Religion Magazine

Dr. Wumi Akintide: The Daunting Task Before Akure King Makers

By Samoluexpress @Oluwasegunsomef

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By Dr. Wumi Akintide

Akure, the Ondo State Capital is one heck of a lucky city. The  good luck may have predated the year 1897 going back to 1130 AD when the title “Mof’adejio” of Akure was  eventually shortened to “Deji” of Akure. Deji Asodeboyede was a crown prince and son of Adimula, the Owa Obokun of Ijesha Land. Asodeboyede, a hunter by occupation received a parting gift of a crown when the father told him “Mo f’ade yi ji o” I present you with this crown, wear it as your emblem of royalty and symbol of authority anywhere you go”. With those kind words from Kabiyesi  the Owa Obokun, Asodeboyede  left his home  at Osu near Ilesha to go down south to  found or establish his own domain and kingdom at a spot where the royal beads on his neck suddenly snapped for a reason he could not explain.

The Osu connection explains Akure cognomen, “Akure m’Osu mo pera ule Oye.” Asodeboyede and his few followers looked upon  the beads falling apart as something symbolically and historically important. They therefore decided to settle on that particular spot and to make it their domain. That was how Akure got her name which simply means where “the traditional beads first got cut” (AKUN RE) in our local dialect. It was the colonial administrators that later changed the word to Akure because it was easier for them to pronounce.  Up to Ademuagun’s time any newly-installed Deji has to set aside a day to go visit his father, Owa Obokun of Ijesha Land. The Owa Obokun welcomes him home and makes him sit on his lap for a few minutes while they they both exchange traditional gifts as father and son.

The first Deji Asodeboyede reigned for 30 years from 1130 to 1180 AD followed by Deji Alakunre who reigned 1180 to 1200. Deji Ogbolu reigned from  1200 to 1225 and  Deji Odoro from 1225 to 1245 and so on and so forth as carefully documented on page 211 to 212 of my “Lion King and the Cubs” which I strongly recommend to  all the surviving Akure King makers led by Oteru Oba Ode, Oilsa James Olusoga as Head of the Iwarafa Mefa, a group of traditional  chiefs in Akure. The Olisa was made to supercede the Odopetu as number one chief in Akure because the then Deji had persuaded the Olisa who was only passing thru to change his mind and settle at Akure. The particular Olisa had too many followers traveling with him as he left Ohon in Erijiyan following a feud with his people. That is why the Olisa is now followed by Odopetu as number 2 and Elemo Kuye title which is number 3 in their ranking order is the traditional spokesman for Akure. The title  is currently vacant with the demise of late Barrister Bolanle Arifalo Adedipe “a mo roro bi Ojo, Omodara o dejo” . The number 4, is Aro Olile title recently vacated by late High Chief Yemi Adedipe, a direct son of late Elemo Orisabinu Adedipe and the grand child of Aro Olotu from his mother’s side. The number 5 is High Chief Ojomu and the number 6 in is High Chief Asae.

In the Defense group otherwise called (Ikomo) you have High Chief  Baralaye Sao,”Ole taun topo topo, Aguntan meta orun dunrun” as the General Officer Commanding Akure traditional Forces. He is followed by the High Chief Odoo, High Chief Ojumu, High Chief Sashere, High Chief Akogun and High Chief Ejemikin and one or two  others in that order. In the third group are the Ejua group headed by High Chief Asamo, the traditional custodian of one of the two shrines of “Obanifon”, the founding deity of Akure. The  custodian of the second shrine is Chief Ejio. The Asamo is followed by High Chief Ooye and High Chief Oshodi and a few others that time and space may not permit me to list in full.  There is the Egbele group composed of the Palace servants led by  “Omolare Agbo lijo Ogun”, Chief Sele , Chief Osukute, Chief Oyeseri (Agbo tuku to) and Chief Obabire and the Owose group and the Erinshes who are the traditional Military Police.

There is also the all important Women High Chiefs led by the Eyelobirin of Akure which was one of the titles that accompanied the first Olisa to Akure. There is High Chief Erelu all in the Ipate group in Akure. There is the Eyejero, Olokoju, and and the Eyeloja and Eyelaje and a few important ones I may have left out not because they are not important, but because I have bigger fish to fry.

Anyone interested in getting more detailed and accurate information should go buy and read “The Lion King” and the popular “Iwe Itan Akure” authored by late Pa Olumesi Atandare, and Akure history authored by Professor Aderounmu, Vice Chancellor of Oodua University,  and some research  essays authored by late Professor  Omolade Adejuyigbe of Obafemi Awolowo University and late Professor S. O Arifalo of Adekunle Ajasin University.

I am taking the pains to write all these articles because I fully understand the import of history and the value of a written history as opposed to oral history and traditions which are passed from one one person to another and can be easily distorted and falsified in the fulness of time. Akure right now is in the hands of all of the chiefs I have listed above. They can make or mar the history of our beloved city not because  it is intentional, but because some of them do not know any better. They could be educated, but some of them are stark illiterates on some of these issues depending on their priorities and value system.

I am writing not to champion the cause of any particular individual or family including my own unit of the Asodeboyede ruling line. The Morgan Commission report and later ratified by Military Governor Sunday Olukoya in 1991 had claimed it wanted to be fair to the other units of the only Asodeboyede Ruling line in Akure. That claim has proved to be false, however, as the regime has only singled out just 2 out of the 46 Dejis in Akure for upgrade to a ruling line. Was the Government saying that those descendants and grand children and great grand children of the other Dejis  don’t  exist  or count anymore? In modifying the Deji’s Declaration, the only thing the Government  had done right was making it possible for grand children and great grand children of any of the 2 lines to be able to contest and be selected a Deji-elect in Akure.

I was among the few Akure Princes who fought for that modification and I applaud the Ondo State Government for granting that concession because I now know that any of my grand children can be crowned a Deji any time in the foreseeable future. Such a concession should not be denied to every surviving descendants of many of the Dejis who have been overlooked or forgotten by the current Declaration. That is why I challenge the Ondo State Government’s decision  to break up the only Asodeboyede ruling line for the reasons  stated in this article.

The Ondo State Government fumbled big time like I pointed out in chapter 12 of my book “Lion King” when the Government chose to break the only Ruling House into two based on totally skewed logic and rational which has now guaranteed that fake princes, non-natives, mercenaries and mischief makers or an Igbo, an Ebira, an Urhobo, a Hausa man, a Tivi or an Idoma man from Saki Ibiam who has lived very long at Akure and has plenty of cash to bribe the king makers can now claim to be a descendant of the 33rd Deji Osupatadolaa who reigned for 12 years from 1834 to 1846 or the 38th Deji Odundun who reigned for only 8 years from 1882 to 1890. Such a candidate can be considered and recommended to Government as a Deji-elect in a country where telling lies and elevating falsehood to an art has become the rule and not the exception. We saw many fake princes like that come out in 2005 when the deposed Deji was eventually selected by the king makers and after Ileri Oluwa’s selection was derailed by Government and his own family. We suddenly saw a Bello coming out to claim he was an Osupa or Odundun descendant and there was nobody to ask him since when he suddenly discovered he was a prince. History is about to repeat itself again and the king makers have to be reminded about that in the interest of our town.

If the Asodeboyede Ruling Line has not been tampered with, all surviving descendants of the 46 Dejis who have so far ruled in Akure would have the right to be considered for selection and coronation as a Deji if they can prove their identity, and if they fully meet the criteria as laid out in the 1958 Deji’s Declaration and as interpreted by our king makers. What will be the value of my education to my town if I have all of these facts, and I keep them to myself, or refuse to let them out before our king makers fumble again like they all did in 1882, and in 1890 when the level of corruption has not reached the astronomical levels it has now reached in Nigeria.

What exactly did the king makers do before 1897 to warrant their public condemnation or rebuke.  In 1882, 4 candidates from the only Asodeboyede Ruling Line contested the vacant stool of the Deji following the demise of Deji Ojijigogun who reigned from 1852 to 1882. The four candidates as I recall have clearly shown that Akure has only one ruling line. The Akure system is totally different from  the practice  in Benin City which is a close replica of the British system where the first son automatically becomes the next king without fail. It is easily the best and the most authentic in southern Nigeria, if you ask me.  The four candidates in 1882 and the 3 candidates in 1890 were  all cousins and members of the  Asodeboyede Ruling line.

The 4 were crown princes (omo Ori-Ite) in their own right. The  first was Prince Adegboro Adeagbo who later became Deji Odundun. The second was Prince Alebiosu Obadua,  son of Deji Ojijigogun who later became Deji Arosoye. The third was Prince Ifaturoti Adegoroye another son of Deji Ojijigogun who never became a Deji, and the fourth was Prince Olofinlade Adesida, another Ojijigogun son by a separate mother and the youngest  among them. He finally became Deji Afunbiowo in 1897 after contesting two consecutive times in 1882 with Odundun, Arosoye and Ifaturoti Adegoroye. He again contested in 1890 with his own half brothers namely  Arosoye and Ifaturoti Adegoroye who were both sons of Ojijigogun just like Adesida who  lost to Arosoye in 1890 even though Ifa Orunmila had favored him  in 1882 and 1890. The selection was rigged, so election rigging is even older than Nigeria which was not born in 1914 following the amalgamation of the North and the Southern protectorates. Sao Apatapiti {GOC) my own grand father from my father’s side was Adesida’s nemesis on both occasions because he did not want an Akure Prince with any any connection to Idanre to be crowned a Deji in Akure. Adesida was the son of Olori Adojolomo, the first daughter of Sashere Lagokun of Idanre.

The same Sao Apatapiti had objected to Adesida’s selection again in 1890, but Sao Apatapiti was overruled by his other colleagues in 1897 as documented in chapter 12 of my “Lion King.”  The other king makers had simply said they were not going to stand for another rigging in 1897. They argued that Odundun and Arosoye did not live long on that throne because of their collective perfidy. They  insisted  that Olofinlade Adesida whose star was far superior to Odundun and Arosoye had to be crowned the Deji in 1897 whether Sao Apatapiti liked it or not. It was as if the keys to Akure good luck and breakthrough were released to Deji Afunbiowo. His record and legacies in Akure were second to none by God’s favor.

That was how Crown Prince Olofinlade Adesida was finally crowned Deji Afunbiowo the First in 1897 and after being put in the cooler for 15 years of terrible hardship for Akure because Odundun was avery tyrannical ruler even though he single-highhandedly freed Akure from Benin domination and enslavement. Deji Afunbiowo reigned for 60 years without a break. He outlived all the king makers that selected him and all of his half brothers or cousins like Pa Ifaturoti Adegoroye who could have succeeded him. Deji Adesida lived to take Akure to the highest pedestal. He never failed to tell Akure “Emi ni a ba” and Akures always gave a resounding “yes” as I documented in my book. The merciful  God had compensated Afunbiowo for the 15 years he had been robbed.The Almighty God  multiplied  those 15 years by 4 making it 60. “Allahu Aqbar” God is truly great!

God did not stop there. When Deji Afunbiowo, Erinlakatabu died in 1957 many other candidates including 7 of his own direct children and two cousins from Odundun unit  and Pa Faturoti Adegoroye Junior competed for the throne again, but they all lost to Afunbiowo’s youngest child, a lawyer by profession and the first educated Deji.

Crown Prince Ademuagun Adesida was married to late Eyesorun Olori Adebola Adesida nee Ajao of Lagos. Olori Adebola was the first daughter of a Nigerian millionaire named Papa Ajao of Lagos.  Deji  Agunsoye Ademuagun reigned for another 16 years from 1957 to 1973. Then came crown Prince Adelegan Adesida who competed with great grand child of Deji Ojijigogun and son of Pa Faturoti Adegoroye Senior. He too competed with  4 to 5 of his own fathers children namely  Prince Adedeji Adesida son of Eyelua, Prince Adelanke Adesida, Prince and Akota Adeusi Adesida and Prince Adebobajo Adesida and one Afunbiowo grand child named   Prince Adewole Adesida, a product of Kings College, Lagos, the London School of Economics and Harvard University.

Prince Adewole was going to be the first grand child ever to be crowned the Deji  before his candidature was torpedoed because he was not an “Omo-ori-ite” prince and because his own father, crown prince Josiah Sterling Adebgoye Adesida did not live long enough to succeed his father, Deji Afunbiowo.

Prince Adelegan who was finally selected would not have gotten a single vote from the king makers. He got 9 votes because Prince Adewole had asked the 9 king makers led by late Asamo Olusanya who had supported him to the very end to turn over his 9 votes to Prince Adelegan who then rode on his coattail to become the 43rd Deji Otutubiosun. He reigned for another 16 years from 1975 to 1991.

I was the Secretary to the Asodeboyede Ruling Line when all of these developments took place so I knew everything that transpired. Akure was the big loser in all of the drama because Prince Adewole was the best and the most colorful candidate without any question. He was the unsung heroes of the long battle to get  grand children and great grand children a chance to be crowned a Deji in Akure. Others were Prince Dr. Adebimpe Ige Ogunleye Aladejana and late Barrister Deji Adegoroye the father of Barrister Ademola Adegoroye. I was also one of them but Prince Adewole Adesida was the arrow head of the struggle but he did not live long to reap the fruits of his labor in that regard.

Then came crown prince Adebobajo Adesida who competed  again in 1991 with many of his father’s children including the same Prince Adewole who never recovered from his first loss till he died. Adebobajo’s selection  got ratified by Navy Captain Sunday Olukoya who got Prince Adebobajo to sign a secret undertaking that he would not challenge the arbitrary break-up of Asodeboyede ruling line into 2 so another prince other than one from Adesida unit can be crowned a Deji in Akure because the Governor thought that Adesida’s cousins like Faturoti Adegoroye children and grand children and any of the other Dejis in Akure should also be given a chance to compete and be selected a Deji in Akure. It looked like a bona fide move by the Government but it was really a move to punish the Adesidas for their good fortunes and God’s favor for ruling Akure for more than one hundred glorious years without blemish. Under the Adesidas, Akure became everything it became as the primadona of all towns in Ondo State and the state capital and the 8th Millennium Center for Development in Africa.

The Adesidas built the three Palaces in Akure during their tenure and the newest Taj Mahal was started and nearly completed by the last Deji Adesida Afunbiowo the Second whose daughter, Princess Adetutu Ojei is now going to complete and furnish the palace as the Regent of Akure. She will be the very first monarch to ever live there by the special grace of God. The Akure throne is a precious jewel to the Adesidas. They therefore cannot afford or would feel comfortable to ever desecrate the throne like the deposed Deji had done, and  James Olusoga is the Olisa today and the majority of Akure Chiefs with the exception of one or two are all the appointees of the Adesidas in Akure. What the Adesida have contributed to Akure are not subject to debate or argument but that must not mean the Adesida must continue to dominate the throne. Our other cousins in the other units of Asodeboyede  have as much right as we have. I will be the first to admit that, but a return to the only Asodeboyede Ruling Line is the right thing to do, and now is the time.

As I was saying the 1991 Decree to create a second line was a Government-sponsored vendetta to punish the Adesidas for dominating the throne for over a hundred years. The Ondo State Government forgot and the king makers led by deposed Olisa Colonel Elijah Folorunsho David forgot that Afunbiowo had become the most blessed and the longest reigning Deji in Akure history not by his own might but thru the permissive will of God and because the man was the most benevolent and the most compassionate Deji  Akurehas ever had. Sunday Olukoya and several people who thought like him had assumed there was no other  way the throne could be snatched away from the Adesidas because of their amazing record of achievements on Akure throne. That was why when Adebobajo died in 1991, the selection of a new Deji had to drag on  for 6 years while another Adesida offspring, Princess Adeyinka Adebobajo Adesida was the proud and successful Regent because it could not be easily ascertained if Ileri Oluwa who the king makers had wanted to impose on Akure was actually a legitimate Prince. The selection dragged on because the new Osupa Line embracing Odundun had come out to disown Ileri Oluwa at the last minute saying he was not an accredited member of their family. Once that declaration was made, Olisa Colonel Folorunsho David and the other king makers had no choice than to withdraw his nomination.

That was how the deposed Deji a new surrogate and “Serikin Tulasi” showed up  from London persuading the king makers he had the wallet to match whatever traditional kola or money Ileri Oluwa must have paid to bribe them. He fooled them by claiming he would use his pensions and gratuity in pound sterling from the City of London to pay them if they would back him. That was all the king makers needed to hear for them to unanimously support his recommendation to Government. They got him to give them a post-dated check for several millions of Naira and that closed the deal for him. Guess what?  The check bounced and the king makers went banana invoking “Edi” and “Okaraba” to end the repressive reign of the deposed Deji. What goes around comes around. If the king makers want the deposed Deji back, they have their job cut out for them and I wish them luck.

The man got his chance to be crowned a Deji in Akure because the selection had been  narrowed down to the descendants of only 2 Dejis . Can you believe that in a town as sophisticated as the state capital? Something like that could never have happened in Ilesha  where the filthy-rich Ladejola Ogiini was rejected in spite of his millions, and late Owa Obokun Agunlejika was picked instead. That was why I so much treasure the practice in Benin City where money cannot put an illegitimate candidate on their powerful  throne where “Uku Akpolokpolo Omo N’Oba Edo, Oba Erdiauwa, Otolu Apara o ko eyin ori gun se je” is the ultimate power House and the supreme deity. I recently saw one or two commentators from Benin commenting  on my article on Oshiomhole on the Sahara website accusing me of disrespecting the Oba of Benin because I have used the word “feudalistic” to describe Oba Overamen’s order to attack the Benin Expedition of 1897 led by Captain Philips.

I could not help but laugh when I read those comments. If they knew how much I respect and adore the Oba of Benin, they would not have been offended at all. It is not a Ph.D that makes a man but the courage the man bring to life. I was taught History at Awolowo University by late Professor Akinjogbin and by a Benin  Professor of History, the great Igbafe of blessed memory. I am a distant member of the Otokiti family of Benin most of whom were  Edo N’Ekue (Ado Akure) I only referred to Oba Overamen in that article to show that my grand father, Deji Afunbiowo had learnt something from what happened to Ogiso Overamen. That was all. I did not mean at all to disrespect Oba of Benin as insinuated by my critics. The current Erediauwa was my Permanent Secretary in the Federal Public Service and I have the greatest respect for him and the institution he is presiding over with great pride and honor.

The arbitrary creation of a new ruling line in Akure has narrowed down the selection of a new Deji to few candidates with questionable identity and linkage to Royalty in Akure. Why did I say that? I said it because the Asodeboyede ruling line would have produced many more qualified candidates than the few the king makers are now being forced to consider from Osupa embracing Odundun especially  now that grand children and great grand children can now be crowned a Deji in Akure from any of the units of Asodeboyede.

A great grand child like Ademola Adegoroye, a lawyer by profession and a former member of the Ondo State House of Assembly and the ACN Governorship candidate in the 2007 elections would have been a perfect choice for the throne to tell you the truth, and his selection would have been a fulfillment of the  predictions and aspirations of Deji Afunbiowo when he used to say for everybody to hear that Pa Faturoti Adegoroye was the next in line to succeed him. He made the prediction many times before he died and I took a mental note of it because Deji Afunbiowo had more credibility than most of the so-called born again Christians of today in Nigeria. He spoke the truth at all times regardless of whose horse is gored.  It will take Akure another 100 years to find another Deji like Afunbiowo, a man of timber and calber, “Olori Alade Iwerepe gbara re gba igi oko. O mu otito inu ja bi arira, o mogbon inu ja bi ase.” The Oba  valued and spoke the truth more than any Nigerian of his generation.

The daunting task before Engineer Olusoga as the Olisa of Akure and the Head of the Iwafarafa Mefa and Baralaye Sao Adebayo, the two most important chiefs in Iare and Ikomo is what this article is all about. They both have to know that anything made by man, even things made by God Almighty, can be infinitely improved. The law is made for man and not man for the Law. The break- up of the Asodeboyede Ruling Line is reversible, if the will is there. If Akure returns to the only Asodeboyede ruling  line, it will only mean that many more candidates will be able to vie for the vacant throne and the king makers in their wisdom will be able to settle for the best and not allow the selection to be narrowed down as it is now to just a few nincompoops with questionable identity and linkage to the Deji’s throne.

If they do that, some of the candidates like Deji Ojijigogun’s great grand child, like Prince Ademola Adegoroye who was beaten just by one vote in the last exercise would have his chance to be crowned a Deji in Akure because he is eminently qualified. A candidate like the former Secretary to Federal Government and Presidential candidate, Prince and Chief Gbobaniyi Oluyemi Falae and the current Oluabo of Ilu Abo in Akure North Local Government and any of his siblings on his father’s side from the same Osupa line who have always maintained their loyalty to the Deji as their prescribed authority could be given their chance to be crowned a Deji in Akure. Prince Kole Aladetoyinbo, the son of late Bale Alayere, my son in-law is a candidate I will be more than happy to support, if he shows interest and if he seeks my support. Dr. Prince Adebimpe Ige Ogunleye- Aladejana would also be another excellent choice if the king makers don’t see his age as a disqualification, and it shouldn’t be if the push comes to shove,The deposed Deji Oluwadare Adesina Adepoju, if he wants,and if his unit of the Asodeboyede ruling line can still support his nomination, he should be free to throw his hat to the ring. Even Prince Ileri Oluwa who  already performed all the traditional rites as a Deji-elect in 2005 before his recommendation to Government was torpidoed by his family and the Government, could still have another chance. Many more princes would come out of the closset. That is what I am talking about.

That is what can happen if Akure king makers have the courage to return to the Asodeboyede Ruling Line as the biggest umbrella for selecting a Deji in Akure. Of course any Prince from the Adesida Dynasty would also reserve the right to compete but it is not at all guaranteed that their candidate must be the one selected. I can tell you that many more candidates would come out, if the king makers return back to the Asodeboyede Ruling Line by making a representation to Government to jettison the obnoxious creation of another ruling line from only 2 of the 46 Dejis in Akure.

Let us throw the damn thing open. The more the merrier. I will be more than willing to join in the effort because I have always opposed the bad move from the” get go” for all the reasons I have stated here  as a former Secretary to the  Asodeboyede Ruling Line in 1975 when Oba Otutubiosun Adelegan Adesida was crowned the Deji. I have all the information at the tip of my fingers, and I have documents   we can all use to get the Mimiko Government to annull the 1991 Decree signed into Law by Captain Sunday Olukoya.    “The Lion King” was published in 2007. A copy of it now lies in the Library of  the  British House of Commons and the House of Lords and the US Library of Congress. It is one of the weapons we can use to fight the battle. Odundun and Osupa are only 2 of the 46 Dejis that have ruled in Akure.  it makes no sense to create a ruling line just for the descendants of the two Dejis while the Ojijigogun Line is for descendants of Deji Ojijigogun, Deji Arosoye, Deji Afunbiowo the First, Deji  Agunsoye, Deji Otutubiosun, Deji Adebobajo and Deji  Afunbiowo the Second who has just made his transition.  Pa Futuroti Adegoroye’s name was specifically mentioned in the Olukoya Declaration even though he never became a Deji in Akure  but his children fought to have his name mentioned. If we fight the decision the right way, we can win.

Governor Mimiko cannot, by law, rail-road Akure or Akure king makers to recommend the reinstatement plea of the deposed Deji. The Governor cannot reinstate the deposed Deji without the consensus, recommendation and approval of Akure king makers and a referendum by Akure people and  Akure leaders of thought and our longest-serving community leader, Chief Reuben Faseide Totomo Fasoranti and his fellow compatriots.

I apologize for  breaking my new year resolution. I don’t want to break this article into two.

I rest my case.

Source: SaharaReporters

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