Indigenes of Idofian, a community in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State State on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest against the nomination of one Jamiu Olarewaju Adedamola Omikunle as the traditional ruler of the town.
The aggrieved community had stormed the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftain Affairs in Ilorin, the state capital, protesting alleged plans of the Hon. Commissioner in the ministry, Architect Aliyu Mohammed Saifudeen in connivance with some others to impose a new traditional ruler on the town.
The protesters comprising youths, women and community leaders, in their numbers, warned the government not to set the community on fire over the plan to install the “wrong candidate.”
They were singing solidarity songs to express their displeasure, armed with placards with various inscriptions.
While claiming that Adedamola is neither from the town nor belongs to any of the ruling houses, the protesters demanded that his nomination be reversed by the government and install the right candidate for the vacant stool.
It would be recalled that the stool of Onidofian of Idofian Land became vacant in June 2021 after Late Alhaji Zubair Agboola Oyesoro from Oloyi Ruling House joined his ancestors.
According to a letter of protest and notification of miscarriage of justice and lack of confidence in the process of selection by Hon. Commissioner Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kwara State, Architect Aliyu Mohammed Saifudeen addressed to the Governor of Kwara State, His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the petitioner requested a quick intervention for the peaceful co-existence of their community.
In the petition letter, one of the Kingmakers, Mallam Akolade Ibrahim Abioye, Oloye Aare of Idofian Land of Debebioro Compound alleged that three out of many aspirants aspiring to the stool of Oludofian of Idofian were selected and the Kingmakers notified the Hon. Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in written, but to his dismay the Commissioner on 21st of June, 2022 invited and held meeting with two out of seven Kingmakers, Oloye Odofin, Chief Raheem Ibrahim Olarewaju Odofin and Oloye Balogun, Chief Idrisu Akande Adigun Owolafe.
He alleged further that the rationale behind the action of the Hon. Commissioner is to fence other Kingmakers that are working for the remaining candates.
“But from all indications the invitation of two Kingmakers out of seven is nothing but bias and injustice against other aspirants and action of the Hon. Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs also indicate that the Commissioner is working and networking for Jamiu Olarewaju Adedamola Omikunle to the detriment of other aspirants”.
Speaking with this medium during the protest, one Ayodele Afolabi Agbalaya, who claimed to be Secretary of Agbalaya Royal Family in Idofian Town said that they have been suspicious of foul play since the beginning of the process of the Obaship tussle in the town.
He alleged that two out of the princes that came out to contest were unknown to them. So, they were nominated by the Kingmakers would nominate those who are unknown to be members of the royal family.
Speaking, the Iya Adini of Idofian, Abibat Ajala said that it was Rasheed Agbalaya that they knew and want by Idofian community as king.
She added that the nomination of Jamiu Olarewaju Adedamola Omikunle was against the norms, customs and traditions of the land.
Also, one Yekini Olawale the Omo Adumase said that they were at Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to register their grievance on the nomination of one Jamiu Olarewaju Adedamola Omikunle as the new Onidofian of Idofian, because the person imposed on them by the Kingmakers was not from Royal family.
Olawale therefore called on the state government to do the right thing and reverse the selection of Jamiu Olarewaju Adedamola Omikunle as Onidofian of Idofian, adding that due process should be followed in choosing a king from the right ruling house.
He said, “What is actually happening is that, we have an age-long process, traditions, customs and norms to follow before anybody could be appointed as an Oba, but this processes were being eroded and all of a sudden, we heard that government had approved somebody who is a ‘stranger’ to be our Oba”.
Wasiu Subaru Agbalaya said that the Kingmakers have done bad thing to the community because they knew the turn of the compound that is entitled to the throne.
He said further that it is the turn of the Agbalaya Royal Family where one Rashee Agbalaya contested from.
“It most unfortunately, that the Kingmakers know the right thing to do but failed to do the right thing because they have collected money.
One Fatai Ayinla said that it is Rasheed Agbalaya that they want as king because it is his turn. “The person that was brought, we have not seen him at all in the town. Our kingmakers were not the be sincere because they have taken money”.
According to him, the current nominee is not from the land and also not from the two ruling houses in the community.
He noted that there are two ruling families in the town; which include the Oloye family and the Agbalaya family, pointing out that the former produced the last monarch and it is now the turn of the Agbalaya family to produce the next Onidofian of Idofian.
In his reaction to the allegations levelled against him by the protesters, the Hon. Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Architect
Aliyu Mohammed Saifudeen, denied involvement in the logjam surrounding the selection process of the new Onidofian of Idofian.
He however appealed to the people to maintain the peace always, insisting that some elements were trying to tarnish his image over the issue.
“Right now, I don’t even know the reason of their protest. I was just told now that somebody is been paraded as prince. The truth of the matter was that I am not in the position to know who is a prince in Idofian, or not.
“But for whatever reason our judgment is usually based on the resolve of the Kingmakers who themselves know better than anyone. But if the Kingmakers bring somebody who is not a prince that is left for the Kingmakers to go and resolve with the community.
“I think far from it, I am not sure because I am hearing it for the first time from all the people contested we have somebody among them who is not a prince.
“One thing I can assure you here is that all the people that were presented to us here have the endorsement of the Kingmakers. They have one or more kingmakers behind them.
“In the ministry here what we ensure is to do a thorough job and what we work on in the ministry is to work on what the Kingmakers bring to us.
“One thing I also want to assure us is that since the advent of this administration, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kwara State never melded into who becomes king of any particular town. But we are working round the clock to ensure that only the best comes out of Idofian township king contest”, the Commissioner said.
Read copy of the protest letter: