By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Crisis looms in Ipokia kingdom in Ogun State over the stool of Onipokia of Ipokia as four families under the Iwaye Dodo Ruling House have kicked against the installation of Oba Yisa Olaniyan as 46th Onipokia of Ipokia Kingdom.
The Ogun State Government had on Wednesday through the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Afolabi Afuape, installed the controversial monarch at a ceremony held at Iwaye-Adodo Ancestral Meeting Hall in Ipokia.
However, the family secretary, Ruth Okeleye, in a statement said the installation of the monarch was illegal, adding that the state government had earlier annulled the selection process via a letter with reference number CHM.3/18vol.IV/84 dated 10th May 2019 through the Ogun State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
According to the statement, “The presentation of Staff of Office, which was hurriedly and secretly done by Hon. Commissioner Afuwape, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Ogun State, on behalf of the State Government has confirmed our statement of June 15th, 2020 in our protest against the Ogun State Government’s approval for installation of Yisa Olaniyan as the King of Ipokia in which we cried out loud and clear that Ogun State Government under the leadership of Governor Dapo Abiodun was turning Ogun State to the Banana Republic.”
The families, which comprise those of Asade, Adekanbi, Oteni, and Okeleye recalled that their protest of June 15, 2020, was based upon the letter of 30th March, 2020 from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to Transition Chairman, Ipokia Local Government, and Ipokia Council of Chiefs to begin the process of installation of Yisa Olaniyan as next Onipokia despite pending litigations over the matter in court.
The statement further reads, “Whereas, Hon Justice Ogunfowora at the High Court Ogun State sitting at the Ilaro Division on 19th August, 2019 declared the stool of Onipokia vacant due to gross non-compliance with the Chiefs Law of Ogun State 2006 and directed the parties to maintain status quo pending the final decision on the matter.
“Whereas the Ogun State lawyers led by Barr O.A. Lawal from the Ministry of Justice representing the Governor, Ministry of Local Government Chieftaincy Affairs, Ogun State Ministry of Justice, and Ipokia Local Government affirmed to the nullification before the judge, yet the state government went ahead to de-annul the nullification order and eventually presented the Staff of Office and Certificate to Yisa Olaniyan, a non-member of Iwaye Adodo Ruling House as substantive King of Ipokia on 12th August, 2020 against all appeals despite our petitions to His Excellency and the Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly on the controversy surrounding the Onipokia stool.”
According to the statement, the aggrieved families said the purported installation has now confirmed the actions of Olu Ilaro & Paramount Ruler of Yewa Land Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, alongside his allies: Mr Isiaka Abolurin and Chief Akeem Adigun and the cohorts who have brazenly continued to boast that they will use all means possible within Government circles and staff of the Ministry of Justice/Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs to install Yisa Olaniyan, a non-member of Iwaye Adodo Ruling House by do or die machination.
“This Government action has also confirmed that the Ogun state government under the leadership of Governor Dapo Abiodun has used political sentiment to settle a rather more serious matter which could snowball into a serious crisis and unrest if not wittingly handled”
“Installation of Yisa Olaniyan as the 46th Onipokia in a do or die manner was illegality capable of breaching the public peace and tranquility which Ipokia is noted for to cause anarchy, disorder, serious crisis, unrest and pandemonium in Ipokia land”
The families noted that, as matured, progressive, reasonable and law-abiding citizens of Nigeria, they have resorted to allowing peace to reign supreme in Ipokia in spite of all provocations by the government and Yisa’s supporters to wait for the Court’s verdict over the matter.
“We believe in justice and that justice will be done in our favour as it has been done in the cases of Olupoti of Ipoti, Ekiti State after 24years on the throne and Eleruwa of Oyo state after 21years on the throne among several others.
“It is only Almighty God that gives power and takes power away from any creature He wishes. Power belongs permanently to God and power and position is ephemeral to man. We wait unto God to return our mandate to us through the instrumentality of court of competent jurisdiction.
“We hereby call on the good people of Ipokia to remain on the path of truth and stand by the truth and remain calm and steadfast and not to breach the continued peace and tranquility subsisting in Ipokia while the Lord arrests our detractors” the statement concludes,” the statement said.
Other elders of the Iwaye Dodo ruling house who are signatories to the protest letter include Prince Adenle Asade, Prince Jimoh Adekanbi, Prince Ajibola Oteni, and Prince Hezekiah Okeleye.