The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) have entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to empower 200 entrepreneurs from Nigeria’s North East and Niger Delta regions. Their partnership aims to holistically address, through innovative interventions, the economic plight of communities affected by armed conflict or violence. “We have been…
…Assures of level playing field for contestants
By Moshood Adebayo
for about one year, Ota, the commercial hub of Ogun State has been engaged in the search for a new Olota, after the last monarch, Oba Moshood Alani Oyede, joined his ancestors on May 25, 2016. He was on the throne for 19 years.
One of the kingmakers and Akogun of the town, Chief Wadudu Dehinde, who spoke with Sunday Sun, explained why a new Olota has not emerged.
In an interview with Sunday Sun, Chief Dehinde said the ruling house to produce the 14th Olota, the Ijemo-Isolosi Ruling House, had already received the state government’s nod.
The stool of the Olota has been rotating among three ruling houses since 1621, when Oba Akinsewa Ogbolu first ascended the Awori throne.
Aside from Ijemo-Isolosi, which has received the government’s nod to produce the next Olota, other royal houses are the Ikowogbe and Ileshi ruling houses.
Asked how soon Ota people should expect a new Olota, the kingmaker said: ‘’How soon depends largely on the Ijemo-Isolosi Ruling House, who must present aspirants to the local government council before we take over.
“I am appealing to them on behalf of Ota people and kingmakers to please put their house in other and bury whatever differences they may have in the interest of the entire Aworiland. They should unite; do the needful in order for Ota people to have an Olota on the throne without further delay.”
He added: “They are the ones delaying us. We want to believe that the ruling house has sent the names of the head and secretary of their family to the state government through the Ado-Odo/Ota local government council for necessary action, without which the selection process can’t start.
“Since necessary passage rites for the late Oba Moshood Alani Osayintola Oyede had long been concluded, we had expected the Ijemo-Isolosi to have sent the names of their head and secretary to the state government.
‘’It is after this that the government will direct the Ado Odo/Ota local government council to hold a meeting with the ruling house during which nomination will take place. It is after this meeting that the kingmakers will come in. For now, we are on standby mode and watching.”
While giving assurance of a level playing field in the selection of a new Olota, Akogun said: “As soon as it is our turn to play our own traditional role in the selection process of a new Olota, we will not hesitate to give the Ota people the best.
“As kingmakers, we want to assure Ota people of a transparent screening that will produce a credible personality for the exalted stool of Olota when the time comes.”
Asked to give an insight into the personality of the incoming Olota, Chief Deinde said: I want to assure you that we will not pick anyone below the pedigree of the late Olota, Oba Moshood Alani Oyede. Before he joined his ancestors, we all knew him to be a man of integrity and honour, and we were all proud of him.”
He dismissed the fears being expressed in some quarters about the number of surviving kingmakers, saying: “There is no cause for alarm. I can tell you that only five surviving kingmakers out of the 12 will perform their traditional role and select an Olota-elect that will not only be a pride to all Ota sons and daughters, but an acceptable personality of high repute whose integrity will not be in doubt.”
He explained further: “We are ready to play our role without fear or favour. This is not the first time that the kingmakers charged with the traditional role of screening a nominee for the throne of the Olota would not be complete. It is not the first time that there would be vacancies among the kingmakers during an interregnum. It has happened before, particularly during the reign of Oba Timothy Talabi Dada, who joined his ancestors in 1992.
“Before his passage, there were nine kingmakers, unfortunately, prior to the selection of a new Olota, two of the kingmakers died, leaving behind only seven kingmakers, who then selected the late Oba Oyede in 1997 as Olota.
“For now, we are five surviving kingmakers, who will vote in the selection process. It is our prayers that none of us will die before or after the selection because of our important role in the town.”
He noted that Ifa oracle would play a significant role in the selection of the next Olota, saying: “In spite of civilization, our tradition and customs are still very dear to us. We will not leave out any aspect of our tradition and customs in our bid to get a new Olota. Definitely, Ifa oracle must be consulted because it has a significant role to play in the selection process. We must consider Ifa oracle along with other qualities expected of a new Olota.”
However, Sunday Sun gathered that the royal house had elected the Alatan of Atan-Ota, Oba Solomon Adebiyi Isiyemi and Alhaji Ramon Soji Asalu as head and secretary respectively. A source close to the family, who spoke on condition of anonymity said the family is also working round the clock to ensure that it gets from among them an Olota whose reign will be eventful and remarkable.
“We are also bothered as any Awori that we are yet to produce a new Olota from our family, but I can assure you that the issue would be resolved soon,” he said.