I hope to make this article the last contribution I want to make from this end on the simmering crisis between this Deji and his Council of Chiefs. If it sounds to repetitive and long, it is so because it encapsulates many of the points I have made, time and again, on my serial articles on the Deji as an Institution ever before this crisis broke out. This article represents a comparative analysis of all the issues at stake in this crisis that very many of our chiefs are either too embarrassed or scared to publicly admit. They are all serious problems that should not be swept under the carpet. in the best interest of our city and our people across the board.
If you no longer hear or read any headline news about the Deji’s illegal and premature dethronement by the Akure Council of Chiefs, it is because “power has changed hands” to borrow a cliché from the General Overseer of the Redeemed Church of God, the one and only Enoch Adejare Adeboye. In the Deji’s case, if you are privy to all I know about the scandalous crisis, you can truly conclude as I have, based on empirical research and objective investigation that “money has not only changed hands in Akure.” It has suddenly created an uneasy lull in the raging crisis for now.
While I have serious reservations about how the settlement had been engineered, sealed and delivered by no less a personality than the State Governor himself playing the middle man between the embattled Deji and his chiefs, all in the name of forestalling a crisis that could potentially lead to the declaration of a state of emergency in the State which could possibly give back to the PDP a fraudulent victory they could not get in the tribunal or the Appeal Court. Those who argue there could be violence and civil disobedience if the Deji were removed simply did not appreciate or understand that people could only do that in defense of a popular Deji who is perceived to be on their side. Nobody should be fooled about that.
Very few people are going to stick out their necks in civil disobedience to defend a reckless and oppressive natural ruler whose only appeal and weapon should have been how much he was loved, cherished and admired by his own people. Governor Mimiko must understand that he is Governor today because of his record in public office as commissioner for Health twice in a row. If Mimiko himself, talk less of the Deji, loses that human touch, he would be rejected at the polls at the next election. Lagosians regardless of tribe and religious labels and persuasion are praying and hoping that Governor Fasola of Lagos can run again and for as many times as he wants because he has performed creditably. If the Deji is doing a good job, nobody is going to be rooting for his removal. I will be among the first to stand by him and be counted Buying the chiefs with money will not do the trick. What will save the Deji is dynamic, benevolent and purposeful leadership.
I am very skeptical in this write up about what was done, how it was done by the two sides to the crisis, and what may yet happen down the road, if history is anything to go by. I totally reject and condemn the presumption by the Deji and his chiefs that money alone is enough to buy love. We have our jobs cut out for us as the state capital, and the Deji and his chiefs have a whole lot of things to think about if they truly love our city. They have a whole lot to learn from things happening around them. If this Deji has any master plan beyond taking the laws to his hands and acting like a bully, he would not have any time to commit many of the sins and violations leveled against him. Carrying the Olomoyiye masquerade and dancing round the town or ordering his palace servants to go secure the Market with ritualistic voodoo and fetish, in this modern age should be the least of his worries. Engaging in physical combat and drinking liquor till the early hours of the morning are totally beneath his dignity as the Deji and he should never have done it.
Did he ever hear or see the new Osemawe or the new Olowo engaing in such escapades and notorieties? The present Awujale of Ijebu Ode, Ogbagba the Second, Oba Sikiru Adetona was much younger than this Deji when he was flown out of the UK to come take the title in place of his father. The Awujale has pioneered a new template in leadership in Ijebu Land that has become the envy of his contemporaries everywhere at home. When Awujale and his chiefs and people are having their annual Ojude Oba festival in Ijebu Ode, you will be amazed by the number of traditional rulers in his domain that come to honor and support him as the pre-eminent ruler in Ijebu Land. He recently organized his people to build an extension to the magnificent Palace that replaced the ancient palace in Ijebu Ode during his own tenure.
He is a goal getter and the central glue that binds together his people. That is the kind of Deji we all want to see and cherish. This Deji once approached our Association in New York that he wanted to launch a Scholarship Foundation in Akure to help his people. A lot of our members did not respond because he had earlier on sent emissaries to collect donations from us under false pretences that he was planning to confer chieftaincy titles on our president and a few members to honor our contributions to Akure during his second coronation anniversary in Akure. Once the contributions were sent to him, he never acknowledged getting the money or offer a simple ”Thank you.” The next letter we received from him was a letter asking us to support him again in launching his Scholarship Foundation. Nobody was fooled. If he could pay 7.5 million to silence the opposition to him, we have no business helping him to set up his Scholarship Foundation.
We all know, of course, that money remains the root of all evils all over the world, but more so in Nigeria. I occasionally wonder why Nigeria has not already changed her national logo inscription into “In Money We Trust”. Money is everything in that country. If you have too much of it to throw around, you can get away with murder. Because of that, everything is negotiable in Nigeria and every negotiation has a price attached to it. General IBB has institutionalized that absurdity better than any of our political leaders in Nigeria and our young Governor Mimiko, a quick study in that precept and the new Deli, his new bride, have just demonstrated how to effectively and effortlessly use money to douse the fire of resistance or rebellion in the State Capital. The Governor has used his power of incumbency and money to detonate what he has described as a ticking time bomb in Akure for his own sake. It was nothing but a storm in a teacup. I would only agree that the development was a ticking time bomb if the Deji has turned out to be the caliber of the Deji we all thought he was going to be.
Quite often, when you are attempting to solve a problem, you could be unknowingly creating more serious problems. I knew that the Akure Council of Chiefs has somehow hurt their credibility by mentioning the issue of the”Igbarunjo” kola or kickback of 7.5 million that they said the new Deji has used 419 to sweep under the carpet, once his appointment was confirmed by the Agagu Government which was just too much in a hurry to take credit for finally resolving the Deji’s succession stalemate of 6 years. That was after the Agagu Government has quickly elevated two-quarter chiefs in Akure into crowned Obas in the absence of a substantive Deji. Once that Rubicon was crossed, Agagu and his Deputy Omolade Oluwateru had thought it was time to give Akure a new Deji who will be so beholden and subservient to Government that he could not raise a finger or challenge the Government even when his institutional interest is threatened or compromised.
If I were the Deji, I would not rest till the relationship between the two chiefs and me is properly defined and sealed by law and protocol. The creation of a second Local Government in Akure and his environs was a move designed to elevate the Deji and his people. It was not a move designed to put the Deji in a box as the most preeminent natural ruler in Akure kingdom. Those towns and villages, which make up Akure North Local Government should never have been taken away from the Deji just like that. The Alafin of Oyo, The Alake of Abeokuta and the Ooni of Ife and the Owa Obokun of Ijesha Land and the Awujale of Ijebu Land all face similar creation of Local Governments in their domains. Their State Governments were very sensitive to the needs and history of those kingdoms and they have all reflected such sensitivities in their decision.
Agagu and Oluwateru did not do that, and the Deji has done nothing or even demonstrated his awareness of this problem with his new buddy in the State House at Oke Eda. The protracted feud between Akure and Idanre is another problem yet to be fully tackled and resolved to the satisfaction of the two communities. Akure has lost half of Aponmu village to Idanre as we speak. I am not even sure if this Deji is aware of this problem at all. The late Ambassador Martin Adelusimo Adegbulu was the last Olu of Aponm. Deji Adelegan to his credit, was wise enough to select him as the Olu. But for him and his patriotism, courage and fortitude, Aponmu Lona on Akure Land which is populated mostly by Idanre people would easily have annexed the original Aponmu which belongs to Akure in perpetuity. The same thing with Igbatoro Familugba all the way to Igbo Ofosu and Ugbo Board near Oda area are seriously been encroached by Idanre people as we speak all in the name of the Land Use Decree which has been totally rejected by most communities in Yoruba Land because Obasanjo had forced it down the throat of the South to make it easier for him to acquire the land for his famous Ota Farms near Lagos. Those are problems that are begging for resolution by this Deji and his Council of Chiefs working together. These are problems they cannot afford to sweep under the carpet. But for Chief Olisa and Olu of Igbatoro Familugba, those virgin lands and forest would have been lost by now to Idanre forever.
It is inconceivable that any Deji would not be given a chance to have a say in the balkanization and polarization of his own kingdom. What has just happened at Iremo quarter at Ile Ife and Modakeke are cases in point. How could any rational Governor of Osun State cook up such an “abracadabra of power shift or realignment” at Ile Ife, the cradle of Yoruba civilization without the tacit approval or cooperation of the Arole Oodua himself Ooni Sijuwade Olubuse, the Second? It is just not possible.
The way Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola has handled the Ife/ Modakeke feud and stalemate was so remarkable that at the most recent annual Olojo Festival at Ife, the duo of new Kabiyesi Obalufe of Iremo and Kabiyesi Ogunsua of Modakeke were among the dignitaries and celebrities that were physically present at Enuwa at Ile Ife to accompany Ooni Risa from Ilegbo central shrine at Ile Ife to the Palace, with shouts of Kabiyesi Ooni Risa, Arole Oodua as the Ooni, wearing the unique and famous “Are” the original crown that he alone is allowed to wear, once a year, in Yoruba Land as the spiritual father of all Yorubas and the successor to Oodua in Yoruba Mythology.
Can you imagine new Kabiyesi the Osolo and new Kabiyesi the Iralepo coming to pay allegiance to this new Deji on his outing from his annual “Ilefunta” Festival in Akure? That is never going to happen, because of the way the Agagu Government has handled their elevation to crowned Obas in Akure, was very contemptuous of Deji as an Institution. Don’t get me wrong. I am not asking the Ondo State Government to undo what has been done with regard to the two Obas. As a matter of fact, Kabiyesi the Osolo is my brother-in-law and life President and Duke of the Ajapada Club to which I belong in Akure. I love him and I have the highest regard for him as a patriot and a highly principled man. I have the same respect for Kabiyesi, the Iralepo of Isinkan. All I am saying is that the new Deji in concert with his Akure Council of Chiefs ought to have seen the red light, and they should all have collectively done something about it to clearly define the relationship between the Deji and these new Obas.
Oba Ataiyese Adesida the IV was going to do something about it the need to define that relationship and line of authority and span of control, but he did not live long enough to come out with his blue print. I did advise him on the issue while compiling the research for my biography of Deji Afunbiowo. It is to his eternal credit, however, that the Ondo state Government did not attempt to elevate the two chiefs until after his death. “Udeyin agbo no fapon re” meaning you have to first of all slaughter or incapacitate a sacrificial ram before you can peacefully attempt to cut off his testicles. I was actually encouraging Deji Ataiyese to take the position that the Ooni Risa has taken on Pbalufe and Oba Ogunsua of Modakeke, and to seal the agreement with the force of Law and traditional protocol.
The Deji himself and the Akure Council of Chiefs should have been consulted, and their blessings received before elevating the two chiefs. As a matter of fact, the Deji himself should have been given the honor like Oyinlola did in Osun State to make sure that the Ooni was physically present to give his approval and blessings to the two newly created Obas in Ile Ife on the day they received their staff of office. It was a move that should have earned Governor Oyinlola and Ooni Risa Sijuwade himself, a local Nobel Peace award for leadership. It was a masterstroke. There is peace today at Iremo and Modakeke because the new rulers knew their boundaries and who is boss at Ile Ife. Period.
By so doing the Ife Central Local Government and the Modakeke Local Government now recognize the Ooni more or less as the prescribed authority of the two Obas who clearly recognize the Ooni not just as” first among equals” but decidedly as their royal father and the big boss if the push comes to shove. I have it on authority that Ooni Risa is financially supported by the two Local Governments at Ile Ife. The Oloba of Oba in Akure North Local Government is now claiming that some villages the Deji used to control and reign over like Eleyowo, Ogbese, Ugele and even Ilu Abo are now under his control and Local Government and under no condition would the Deji be allowed to approve the selection of those village heads. It is unheard of.
If the Deji is playing his cards right and getting his priorities right, he and his Chiefs would have focused like a laser beam on getting these issues revisited and properly realigned, and resolved. Instead of doing that, the Deji is going around fishing in troubled waters, going to market places disturbing the peace of tomatoes sellers by kicking their baskets of onions and tomatoes. He has reportedly gone to personally beat up the Ex-Omolare, Josie Abegunde, a very vocal local champion who can single-handedly bring the Deji down by bad-mouthing and blackmailing him every where he goes. The Deji was also said to have personally assaulted Joseph Isijola, thereby undermining and diminishing his dignity and authority. Akure should be embarrassed by such incidents. There are better battles for the Deji to fight than going around town beating up people just because he can.
Agagu had the two new Obas receive their instrument of office in his office just like the new Deji was summoned to receive his own at the same office. Agagu delegated to his Deputy the honor to go present the staff of office to the three Obas, meaning Osolo, Iralepo and the Deji.around the same time. Can Governor Gbenga Daniel ever try that with the Alake or the Awujale? That would never happen. Can any Edo Governor ever try that with any Oba of Benin? Never. Omolade Oluwateru, Akure’s representative in Agagu’s Cabinet was ready and willing to do anything his boss wanted without lifting a finger. If Agagu wanted to kill anybody in Akure, the only question Omolade Oluwateru was going to ask, was whether or not the killing should be carried out by lethal injection or by a firing squad. He would not challenge the Governor and ask why?
I thought Oluwateru should have asked Agagu to find another member of his kitchen cabinet to go present the staff of office to the two chiefs if he has any respect for Akure. That is my take on that. I could be wrong. If I were Oluwateru, I would not let my boss use me like that against my own constituency. That is my grouse with Omolade.
I condemned Agagu, till tomorrow, for disrespecting the Deji’s institution in that way.” Eni ba mo yi wura lanta fun” meaning in Yoruba, that you sell a diamond to only those who know and appreciate the value. As far as I am concerned, this new Deji does not appear to understand the fundamental value of the title he currently holds or its history. If he does, he would have done a few things differently. He would never have gone to the market to settle scores with people by using physical combat. Deji Ademuagun, in a moment of indiscretion, once hit somebody in his palace with his walking stick, the Akure Council of Chiefs did not take it lightly at all. Orisabinu Adedipe, Osun Oshogbo was the Elemo of Akure at the time. He let the Deji realize he could not get away with such misconduct. Those were the good old days.
As a prince of the Adesida Dynasty, and as a grand child of Sao Apatapiti in Akure on my father’s side, I resent that insensitivity and lack of appreciation by the current Deji. Agagu and Oluwateru got away with a lot of nonsense in Akure, by taking undue advantage of the rift between the then Regent of Akure, Princess Adeyinka Adebobajo Adesida and the Akure Council of Chiefs. In their hurry to take credit, Agagu and Oluwateru rushed the Akure king makers to abandon the age long tradition of having the Deji-elect perform all the ceremonial formalities before he is proclaimed the Deji.
This particular Deji is the first “non-Omo Ori Ite” prince to be crowned a Deji in Akure. He is the first to do away with tradition and protocol by getting his staff of office and Government recognition first before going back to Ipebi or the Asamo Court where the central shrine of Akure supreme deity, Obanifon is situated. He did not even receive the training in Asamo’s court on how to comport himself with dignity as the Deji. When the Deji gives you his word, you can take it to the Bank. That is the way it is supposed to be. Everything was done in reverse for this Deji because Agagu and Oluwateru had thought Akure customs and traditions were irrelevant, and should be ignored. The Deji himself probably thought so as well based on the way he is behaving.
He reportedly broke other protocols or he just had them done in reverse as alleged in one of the 20 charges leveled against him by the Chiefs. The Deji himself, in one of his few press statements on the crisis, had publicly admitted that the chiefs were aggrieved because he had refused to keep his promise to redeem his pledge on the so-called “Igbarunjo” cola. He said the crisis was just a little family problem. He decidedly gave the impression, in that statement, that he would find some ways to redeem that pledge and he did that, presumably with some help from Governor Mimiko probably out of taxpayers money. I really don’t know that for a fact, but the Deji did come up with the money the chiefs had demanded in their indictment. 7.5 million Naira is a lot of money whichever way you slice it. The goal must not be for the king makers to sell the title to the highest bidder, but that is precisely what they have done, if the truth must be told.
This particular development has raised many more questions for me that it has answered on both sides of the isle. I don’t know about you. It has opened a can of worms that I think the public must know about in this article.
First of all, the issue of traditional kola is nothing new in Yoruba tradition, and I am not at all opposed to the concept as somebody with great respect for our tradition and customs, but asking more than 7 million as traditional kola for a position held on public trust and a vacancy which has to be filled by necessity by a candidate with some royal blood running in his veins and with provable connection to a royal lineage, I think it is profoundly absurd and wrong.
The Chiefs by asking for such a ridiculously high amount, to begin with, are only offering the position for sale, and that ought not to be the case at all. If all the Chiefs are looking for is the highest bidder and not a candidate with the right pedigree and the strength of character to lead, I can tell you, here and now, that the chiefs themselves are almost as guilty as the Deji himself in my book.
When uncle, Deji Adelegan Otutubiosun Adesida III was there he had made less than 10,000.00 Naira per month in salary. My other uncle Deji Adebobajo Ataiyese Adesida the IV who took over from Deji Adelegan in 1991 had made less than 20,000.00 Naira, per month as I recall. Our progenitor, and arguably the greatest Deji of all times, Oba Afunbiowo Adesida the First had made only a fraction of this amount in salary and my other uncle, the first educated Deji in Akure History, a legal luminary with an LLM from Middle Temple before his coronation in 1957 had made less than 4,000.00 Naira per month. How, for God’s sake, can the chiefs be asking the new Deji or any candidate for that matter, to pay them as much as 7.5 million as “Igbarunjo” money? How much did any of them spend before getting their own titles? That was damn too much, to say the least, and it is a terrible precedent in my judgment.
By asking for such disproportionate amount, to begin with, I can understand why the new Deji was tempted to unleash or craft a 419 response to their collective greed by issuing them a dud check. Because the new Deji had told them he was an accountant in London or Dublin they thought they could take his words to the Bank. Look what happened. I was personally disappointed that the chiefs would be asking for millions of Naira. Where do they expect the man to find that kind of money when the man is probably making less than 25,000.00 a month which is hardly enough to feed his dogs talk less of his harem of wives and palace servants? The Deji makes much lower salary than a counselor makes in the Akure Local Government.
If you really think about it, the Chairman of Akure Local Government is more or less the person performing most of the duties that traditional rulers used to perform before the British came. The position of traditional rulers today is more or less redundant. Under Deji Afunbiowo and Deji Agunsoye Ademuagun, the Deji’s horse tail otherwise called “Iru Okun” in Akure was sufficient to have someone arrested and brought to the Palace by force. Not any more. If the Deji sends for you to come to his Palace today, you can tell him, you are not coming. If he insists, you can take him to Court. If he orders for thugs to go beat you up, you can arrange your own thugs and fight back or you can take the Deji to court for issuing such an order, and you can defeat him in court, if you have a good lawyer.
Right now, this Deji has no less than 3 or 4 cases of assault pending in court as we speak. That was why he was probably driven by ego or foolhardiness or both to go accompany thugs to go and do a version of what Deji Odundun used to do when he once sent emissaries to Ogiso, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Ukwu Akpolokpolo, the Oba of Benin that Akure under him, was no longer going to play a subservient role to the Oba of Benin for a few years that the Benin Kingdom ruled Akure.” Ado Nekues” meaning Ado Akure are relics of the inter tribal wars and Akue N’Edo, meaning Akures in Benin are the reminders of those tribal wars.
Deji Odundun was rumored to turn himself into a parrot, and he followed the emissaries to Benin to be sure they delivered his message the way he had ordered. If they chickened out on arrival in Benin, Deji Odundun got the emissaries executed in cold blood upon their return. He was a no-nonsense Deji who did not take a “No” for an answer. His reincarnation, Deji “Afesekubiojo” Osupa the Third might just be re-enacting the Odundun stance by personally going to beat people up. Do you really blame him?
Traditional institution is still respected where the holder has what it takes to earn that respect, quite often with the reputation they have earned before their coronation. Ooni Adesoji Aderemi was an “Atobatele” before his coronation and his first private house near the Palace at Enuwa, Ile Ife is a powerful reminder of that. He went on to become the first civilian post Independence Governor of the old Western Region of Nigeria under Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Premier. So is the present Ooni Risa Sijuwade Olubuse the Second and so was Deji Afunbiowo Adesida who vied for the throne three consecutive times spending so much money before he got the nod of the king makers. Above all what Deji Afunbiowo lacked in material wealth, he made up for it by being the most powerful herbalist and Ifs devotee of his era, and he lived for 125 years and his other name in Akure was “ Alujonu Adagba D’Omode”.
He could turn day light into darkness using black power. Part of his cognomen was “Afinju Oloja ko m’ejo so gbadi” meaning that he was a gutsy King that used a live cobra as a belt to tie his pants. He was that powerful. There will never be another Deji like him. A book on him, titled,” The Lion King and The Cubs” was launched on December 19, 2008 at the Federal University of Technology, Akure and later on at the City University of New York, Queen’s College Branch with Ambassador Prince Agboola Gambari, a crown prince of Ilorin Emirate and the number 2 man at the United Nations as keynote speaker.
This new Deji was to be Chairman of the occasion at the Federal University of Technology, Akure. He promised to be there in person but for some reason, he did not show up even though he wrote the preface to the book. Chief Oluyemi Falae, a former Presidential candidate in Nigeria was the keynote speaker and Senator Bode Olajumoke was the Chief Launcher. Rather than show up at the occasion, the Deji merely sent one of his wives to represent him and he was home in the Palace on a public holiday for the Muslims. It was an embarrassment that this new Deji would disrespect one of his greatest predecessors in that kind of way. He, surely, did not understand the import of History and the importance of that Institution. Period.
Deji Agunsoye Adesida was a well-to-do attorney before he became the Deji. His father-in-law, late multi millionaire Chief Ajao of Lagos had bankrolled him as the Deji. Deji Otutubiosun had vied for the throne two times before he was successful. He died in total penury leaving thousands of Naira in unpaid hospital bills at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos. Deji Ataiyese Adebobabjo Adesida the IV was a rich Assistant Commissioner of Police before his coronation. He had to spend his own money to support his high visibility office until he died. Traditional rulers as a whole don’t make the kind of money that businessman and politicians make today. I just cannot comprehend where the chiefs expect this Deji to get that kind of money, if he is not doing many of the things he has been accused of doing. In a way, I think the chiefs are equally culpable. The Deji is going to find some illegal ways to recoup that money as time goes by.
I am mentioning all this to lend more credence to my thesis that Akure king makers as a group were trying to squeeze water out of a stone by expecting this man from London to, all of a sudden, become an Osun Oshogbo once he was crowned the Deji. The Chiefs were expecting too much and I blame them for driving this Deji to the wall. They have got to deal with the monster they have created by their greed. They have no one but themselves to blame. After all Prince Bankole Aladetoyinbo from Baltimore, Maryland was the one expected by the great majority of the people and the Osupa Family to take the title. His selection was aborted by the majority of the king makers for only one reason.
The Olisa and the Elemo of Akure were at daggers drawn at the time. The Elemo the third in the rank to the Deji was backing Prince Bankole Aladetoyinbo. Rather than back Elemo’s candidate, the Olisa and his faction decided to back the current Deji who was less known than Prince Aladetoyinbo at the time. The current Deji simply grabbed the window of opportunity thrown wide open by the disagreement and the avoidable feud between two factions of the Akure Council of Chiefs led by the Olisa and the Elemo just like the Agagu Government was actively looking for a candidate they could push around at Akure. A Deji who knows his right and is loved by his people cannot be pushed around or victimized by any Government in Ondo State.
Agagu and Oluwateru believed they have found such a man in the current Deji and they went all out for him pushing formality, tradition and protocols aside. That was how Akure ended up getting this Deji, even though they knew very little about him as a man worthy to lead Akure.
It is important that all these points are properly documented for history and posterity without fear or favor. That is what I am attempting to do here. The “Omo Ori Ite” provision in the Deji’s Declaration which has now been expunged for good, and by consensus, is useful to some extent, but the development has created some serious problems for the purity and sanctity of our tradition and customs in Akure. I predicted long ago, and I have repeated it, time and again, that an Okechukwu who has lived long enough in Akure or was born there and speaks Akure dialect fluently with the expertise of Pa Fabuda, could one day be crowned a Deji in Akure. Who is going to bell the cat or tell such a candidate he is not from the royal family? Everybody is Catholic on St. Patrick’s day in New York. Everyone can claim to be a prince in Akure.
All they need do is just claim that their father had reigned in Akure in 1150 AD or 1740 or 1845, which was the last year the Deji named Osupa ever reigned in Akure. The present Deji calling himself Osupa the Third is therefore subject to dispute. He should really have been called Osupa the Second, but because his coronation was mindlessly rushed by Agagu and Oluwateru for obvious reasons, the chiefs just let it go. I do not believe he was given a change of name at Ashamo’s Court like all of his predecessors. Deji Adesida’s new appellation was Afunbiowo. Deji Ademuagun was Agunsoye bi Oyibo. Deji Adelegan was Otutubiosun. Deji Adebobajo was Ataiyese. I will like to know the special name that this new Deji was given at Ashamo’s court and which of the 44 Dejis before him was the direct son of Oba Osupa to qualify him to now call himself Osupa the Third. That in, of itself, is misleading and it should be corrected.
Akure like Lagos or Abuja is fast becoming a no man’s land as the non-natives come to Akure in droves like the Jews have done in New York. Non-natives are busy buying old houses from Akure indigenes and rebuilding them into mansions for themselves and their children yet unborn. Because this Deji is so desperate for money to make a living, he is willing and ready to sell any empty plot of land he can find in Akure to these non-indigenes without thinking, and without remembering that he is not going to be the Deji forever. Nobody owns the world in perpetuity. We are all like actors on a stage. We play our part and leave the stage for someone else to take over. We are only going to be remembered by the record and legacies we leave behind.
This Deji goes to all the villages and hamlets around Akure selling any land he can find in order to raise money to support his life style. He picks and installs village heads without consultation with his Council of Chiefs.
All that must change, if the truce between him and his chiefs is to last.
Cash Hold Petrol Station at Mosalasi market Akure was sold to present Chief Olisa Folorunso David ever before he became the Olisa and long before this Deji came on board. This Deji came to the throne, and one of the first things he did was to resell the same piece of land for double the amount to his second-in-command. There is a chance this Deji might have sold many more lands like that in Akure in his insatiable lust for money. This Deji wants to extort money from anybody building a new house in Akure quite apart from what the owners might have paid to the Akure Town Planning Office.
He wants to behave like the King of England claiming that all Akure Land belongs to him and he can do what he likes with them. He revokes chieftaincy titles already conferred by his predecessors and he creates new titles, so he can get his own slice of the pie. I am not making up these actions up. The Chiefs unanimously made all the charges they are now so willing and ready to forego as long as the Deji is willing to make peace with them by paying them off. If they are not careful, they are going to have to pay that money back to him when they need him for anything. It is ordinary people that are going to suffer when this Deji begins to wield the powers conferred on him by his title. The chiefs could be smiling all the way to the Bank today; they are going to pay for this, one way or the other when the Deji climbs down on them, one by one.
If this travesty is allowed to endure without challenge, it is an easy road to perdition and destruction for Akure, and we must not allow it. The only way to stop it is to speak up against it before it is too late because all it needs for evil to triumph, is for good people to see evil and turn the other way.
I seize this opportunity to commend the Akure Community Leader Chief Reuben Faseide Fasoranti and Chief Oluyemi Falae and Chief Imam, Alhaji Yayi Akorede Junior who have led the efforts to settle this crisis to please note all the points I have raised here. I am also sending this article to Governor Mimiko who has come to the rescue of the Deji not so much because he loves the Deji more than the rest of us, but because he does not want a state of emergency declared in his State because of the implication of that to his tenure as Governor.
Governor Mimiko is lucky Obasanjo is no more the Head of State. Obasanjo could easily have taken undue advantage of the Deji’s crisis to foment more trouble for Mimiko whom he has never liked. Yar’ Adua was too busy looking for a way to stay alive to do a second term from his sick bed in Saudi Arabia. But there are some rabble-rousers in the PDP who would very gladly go for a state of emergency in Ondo State, if they can find an opening like the Deji’s crisis. But that is not to say that Akure must continue to tolerate the excesses of the new Deji because he has the support of Mimiko. That would be a huge mistake on the part of Governor Mimiko and the Deji himself.
I do not know where this Deji has got the 7.5 million cash to silence the chiefs for now, but I do hope that such money has not come from Ondo State tax payers because that is going to be huge mistake on the part of the Government. If the Mimiko Government has done it for the Deji, the same Government must be prepared to do so for the Olupele of Upele or any where in the state where there is a crisis of that kind and magnitude.
I supported Mimiko for Governor against my own interest as an Akure man because I thought and I strongly believed that Agagu Government rigged the election in 2007 and therefore deserved to be removed from office. Agagu was my junior boy at Ibadan Grammar School and in the old boy spirit, I supported him and Oluwateru when they ran against Adefarati and because I expected they were going to perform better than they did, and I never believed they could rig elections in broad daylight like they did.
I, myself and people like me could also turn against Governor Mimiko if he does not live up to expectation. There is no hide and seek game on that. I supported him and most Akure people supported him because he was cheated and victimized by Obasanjo. If we were going strictly by interest calculation, Akure people should have been rooting for Omolade Oluwateru to have a chance to succeed Agagu as Governor. I, for one, did not go that route because Omolade Oluwateru from Akure was a very weak Deputy Governor in my judgment, and I have said so many times, because he was railroaded into doing things that were not in the best interest of Akure, and he was a willing tool in Agagu’s hands. I did not like that.
Mimiko becoming Governor has made it less likely for another Akure man to succeed him in a zoning formula, which is very rampant in our country. Why? Because Ondo and Akure belong to the same senatorial District. The Governorship is already zoned to another Senatorial District in the next election or after Mimiko has served his two terms which is unlikely, given the history of our state. You have to remember that Ajasin our best civilian Governor, so far, did not complete his second term. Adebayo Adefarati had only one term. Agagu did not win a second term. He rigged the election quite but this nemesis did catch up with him.
I am personally troubled by one of the charges made against the Deji that he was a card-carrying member of the Labor Party. He was accused by the Chiefs as guilty of identifying himself too openly with a political party in our State. I did not make up the story, but the readiness with which Governor Mimiko was ready to stand up for him in this crisis, could be one-yard stick for measuring the validity of that charge. If it is true, the new Deji would be well served to heed the advice to steer clear of open partisan politics.
The history of traditional rulers who have done that in the past has not been that pleasant. This new Deji who does not appear to learn anything from history would be well advised to familiarize himself with Yoruba History, and to learn some useful lessons from that.
The bottom line is that this new Deji has to be more circumspect and careful in what he does from now on. If he goes on victimization rampage and vendetta against people who do not tell him only what he wants to hear, but the truth, the lull or the uneasy peace between him and his Chiefs and the Akure community at large quietly engineered by Governor Mimiko is going to be a Phyric victory for him at best. He can congratulate himself right now for winning the battle, but he could still lose the war, big time, if he does not turn a new leaf.
I rest my case.
Dr. Wumi Akintide.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters