Prince Olanrewaju Ogunoye came into limelight when he led other princes of Ogunoye Royal Lineages to reject the consensus arrangement of Ogunoye family. In this interview with BABATOPE OKEOWO, the Prince said the throne of Olowo is open to Eleweokun Ruling House. He also gave reasons why he is aspiring to lead the ancient town of Owo and the reason he rejected the consensus arrangement of the family
Why did you reject the position of the Ogunoye Lineage on the presentation of a consensus candidate to the Senior Omolowo?
You cannot choose for Owo. There has never been a time in the history of Owo that a single candidate was presented to the Senior Omolowo. In the last dispensation, five Ogunoyes were sent to the Senior Omolowo. Ajike sent two people and Olagbegi sent theirs.
Eleven people contested for the throne. It was a lie that we have consensus candidate from Ogunoye family. We don’t have any agreement as to a consensus candidate among us. We are all vying for the stool of Olowo. The constitution says any prince from Eleweokun Ruling House can apply for the throne of Olowo. We were 12 candidates from Ogunoye who showed interest. We told them to be transparent but they went ahead and fraudulently chose a particular candidate. On that day, they brought police and those of us who did not come with policemen were chased away. Eventually, they raised a hand of one person, which we all rejected.
But the family said they will present a single candidate to the Senior Omolowo…….
There is one authority that has power over the selection of Olowo and it is the Senior Omolowo. There is no other authority that is allowed to do that. From the family side, we thought we could have an agreement in order to present a formidable candidate but all the laid down rules and regulation from the family were not properly followed. They went without our knowledge to consult whoever they went to consult. The people who called themselves leaders were induced. We don’t want any violence in Owo kingdom, whatever decision comes from the Senior Omolowo will be binding on all of us, not from the family.
Do you share the view that only Ogunoye lineage should contest for the throne?
I don’t share that view. The law says every prince from Eleweokun Ruling House has right to vie for the throne of Olowo. We are not going to relegate any other family. Every qualified prince should obtain the form. The Senior Omolowo would now decide who to pick among us. Although the feeling in the town is that it is the turn of Ogunoye, the law says all of us have right including Ajike and Olagbegi. It is the prerogative of the Senior Omolowo to concede to us.
Why are you interested in the throne of Olowo of Owo?
My eligibility to the throne of Olowo in the ancient city, Owo flows from being a direct descendant of Ogwa Elewuokun family tree from which my lineage Ogunoye emanated. My interest in the Olowo will be to promote the legitimate expectations, goodness and welfare of the vast majority of the good people of Owo kingdom both within and the Diaspora. In addition, the sustenance of the legacies of Ogunoye family lineage in the critical area of development, the spirit of harnessing the full potentials and cooperation of Owo citizens is imperative. The necessity to build upon the present level of development for me is an article of faith and a patriotic desire to serve in an uncompromised covenant.
Let us have an insight into your background
I am Prince Olanrewaju Adelotan Ogunoye, born in the year 1947 to Prince Moses Adelotan Ogunoye and Madam Folake Ogunoye (Nee Olutoge). I had my Primary School at CAC Primary School, Igboroko, Owo, LA Modern School, Owo, before proceeding to Methodist High School, Owo. I had my B.Sc in Food Science and Technology from Alabama A&M University, Huntsville Alabama and MBA in Accounting and Taxation from the University of North Texas, Denton Texas.
With this background, do you think you have qualities of an Olowo?
The revered and highly cherished throne of Olowo within Ondo State and Nigeria is essentially a very serious responsibility. Aside from age and experience of life, I have the intellectual abilities, competence and capacity to comprehend, intercept, analyze and conceptualize issues from different perspectives on the basis of rationality. For me, it is about leveraging on my local and international exposure to navigate the basic and fundamental issues as they emerge, yet in full consciousness of the responsibility. It is all about people.
What differentiates you from other princes of the Elewuokun Ruling House?
I will admit with all sense of responsibility and humility as well as my pedigree that I am well qualified and equipped for the task and the challenges ahead. I differ from others due to my innate ability to see the larger picture of tenacity of purpose, the strive for excellence, absorptive capacity, respect for others, astounding simplicity, conscious of the overwhelming desire to cooperate with people and discharge my duties within the context of our custom and traditional values at all times and circumstances. All these and more is purposeful leadership within the framework of exemplary excellence.
How will you reconcile with other princes if you eventually emerge as the next Olowo?
It is all about making oneself the ruler, father of all for the survival of the prestigious throne of Olowo. In the event of being given the opportunity to ascend the throne through the instrumentality of the culturally institutionalised authority of the kingmakers and the inconceivable grace and the love of the Almighty, the process of recommendation becomes inevitable. In the circumstances, the full involvement of our revered kingmakers, stakeholders, contestants, quarter chiefs as well as other prominent citizens will be harnessed in the fullest. It is only in the atmosphere of peace and tranquility that development can manifest. Necessary strategies and implementation thereof will be put in the place.
What are your plans for the Owo town if you are selected as the next monarch of the town?
I intend to promote peace and tranquility in Owo kingdom. I will pursue reconciliation among factions, build confidence and trust between and among perceived and real conflicting interests, the annual celebration of Igogo festival as the cultural festival and heritage of Owo will be further elevated from its current local status to higher recognition of the national and international significance. It will be further redefined to accommodate wider participation by all our chiefs and invited prominent traditional rulers in Yoruba land for unity, understanding, and cooperation in socio-economic and cultural value. There will be quarterly meetings with all our traditional chiefs for obtaining input into our strategic plans and implementation. The arrowhead of the structural-function integration will be led by senior Omoolowo to drive the process, in which all our kingmakers will jointly participate.
How do you hope to achieve these programmes?
I will be working with the support of the kingmakers, a register for documentation of all prominent citizens of Owo in Nigeria and the Diaspora will be opened for the purpose of identifying the legitimate aspirations and projects development. The need for building a befitting new royal palace in Owo within the present location is imperative and extremely important. It shall be monument and legacy with the input of the state government and our people. A think-tank shall be anchored for the purpose to work out the modalities. The full cooperation and support of the state and local government will be sought at all times, while the support and the understanding of our people shall be guaranteed in mutual reciprocity. With these, the aspirations will be met.
What’s your advice to the Omoolowo and the kingmakers on the selection of the selection process?
Kabiyesi Ojomoluda has spoken on this one and I am standing on the protocol of justice and fairness he has eloquently spoken about in a well published and documented press conference a few days or week ago as the run of and for royalty kicked off.
Are you ready to support any other prince that eventually emerges as the new Olowo?
I would like to put on record that my full support for the candidate that may eventually emerge in the final decision is hereby guaranteed. However, this is with a view that the process is devoid of ambiguity, political shenanigans and impunity, characteristic of human tendencies and aberrations. The need to continue with the good name of Oghwa Elewookun family of which the good people of Owo have put their hope and cultural destiny must be protected and preserved at all times. My personal trust and confidence remain incontrovertible in the person and institution of Omolowo in this critical moment of our historical trajectory.
A reward for their selflessness
After years of selfless services in public places, some physically-challenged people who sweep Lagos pedestrian bridges finally got employment. Muritala Ayinla reports
hey are one of the few physically challenged persons that anyone will pass for a beggar in the city of Lagos. They crawl on pedestrian bridges, busy sweeping and relating with pedestrians politely, begging for alms. Why some of their contemporaries beg for alms, these few Nigerians detest begging, instead they devote their energies into sweeping and cleaning bridges as most Lagos landlords would do to their houses.
For these categories of people living with disabilities, there is an ability in their what many see as their disabilities. They need not beg before they earn a living, even though they are not gainfully employed by any firm in the nation’s commercial nerve centre. Hence, as early as possible, they are found on the bridges cleaning and ensuring that the bridges are tidy for public use. But last Wednesday, their selfless service finally paved the way, as the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA offered them jobs and formalized their daily routine self-assigned duties. What many of their able-bodied counterparts couldn’t get, these Lagos Bridge Sweepers now could boast of being in the service of the Lagos State government. They were exempted from the criteria of having to possess the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency, card otherwise known as LASRAA card as many applicants of Lagos State government’s jobs.
Speaking with City Life, one of the sweepers, Adamu Umaru, 45, who sweeps Ojodu Berger Pedestrian Bridge, said he had been in Lagos for the past 18 years, saying that he derived pleasure from cleaning his environment and that was why he took to sweeping Lagos bridges. The Kano State-born physically challenged, who lost his arm to a textile machine while working as a painter in Kano, said that he had no premonition that he would one day be given employment until some government’s agency came to engage him. “I sweep the entire stretch of this pedestrian bridge four times daily to make sure there is no dirt on the bridge. I have swept pedestrian bridge in Lekki, CMS before coming to Berger. I have been told to open my bank account and that money will be paid into it monthly” For Saliu Ibrahim, 48, who hails from Jigawa, it is disgusting for anyone one to rely on begging for a leaving irrespective of the kind of physical disabilities such a person suffers.
The father of 7, said he had been surviving with his family without begging for alms from any pedestrians, saying Nigerians willingly donate money for him while using the bridges. It was learnt that 20 of the physically challenged people known for sweeping public places in the state were employed. They were engaged at the pedestrian bridges in Ojota New Bridge, Alausa Secretariat Bridge, Ikeja Along Bridge, CMS Bridge and a host of others. They had all been sweeping the bridges before their engagement with the waste management agency. Speaking on the employment, Managing Director of LAWMA, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, described the move as part of the strategies to empower the physically challenged people in the state. He said that the agency is keen on integrating them into the Authority’s vision of a cleaner and livable environment. He added that the Authority had stepped up its drive to rid the state of waste and it had become necessary to engage all stakeholders, including physically challenged persons.
Gbadegeshin said: “The cleanliness of the Lagos State is a collective responsibility. We need all hands to be on deck to help us realize our vision of building a cleaner city we all will be proud of. That is why we have decided to engage these special sweepers to play their own part in achieving this”, he said. Gbadegesin pointed out that LAWMA had engaged the services of the disabled sweepers, instead of leaving them to beg on the streets, adding that they would be assigned to clean various pedestrian bridges in the state, such as Ojota New Bridge, Alausa Secretariat Bridge, Ikeja Along Bridge, CMS Bridge and a host of others. He said: “We have mapped out pedestrian bridges where they will be operating such as Ojota New Bridge, Alausa Secretariat Bridge, Ikeja Along Bridge, CMS Bridge, Palm Groove bridge, Oshodi Oke bridge, Anthony Bus Stop and others. They will ensure that these locations are always cleaned up during the day.” He said there were plans to employ more, urging the sweepers to contribute their own quota towards establishing environmental sustainability in the state. He implored residents to support the efforts of government at restoring environmental dignity, adding that the Authority would not rest on its oars until effective sanitation was entrenched in every part of the metropolis.
When the world gathered to celebrate twins at Igboora
It was excitement galore at the historical city of Igboora in the Ibarapa Central Local Government of Oyo State last Saturday when people from all walks of life including the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemo 111, his Vice in the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, Oba Samuel Akindele (Eleruwa of Eruwa), the state Governor Seyi Makinde (who was represented by a member representing the Ibarapa zone in the House of Representatives (Hon. Ajibola Muraina), among others converged to celebrate the natural qualities of twins.
Others in attendance at the world famous ‘Home of Twins’ were: the Olu of Igboora, Oba Jimoh Olagunju Titiloye; Baba Aso of Iberekodo, Most Senior Apostle Joshua Olusoji Ojo; Dr. Olusola Ayandele (former gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Chairman of the occasion; the Royal Mother of the Day, Ayaba Aanuoluwapo Adeyemi (Alaafin’s queen who also bore twins), various sets of twins, (infants, young and old) from across the South West, among many others. The event put together by the Igboora Community Foundation in conjunction with the Twins World Creations was organized to showcase the tourism and cultural potentials of the community and attract investors into the state with the hope of enlisting the town in the Guinness Book of Records and UNESCO world heritage sites and festival.
All gaily and sartorially dressed for the annual festival, second of its kind being facilitated by the ‘Twins World Creation’ of Ambassadors Taiwo and Kehinde Oguntoye, the town wore a merry mood as families of twins filed out, danced and savour the glamour of being celebrated by the creme de la creme of the society. Few who had not been blessed with twins prayed to have one and be blessed like their neighbours as nearly every household in the town produced at least a set of twins. A study conducted by a British gynecologist, Patrick Nylander, between 2972 – 1982 had surprisingly recorded “an average of 45 to 50 sets of twins per 1,000 live birth in the Southwest of Nigeria, and there are about 30 times more in Igboora than there are in the whole of Europe.
According to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBS) article, there are about 158 twins per 2,000 newborn in Igboora, the twins capital of the world compare to 5 twins per 1,000 newborns in Europe”. Research had shown that the high rate of fecundity among the Igboora people was attributed to their consumption of amala made from yam powder, and ilasa from okra soup. Yam is scientifically proved to contain gonadatrophins, a chemical that helps women produce multiple eggs. In the array of sets of twins were: the 70-year old Pa Taye Adeleke and Madam Kehinde Akano (nee Adeleke). Taiwo told New Telegraph that his mother had three sets of twins, he had got a set of twins (male and female) and two of his daughters have also given birth to twins. A hair dresser wife (Afolabi Adenike), who hails from Iwere Ile in the Oke Ogun area of Oyo State and is married to an Igboora husband has also got her first borns being twins. Asked if she would still love to have another set of twins in spite of the rigour associated with the parenting of the three months old babies, Serifat gleefully said that “I will love to have another when it is time to do another one.”
A set of very identical female twins: Taiwo and Kehinde Kalejaiye who came from Ogun State, hilariously disclosed when asked whether there had ever been experience of mistaken identity from people to them, that ” many people do mistake me for Kehinde and through it we do play pranks. Our boy friends at times mistake us but it will be in the course of discussion that I will tell him that he was talking to Taiwo and not Kehinde, his girl friend. If we want to write tests for each other, we could do so without the teachers discovering because it is only the two of us that know what distinguishes us physically”, she said. Another set of twins Taiwo and Kehinde Alese are artistes. They entertained the guests with their Afro Pop music, while commending the organizers for the well-thought-out festival. Operating on the stage name of AK (AT) Entertainment, the Business Administration graduates look forward to getting married to twins if nature divines it to be so. The Alaafin who felicitated twins, describing them as harbinger of good luck and joy, excited the gathering that he had a set of twins, as well as a set of triplet. The octogenarian said “as I am now, Queen Aanuoluwapo (mother of the twins) will still give birth to another set of twins next year. My organ is still working. It is not dead”, he said jokingly to the excitement of the people.
According to the monarch, “Twins are unique creation that are very important, and we Yorubas also count them worthy. God created them in a unique way because a woman has only one womb to carry a baby. It is now marvelous for a womb that is supposed to carry one child to now carry two. “Yorubas believe that giving birth to twins brings joy and happiness to the family. That is why everybody wants to associate with them either having them as children or as associates. This makes them to have adoring names different from all other children. The chairman of the event, Dr. Olusola Ayadele, said that the twins festival was just the beginning of renaissance, adding that twins are being celebrated all over the world, and it has now become a tourism event in the whole of Ibarapa land. “Here in Igboora, almost every family has twins, and this does not happen anywhere except in Igboora. I want to advice twins to continue to be good ambassadors.”
Meanwhile, the Ibadan, Oyo state- born twins ambassadors, Taiwo and Kehinde Oguntoye, confirmed that being twins had brought a lot of good things to them, while saying that the festival was aimed at adding to the economic benefit of Oyo State, and Nigeria at large. According to them, “We are of the opinion that this twins festival can be used to boost the economy of Nigeria through twins tourism. This means that this is a way by which twining can be used to promote and developed our tourism potentials in Igboora”.
“This festival which started last year is therefore, designed to position Oyo State as the foremost twins tourism destination in the world, initiate the development of twins festival as a unique sponsorship property and create activity around Igbo-ora towards attracting of Pilgrimage to the “Land of Twins” or “World Twins Capital”, and improving the economy of the town and neighboring Local Government Areas in particular and Oyo State in general.”
Giving back to their community
he Alumni Association of Nigeria’s Pioneer Business High School, United Christian Secondary School, Apapa, Lagos has committed the 60thAnniversary/Founders’ Day of their alma mater to replacing its decrepit infrastructure. Not too happy with what they described as the insipid condition of “a once high flier amongst schools in Lagos,” they are resolved to return the formerly enviable institution to its “falcon height.”
“We can’t be celebrating when our School is in a mess. Rather than bring out the drums and celebrate lavishly, our Alumni/Alumnae who are based across the world, are using the Anniversary with the theme “Giving Back“ to massively retool the infrastructure of the School that have long gone decrepit as a result of many years of government takeover,” says Alumni President, Mr Tony Iyare
“Our members are of the firm belief that they can’t be celebrating when the School is in shreds and when students are learning under conditions that are worse than that of the early man. “If you go round the School, it is largely replete with broken windows, desks, chairs, doors, ripped white boards, ramshackle buildings, dingy classrooms and a very insipid environment which is not congenial to learning. For those who attended the old school with its beautiful flowers and impeccably cut grasses and with learning conducted under some of the best atmosphere, they simply weep each time they are here,” he reminisced, recalling the school’s glowing days when it operated from its former alluring location on Bombay Crescent.
Iyare, a former special adviser to former Edo State Governor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, reveals that was the reason why members of the Alumni Association decided to put on hold the luncheon that normally accompanies this kind of event. But they are organising a Thanksgiving Service on October 15 to be followed by Career Talk and Prize Giving Day, which the Alumni Association has sponsored for over 15 years as part of its strive to maintain high academic standards in the school.
Mr Iyare, a Journalist and Development Consultant, says “As branches, sets or individuals, our Alumni are working in concert and garnering lots of resources to fix the school’s moribund infrastructure and put it in better shape. After an exhaustive engagement with the school’s management on their needs assessment, we have come up with a long list of projects that we are imploring our members to support. And the responses have been quite overwhelming.”
From the Agriculture and Home Economics Laboratories, classrooms to the staff rooms and the office of the principals of the senior and junior schools are undergoing facelift. The Alumni association is also supplying desks, chairs and standard white boards. The school which admitted its first set of students in January, 1959 and was formally opened on October 15th, 1960 by then Minister of Education, Hon Aja Nwanchukwu, was conceived with a bias for commercial subjects in response to the demands of the Apapa industrial community.
Its lot has been on the downward slide since the change of ownership in 1975. The School which was a high flier in both academics and sports further began to wane when it was relocated from its prime old site on Bombay Crescent to the less fancied site on Liverpool road, both in Apapa.
In 1958, at the invitation of the Federal Government, a Working Committee was formed for the purpose of establishing and administering a secondary school with commercial bias. Representatives of the Anglican, Baptist and Methodist Missions of the Christian Council and the Ministry of Education were included. The collaboration of three Missionary bodies in this happy and constructive partnership was the reason for the words “United Christian” in the School’s name.
Subsequently, the Working Committee was expanded into the Board of Governors which included representatives of some of the main commercial houses of Nigeria. The School, then known as United Christian Secondary Commercial College, was founded in January 1959 by three missions – Anglican, Baptist and Methodist. Situated at No. 34 Bombay Crescent, Apapa, the School was primarily founded to suit the need of the Industrial Apapa Community; hence the curriculum emphasized commercial subjects and secretarial studies at its inception.
The School began on the enviable promise of producing the budding graduates that were expected to oil the path of business development of the fledgling country. Since then, many distinguished professionals in different fields have been produced from the School, which later added science and other technical subjects in the 80s. Its well groomed alumni have lifted its banner both within and outside our country’s shores.
Since early 2000, the United Christian Secondary School Old Students’ Association (UCOSA), founded in 1974, began moves for the former mission owners to reclaim the School in order to stem its downward slide and return it back to its falcon height. This was rekindled after the schools in Lagos State were returned to their former owners, shortly after the advent of the government of Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The move by UCOSA recently elicited positive responses as the Anglican, Methodist and Baptist Missions have kick started the process to endorse a joint application to demand the School from the Lagos State Government. “Our real rebuilding process will begin once the former mission owners take back their school,” Iyare says.
“More importantly, because of our resolve that government take-over has put the School on a reverse gear, we have in the last 16 years pleaded with the former mission owners-Anglican, Methodist and Baptist to take back the School. We are very delighted to report that they’ve heeded our call and the process is now fully on. We hope that very soon their application for the demand of the School will be delivered to the Lagos State Ministry of Education,” he quips.
The Alumni Association is however pleading with the Lagos State Government to, “Urgently clear the brothels and alcoholic shops that are not only constituting a menace to our students and inimical to an environment where our future leaders are being nurtured but they also block the passage to the School.”
The Alumni Association says, “Apart from presenting a security crisis for the School and members of UCOSA who hold meetings there, they are also constructed on drains which itself is a violation of the environmental laws of the state.” It counsels that “Against the backdrop of some recent ugly developments in the state and around the country, it has become imperative to ensure that students learn in very secured and safe condition.”
It also wants government’s assistance for the road leading to the School from Liverpool Road to be extended beyond the gate “so that the debris perennially collecting around the entrance and which defaces its look can be effectively checked.”
UCOSA also implores the government to construct its new prototype 18-classroom block to replace the entire decrepit prefab, otherwise called Jakande buildings, dotting the School “which are posing imminent danger to our students.” “This call has become urgent against the increasing rate of collapsed buildings in the state,” it says.
The Alumni Association also wants government support in its struggle to ensure that the School’s properties that have been lost to trespassers are urgently retrieved.It is also pleading with both the Federal and Lagos State Governments to urgently renovate the neighbouring Queen’s Barracks meant for the police which have become an eyesore and pose some menace to the School.
Odole-Oodua is here!
Ooni Of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi will, this week, install Sir. Adebutu Kensington as the new Odole-Oodua of Yoruba kingdom. ADEOLU ADEYEMO writes on the event preparation and others
here are many great men that had worked with great intensity to achieve goals in life. Their hands had worked round the clock despite severe cold. They are hands that had braved formidable obstacles in devotion to contributions to humanity and society at large.
One of such is Sir Adebutu Adebukunola Kensington who had wordlessly added values to the lives of many people in the country with his dynamic and creative wisdom and as a result of this, chosen to be installed as Odo-Ile Oodua of Yoruba kingdom by Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi on Saturday, October 19th.
In preparation for the programme, the planning committee members saddled with the responsibility under the leadership of Aare Kola Oyefeso and a member of the committee who is also the Ooni’s cultural ambassador, Ms Morounranti Asabi had made every necessary arrangement to make the event a heroic one.
The House of Oduduwa announced that the prestigious chieftaincy title of Odole Oodua will be conferred on Adebutu a.k.a. Dodondawa popularly known as Baba Ijebu, October 19 at the Ile-Oodua. In a statement signed by the monarch spokes person, Comrade Moses Olafare pointed out that, “this will be the first of such conferment by Oba Ogunwusi since his ascension to the throne as the 51st Ooni in the third dynasty of Ife about four years ago.”
Olafare quoted Ooni of Ife to have said that, the Odole is a special office which works closely with the Ooni in rallying the descendants of Oduduwa wherever they are in the world for unity, peace and progress of the race. The Odole Oodua, a position once occupied by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and subsequently by Chief G.O.K Ajayi is a highly revered chieftaincy in Yorubaland pioneered by the great Oranmiyan while he was still a Prince of Ife. Oranmiyan served as a rallying point and stabilizing force among the powerful empires within the expansive Oduduwa territory before becoming the Ooni in Ife after his exploits which cut across Benin and Oyo kingdoms where he established his royal dynasties which have been in existence till date.”
Historically, “the office has its roots in the remarkable roles played by Oranmiyan, the great ruler of old Oyo and Benin kingdoms. Oranmiyan was virile, bold, adventurous, circumspect, dutiful and at the service of his other siblings. He stood as an effective link between them. It was his commitment to a united Oduduwa family that is referenced in the fragment of his panegyric “akantunkansi or as’otuns’osi, akinn’ile akinl’ogun” (the great link to both sides, the brave both at home and at war. Even though both Benin and Oyo kingdoms were at a point most powerful domains within the expansive Oduduwa territory, Oranmiyan ensured that they never overran each other.”
“The traditional title of the Odole of Ife has been retained as part of Ife’s social and political system and specially conferred on distinguished Oodua descendants who in present times can replicate the roles played by Oranmiyan.”
Like his predecessor, “Sir Adebutu’s exemplary life achievements and awesome potentials for positive social transformation were a crucial factor in his consideration for the prestigious position.”
“The choice of Adebutu as the Odole Oodua is also in recognition of his philanthropy, positive contributions to human development, and promotion of our prestigious cultural values and traditions as descendants of Oduduwa. The Kensington Adebukunola Adebutu Foundation (KAAF) and the medical laboratory and Maternity Centre established in 2005 among other commitments to the service of the poor and other vulnerable people in the society attest to this.”
“All the necessary rites attached to the installation are being observed ahead of the installation ceremony slated. The kings, the high chiefs (AGBA IFE) and chief priests (THE ISOROS) are atop of the coronation rites which will reach the climax on the eve of the event in October 2019.”
Speaking on his readiness for the title, Adebutu said he was prepared for his new traditional title, saying the importance of it transcends other chieftaincy tittles.
According to him, “without mincing words, I know the importance of the new title. And for your information, many kings know I won’t take any other chieftaincy title after my coronation as Odole Oodua. They also know the importance of it.”
The business mogul, who will clock 84 on October 24, said the revered title would strengthen his crusade for a united Yoruba race. He added that he has a cordial relationship with Yoruba monarchs, adding that, performing in his new role will be a walk in the park.
“Without sounding arrogant, I am humble to say that many of the Kabiyesis are my friends. If you notice any of my occasions, all the Kabiyesis are always present. And before I was announced as the recipient of this sacred position which had only been occupied by Oranmiyan, Awolowo and GOK Ajayi, I have been taking steps to ensure that there is unity among the Yoruba monarchs not even knowing I was being watched.
133 years after: Celebrating end of Ekiti Parapo war
People in Ekiti state would forever remember the joint and concerted efforts of their olden days’ traditional monarchs in the conquest of the inter-tribal Ekiti parapo war.
The warriors of Ekiti parapo War whose efforts would continue to linger in the memory of Ekiti people, that time were domiciled in Okemesi-Ekiti in Ekiti West Local Government Area of the State. It was Okemesi community that also produced Fabunmi -the famous hero of the intertribal war . The Ibadan warlords at that time reportedly descended on Ekiti with oppressive rules and the aims of taking over the domain of Ekiti people . The people were turned to slaves in their own lands, all in the hands of the attackers under the full control and leadership of the Ibadan generallismo, called Aare Latoosa. The Ekiti Parapo war began in 1877 and lasted till 1886 after the warring parties signed Yoruba peace agreement which was endorsed by the colonial masters.
Ekiti monarchs – the then Owa of Imesi Oloja Oke, now Okemesi-Ekiti, Ido-Ekiti, Ilupeju, Aisegba, ljesha and llorin Afonja among others, set up coalition of forces and produced over 50,000 local warriors to fight the adamant Ibadan warriors, reputed then to be a very strong army. The current monarch of Okemesi, the Owa Ooye of Okemesi, Oba Micheal Gbadebo Obalolade Adedeji, stated that the Ekiti parapo army were led by a brave man from Okemesi, identified as Prince Fabunmi Oraralada. Oba Adedeji explained that, “the events that really led to the war happened in Okemesi when Prince Fabunmi revolted against the high handedness of the Ajeles, who were colonial tax masters from Ibadan. The threat of war from Ibadan led to the meeting of Ekiti Obas who decided to mobilize their people to team up to fight the rampaging Ibadan warriors,” he said. “At the war, the Ekiti parapo emerged victorious in that they gained their freedom from Ibadan after about nine years of war, when the peace treaty was signed by the warring parties.
“133 years after, Okemesi people chose the spot where the over 50,000 army had gathered in 1877 as the venue for remembering and celebrating the heroes of the war.” Oba Adedeji said: “Where Ekiti warriors first assembled before going for the Ekiti parapo war in 1877 is Ita Balogun in Okemesi and now we have chosen the place as a spot for remembering and celebrating those legendary heroes.” The spot, Ita Balogun is now a tourist resort centre by the people of Okemesi. The celebration of this year’s Ekiti parapo festival took place at the resort.
The festival was organized by Okemesi cultural heritage and tourism committee, Federation of Okemesi Improvement Unions (FOIU) in conjunction with the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture.
A community leader in Okemesi Ekiti, Mr. Raphael Adeyanju, said: “The remote cause of the war was the highhandedness of the Ibadan Ajeles posted to oversee the administration of Ekiti land and other people under Ibadan tyrannical hegemony. These Ajeles were always very rude to the natives; they did not only extort farm produce; they subjected them to forced labour and rape of their women.
“The immediate cause of the war was the desecration of a traditional festival called Erinle in Okemesi Ekiti by the unruly Ajeles. In anger, Fabunmi beheaded one of the Ajeles, and when Aare Latoosa, who was then Ibadan monarch, got to know about the development he demanded for the head of Fabunmi through some messengers he sent but Fabunmi also killed Latoosa ‘s messengers and instigated all Ekiti communities to do same. ” The theme of this year’s Ekiti parapo festival, was, “Remembering our past, celebrating our unity.” The festival featured cultural songs presentation, dances, lectures, gun shots in memory of the heroes of the war as well as display of the historical artifacts of the war. Distinguished sons and daughters of Okemesi both at home in Diaspora graced the event . The personalities that graced the event among others included the national President of Federation of Okemesi Improvement Union (FOIU) , Chief B. M. R Ajijola and chairman of Okemesi tourism committee, Prince Kayode Oni .
The chairman of Ekiti Obas council and the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi was the royal father of the day. The Owa Ooye of Okemesi, Oba Adedeji at the occasion, explained the significance of Ekiti parapo war, the advantage and what the town plans to achieve with it: “if there is one festival that can bring all Ekiti people together at any time, I think it is the Ekiti parapo festival. Almost all monarchs that time supplied men and materials and led their army to the battlefield. “They took off from where we are congregating now in Okemesi and marched to the camp at Imesi Ipole, now Imesi like in Osun State, where they were ordered into the battlefield. So, as we then united to fight a common enemy, we can also unite to fight a common enemy plaguing our state and country today. “The Ekiti parapo festival can also be turned into a forum for creation of a Dubai kind of a market which can eventually lead to an entrepreneurial revolution. “The Ekiti parapo festival can lend more weight to our recognition at the national level. A reliable source has just hinted that the Federal Government is romancing with us to recognise Ekiti parapo festival as a National festival or something like that. This can eventually lead to an establishment of a national monument right here in Ekiti. At home here, we can complement such federal project with the building of Ekiti State War Museum right here where the Ekiti parapo army launched out in 1877.
“A yearly celebration of this festival will serve as an annual reminder to whoever it may concern that there should be a limit to the abuse of human dignity, that a “big brother’ should not always see his status as an opportunity to deprive his fellow brother of his freedom.” Responding to OwaOoye’s analysis, the chairman of Ekiti council of Obas and the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi said: ” Our people in Okemesi are now heroes of Ekiti with what you are doing now. The Owa Ooye was chairman of Obas’ council when I ascended the throne. He was exemplary when he was there. There has not been anyone like him out of others who have succeeded him. “With patriotic feats of the late Balogun Fabunmi and other great Ekiti warriors in the Ekiti parapo war, I can conveniently say that the state was created in 1886. “If that war had not happened, Ekiti would have been a conquered territory of Ibadan today. So, we are proud of our warriors who led and won that war. Lessons of the war are many but most profound is the unity. It would have been a Herculean task if Ekiti had not fought the war in unity. Our unity is paramount and we must see and treat ourselves as one. There should be no rancour. We will work towards supporting the Ekiti parapo festival next year, so that it would be more colourful than this, ” Alawe stated.
Akute, Denro-Isashi: A perennial flood problem comes again
Rainy season can come with tales of woes and satisfaction for many residents. But to the inhabitants and travellers on Denro-Isashi road, in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State, the season has made commuting a harrowing experience. MURITALA AYINLA reports
othing will excite the residents and commuters of Akute, Denro-Isashi community in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State than to see the flooded portion of the major road leading to the community, which is also a link road to other communities around dried up.
For nearly three weeks, the persistent flood has sacked them from their homes and made commuting a harrowing experience. With the road already submerged by the flood from the river, residents are at the mercy of daring scavengers and other jobless boys, who make brisk business ferrying residents on their backs across the massively flooded portion of the road.
Daily, hundreds of commuters who live in the Ogun State border and work in Lagos usually get stranded for many hours, looking for means to cross the flooded road following the collapse of the wooden bridge temporarily constructed by residents on the road.
Many commuters queue for hours waiting for means to cross the flooded portion of the road. They are usually left with two options: to be ferried by group of young Hausa scavengers or cart pushers, who carry them on shoulder or be shipped across the flooded road by a group of young boys, who use a damaged refrigerator as canoe. Others use canoe to transport them across.
Except if they used the wooden bridge, commuter pays N100 to be ferried across the flooded road. Married women or young ladies, they are all at the mercy of the scavengers, who carry them on their shoulders to cross the road.
At least, the operators of a boat commonly called “Taxified” by the groups of boys who operate on the road make as much as N20,000 daily carrying 25 passengers to cross the road. The boat convey about 25 passengers, who are stranded commuters across the flooded potion at the cost of N100.
Those who use damaged refrigerator fondly called “Uber”, a carcass of a damaged fridge used as canoe, carry one commuter each at a time.
Speaking with New Telegraph, one of the boys who ferry passengers on the shoulder said they make between N6,000 and N7,000 daily depending on their strength and the number of people they could carry daily.
Another, Salisu Buhari, who operate the ‘Uber’, said they make up to N12,000 and 15,000 daily. “You know we are four people that paddle the object. Four of us ensure the passenger doesn’t fall inside the water.”
Also speaking, one of the operators of the canoe which convey about 25 passengers or more at a time, said in less than 15 minutes they can make N5,000 from the brisk business.
“People must go out to work. This is temporary work too. Each of the passengers must pay N100 before we embark on the journey on the flooded water. We have to make quick money from the challenges of flooded road.”
It was learnt that the development made many of the residents of the area to relocate from their homes to seek refuge in the homes of friends and relations outside the area.
Past efforts, self-help
While some believe the traditional ruler in the area had consistently intervened to assist the stranded commuters, others believed the Baale of Denro-Olasepe, Chief Lateef Afolabi, was using the bridge to make some money for himself, saying since commuters pay to access the bridge.
But the Baale said the river usually overflows its banks every three years, adding that the plank bridge were built out of pity due to stress people within the area go through anytime this river overflows.
He confirmed that the plank bridge breaks in about four different places regularly due to the multitude of commuters, justifying the reason for charging commuters to enable them get fund to mend the bridge.
A call to Ogun State Government
Perhaps, the Ogun State government will, this time around, look into the challenges faced by the residents after years of neglect. Residents said that several calls had been made to the government in the past to find a lasting solution to the perennial flooding but nothing was done. They lamented that the wooden bridge, temporarily built whenever the area is flooded has not in any way addressed the challenge since they pay N50 using the bridge.
Mrs Ademola Toyosi, a commuter, called on the state governor, Mr Dapo Abiodun, to urgently wade into the transportation challenges with a permanent solution, saying that the river usually overflowed its banks every three years.
“As it is, this road leads to communities like Iwaye, Alasepe, Denro, Ishasi, Iboko, Odo Ipa, Pipeline, Akutesorun, Akute, Arifanla, and others, including Lambe towards Alausa. All the people living in those areas pass through this road. So, we are appealing to the governor to help us fix this road.
“We are appealing to the Ogun State Governor, Mr Dapo Abiodun, to please proffer a lasting solution on the road. We are tired of this temporary solution of Plank Bridge where we pay N50 per head. Let the road be fixed with a solid concrete bridge.”
BBNAIJA: A show of Shame?
The Big Brother Naija television series programmed for 99 days with cash price of N60 million ended with much controversy. While many who spoke to New Telegraph questioned the moral values of the programme, some argued passionately that it was a programme with targeted audience in youths and with definite messages. Blessing Adenuga writes
Nigeria government should ban the reality show – Adeyeye Samuel, pastor
I don’t support BB Naija because it doesn’t add value and I’m a Christian. I can’t tell people in public that I do watch BBNaija. The show has been impactful in the youth in two ways, which are educative and corrupt. To me, it doesn’t add value to my family. The value BBNaija is adding in the society is about 30% educative and 70% corrupt, because most of the corrupt aspect is what the youth are waiting to see, like them sleeping with each together. You will see them on YouTube having sex, they don’t even hide it anymore. If they can do that and on YouTube, they can as well have sex in public. My advice to Nigerian youths is that they should stop watching the show, and Nigeria government should ban the reality show because it doesn’t add values. It may add values economically but not adding to moral values. I will advise the youth not to place their focus in the money because the end result is destruction. If they can have sex openly, they can also do it on public.
It’s an impactful programme for the youth – Awosika Opeyemi, Fashion designer-
Yes, I’m fan of BBN. I love it a lot. After Telemondo, that is the next thing I watch. I’m the social type. And I love reality show. BBNaija is very interesting. It’s all about Nigeria youths coming together to show their character and is all about a game, the game consist of their attitude and knowledge, how wise and creative they are, and how they can tolerate each other. I will support my children to watch it if they are adults, and I can even go for it if I want to, but it can influence the children to do what is not good. There is one girl in my neighborhood. She is 16, and love watching the show and her favorite housemate there is Tasha. So, I advised her to stop watching the show because she might pick the wrong side of it. So, for children, they should stop it but for adult they can continue. The program is impactful to the youth because the house mate get signed to be brand Ambassadors for companies and in term of youth outside it entertains them. Other people’s intention might be different from what they are watching. My friend said he watches BBNaija whenever he’s feeling horny. That is why he is watching the show but to me, I love BBNaija because it is entertaining. Most parents don’t like the show. They don’t allow their children to watch. I can remember a parent telling me she doesn’t allow her children to watch the show and she herself doesn’t watch it. So, I have to start educating her on it because she thinks it not a good show.
I totally support the reality show – Onuoha Henry, student
I’m a very big fan of BBNaija. I think the show is wonderful because it is actually aimed at bringing people from different backgrounds together. I love the show and if my kids want to take part in the show, I have no problem with that because my parents supported my decisions and I will do same to my kids. So, if they want to participate in the show they are free as birds, mine is just to advise them and support them with prayers. I do subscribe to the channel. I just don’t know why people have problem with it. I think they are hypocrites. It has added morals to me being one of the youths in the community. It makes me know how to be patient and good to different temperament in the society, also to know when to talk and when not to. I totally support the Television reality show because it is the only TV show trending and a show that focuses more on the youth.
BBNaija has not been impactful to the youth – Sunday Okoli, Disc Jockey
I’m not a fan of BBNaija but I do watch the show if there weren’t any of my favorite programs on. Due to what I watched on the TV, BBNaija is an entertainment show and a game. It is all about what you can bring up in terms of bringing ideas, how you can play your role in the house and how you can relate with other people. It is mostly entertaining during eviction and games. It is just all about what you give a person. It’s actually a show that looks out on how smart you can be. I can support my children to participate in the show because for you to be on screen, it means you are a celebrity and I will be a father of celebrity. However, truth is that BBNaija is not doing anything impactful to the youth because often we hear and watch live sex on TV which is not proper at all. Camera man who shot stuffs like this should simply take the camera off the scene because the teens are seeing it. Really, that should be a no go area for BBNaija, that is one area they messed up big time. There should have been rules and regulations to guide the housemates and should be stated to them before entering the house to know what they can do and what they couldn’t do in the house. It would serve as deterrent to other incoming Housemates, so that they don’t repeat the nonsense of having live sex on set. Really, I don’t think the show has been impactful on the youths because I usually go to ball stations to watch football match and anytime I overheard some groups of guys discussing about the popular show, they usually comment mostly about the ladies, how Tasha breast is big and all that. So, I think it has not been impactful to the youth in our communities. My advice for the youth in Nigeria is to work hard, make their money and only watch at their free time. Youths shouldn’t be addicted to the show. It isn’t worth it at all.
Youths should devout their time, energy to work hard – Dada Ademola, accountant
I don’t really like it because the show has obscenity publications, harmful pictures and scenes. According to the program which included sex, romance and kiss are just not a good show, not suitable for children. I’m still single though but let me assume that I am married and have kids, I can’t and will never support my kids to watch the show and will never even support them when they are fully grown. Like I said earlier, it is full of obscene publications and scenes. So, what did they expect the kids who watched the show to do? They will surely engage in such act and can even go to school to practice such with their friends; even some parents sit at home with their kids to watch it. They believed it was an entertainment, ignorant of the consequence of such programme on their children. Honestly, the programme was not useful for Nigerian youths. It was not impactful. My advice for our youths is that they should use their time and energy to invest on what will make them and family great. Simply put, work hard as there is dignity in labour. It was pure nonsense. One of the housemates named Tasha was asked what the characteristics of a winner are, she replied ‘Me’. She doesn’t even understand English. Some of them didn’t really know why they were there. They were just there for fame and fun. A whole graduate saying me as a characteristic of a winner. The program wasted youths’ time; the show didn’t improve morals. BBNaija didn’t teach morals in the real sense of it.
It’s fun, intriguing – Omolara Aderinsola, Nurse
It was actually fun and intriguing. It gave a palpitating suspense. I confess that I love the show and my favourite-Mercy won. There was nothing wrong with the programme. It depends on that aspect people subscribed in their belief. Most people that went for the BBNaija did not go there to play; they had something they worked on; they got more eyes on them and more eyes on their product and more eyes on anything they are doing. After all people are watching them; brands are watching them. That’s why they get endorsement. That is why they get many things, juicy offers. You can actually say it is impactful to the people that went for it or not, doing anything to me and in another way, it actually shows me that good character and cordial relationship with other relationship actually matters. The impact is that mind how you relate with people, be cordial, be a people person, the world doesn’t revolve around you.
Taking CSR to schools
Pupils and teachers of Olambe Community Primary School, located in the Akute area of Ogun State, were visibly excited when officials of Ikeja Electric, recently paid them a surprise visit.
The Ikeja Electric officials were loaded with tons of stationery-pens, pencils and school bags. They also promised to provide uniforms for pupils who didn’t have.
According to the officials, the visit and donation, was really part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, tagged: “Back to School.”
The officials seized the opportunity to educate the school management and pupils about electrocution.
Mr. Henry Adelakun, the business manager of Ikeja Electric, explained that the visit of the officials was their way of giving back to the society.
He further said: “Ikeja Electric is going to public schools and providing them with basic needs like schoolbags, notebooks, pencils, pens and other stationery. We shall also provide school uniforms to those without uniforms.”
The donation took place in the school premises. The officials generate intellectual games for the pupils, whereby questions were asked and those that got the right answers were rewarded with extra gifts. Before the officials left the school, at least 14 pupils were promised new uniforms. Adelakun urged the pupils to be attentive in class, reminding them that they were leaders of tomorrow.
His words: “About 50 years ago, I was once like you. I never believed I could attain the height of greatness in life. But today, I have built a house, purchased a car and have been opportune to travel to some foreign countries. I was able to achieve all these because I was committed, focused and committed to my studies. I believe there are senators, presidents, governors and captains of industries among those of you here today. You can achieve a greater height than I, just mind your studies!”
According to Adelakun, there was nothing like NEPA anymore, “What we have now is Ikeja Electric Plc. So, whenever we supply electricity, you should say, ‘God bless Ikeja Electric.’ And when the power is seized, you say, ‘God bless Ikeja Electric.’ All consumers should endeavour to keep praying for Ikeja Electric in every situation.”
According to him, Ikeja Electric has discovered earlier that morning, that power supply in the community had been disconnected due to community members’ failure to pay their bills.
“But I later reconciled by telling my boys to connect it because we want all electric consumers in this community, especial children to be able to watch cartoons in their various homes. More importantly, we believe you are the leaders of tomorrow and shouldn’t be made to suffer.”
Adelakun said that Abule Egba Business Unit is the largest in Ikeja Electric, comprising of Ikorodu, Shomolu, Ikeja, Oshodi and Abule Egba itself.
He noted that Abule Egba has six undertaking units; Fagba, Ijaiye, Olambe, Iju, Sango and Akute. He said that these units and locations are populated with over 150,000 customers.
He added that Ikeja Electric’s relationship with people has been wonderful. He said that people have acknowledged the fact that, “Ikeja Electric is working perfectly. People have also confessed that they are enjoying our services.”
He explained that, to get customers’ feedback was often difficult, leading Ikeja Electric to come up with an initiative tagged ‘Customers Spheres.’
“We go out every Saturday, to various locations and we ask them to table their complaints, while instant solutions are proffered. However, after providing services, we expect our clients to reciprocate by paying their bills on time. They should protect all our equipment against vandalism, of which the community leaders are working progressively with us. Just about six months ago, some community leaders were able to arrest some vandals,” he said.
Adelakun said that Ikeja Electric was far better than before, stressing that, “it is not as if our company cannot provide 24 hours power supply, but you have to look at the metric density. The higher the increase of power we supply, there’s tendency for loses. But we are working towards supplying 24 hours power supply.”
Similarly, the Quality Health Safety and Environment Specialist of Ikeja Electric also explained that the company generates electricity and gives to transmission, while transmission gives to distribution company, which is Ikeja Electric, “which simply means we are the ones providing electricity to your homes.”
He maintained that everyone, especially children, should avoid playing under the power line. He urged the pupils to tell their parents to always switch off all electrical appliances in the house, including bulbs, when going out or going to bed, in order to avoid property being damaged.
He added: “Consumers’ safety is our utmost priority, as such, we are doing everything possible to ensure safety. There is an initiative titled H2O which means Harm 2 Zero, absence of harm.”
The Abule-Egba Business Unit Head, Mr. Allen Ebosiem, disclosed that Olambe Community Primary School was not the only school such donations were taking place.
He added: “We’re also having something like this at Ikorodu area. It is part of our Personal Corporate Social Responsibility (PCSR), to give back a little bit of what the community has given in order to put smiles on the faces of our clients. We are not only concerned about distributing energy of choice, but also to make people happy. In Abule-Egba Business Unit, we are working on how people can enjoy 24hours power supply. We have gone a long way to make it happen.”
Ebosiem urged people to endeavour to pay their bills as and when due in order to avoid disconnection. This was also as he advised that customers should ensure they avoid illegal tapping of, “our electric facilities so as to ensure safety of lives and health of the citizens.”
The media relations manager for Ikeja Electric, Mr. Ayeni Akinola, said that Ikeja Electric decided to come to Olambe Community Primary School because it was part of their Network. He stressed that the expectation of any reputable organisation was to give back to the society.
“It is not just asking people to pay for electricity fees without giving them something in return. More so, we want the society to portray our company as a reputable one.”
Reacting to questions on why consumers are not benefiting 24 hours power supply, Akinola explained that Ikeja Electric was distributing power according to what they got from the national grid. “I think by now, some areas are getting 16 to 18 hours power supply. Soon, we hope to attain the level of supplying 24 hours power. We are using this opportunity to urge consumers to protect all the electrical facilities in their communities against vandalism and theft. They should avoid illegal connections and endeavour to pay their bills and stop the act of stealing energy,” he said.
I wanted to build a house with the money we collected-impersonator of Bauchi state Governor who defraud intending pilgrims.
Ekiti: Monarchs’ pains over new head
…Elders call for peace
Silent pains of Ekiti monarchs
Traditional rulers in any society are regarded as custodians of culture. Traditional belief has it that they mediate between their subjects and the ancestors for physical and spiritual progress within the communities. Nowadays, political impacts/influence tends to have undermined the great monarchical power in some ways. With the system of recognition /staff office introduced during the colonial era, political system began to have upper weight on the natural /spiritual roles of royal highnesses as many of them even struggle for recognition in the political terrain.
In Ekiti State, history of the traditional institution otherwise known as Pelupelu began after the end of Kiriji war in 1886 with 16 monarchs including Deji of Akure and Owa Olobo of Obo Ayegunle Ekiti. There was an adjustment in the traditional institution when Akure decided to leave and form Akure kingdom through Ajapada. Obo Ayegunle too moved to Kwara. So, the Elemure of Emure Ekiti, Attah of Ayede and Olomuo were screened by the Obas then and absolved into Pelupelu. This history was captured by Ajero of Ijero, Oba Joseph Adewole, as parts of the documents attached to the originating summon filed by counsel and deposed to by Ajero on behalf of other Obas who are suing Governor Kayode Fayemi.
The Pelupelu Obas include Ajero of Ijero, Alara of Aramoko, Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Ogoga of Ikere, Olomuo of Omuo, Attah of Ayede, Onitaji of Itaji, Oloye of Oye, Arinjale of Ise, Ologotun of Ogotun, Onitaji of Itaji, Elemure of Emure, Alaaye of Efon, Owa Ooye of Okemesi and Olojudo of Ido Faboro, the Elekole of Ikole Ekiti and Onisan of Isan.
However, since 1999, every successive government in Ekiti in a way have not been taking the tradition and customs into consideration, the institution was politicised with abstract promotion. September 17, 2014, a letter purportedly signed by Special Adviser to Governor Kayode Fayemi, Chief Aderemi Ajayi to upgrade four monarchs and the beneficiaries of such promotion have increased the number of the Pelupelu Obas to 22.
Whereas the Chieftaincy Law 3 of 2000 enacted under the Adeniyi Adebayo administration and the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers Committee Resolution of June 19, 2001 indicated that there were 31 Grade ‘A’ Obas but only 16 of them are Pelupelu . Part of the resolutions at that time was that the chieftaincy edict allowed only the 16 Pelupelu Obas to rotate the traditional council chairmanship at the state level and at the local government level.
Since then, the chairmanship was being rotated among the 16 monarchs from three geopolitical zones of the state. For instance, the Ologotun was from the South senatorial district, he handed over to Oloye Of Oye Ekiti from the northern senatorial district. So, the Central senatorial district ought to produce the next Chairman in that order. What is more, Ologotun who held the position before the immediate past Chairman, is from the same local government with the new Chairman.
Since the old Ondo state ,the chairmanship rotation has been within the original 16 Pelupelu Obas ,only the 16 Alademerindinlogun were considered for council Chairman.
The news of the appointment of Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, as the new traditional Council Chairman following the expiration of the tenure of Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju tends not to go down well in the minds of the revered Obas. Alawe as the Chairman is to serve for a period of two years. The 16 most prominent monarchs called ‘Pelupelu Obas’ described the action taken by Fayemi picking someone outside the 16 Obas called ‘Alademerindinlogin’ to occupy the exalted seat , as a flagrant violation of the Ekiti State Chieftaincy Law. This was because the Pelupelu Obas who are rotating the chairmanship have not all had their turns.
Although, no reason was given for this action on the part of the governor, it was learnt that the new Chairman stood by the Governor even at the risk of facing any doom from the then Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose.
An anonymous source said “It was an open secret that the monarchs especially the prominent ones were fully in support of Ayodele Fayose prior to the governorship election in 2018. Therefore given the sensitive nature of the position, the governor felt the position should go to a trusted ally,”
Though Ilawe-Ekiti community is blessed with prominent people both at home and in Diaspora that could easily influenced the choice of their monarch as no 1 Oba. Expressing dissatisfaction on the development, the 16 Obas resorted to legal action to challenge the decision of the governor.
Joined in the suit with the registration number HAD/76/2019 are; Governor Kayode Fayemi(1st defendant), Attorney General of Ekiti State, Wale Fapohunda (2nd) and Oba Adebanji Alabi(3rd). An originating summon filed by Dr. B.A.M. Ajibade((SAN) on August 7, 2019 and deposed to by Ajero of Ajero, Oba Joseph Adewole, on behalf of other 15 Obas, sought an interlocutory injunction restraining Fayemi from swearing in Alawe as the Chairman of the Council.
The monarchs sought the following declarations: whether the 1st defendant is empowered under Council of Traditional Rulers Law, Cap 15, Laws of Ekiti State 2012 , to appoint the chairman of Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers on a bi- annual rotational basis from amongst only class of Obas constituted Alademerindinlogun/Pelupelu Obas of Ekiti State. That the claimants are the only valid authentic Obas or traditional rulers under the classification of Alademerindinlogun qualified to be so appointed as Chairman.
“A declaration that the 3rd respondent can’t be appointed as Chairman of the council in consonance with the Ekiti State Traditional Council Law.
“A declaration that the appointment of the 3rd defendant by the 1st was a flagrant violation of the law , unlawful, null and void, unjustifiable, illegal and unsustainable.
“An order nullifying the appointment of the 3rd defendant as the Chairman of the council of traditional rulers.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3rd defendant as chairman of the traditional council and other relevant orders as deem first by the court.” The aggrieved monarchs maintained that by composition, the Council of Ekiti State Traditional Rulers has Permanent and rotational members. “The statute stipulated that the permanent and rotational members shall be appointed by the Governor from among the recognised traditional rulers In Ekiti State.
“There shall be a chairman for the council who shall be appointed by the Governor on bi -annual rotation among the Pelupelu Obas in the state”.
In a letter earlier written to the Governor in August 2 and signed by 15 Pelupelu Obas with the exception of Oore of Otun, Oba Adedapo Popoola, who traveled abroad, the monarchs told Fayemi to reverse the action, saying a court had earlier struck out a suit filed by five monarchs who were promoted to Pelupelu and seeking recognition of that status .
They said the promotion of Alawe, Olosi, Olojudo (Ido Ile), Arajaka and Oluyin to that Pelupelu rank by government, was an erosion of the tradition, saying all the appointments were done in violation of the tradition and existing laws. They said they are opposed to the appointment and threatened that they won’t attend the inauguration of Alawe as Council Chairman and any meeting of the council where he presides.
“We respectfully state that we would be creating a bad precedent to accept to sit under a chairmanship of Alawe as it would amount to a disregard for the tradition on earth and a sin against our forefathers,” they said.
The contention of the Obas was that, lesser Obas’ can only be promoted traditionally, that is through the council of Obas after thorough screening and strict consideration for the antecedents and rich historical and cultural backgrounds of that kingdom as they did in the case of Olomuo, Attah and Elemure. “Before Kiriji war, all the pioneer 16 had fledging and thriving kingdoms with Ijero, Ado, Ikole leading in terms of structures and political administrations.”
The Ekiti Council of elders forum took its own part by initiating a peaceful resolution on the crisis. The elders appealed to Fayemi to find a way of resolving the logjam with the traditional rulers to save the state from crisis and prevent the situation from being hijacked by miscreants.
The elders made an appeal at a press conference addressed by the chairman of the forum, Prof. Joseph Oluwasanmi that time has come for the two warring factions to sheath their swords. “We, as senior citizens had the opportunity of discussing with the governor once and the Obas twice. Each side, we must admit quoted relevant portions of documents, ancient and recent , to support the chairmanship being extended beyond the 16.
“The problem we now face as a state is that the situation which has assumed proportions beyond anyone’s estimation must be brought down for Ekiti to be in peace and harmony.
“We refuse to visualise a situation whereby the government and traditional rulers are at loggerheads, a situation which can be exploited by miscreants. Looking back into history, we must consider ourselves lucky to have a political entity of our own, contestants from other parts of the country with huge financial muscles and influences failed to beat us to the game.
“We appeal to our royal fathers to continue to display maturity and remain fathers of all as in our age old tradition and culture,” he said. Laying significance on the need to shift grounds, Chief Deji Fasuan, said the two sides must be willing to dialogue at this stage. “We are appealing to our son, Governor Fayemi and our fathers, to be committed to peace, because we know what will happen but we don’t want it to happen.
“Our own is to stay at the middle and mediate between the two parties.
Government action is not being seen as reversible, but we want to make peace,” he said.
A progress impeded by vandalism over billing
U nwholesome activities of vandals and inability of Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to provide Pre-Payment Meters (PPM) to customers have been identified as the major challenges hindering distribution of electricity to customers in North-East states.
Respondents to a survey conducted by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Borno,Yobe and neighbouring Jigawa, who also spoke on other problems, identified the two as the main factors. Whereas customers harped on non-provision of PPM to check the problem of over-billing and frequent outage, officials of the DisCos complained of customers defaulting in settlement of bills and frequent theft of their facilities.
The officials said those problems were hindering the regular flow of power generated as the facilities served as the channels for the flow, and money from customers was needed to pay for energy secured for distribution. The Bauchi Regional office of Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) said activities of vandals was affecting its effort at collecting and supplying electricity to its customers spread across the state. Head, Network Engineers, Bauchi Region, Shehu Mohammed, told NAN that some of the company’s equipment were being vandalised frequently, causing damage and power outage.
According to him, some areas experience load shedding due to the inability of transformers to pick two feeders at a time.
He said that the company ran at a loss as a result of customers defaulting in settlement of their bills. Mohammed said requests by customers for PPM were increasing and being attended to Alhaji Ahmed Shehu, Chairman, Bauchi Ward Development Committee, said the issue of estimated billing was a source of concern to consumers. He said that such billing often left doubts in the minds of consumers, who believed they were being short-changed. Shehu said that such consumers insisted on provision of PPMs, which were not forthcoming. Mrs Fatima Abubakar, a trader in Bauchi, said provision of PPM would reduce doubts surrounding the acceptance of bills by customers. But Mr. Emmanuel James, a welder in Bauchi, said the power supply in the town was commendable in recent times. The issue of PPM was also raised by residents of Gombe, who expressed their displeasure with the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) for failing to provide them with same. Usman Umar, a resident of Bagadaza community in the town, said that the continuation of estimated billing system that gave room for ‘crazy’ bills, even when other DisCos had started providing their customers with PPM, gave room for suspicion. “Every month, I pay bills for power that I did not consume. This is painful but that is the situation here,” he said. Another customer, Malam Mohammed Rabilu, described the power supply in Gombe as ‘a unique problem,’ claiming that other states were better off. “They (JEDC) only distribute bills and not power; how can I be billed N8, 000 monthly and yet I can’t get 6 hours of power in a day”, he fumed. Miss Rebecca Yakubu, a trader in Wuro Juli Community, a suburb of Gombe metropolis, echoed the same complaints of not having value for money paid as electricity charges. Reacting to the complaints, Mrs Saratu Dauda, head, Public Relations, JEDC, Gombe office,told NAN that the Jos DisCo was not deliberately denying PPM to its customers.
Dauda stated that the meter roll-out for customers in Gombe State would soon commence, adding that all modalities were being put in place to ensure that the exercise was hitch-free whenever it commenced. “We do not enjoy it that our customers are dissatisfied with our services, and we are really doing our best to see how we can bridge those gaps. “To Gombe communities and populace of the state that are dissatisfied with such gaps, we are assuring them that we have ongoing plans to sensitise them better on the billing methodology. “We have adopted the new billing system, which is basically based on the methodology given by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and we are working to ensure the commission’s directive is complied with. “Some DisCos have commenced, but the JEDC has not because of the unique nature of our business environment. “We are putting these modalities in place so that when we start, we will not have challenges,” Dauda said. In Adamawa, Mr Kingsley Nkemneme, the Senior Corporate Communication Officer of Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC), listed non-payment of bills and theft of electricity facilities as some of the major challenges confronting the company in the North-East. The YEDC is responsible for supplying electricity to Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and Taraba states. Nkemneme also listed low cost of electricity tariff being charged consumers as another challenge affecting the business.
According to him, about 70 per cent of its customers do not pay their electricity bill, until they are coerced through disconnection. “There is also the problem of electricity theft and meter by-pass by many customers,” Nkemneme said. He said YEDC was doing its best to ensure steady supply of electricity and prompt response in rectifying faults whenever reported. “We supply 15 to 20 hours of electricity, and sometimes even 24 hours power to our customers,” Nkemneme said. On complaints of outrageous bill by consumers through estimated billing, Nkemneme said the company was doing its best and hoped that the mass metering programme of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), would go along way in addressing the problem. Alhaji Usman Maulud who spoke on behalf of Jimeta Progressives Forum, a group that has been having a running battle with YEDC in Yola over outrageous bills, said customers in Yola were okay with the steady power supply, but their major concern was outrageous bills. “They are charging people very high and are reluctant to provide PPM as promised. “People without meters who are in the majority, are being charged between N15,000 to N20,000 monthly, and most of those people, if provided with PPM, will pay far less than what they are being charged. “Let customers have meters so that all this outrageous bill thing can be addressed. It will also help in proper regulation of power consumption. “We have staged series of protest over that; the company is now registering people, promising to supply them meters. Let’s wait and see,” Maulud said.
In Yobe, one of the states under YEDC, Business Manager in charge of the state, Mr Mahmoud Sajo, said the company had increased daily power supply to the state since Oct. 2018, when 330KVA line was launched by the Federal Government. The Business Manager told NAN that customers enjoyed power supply for about 18 to 20 hours daily. “The company faces no challenge in terms of distributing the power, except for some technical issues that occur inevitably from time to time,” he said.
According to him, with the current development, customers are having value for what they paid for. “The number of complaints from our customers has reduced drastically and their response to payment has increased”, he added. However, he called on those who engaged in illegal connections and defaulters, to desist from the act and comply with the laid down rules and regulations of the company for better services. Some customers in Damaturu who spoke to NAN, also testified that there was positive development in power supply in the state. Bashir Sulaiman, a Damaturu resident, said customers now enjoyed electricity supply for several hours, and that the current was more powerful, compared to sometimes back. Baba Ali, a barber, also said the stability of power had improved, but that the tariff had also increased.
However, electricity consumers in Dutse, Jigawa state, decried excessive billing by the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO). Some of those who spoke to NAN in Dutse, said they were being over-charged compared to what they consumed. One of the complainants, Malam Ahmad Nasir, cited his case of over-billing. “I am the only one living in my house and I have only two bulbs which are energy savers; no television, no air conditioner, only those bulbs – one in my room and in the toilet. “When I go out in the morning, I return at 10 p.m and KEDCO usually brings bill of between N4,000 and 4,500 monthly”, he lamented. Two other consumers in the state, Hassan Abubakar and Mohammed Salisu, said the company charged each resident in their neighbourhood between N5, 000 and N 6, 000 monthly, without adequate power supply. They said when the over-billing became unbearable, they decided to remain without power for the past two years since they were not ready to be ripped-off indefinitely. Also, in July 2019, some residents of Takur site, Mopol Base and Danmasars in Dutse LGA, besieged the regional office of KEDCO in Dutse, to protest what they termed as ‘crazy billing’. Malam Yusuf Dasanin-Allah, who led the protest to KEDCO office, said that they were being billed arbitrarily, even when power outage was frequent. Dasanin-Allah, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, alleged that the company charged each house between N8, 000 and N10, 000 monthly, with or without commensurate power supply. “We are always surprised at the end of each month when the company gave us huge bills to settle,” he said. Contacted for his comments on the issue, Mr Saidu Sambo, KEDCO Area Manager in Dutse, declined to speak. Similarly, electricity consumers in Borno decried erratic power supply by the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) in the the area. A cross section of the residents, who spoke to NAN in Maiduguri, also complained of outrageous bills issued by the distribution company. Some residents of New GRA, Bolori, Gwange I and Gwange II areas of the metropolis, alleged that they had been living in darkness for some time. Mr Aliyu Wakilamtu and Ali Goni expressed concern over the persistent power outage for the past four weeks in the GRA area of the metropolis. He said that they had been experiencing total blackout due to breakdown of the obsolete transformer in the area. “We have been in darkness for the past weeks and have lodged formal complaints to the YEDC but the response was discouraging. “They claimed that the fault was from a transformer in the area, which could not be fixed over a long period of time,” said Goni.
Goni added that the situation had exposed them to difficulties and caused spending of much money on purchase of fuel to run generators. On their part, Abubakar Kawu and Mrs Wawu Habu, complained about outrageous billings amid epileptic power supply. Kawu alleged that he had lodged complaints with the YEDC over the high cost of energy charges but things had yet to change. He called on the company to install new transformers, upgrade distribution lines and distribute PPM to consumers, to ensure uninterrupted power supply in the metropolis. When contacted by NAN, Mr Usman Wakta, the Business Manager, YEDC office in Maiduguri, declined comments on the allegations, adding that only the company’s head office could speak to the press.
• Sogunle writes for NAN
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