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The Intrigues Of Appointing The Next Olufon Of Ifon

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File Photo: A Traditional monarch

By Sarafa Ibrahim

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, the bell rang and the news of the passage of Oba Almarouf Adekunle Magbagbeola, hit the airwaves. Within minutes, the news filtered across Ifon, the headquarters of Orolu local government in Osun state, and hues of the people filled the atmosphere in the ancient town to mourn the departed traditional ruler.

Since that day, the race to fill the vacant stool took off and princes who have their eyes gazed at the revered stool, leverages connections and influence to outwit each other in replacing the late monarch. But all of the scheming, a highly placed traditionalist in the town hinted, missed one critical question– which ruling house is next in line to produce the next Olufon.

Just like many Yoruba towns, Ifon is guided by tradition and law in deciding which royal house should present candidates for the throne. By tradition and Olufon of Ifon Chieftancy Declaration of 1979, there are five ruling houses who have claim to the Ifon royal stool. They are Moronfolu, Olumoyero, Odunolu, Orisatoyinbo and Oluyeyin ruling houses.

The Olufon stool is rotated among the five ruling houses, however, persons familiar with the traditional settings of the ancient town informed that no define order is observed. For instance, an Elder in the town narrated how Oba Magbagbeola who recently joined his forebearer picked the crown due to a peace accord brokered by late Ọọni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade.

“Upon the demise of Oba Olatoye Orisatoyinbo who was 4th ruling house on the queue, the Oluyeyin ruling house being next to it ought to take the throne but was persuaded by late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II, to forgo the opportunity in order to fulfill a peaceful understanding reached with the Olumoyero after they conceded defeat in a suit against the Orisatoyinbo,” the Elder who choose not to be named narrated.

Even more, another source pointed out that of the five ruling houses, the Moronfolu, Orisatoyinbo and recently, Olumoyero had produced Olufon of Ifon in succession, leaving two ruling houses– Odunolu and Oluyeyin ruling houses in contest for the new Olufon stool.

It was this understanding that explained the decision of all ruling houses in the ancient town to unanimously recommend either of Oluyeyin or Odunolu ruling house to produce the next Olufon in a letter date April 26, 2021, to the state government.

But a court filling marked HOS/104/2020 which sought to determine the real Odunolu effectively leaves only Oluyeyin ruling house that is free from any litigation in pole position to produce the next Olufon. “So, we don’t know what is taking so long for a new Olufon to emerge,” a concerned indigene of Ifon told this reporter.

Continuing, he said ” The kingmakers and by extension, the government, job is made easier given the fact that only a ruling house is well placed to produce the next Olufon and I think no need wasting time in asking the Oluyeyin ruling house to present a candidate as the next Olufon.”

On a rumour going round the town that a 1988 Olufon Chieftancy Declaration is the dilemma faced by the state government, a legal practitioner consulted by this reporter argued that a declaration that has been declared as improper by a competent court can not have a legal basis whatsoever.

“I don’t think that should be an issue because already, that declaration has been ruled as improper by a High Court of Osun State and till this moment, it is yet to be appealed or upturned,” the lawyer noted, adding that so “there is no how the state government will give weight to a declaration that doesn’t even exist in the face of law.”

With each passing day, the town wait anxiously for news of the emergence of a new Olufon but more importantly, they are counting on the kingmakers and state government to ensure that fairness and equity guides the process, which will ultimately see the Oluyeyin ruling house produce the next occupier of the Olufon stool.

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