the community, Chief Ologodo of Ijare Alaba Abodunde, in his comment on the crisis relating to the filling of the vacancy stool was not envisaged because it started on good note until some group of people came out in different ways to scuttle the whole process.
“It was said earlier that they should present names of legitimate persons from the family and they sent 13 names to us for screening and we told them that we will do the needful but we cannot remove any name among the contestants rather we will consult Ifa and the outcome will be made known.
“Ifa did not pick anyone in particular, but only explained how things will go if any of them become the king of the community and we all agreed to vote and anyone who wins will come to the throne of his father.He also called on the Ijare sons and daughter and the influential individuals in the town to allow peace to reign and follow the advice of the ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
In a chat with journalists, High Chief (Barr.)Wemimo Olaniran, Adekayero II, Sapetu of Ijare who took time to narrated the story from the commencement of the process said according the Ijare Chieftaincy Declaration of 1996 which recognizes on one Ruling House which is Sejeokun, Prince from male linage and pointed out that there is no rotation.
Sapetu who is also second in command to Olujare of Ijare fingered some of Omo Owas and some influential people from the community as brain behind the problems.
“What we are witnessing today occasioned by children from the Ruling House with the backing of Egbe-Omo Ijare Eleweobi”.
He pointed out that when the process started with submission of 13 names by the Head of Sejeokun Ruling House and that they consulted Ifa for them to know who the kingmakers can vote for according to their declaration and faith.
He said: “It is in the declaration that after Ifa consultation if there is no unanimous agreement we should vote and that Oba shall emerge of simple majority vote cast. We wrote to the council suggested 24th of November, 2022 to conduct the election.
Some people went behind to blackmail me that I have a candidate and that I have changed the voice of Ifa, whereas, it was not so.
“later, as the event unfolded, they went to write another list of four Princes saying that they are the legitimate people that should contest and the head of the Ruling House was not part of the arrangement and later when the list was rejected by the kingmakers they now said that the head of Sejeokun Ruling House (Aarinmo) has been removed.
“When I saw the letter, I wrote to the Local Government to complain formally. While that was still going on the other Princes whose names were removed went ahead to sue those who signed the letter that nominated four princes and unlawfully excluded their names.
“When Commissioner and the leadership of Local Government called us into a meeting, it was there that they said that they have removed Aarinmo on the basis that maybe he has special love for one of them, and the Commissioner said it cannot be possible for them to remove the Head of the Ruling House since it is not just an honourary title.
Sapetu said they made all forms of excuses to postpone the new dates of Ifa consultation and that have to allow all the new dates they picked until the Egbe Omo Eleweobi said they should not consult Ifa and those that were not pleased among the Sejeokun Ruling House went to court.
He noted that hearing of the case will commence in January 2024, saying that he delayed his defense just because he wants peace in the community, calling on entire members of the community to be law abiding.