Nine out of Oyo’s eleven royal families have petitioned the Oyo state government to halt the process of selecting a new Alaafin.
On behalf of nine families, Prince Afolabi Adeshina said at a press conference on Monday in Oyo town that the state government should let the court decide whether or not to exclude the families from the process.
All of the impacted families are calling for justice, fairness, and parity in the choice and installation of the next Alaafin, Afolabi reaffirmed.
He said that after the demise of immediate past Alaafin, the state government wrote a letter dated August 9, 2022, to the kingmakers to choose a crown Prince from the Agunloyes family and present it to the Oyo Mesi without considering the other nine families who are yet to taste the position.
His words: “Our lawyers have written several letters to the governor and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state but none of our requests was granted. Government must do the needful because history will not forget them.
“We were exempted from the ongoing interview due to the 1961 declaration which is not valid anymore, we seek discontinuation for the process of choosing new Alaafin which excluded other nine royal families as contained in the Commission of Enquiry of 1976.
“What caused this uproar is the marginalisation of other nine royal families, in the olden days, there has never been declaration or discrimination among the children of Alaafin Atiba, we choose the king with love among ourselves, and whoever emerged becomes our father.
“In 1961, upon the dethronement of Oba Adeniran, Alaafin Gbadegeshin of Agunloye ruling house make a declaration, declaring only two ruling houses to benefit from the stool out of the 11 main children of Alaafin Atiba.
“The declaration was attached to the customary law of Yorubaland which stated that every member, the children or the descendant of a founder of a town can benefit a stool of his forebears which negates Oba Gbadegeshin’s declaration of 1971.
“With petitions and protest registered to the then Western government upon the take over of the military, our fathers were urged to be patient and for them to choose a king out of late Gbadegeshin’s declaration, and upon that, a panel of enquiry would be constituted that would listen to the yearnings and aspirations of all other children of Alaafin, this was done by late Adeyinka Adebayo who was the then military governor of Oyo State.
“He constituted the panel headed by Justice Ladehinde Adekunle and they look into the matter affecting the children of Alaafin Atiba, every family made a memorandum.
“Upon the decision of a panel of enquiry in 1976, they declared all the existing ruling houses non and void and constituted the Atiba ruling house which includes all Atiba descendants.
“1976 Commission of Enquiry declared the section of Alaafin of Oyo 1971 declaration defective, this was done by Justice Adekunle Ladehinde Commission of Enquiry, subsequently, 1993 Oloko Commission of Enquiry uphold the decision of 1976 Commission of Enquiry, that there should be a single ruling house in Oyo regarding the stool of Alaafin to be called Atiba ruling house, which is to include all the descendants of Alaafin Atiba.
“Another was in 2001, where the then governor of the state, Lamidi Adeshina gazetted through his Secretary, Michael Koleoso signed into law the white paper of Oloko enquiry, that Atiba local government should make an amendment that will accommodate all the Alaafin Atiba children and royal excluded families.”
The families also appealed to Governor Seyi Makinde to intervene since the Chieftancy law of the state gives him such right.
“Seyi Makinde should leave a good mark so that when he finally leaves office, people would pray for him and he would be remembered for standing on the side of the people.
“The government should not listen to hearsays and rumours that the court cases has no merit.”
The nine royal families present at the press conference include Princes Makanjuola Adediran (Adediran-Ese Apata); Adebowale Adesiyan (Adesiyan); Adediwura Lamola (Olanite); and Adetunji Adesokan (Adesokan Baba Idode).
Others are Princes Agboin Olayiwola (Adelabu Baba Ibadan); Ademola Adesina Afolabi (Adeitan); Remi Azeez (Tella Okitipapa); Adekunle Bello (Iteade Abidekun); and Tella Agbojulogun (Agbojulogun) who was away in Lagos but was said to have given his consent.