Council of Obas resolve crisis as Ooni visits Owa Obokun

Yinka Salaam, Osogbo

The lingering leadership tussle in the Osun state traditional council has come to an end with the Ooni of Ife paying a surprise visit to the palace of Owa Obokun of Ijeshaland.

Ironically, the visit did not come until after a fracas reportedly occurred at the aborted monthly meeting of the Osun State Council of Obas in Osogbo.

The fracas led to an abrupt closure of the meeting just before it commenced when Owa Obokun of Ijeshaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran clashed with some aides of the Ooni, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi over the chairmanship of the meeting.

To avoid a scuffle on who occupies the front seat, some aides of Ooni of Ife had brought a special seat for him before the commencement of the meeting and stood by it, awaiting the arrival of Oba Ogunwusi.

Upon arrival, Owa Obokun simply went straight to the raised platform where Ooni’s special seat was positioned and ordered the aide watching over it to leave.

The aide reportedly dismissed Owa Obokun’s order, which eventually led to a scuffle that saw the white cloth of the Emese (Ooni’s aide) torn.

But in what is believed as the final resolution of the crisis, the Ooni, in company of most members of the Obas’ Council later went to Owa’s place in Ilesha, where they held a closed door meeting.

The Obas, before they left for Ilesha had reportedly met with Governor Aregbesola, where the matter was resolved.

Addressing newsmen after the meeting, Oba Aromolaran said Ooni’s visit was a surprise and the least expected one.Ooni-Owa-visit

“Now that you have come to show hand of friendship, I will now join your unity train to unify the Yoruba race,” he said.

Responding, Ooni of Ife said the Owa stool remains one of the very prominent ones in Yorubaland saying,“it is in my interest and that of the larger Yoruba people to relate very well with Owa. I just spent about three months on the throne now, while you, Owa has spent about 45 years.

It is therefore my responsibility to visit you first because you have been on the throne for long. It has been said by the God almighty that I should come and liberate Yorubaland and to ensure peace and unity. I am not engaging in any supremacy or leadership tussle with anybody,” the Ooni stressed.

When contacted, Moses Olafare, the media aide to Ooni of Ife said it was not contestable that the Ooni remained the permanent chairman of the council since there is a law that backs it.

“Ooni will not want to be drawn into what happened, Oba Ogunwusi remained the permanent chairman of Osun Obas’ council, according to the law,” he said.

Divine mission

Oba Ogunwusi has recently embarked on unity visits to prominent Yoruba monarchs, including the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and the Awujale of Ijebu Ode, Oba Sikiru Adetona; the move the Ooni says is a divine mission imposed on him to unite the Yoruba race.

It would be recalled that Oba Aromolaran, before the presentation of staff of office to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, had acted as the chairman of the council.

But in an apparent protest to the decision of the council to Owa’s emergence as the acting chairman, some prominent monarchs had stayed away from the October, 2015, meeting which was presided over by the Owa Obokun.Ooni-owa-visit3

Consequently, the motion moved by the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun at the November meeting, that Oba Aromolaran be made permanent chairman of the council also caused some ripples among the monarchs.

The move had initially heightened potential fears of clash whenever the new Ooni starts attending the council’s meeting.

However, at the December, 2015 meeting, the much expected collision did not happen, as aides of Ooni brought a special chair for him, after Owa had occupied the seat meant for chairing the meeting.

Interestingly, while introducing members of the council, Oba Aromolaran introduced himself as the deputy chairman of the council.

Most monarchs, including many prominent Yoruba leaders, are of the opinion that the giant move by the Ooni had finally nailed the coffin of council’s leadership tussle that ensued soon after the death of the late Ooni Okunade Sijuade.

Unity Visit to Awujale

The Ooni had a week earlier paid a royal courtesy call to the paramount ruler of Ijebuland, the Awujale, Oba Sikiru Adetona.

The Ooni, who was in accompany of all traditional rulers in Ifeland was received by the Awujale and over 28 traditional rulers in Ijebuland, the Otunbas and many business mogul who are sons of Ijebuland.

They include Olori Omo Oba o Ijebuland, Otunba Subomi Balogun, Olorogun Sonny Kuku, Chief Ayo Adebanjo.

Oba Ogunwusi emphasised the need for all members of the Yoruba nation to come together and defend their rights.

“Yorubas must acknowledge its values and be in unity in order to develop and promote the Yoruba land”.

I am not here for supremacy battle because all of us belong to one God and the King of Kings to whom we will all be accountable,” Ooni said.

The Ooni explained that his visit was mainly to acknowledge Oba Adetona as one of the paramount kings in Yorubaland whose wisdom and experience is most needed in unifying all sons and daughters of Yoruba.

“I will be closer to Oba Adetona to solicit his support in the campaign of unity and peace I started,” Ooni concluded.

In a response, Oba Sikiru Adetona expressed his delight to the Ooni who he described as a thorough bred.

He advised Ooni to be wary of those who distort history, and shun undue government influence as well as praise singers.

“Our paramount aim is to speak the minds of our people and  provide social amenities,” he said

The Awujale acknowledged the role played by the late Ooni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi in ensuring mutual respect that had existed among the traditional rulers in Yorubaland.

He described Oba Ogunwusi as a true man of history whose reign in Yorubaland will be fruitful and prayed for the successful reign of Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi

It would be recalled that the Ooni stated in his condolence message on Olubadan a week earlier that he would have loved to be hosted by the late Olubadan who could have hosted one of the unity visits that begun with the Alaaafin of Oyo.

The entourage of the Ooni of Ife had all royal fathers from Ifeland, including Chief Alex Duduyemi, Chief John Odeyemi, Chief Bisi Omidiora and several other distinguished Nigerians.

The visit ended with an exchange of gifts as a mark of a new dawn between the two kingdoms