Osupa Family Tells Governor Agagu They Are Afraid To Face Another Adesida In A Free And Fair Election To Pick A New Deji Of Akure Under The Platform Of The Only Ruling House In Our Town. Why?

Dr. Wunmi Akintide




A few months ago, 12 King makers out of 15 surviving King makers in Akure have signed a joint Declaration addressed to Ondo State Governor pointing out, what we have all known all along, that the Deji's Selection Exercise has hit a dead end, because the Ondo State Government has committed a Heresy by creating another Ruling House from the one and only Asodeboyede Ruling House thereby desecrating Akure tradition. They also made the case that creating the new so-called Osupa/Odundun Family was a negation of Akure traditions and custom, and that the stalemate in  selecting a new Deji had arisen because of Ondo State Government's foolhardiness in breaking up the only legitimate Ruling House in Akure. They profusely and openly regretted that they were misled by the Osupa Family into supporting the Deji-elect "Prince" Adegbola Adelabu, one of the four or five candidates presented to them as an accredited member of their Family. The king makers claimed, and rightly so, that they were all misled, because the same Family, three or four years after the fact, have now totally disowned the same "Prince" as a complete stranger whose selection they are now urging the Ondo State Government, and the other king makers to now  reject, because his selection was a wrong choice from "the get go". It will be recalled that the Osupa Family has since gone ahead to reconstitute the composition of their Family leaders, on the presumption that their leaders that nominated Prince Adegbola to the king makers did not know what they were doing.

By their own admission in the placards and official letter they carried to the Governor, they admitted their Family's right to the Deji's throne had been denied them since 1845, roughly 160 years ago, because the Adesidas have edged them out at every opportunity. They refuse, however, to acknowledge that they have been offered a chance to nominate a winning candidate this time around and they blew it.  The best they have done is to put forward a filthy rich pretender who had bankrolled their effort to gain recognition, but who according to them, is an illegitimate candidate to say the least. They now want the Ondo State Government, the king makers and the rank and file of Akure people at home and abroad to simply overlook their mistake, and to give them a second chance. They are intimidated and scared to death by the Adesidas who may once again rob them of their chance to have a Deji selected from their rank and file. Come on, give me a break. Their logic defies common sense. They want Akure tradition changed to accommodate and narrow down the selection exercise to their own candidates alone, this time around, because the Adesidas have always beaten them, and could beat them again, unless Governor Agagu and the Courts come to their rescue! What a self-defeating logic? All that the Adesidas are asking is a chance to exercise their birth right to participate in the contest under the platform of the Asodeboyede Ruling Line, the only Ruling House in our town. The Osupa Family wants their own rights preserved while they are asking Government to suppress the right of the other units of the Asodeboyede Ruling Line?

They have taken the Deji-elect to Court two times. to have the court accept their claim that Prince Adelabu was not validly nominated, and that the Prince is not a member of their family. They have lost on both occasions. That explains why the king makers have had the effrontery to commence installation formalities for "Prince" Adegbola Adelabu despite serious and sustained opposition from the town's people. All that remained to be done, was for the Deji-elect to receive the formal approval of the Ondo State Government and for him to perform some traditional rites at the shrine of Alakure at Upalefa/ Okelisa Street behind Toyin Bookshop Complex at Akure. The next formality would have been a once-in-a-life-time visit to late Chief Ooye Adeniyi's Court at Erekesan Market where the beeded crown would have been placed on his head for the first time, as the new Deji of Akure. He, "Prince" Adelabu would have moved from there pay a short traditional visit to the Ejio Shrine at the Erekesan Market before going ahead to climb the traditional "Okiti Omolore" accompanied by his first daughter. The last rite would have been his triumphal entry to the Palace, and the presentation of the staff of office by the Government at some point. There is hardly any secret of the Deji's Institution that the so-called Deji-elect has not already known, having spent some time at Chief Ashamo's Court, the central shrine of Obanifon and our own equivalent of "Ipebi" in Ijebu or Egba tradition.

Because of Osupa Family's horrendous desecration of our tradition, the sacred institution of the Deji has been trivialized and ridiculed, by allowing a phony Prince to go that far in making a mockery of our sacred institution. Now the Family wants to be rewarded for so doing, and they are carrying placards to the Governor to please bail them out. If the Governor accepts the invitation, you can be sure that Akure people who know the seriousness of this development and its implications, at a time we now have three accredited Obas, (Deji, Osolo and Iralepo) in Akure Metropolis alone, would never agree. This is not a time for Akure to contemplate having a Deji that is going to be inferior or subservient to the Osolo or the Iralepo by any standard. You can quote me on that. The Osupa family is its own worst enemy, not the Adesidas who have nothing to prove about our legitimacy in Akure. At no point in our history have we nominated a phony prince or a pretender for the central glue that binds our city together. Our progenitor, the great Oba Afunbiowo's record and tenure as a Deji are widely acclaimed as the most progressive and benevolent in all of Akure history. Nobody can take that away from us.

We are in this peculiar mess today because Akure lacks a properly documented History. Akure has only one Ruling House comprising of all princes and princesses in our Akure who can legally establish their identity and royal lineage to any of the 44 past Dejis in our town. That is why it has always been possible for all princes aspiring to occupy the vacancy to contest, as often as they wish, and in consecutive order. Oba Afunbiowo ran for the title two consecutive times in 1882, 1890 before finally taking the crown in 1897. Oba Otutubiosun contested the throne two consecutive times in 1957 and 1975 when he finally got selected. So was Oba Ataiyese who contested the throne two times in 1975 and 1991 when he finally got selected.

The vacancy has always been thrown open to all princes who can trace their lineage to any of the 44 Dejis in Akure. The "Omo ori ite" clause which appears to favor more princes from the Adesida Line was finally dropped by Governor Bamidele Olumilua and adopted by Military Governor Olukoya who did not quite understand that Olumilua had agreed to expunge the provision by consensus from the 1958 Declaration just to pave the way for his half brother, late Barrister Prince Deji Adegoroye, who had always wanted an Adegoroye to be named a Deji one day. I don't blame Olumilua for doing so, when he had the power so to do. I will probably do the same thing, if I find myself in his shoes. But creating another family for only two out of the 44 Dejis and breaking up the Asodeboyede Ruling House into two, so the Adesidas would not continue to have an edge in the selection of a Deji, is a travesty of justice. The Adesidas are deemed to have had an edge only because Oba Afunbiowo had reigned for too long, 60 years in all, without a break. In the process his other cousins and half brothers who could possibly have been king after him, were either too old or too senile to be considered serious candidates. The Adesidas need not be crucified for his longevity on the throne. It was an act of God. Now that the "Omo ori ite" clause no longer applies, any of the descendants of a reigning Deji with provable identity to the throne can be crowned a Deji in Akure Period.

The same goal can be accomplished without creating a second Ruling House. The king makers are no fools. They know better to pick a good candidate from another unit of the Asodeboyede Ruling Line any time a vacancy occurs. That has always been the way the vacancy was filled before Oba Afunbiowo finally got his wish in 1897 after two consecutive losses, first to Odundun and then to Arosoye. Oba Agunsoye was selected the same way in 1957 but he got selected at his very first attempt. Oba Otutubiosun and Oba Ataiyese were different. They had so many other candidates to run against.

If the Asodeboyede Ruling House remains the only Ruling Line, every legitimate prince from Odundun and Osupa and other Families would reserve the right to join in the competition and be seriously considered. I can tell you that if Chief Oluyemi Falae had been declared as an Akure prince in 1991 or ealier, and if he was accepted or embraced as such by the entire Asodeboyede Family or a cross section of the Family, like he is today, he would have been appointed a Deji ever before running for office as a Presidential candidate. I myself, would have supported his candidature without any doubt. He had already served as Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Federal Military Government and Minister of Finance by that time. Who would have challenged him as a candidate for the Deji's title when he was the right hand man of Babangida while he was Secretary to Government? I never at any time knew, he was related to any Deji of Akure, but I knew he could be an Heir Apparent to the Oluabo title. That much we all know at Akure.

He would have been crowned a Deji just for the asking, instead of becoming the Oluabo of Ilu Abo or the Bajimo of Omowas, like Dr. Ige Ogunleye, and not just the Gbobaniyi of Akure that Oba Adelegan gave to him on a platter of Gold. Knowing Chief Falae as closely as I do, I am surprised that he could be leading a Demonstration to Governor Agagu, making the kind of allegation or case he is now making against the Adesidas as a group. Who, if I may ask is afraid of whom? If the Asodeboyede, the only Ruling House is rightly asked to nominate candidates for the vacant stool, and if he, Chief Falae, is nominated on the platform of the Asodeboyede Ruling House, he would be my only horse in the race, for many reasons, if I am persuaded, his candidature is not going to end in a fiasco like that of Prince Adelabu. I would do the same if Prince Dr. Adebimpe Ige Ogunleye-Aladejana, or Prince Olu Adegboro or Prince Bankole Aladetoyinbo, my brother-in-law and cousin, is nominated, and if he seeks my support. They all can still be appointed a Deji, even with any Adesida running against them is my point. Why not?

Another Adesida does not have to emerge as the next Deji, as I have often stressed in all of my series on the Deji of Akure. I agree that there are well qualified candidates from the rank and file of the Asodeboyede Ruling House and from all the descendants of the 44 Dejis in Akure who can be crowned a Deji by acclamation by all of Akure people and the king makers, if they are deemed to have legitimate claim to the throne by their blood line or DNA. But I would be the last person to support an Okechukwu of OK Stores in Akure, if he were to be nominated as a candidate which is quite possible by today's standards in our town.

I am not  going to just accept anybody, as a Deji in Akure. simply because I don't want to see another Adesida become a Deji in Akure, because they have ruled Akure for more than 120 years as deposed by Chief Falae in his widely publicized statement to Governor Agagu. I totally disagree with that, and so will many of our people at home and abroad including the majority of the King makers, at this point in time. There is no point in Ondo State Government breaking up the only Ruling House in Akure just to please a unit of the  family. If they are so sure of themselves as princes in Akure and their records as good citizens of Akure, they should be willing to compete like the rest of us, The more the merrier. Let the selection be open to all as it has always been from the dawn of our history.

I rest my case.

Dr. Wunmi Akintide