From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The age long supremacy battle between the two traditional rulers in Ikare-Akoko in Akoko North East Local Government Area of Ondo State; the Olukare and Owa-Ale may have been temporarily laid to rest. This followed the recent ruling of the Court of Appeal, Akure, which gave recognition to the Owa Ale as the authentic monarch of the town.
The story of Ikare-Akoko, a predominantly Yoruba town, which originated from Ile-Ife the cradle of Yoruba race contradicts the general belief in Yoruba land that a town cannot have two traditional rulers.
The court held that the occupant of the Owa-Ale stool is the recognized traditional ruler of Ikare Akoko and ruled that the Olukare should no longer parade himself as the traditional ruler of the town.
Over the years, the Olukare of Ikare-Akoko, Oba Akadri Saliu Momoh and the Owa-Ale of Ikare-Akoko, Oba Kolapo Adegbite, laid claims to the stool as the authentic monarch. The town, which is said to be the heart of Akoko land is sharply divided into two with each arm giving support to the traditional ruler of its choice.
Both claimants have their traditional and honourary chiefs and their palaces where their subjects paid homage to them. The Owa Ale used the ancient palace, which was used by the progenitor of the town, while the palace used by the Olukare was allegedly built by him and members of his royal family.
The emergence of Olukare of Ikare-Akoko was a result of crisis that followed the emergence of Oba Adegbite, when Oba Momoh challenged his selection. The people over the years made efforts to settle the rift with the support of the state government but to no avail as litigations stalled the efforts. The situation became terrible when the Olukare approached the state High Court and sought an order to prevent Owa Ale from parading himself as the traditional ruler of the town.
However, the simmering crisis may be put to an end with the ruling of the Court of Appeal, which struck out an appeal filed against the recognition of Owa-Ale, Oba Adedoyin. Led by Justice Obande Ogbuinya, the court ruled that the appeal lacked merit, describing it as an abuse of judicial process.
However, a loyalist of the monarch who proffered anonymity said the monarch would approach the Supreme Court: “We are fighting for our right.
The truth of the matter is that the rightful traditional head of Ikare Akoko is the Olukare.
This was the practice over the years until politics was used to disorganize the whole process of selecting traditional rulers in Yoruba land, as against the consultation of Ifa oracle, which was the condition precedent in this part of the country.”