The Odolu Ruling group in Kabba District of Kabba-Bunu local government area has protested against the alleged imposition of a candidate and the general conduct of the Obaro of Kabba, Oba Solomon Dele Owoniyi, in the selection of a new Obadofin of Oweland.
According to the group the revere stool of Obadofin became vacant as a result of the death of HRM late Oba Michael Oladele Yusuf since January 2023, that’s over twelve months ago. They added that the tradition of Oweland demands a candidate should have been nominated about nine months ago.
“Towing the path of peace and understanding Irasi Royal Family to which Odolu Ruling Group magnanimously micro zoned the position, called interested members to a screening meeting by the eight heads of subfamilies (Ebi Kerewe).
“Two interested members who presented themselves were consequently recommended to Odolu Ruling Group and endorsed by all the heads of the families constituting the clan.”
The protesters noted that the preferred candidate of Obaro of Kabba refused to subject himself to the arrangement and claimed authority of Obaro as the only giver of the position.
“He, however, subjected himself to the screening committee of Odolu Ruling Group and was placed third by all criteria including Ifa oracle divination at the Ruling group level.”
The protesters also claimed that the Obaro of Kabba frustrated the commencement of the screening process by putting every available clog in the wheel. But realizing the “enormity of the danger in the delay, the Obaro quickly backdated a letter for four months calling on the group in turn to commence the process.”
They noted that the Edit 12 of 1995 and Kabba/Bunu Local Government Bylaw of 2001, it is the Ruling group in turn that is legally empowered to constitute a screening committee.
They went further to alleged that the desire of Obaro to foist his candidate on the ruling group was manifested in his autocratic approach of constituting the screening committee himself.
That when he eventually allowed the ruling group to constitute the committee, he insisted on appointing the chairman of the committee which he is not allowed by law or tradition to constitute.
They also noted that the committee was not allowed to commence work by Obaro of Kabba for sometime by refusing to allow payment of mandatory fees (Owo Iho) by the interested candidates.
“When Obaro of Kabba being one of the beneficiaries and most senior of the selectors eventually allowed the payments to commence, he collected N350,00 from each of the candidates as Owo iho but knew from onset that he already had an anointed candidate”
The protesters noted that the committee conducted themselves in the most appropriate manner and ensured diligence in the assignment under an independent free credible, transparent and fair process, stressing that at the end of the exercise a report was compiled and signed by all the clan heads constituting Odolu Ruling Group to the Head of the ruling group which he in turn forwarded to the Obaro in council as demanded by tradition and laws of Kogi State.
The peaceful protesters visited Oba Odolu and Head of the Ruling Group, the Caretaker Chairman, the DSS Area Office and the Obajemu of Oweland to demand for the correct procedure to be followed and the adoption of the report of the screening committee as demanded by law which was also used during the nomination of the current Obaro of Kabba.
They also wanted to know why Oba Dele Owoniyi who should know the rules, is going ahead to recommend someone who doesn’t know or understand the culture and traditions of Owe people and has never made any contributions to his immediate Royal Family or even known in Odolu as a member of the ruling group if not now that he wants to be nominated as Obadofin of Oweland.
The protesters also disclosed with different inscriptions written on their placard that
“Obaro should not bastardize the cherished Owe culture and tradition”
”We say no to the imposition of a novice”
“Oweland is one, stop dividing us”
“Stop intimidating and insulting us.”
The protesters alleged that the Obaro deliberately ignored the report of the screening committee of the family heads submitted to him by the Head of the ruling group, pointed out that the committee which was constituted in line with the 2001 bye law of Kabba-Bunu local government and Edict 12 of 1995 recommended the most suitable candidate who was also confirmed by Ifa oracle.
According to one of them who spoke to our reporter, Ajayi Obawole noted that “Oweland will not be allowed to be mortgaged by anyone as it was further alleged that the Obaro was given #10m to execute the unrealistic venture. It was also alleged that Obajemu of Oweland was also compromised in the act with a credit of N400,000 into his bank account and a promise of a car gift to endorse Obaro’s candidate.”
According to them, they are not unaware of the clandestine moves of Obaro Owoniyi since the demise of the late Obadofin of Oweland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Michael Oladele Yusuf who joined his ancestors last year January and his final burial rites were completed in April, same year, stressing that despite the enabling laws that provide for a time frame for the new Obadofin to emerge, he deliberately delayed the process to pave way for his preferred candidate which is against the norm and tradition of the community.
They called on the appropriate authorities to disregard any letter of recommendation submitted by Oba Owoniyi as regards the selection of the Obadofin of Oweland, as the purported signature of Oba Michael Ibinaiye found on the document is still subject to controversy because Obajemu has outrightly denied signing any document regarding the emergence of a new Obadofin of Oweland when questioned by the protesters.
Obajemu added that the Obaro gave him an assignment to consult Ifa oracle to determine the most suitable candidate for the stool and that he has not concluded the assignment least submitting a report. He wondered how the purported letter of nomination was issued with his signature without his knowledge.
He noted that the process to appoint the new Obadofin is well spelt out in the enabling laws hence the Obaro cannot singlehandedly appoint the Obadofin of Oweland without due process.
The protesters appealed to the approving authorities to discountenance any purported letter submitted in that regards, as they urged the Honourable Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to set up facts finding committee to look into the controversy which may lead to break down of laws and orders.