Emmanuel Eni in Ado-Ekiti reports in graphic details the determined efforts of Ogaga women to resist allege attempts by the government in collaboration with kingmakers to impose a King on them through undemocratic process
The serene town of Ikere Ekiti was yesterday thrown into a rowdy scene as women in their numbers trooped out en masse to protest against alleged plans by the state government in collaboration with kingmakers to impose Jimi Adu as the next occupant of Ogoga royal stool.
The women who had commenced their protest at about 9.00 am massed at Odo Oja Roundabout singing abusive songs against the state government, the kingmakers and some prominent indigenes of the community backing Adu. The placard-carrying angry women condemned alleged directive of the government that the choice of a new Ogoga should be decided through voting by kingmakers. They insisted that the Ifa Oracle in line with the custom and tradition of the town must determine the next Ogoga.
The women also alleged that most of the kingmakers have been bribed expressing fear that should the process of selecting Oba be subjected to voting, the right candidate might not emerge. Some of their placard read: “Money Should Not Determine the Next Ogoga”, “Mr. Governor, Don’t Approve Jimi Adu as the Next Ogoga”, “Don’t Use Voting to Select New Ogoga”, “It Is Not in Our Tradition to Choose Ogoga by Voting”, “Consult Ifa Oracle, No Voting”, among others. One of the protest leaders, Mrs. Funmi Adegbesan, said they are protesting against the decision to subject the selection process to election, which she said was against the tradition. She said: “We want them to commence the process afresh, and they should consult the Ifa Oracle. We don’t want the Ogoga to be chosen through an election by the kingmakers who have been compromised. “The Ikere women are angry against the kingmakers for collecting bribes and we have lost confidence in most of them.
They should choose the next Ogoga through the Ifa Oracle. Another protester, Mrs. Anike Obasoro, said the women if the town would not allow Adu to reign as Ogoga warning that there would be terrible consequences if he is imposed as the monarch. Mrs. Obasoro said: “We will not allow Jimi Adu to reign in Ikere, he can become king in Lagos but he will not become king in Ikere because he is not a prince. “If they impose him on us, there will be trouble and the town will not enjoy peace. We are warning them not to impose him on us because government will not be able to control what will happen thereafter.
The men of the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and Department of State Services (DSS) were on hand to ensure that hoodlums did not hijack the protest. The Deputy Governor, Kolapo Olusola, who arrived the scene at about 9.50 am calmed down the protesting women and appealed to them to maintain peace. On arrival at the palace, the deputy governor, who is also an Ikere indigene met with the Regent, Princess Ayooye Adegboye-Oyinlola and other chiefs where they met for over one hour.
Emerging from the private meeting with the Regent and chiefs, Olusola denied allegation that the Ayo Fayose administration wanted to impose a candidate as the Ogoga saying neither he nor the governor has interest in who becomes the king. The deputy governor said the matter is in the hands of the kingmakers as government cannot impose any of the candidate but the law allows them to use voting to choose the Ogoga-elect.
Olusola’s explanation that the law allows kingmakers to choose the Oba-elect by voting triggered shouts of disapproval from the crowd as they continued to heckle the deputy governor. Olusola continued: “Out of all the candidates, it is one of them them that will be picked and Government’s guidelines allow voting. “If we want peace, let us be patient and we should not encourage violence. We should allow peace to reign and nobody should disrupt the peace of Ikere.
Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Dr. Kolapo Olusola had to pay a visit to the palace to calm frayed nerves. Addressing the crowd that gathered to listen to him, he appealed to the people of Ikere-Ekiti not to allow the on going process of appointing a new Ogoga of Ikere-Ekiti cause any disaffection among them but cooperate with the King Makers as they follow the due tradition and other necessary procedure to fill the vacant Oba’s stool.
The Deputy Governor made the appeal while addressing the people of the town during his visit to the Palace of Ogoga recently. Dr. Olusola, who also hails from Ikere, urged the people to have confidence in the ability of the King Makers who are the custodian of the tradition over the matter to follow the tradition and other due process and come up with the best and suitable candidate to occupy the vacant traditional stool of the Ogoga.
He emphasized that the State Government is not interested in anybody becoming the monarch, but in the emergence of the best candidate that would unite the town and sustain the pace of development recorded under the immediate past traditional ruler.
The Deputy Governor who reminded them that nothing worthwhile could be achieved in an atmosphere of rancor appealed for calm over the matter adding that their cooperation and peaceful conduct is vital to the successful selection, installation and reign of who eventually emerged as the new monarch. Olusola said that as a son of the town, he had decided to be neutral, pledging his support for whoever emerges through the laid down tradition and guidelines recognized by the State Government.