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Obaship Tussle: Crisis Hits Ibeju Town as Oniwonlu Royal Family Accuses Kingmakers of Manipulation

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Royal families in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos state have faulted the selection process of a new Onibeju of Ibeju Kingdom as members of the Oniwonlu Royal Family have accused the kingmakers of planning to manipulate the selection process in favour of a candidate who they claim has no royal lineage.

The last Onibeju of Ibeju Lekki, His Royal Majesty, Oba Olusegun Rafiu Salami, had passed on on June 3, 2020. Ever since then, there had been serious permutations and intrigues surrounding the selection of a new king.

The Oniwonlu Royal Family alleged that presently the process is seriously politicised by vested interests who are bend on imposing a stranger as the new Onibeju.

The families said the imposition may lead to mayhem if Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, former governor of the state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt(Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, and the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyo Onigbanjo, SAN, do not intervene and caution the kingmakers not to manipulate the process.

The family implored the necessary authority in the state to apply the instrument of the law in accordance with the declaration made under section 4(2) of the Obas and Chiefs Laws of 1957 to douse the tension.

It was gathered that one of the factors aggravating the selection process and that is also attracting the interest of politicians, is that Onibeju is one of the land owners in Lagos and it is also a first-class king, who is in charge of a vast expanse of land in Ibeju-Lekki area.

The ongoing Lekki Free Trade zone, proposed Dangote Refinery and the planned deep sea ports among others are domiciled in Ibeju and so, whoever that emerges as Onibeju would have great economic influence. The town is considered as part of the most strategic area for future development and economic nerves in the state.

In a petition dated August 19th 2020, precisely two months and 16 days after the demise of Oba Salami, members of the Oniwonlu Royal family raised alarm of a plan to manipulate the selection and nomination process by kingmakers and the politicians in favour of a particular contestant who does not have any blood affiliation with any of the ruling houses.

In the petition, the family said that it was one of the ancient three ruling houses of Ibeju Kingdom in accordance with the declaration made under section 4 (2) of the Obas and Chiefs Law of 1957 regulating the selection of the stool of Oba of Onibeju of Ibeju Kingdom that has the right to produce the king.

The petition, which was backed by another public notice on January 12 2021 read: “The larger Oniwonlu Royal family of Ibeju Kingdom, Ibeju -Lekki Local Government area of Lagos State and in our capacity as an accredited principal and indigenous Obaship selection committee for the Oniwonlu Royal Dynasty of Ibeju Kingdom to fill the vacant Oba Onibeju stool, we hereby write to put the record straight “that Rasaq Wasiliu Olassunkanmi Ogutolu is not an indigenous member of the Oniwonlu Royal Dynasty of Ibeju Kingdom, that Oguntolu Family of Airapagi – Wajoba Village in Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State has no royal lineage with the Oniwonlu Royal Family of Ibeju Kingdom and that Rasaq Waliu Olasunkanmi Oguntolu and others who are not indiegens can never be eligible to contest for the ancient Royal stool of Oba Onibeju of Ibeju Kingdom”.

The petition was signed by Prince Adewale Lawal, Prince Adegunwa Adeboyejo, Prince Quadri Babatunde Surakat Idogun, Prince Sikìru Adeniran and Prince Seedeeq Sharafadeen Adewale Oniwonlu and addressed to Sanwo-Olu, the State House of Assembly and others.

The Oniwonlu Royal family further said it would appreciate if the state government uses the instrument of the law to consider, select and install the 20th Oba of Ibeju Kingdom as a way of fostering peace, unity and progress of the area.

The family further accused the selection committee of maliciously hedging out one of its own, and a contestant, Prince Wasiu Adeboye Adefuwa, on flimsy excuses attributed to Ifa’s pronouncement that he (Adefuwa) has burnt scars on his right hand and therefore could not be nominated based on physical deformity.

It was gathered that the selection committee has perfected diabolical conspiracy to scuttle the ambition of one of the rightful contestants through disqualification. It was gathered further that prior to the appearance for screening, an arrangement was made to scheme out some contestants, including Adefuwa, whom it applied physical disability clause and some other flimsy excuses against.

Contrary to physical disability clause placed on Adefuwa, the contestant is said to be the most qualified having worked for several years in two major reputable newspaper organisations in Nigeria until he retired last year.

Although, he had a domestic fire accident years back that left a minor scar on his right hand, the wound is not as conspicuous as the committee painted in its report.

It was learnt that the scar being referred to on Adefuwa’s right hand is nothing that could be regarded as a deformity.

While reacting to the issues, the lawmaker representing Ibeju-Lekki Constituency 1 in the Lagos state House of Assembly, Hon. Fatai Mojeed, who spoke on the telephone with WESTERN POST, said the selection committee might have followed due process in accordance to the Chieftancy Law of the state in picking the right person as king, adding that it was the responsibility of the kingmakers to elect whoever that is right for the stool.

Mojeed stressed that he was not interested in the process and system since he was not entitled to partake in the selection process.

He added ” As far as I am concerned, there is no crisis regarding the selection of new Onibeju. Those who claimed that the selection committee did not follow the chieftaincy law, may not know and understand the law itself.”

Regarding the allegation that politicians in the area were influencing the selection process, Mojeed said that it was untrue and that he was not concerned about Ibeju obaship.

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