By Niyi Olutunde, Akure
Following the crisis rocking the people of Irun-Akoko, in Akoko northwest local government area of Ondo state, over the vacant stool of Onirun for the past eight years, people of the community have cried out to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to as a matter of urgency intervene on the matter.
People of the community who protested on Tuesday in Irun-Akoko against the further delay on the emergence of Onirun said they were not happy with the situation found themselves without a king for the past eight years.
The Council of Chiefs noted that all efforts to have a transparent selection process in recent past had been frustrated by local and state governments’ officials with vested interest.
It would be recalled that the stool of Onirun of Irun became vacant in November, 2011 after Oba Williams Adeusi from Oke Omowa Ruling House joined his ancestors.
Chief Raphael Oguntade, while addressing journalists said, “It is important to note that the situation in the town where there is no Oba or regent is embarrassing and need to be addressed”.
According to him, “All efforts made so far to install an Oba in the town has been frustrated by our sons in government and the government of the day”.
The Salaja of Ogo, Irun-Akoko who spoke on behalf of Irun council of chiefs, urged the governor to save the town from unnecessary conflict and direct his aides and other government’s officials to steer clear and stop interfering with the Onirun stool’s selection process God’s intervention.
Chief Oguntade said, “The most worrisome part is the militarization of the aborted nomination exercise of July 18, 2019 organized by one out of the four royal families whose turn is to produce the next Oba.
“In order to prevent violence in the town, the council of chiefs wrote relevant security authorities, but unfortunately the complainants are now being treated as accused as if the chiefs were wrong to have alerted the relevant agencies of the looming in the town.
“Meanwhile there is a pending court case which ordinarily the stakeholders should have waited for its final determination and thus maintained the status-quo.
“Unfortunately the insecurity in the town is being orchestrated by a retired security man, in a person of Mr. Femi Oloketuyi who is presently misrepresenting the town in Police Community Relationship Committee (PCRC). This man has been using this position to harass, intimidate Irun people and thereby giving negative image of the police to the community.
“The entire Irun community is in support of eight kingmakers/warrant chiefs earlier approved for selection process to remain for same exercise while the fraudulent and purportedly procured arrangement of five kingmakers through the machination of our son in government is totally unacceptable.
“Irun community prefers the eight originally approved kingmakers/warrant chiefs instead of five concocted kingmakers of Segun Ajiboye, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor and his cohorts. The former has conducted same exercise in 2015 but was set aside on the ground of irregularities perpetrated by the LG officials and a fresh exercise was consequently ordered in lieu.
“The state government should therefore allow the eight kingmakers/warrant chiefs to complete the selection process in accordance with the mandate given in their letter to their appointment and in line with directive of the ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs on same”.
According to them, the kingmakers/warrant chiefs who are recognized include; Pa David Asamo of Ijowa Quarters, Sola Olaiya- Sajowa of Ipatare Quarters, Olokorun Oso-Ade of Ijowa Quarters and Adedeji Olajide, the Ajiboye of Ileo Quarters.
Others are; the Odoule of Ipatare, Ojo Olotu; the Olisa of Ipatare, Bayode Falade; Segun Ajiboye, the Ajiboye of Oke-Olu; and Habiib Sanni, the Alaka of Ijowa Quarters.
They said efforts to get the attention of the governor on the crisis had not been successful due to unjust interference of some top government’s functionaries.
The protesters demanded that governor Akeredolu should mandate Akoko Northwest local government to ensure a transparent nomination and selection with only traditionally and officially recognized eight kingmakers with a month.
“Irun community is praying the whole world to prevail on relevant agencies to facilitate credible selection process for the emergence of new Onirun that will ensure foster peace and unity in Irun kingdom”, the protesters said.
Other people who spoke on behalf of the community included, Prince Moses Agboola Aguda (Secretary of the Ruling House), Prince Owolabi Bada, Michael Adedayo, Evangelist Omotoyinbo Iwalowo, Femi Olokintuyi, (Opinion Leaders), Chief (Mrs) Selinah Adun (Women leader) and Olorigbo of Irun, Prince Adelake Aladesuyi.
But while reacting to the allegation of complicity levelled against him, the Chief Press Secretary to Ondo state governor, Chief Segun Ajiboye denied involvement in the logjam surrounding the selection process of new Onirun.
Ajiboye, one of the Irun kingmakers, said the issue of appointing new Onirun was still at nomination level from the families, wondering what concerned him as a kingmaker.
According to him, the community had been battling with the obaship tussle for over eight years while he only got appointment as the governor’s Aide in 2017, adding that he had been working for the progress of the town rather causing conflict.
He however appealed to the people to maintain the peace always, insisting that some elements were trying to tarnish his image over the issue.
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