Monarchs at loggerheads over chieftancy title
From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Things have certainly fallen apart between two neighbouring towns of Akure, the Ondo State capital and Isinigbo, a community in Akure North Local Government Area. A serious communal clash brewing between the two towns.
Despite their closeness and being in the same local government in Akure kingdom, the relationship among the people of the two towns is not cordial as a result of the age-long supremacy battle between their traditional rulers.
While the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade, claimed to be the traditional head of Akure kingdom comprising communities in Akure South, Akure North and Ifedore local government areas, the traditional ruler of Isinigbo, Oba Samuel Adeniji claimed his community was not under the control of Deji.
He insisted Isiniogbo, is not under the control of any community or town in the state. He said he possesses all the rights that any traditional ruler posseses and can function without any external interference or influence from either Deji or any other traditional ruler in the state.
It was alleged that atempt by Deji to install a new traditional ruler in Isinigbo also contributed to the tension. The situation attracted the intervention of the Oloba of Oba-Ile, Oba Joseph Agunbiade, who called the attention of the police and other security agencies to the situation between Akure and Isinigbo.
Oloba who is also the chairman of Akure North Local Government Chieftaincy Committee, and the Asinigbo petitioned the Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Hilda Harrison, urging her to prevent violence in the two towns. He alleged that the Deji has concluded arrangements to install a new head for Isinigbo community, contrary to tradition and culture of the people. They charged the CP to immediately stop the plot by the Deji to upgrade a quarters at Isinigbo to an autonomous community.
In the petition signed by their counsel, copy of which was made available to Daily Sun in Akure, the two traditional rulers said attempts by the Deji of Akure to execute his planned action would spell doom:
“Should the Deji of Akure go ahead with his planned action, there will be breakdown of law and order. The monarch’s action was a clear violation of Section 18 of the Chiefs Law, Cap 27, Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State, 2006.
“The prescribed authority, that is the person approved by the government to appoint and install any minor chief in Isinigbo, Igoba, Oba-Ile and Owode communities which are all within Akure North Local Government Area under the Chieftaincy Laws of Ondo State is the Oloba of Oba who is now the chairman of Akure North Local Government Chieftaincy Committee, Oba Joseph Oluwadare Agunbiade, not the Deji of Akure whose chieftaincy domain is Akure South Local Government.
“Section 18 of the Chiefs Law, Cap 27, Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State, 2006 clearly makes it a criminal offence for anybody to install or purport to install another person as a minor chief if he is not the prescribed authority just as the section makes it a criminal offence for anybody to allow himself to be installed as a minor chief by a person who is not a prescribed authority for the area of that minor chieftaincy.
“Even before the court case arose, the Deji of Akure had as far back as 1997 written the Ondo State Government to seek the establishment of one Traditional Council for the local governments created from Akure land to be under the Deji of Akure, in response to which the state government in a letter dated August 19, 1997, and signed by one S.A Ariyibi for the Secretary to the State Government had categorically stated that under existing Chieftaincy and Local Government Edicts in the state, the paramountcy of any monarch remains within his local government:
“There is a street or quarters in Isinigbo Community known as Ayetoro Street and some of the families inhabiting the street had been involved in some land dispute with other members of the community which had warranted the intervention of Oba Samuel Adeniji Elewuju, the Asinigbo and traditional head of Isinigbo community as well as the community council. The land dispute is now said to be in court.
“Our clients stated that the Deji of Akure has concluded plans to install a new traditional head of Ayetoro within Isinigbo, hence the petition.”
The traditional rulers also called on the state government and authorities of Akure North LG to stop the Deji in the interest of peace.
But the Deji submitted that Isinigbo and other communities in Akure North and South local government areas are under him, and so, he has the traditional right to install traditional heads in the communities.
The monarch who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary,
Mr Michael Adeyeye, claimed that as the paramount ruler of Akure kingdom, his powers transcend to all communities under Akure kingdom, which include Isinigbo:
“The history is clear about it and there is no ambiguity in the right of any Deji of Akure over all the communities under Akure kingdom. I have the right to install the traditional ruler in all the towns under Akure.
“The current occupant of the stool of Isinigbo was installed by the Deji of Akure. So, he has no right to complain this time.”