There is an uneasy calm in the rural community of Ara, Egbedore Local Government Area of Osun State. The bone of contention is the Aare-Ago of Ara chieftaincy title.
Two prominent families in the town, Ibirogba and Oladapo, are at loggerheads, separately laying claims to the Ara title. The Ibirogba family stoutly defended the installation of the new Aare-Ago, Chief Babatunde Ibirogba, as lawful as “the title is exclusive to the family.”
It described as “malicious, vexatious and unwarranted distortion of history some publications about the history of the Aare-Ago of Ara chieftaincy title by some dissenting voices.”
The family representative, Mr Kayode Ibirogba, insited: “Aare-Ago chieftaincy title belongs solely to the Ibirogbas. The progenitor of Aare-Ago’s Compound, Ara, was Chief Idowu, who had six children in this order: Yelola (only female and first child), Ibirogba, Adegoke, Olakunbi, Oladapo and Ogunlabi.
“Idowu, our great grandfather, was originally installed as Chief Otun of Ara. Upon his demise, the chieftaincy title of Otun was given to the present day Otun family on the account of the youthful ages of Idowu’s children, who were not mature enough to be installed as the Otun.
“However, Ibirogba Idowu, the eldest son of Idowu, got married to Princess Aina, who appealed to the then Oba Oni Asaolu, to compensate her husband for losing the Otun chieftaincy title to the present Otun family.
“Immediately after the death of Idowu, some of the children had ventured into Ifa divination practice, prominent among them were Ibirogba and Oladapo. Oladapo was installed as Oluawo of Ara, making the family to be called Oluawo House. It was during this period that Princess Aina, Ibirogba’s wife, secured from the Alara, the Aare-Ago chieftaincy title.
“Ibirogba was installed the first Aare-Ago of Ara. After his death, his first son, Chief Samson Ajeigbe Popoola Ibirogba, took over as the next Aare-Ago. Oladapo equally died as Oluawo.”
He said another falsehood is that the chieftaincy title was meant to be rotational: “This is a blatant lie that should be disregarded. The Aare-Ago title was pleaded for by Ibirogba’s wife (Princess Aina) from Oba Oni Asaolu to be bestowed on her husband, Ibirogba. These facts support the Ibirogbas as the sole beneficiaries of the title, but Otun chieftaincy was the one jointly owned by all Idowu’s children – Ibirogba, Adegoke, Olakunbi, Oladapo and Ogunlabi.”
However, Mr. Ladele Faniran, head of Oladapo family, said: “There are four families involved and the Ibirogba family has taken the title for three consecutive times, while the other three families have not taken the title for even once. It is not hereditary.
“The other three families are Oladapo, Adegoke and Ogunlabi against Ibirogba. The forefather of the Ibirogbas and their father took the title and now their grandson has taken the title and it is not supposed to be so. The title rightfully belongs to the Oladapo family now.”