The Oyo State Government has been accused of partiality in the ongoing process to produce successor to the immediate past Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi.
Oba Adeyemi joined his ancestors on April 22, 2022 in Ado-Ekiti and his remains interred on April 23, 2022, after which succession process commenced.
One of aspirants to the stool, Prince Afolabi Adesina, in a statement, declared that the government had contrasted its earlier position of allowing fairness-to all qualified ruling houses-as a guide of the process.
Afolabi, from Adeitan Atiba Royal Lineage, referenced a statement made by the Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Culture, Honourable Akeem Ademola Ige at the grand finale of the Sango Festival in Oyo, saying the statement shocked him and was indicative of the government’s bias against his royal Lineage.
The aspirant lamented that the process, which, he disclosed, had started transparently by Head of Oyo Royal Princes (Baba Iyaji) and Oyo Mesi, had been alterated by what he called the agent of the government.
According to him, Chairman of the Atiba Local Government Area, in a letter dated 9 August, 2022, claimed that he had been directed by the state government, through the Oyo State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftancy Matters, to commence process of selecting a crown prince from the Agunloye Royal House.
“This is being done in exclusion of the other nine ruling houses that have been enlisted since 8 December, 1976 by the then Oyo State Military Government and Gazetted, viz the 1995 White Paper, on 16 July, 2001 by the state government during the administration of the late Governor Lamidi Onaolapo Adesina.
“The chairman of Atiba Local Government Area in the letter, dated 9 August, 2022, through the Director of Administration and General Services, Alhaji Ayoola A.A, relied on the Oyo state Chieftancy Law of 1961 which had been declared defective since 8 December, 1976 because it is not consistent with the Customary Law governing the appointment of the Alaafin of Oyo or any oba in Yorubaland,” he said.
Afolabi further said that, in the letter, the local government chairman, directed Baba Iyaji to liaise with Agunloye family to choose a Crown Prince and present him to the Oyo Mesi, through High Chief Yusuf Ayoola, the Basorun of Oyo.
He said, “With due respect to our Acting Governor, Chief Bayo Lawal and our darling Governor Seyi Makinde (in absentia), the directive is contrary to the claim by your aide that the Oyo State government will not interfere in the process of selecting a new Alaafin.
“What more can demonstrate the fact that the state government has, indeed, interfered in the selection process? How else can you prove that you are not interfering in the process?
“Sir, what you have done, through the letter by the chairman of Atiba Local Government Area, shows that you have, indeed, totally hijacked the process. You can only prove us by publicly disowning the letter.
“As an unbiased umpire, we expect that the state government will call for the publication of all the 119 princes that applied for the vacant Royal Alaafin Stool and the criteria for the selection process to be made public.
“This should be done in line with our tradition and also allow the Oyo Mesi to evaluate each and every applicant, based on the culture of Oyoland. I am aware that Baba Iyaji has submitted all the applicants’ letters to the Oyo Mesi, through the Basorun of Oyo.”
However, Afolabi appealled to the government to allow a free and fair process to select a new Alaafin “that will be acceptable to and who will stand for all and sundry.”