By Adebisi Fatima Sogbade
Ibadan, Sept. 18, 2023
The aggrieved traditional kingmakers in Oyo town, known as Oyomesi, have said that Gov. Seyi Makinde rejected the nominee forwarded to him as the next Alaafin of Oyo because his selection did not follow due process.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the kingmakers comprised the Agbaakin of Oyo, High Chief Asimiyu Atanda, the Samu of Oyo, High Chief Alhaji Lamidi Oyewale and Baale Ajagba, Chief Odurinde Olusegun.
The kingmakers, in a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan on Monday, said that the process that led to the selection of a certain nominee was flawed and could, therefore, not stand.
NAN reports that the Basorun of Oyo, High Chief Yusuf Akinade had, in a media interview, said that the Oyomesi was waiting on the governor for a formal announcement of the new Alaafin and his eventual inauguration.
“We concluded the selection process for the new Alaafin on Oct. 4, 2022 and we informed the state government of our decision immediately.
“As the law of the land demands, we didn’t get any petition against our decision but a suit was filed against us.
“We got our own lawyer and we won the case, with the court throwing away the case and stating that the initial decision that Oyomesi made was right.
“Since then, we have expected the governor to make an announcement but he didn’t. We will continue to wait for him to do that,” Akinade was quoted to have said.
However, the aggrieved kingmakers faulted the statement credited to him, submitting that he failed to convene a meeting of the Oyomesi, in flagrant disregard of the governor’s directive.
They also alleged that the Basorun disregarded the town’s chieftaincy process, with the nomination of a warrant chief without recourse to the laid down procedure.
The kingmakers said it was wrong on the part of the high chief to ‘unilaterally’ co-opt warrant officers into the council without the consent of other kingmakers and approval of the local government authority as well as the governor.
“There are five living members of the Oyomesi and there are two warrant chiefs eligible to nominate/recommend a nominee to the governor of Oyo State for appointment as the Alaafin.
“The kingmakers met only once in 2022 with the following members in attendance: Basorun, Agbaakin, Samu, Akinniku, Lagunna (Oyomesi), joined by Aare Ago Basorun and Alapo (both warrant chiefs unilaterally selected by Basorun without the knowledge or consent of the Oyomesi).
“As a matter of fact, one of the contestants wrote a letter of protest questioning the inclusion of the warrant chiefs in the kingmakers’ council.
“It was at the meeting of this ill-constituted seven-member kingmakers’ committee that a nominee for the office of the Alaafin was sent to the government for endorsement.
“Immediately after submitting our nomination, we got the government response that our nomination could not be accepted because we did not follow due process in coming to our resolution.
“The government directed that we should go back and do our work properly in accordance with the (chieftaincy) declaration.
“It was also discovered that one of the warrant chiefs, who participated in our earlier resolution, was replaced with Alajagba,” they said.
The kingmakers further stated that they were directed to meet and follow due process, claiming, however, that no meeting of the Oyomesi had been convened by the Basorun since last year.
“The new member of the kingmakers (Alajagba) has been denied the opportunity of participating in or contributing to the resolutions of the kingmakers since his official appointment in 2022.
“This is because of the blunt refusal of the Basorun to comply with the directive of government for due process in our task of recommending of a nominee to the government,” the kingmaker said.
They recalled that the governor had, during an official visit to Oyo about seven months ago, held a meeting with the Oyomesi.
“He specifically told us of his government’s insistence that due process must be followed in the nomination of candidate for the Alaafin stool, as government was only interested in the best for Oyo town.
“Recently, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs invited us to a meeting in his office. While some of us honoured the invitation, Basorun and others did not attend the meeting,” the kingmakers said.
Meanwhile, members of the Atiba royal families have vowed to resist any attempt to scheme them out of the selection process of the new Alaafin.
In a statement issued on behalf of the families on Monday by Prince Sina Afolabi, they alleged that the kingmakers did not follow due process in their nomination of the candidate for the vacant Alaafin stool.
“We acknowledge that there were some improper arrangements made in the past, which have since been rejected by the government.
“These arrangements did not represent a due process that reflects the genuine selection of a new Alaafin. We fully support the government’s decision on this matter.
“We firmly believe that any process that excludes the nine royal families cannot be considered valid.
“It is essential that justice, fairness and equity are upheld in the selection processes.
“To ensure this, we urge Gov. Seyi Makinde to implement the 1976 Adekunle Ladeinde report by allowing the nine ruling houses, including Olawoyin, to participate in the selection processes.
“It is the duty of the government to promote peace and harmony within the community. We sincerely hope that our plea for justice and fairness will be heard and acted upon,” the Atiba royal families said.