Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Activities at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State, were brought to a stan dstill earlier this week. The disruption was as a result of the crisis over the Onitele stool in Itele-Awori, Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area.
Members of Adeogun Atele family had alleged misrepresentation and impersonation by the Olota of Ota, Oba Kabiru Obalanlege and one Ademola Asorota over the Onitele stool. That Tuesday, they carried their grievances to the Governor’s Office with a strong but peaceful protest.
The protesters were led by the heads of the four ruling houses in Adeogun family. They included Oosa, Ogunrounbi, Imidawo and Alagbeji ruling houses. The indigenes stormed the Governor’s Office carrying various placards indicating their annoyance.
Some of the placards read: “Governor Dapo Abiodun, please install Onitele of Itele from Oosa ruling family.”
“Asorota is from Iseyin.” Other included, “Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs don’t accept the nomination of Ademola Asorota. He is not a member of Adeogun Itele family.”
Other inscriptions said: “Supreme Court judgement must be obeyed,” “Ogun State Government respect the law.” “The eligibility of Ademola Asorota is pending at Ogun State High Court in suit number HCT/503/2020.”
The governor immediately instructed the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Afolabi Afuape, to attend to the protesters when he arrived. Submitting their petition, 87-year-old, head of Adeogun family, Pa Nurudeen Akapo, appealed to the governor to install Onitele of Itele Awori from Adeogun Atele family in accordance with the Supreme Court judgement.
He also urged the governor to accept Prince Adelaja Akanni Akapo from Oosa ruling house as the replacement for Musa Taofeek, the Onitele-elect who died on January 5, 2018.The octogenarian called for the implementation of the resolution of the Ogun State House of Assembly, where it held that the Supreme Court judgement on Itele Chieftaincy must be fully executed.
Besides, Akapo urged Abiodun to provide adequate security to protect life and property in Itele. He equally sought the implementation of the Report of Sonoiki Panel of Enquiry on Itele.
He alleged that Olota has been parading Asorota as a member of Adeogun Itele family: “This prompted the family to petition the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs on the planned installation of Asorota as Onitele of Itele.”
He stated that consequent upon the letter, the state House of Assembly invited the Adeogun family and the Olota of Ota for a meeting. He added that although Olota of Ota was absent at the meeting, he was represented by one Olukotun:
“At the meeting, Olota of Ota through his representative assured the house that he was not interested in who becomes Onitele of Itele and that he had no plan to install Ademola Asorota as the Onitele of Itele. Yet, he (Olota) allegedly directed Asorota to be parading himself as such.
“The crisis of Itele started in 1992 when government illegally installed Jimoh Arowolo, an uncle to Ademola Asorota as Onitele of Itele. The installation was challenged in court and Arowolo was removed. His appeal was also dismissed at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court respectively.
“As the Chief Security Officer of the state, we call on you to intervene as we do not want another crisis similar to Ado crisis in Itele. As a governor who believes in the rule of law, we are of the firm belief that you will not engage in contemptuous act by considering the nomination of another candidate apart from Prince Adelaja Akanni Akapo as Onitele especially when the Supreme Court has foreclosed Asorota’s interest.”
Afuape assured the protesters that the issue would be given the needed attention. He disclosed that nobody has been chosen as the Onitele of Itele. He promised that the governor would be guided by the principle of law and the fear of God in the selection: “You should feel free to bring anything that bothers you concerning the Onitele’s stool to my office.”