By Kayode Fasua
A leading contender to the vacant stool of Aree of Iree, Prince Ali Afolabi, has hailed a decision by the Osun State governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, deposing three monarchs illegally installed at the twilight of the administration of former Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
Afolabi who is of Olubonku Ruling House is one of the 11 aspirants to the Iree Obaship position. He is also a United Kingdom lawyer and property developer.
Applauding the new governor as a respecter of the traditional institution, Afolabi said Monday’s sack of the illegally installed monarchs of Iree and Ikirun respectively, would go down in the history of Osun as the most timely step in correcting two brazen acts of injustice.
“We in Iree are grateful to our new governor for taking a bold step in correcting the brazen act of injustice imposed on a whole community by the past administration in the state.
“Iree has been noted for its tranquility, peace, enterprise, and orderliness, which all flow from its hallowed traditional institution.
“These time-tested values were recently ruptured by the interloper role played by some key officials in the last administration, who set aside laid-down rules in the succession procedure towards the appointment of a new Aree of Iree.
“These elements prevented the community’s kingmakers from having input in the selection of a new Oba for Iree and instead, used the instrumentality of their offices to appoint warrant officers to play the role of kingmakers.
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“They even went further to appoint a new female Chief (an Iyalode) to replace a late kingmaker, which has never happened in the history of Iree; as our tradition does not allow a female kingmaker,” Afolabi recalled.
He said Adeleke’s deposition of the illegally installed monarchs, Prince Oluponle Ademola, would go a long way in diffusing tension created by “the brazen act of injustice”.
According to him, despite that a High Court of Justice restrained the last administration from installing Ademola, the last administration treated the ruling in the breach.
Meanwhile, investigations have also
revealed that in a bid to select a new Aree of Iree being jostled for by 11 aspirants, each contestant was made to pay half a million Naira to the coffers of Boripe local council, and another N150,000 to Osun State Government.
They were ordered to also pay for three years tax clearance, to be eligible for the contest.
Other sources hinted, however, that a sum of N15 million was collected from Prince Ademola by some top officials in the administration of Governor Oyetola, to give the prince an edge over his contemporaries.
The sources added that the Iree kingmakers were offered N4m out of the gratification to compromise their stance, but that the kingmakers shunned the bribe and insisted on due process.
“Following this, the beneficiaries of the money quickly influenced the appointment of six warrant officers to be joined by the new Iyalode, and shifted the venue for the selection of a new Aree to the local council secretariat.
“When the contenders were invited to the kingmakers’ official chambers on September 16 this year to the local government secretariat, they realised that the local government officials were not willing to partake in standing the Iree tradition on the head, and so, they asked the contenders to return home, so as to buy time awaiting the entry of new council officials to help perpetuate the act,” a community source, who craved anonymity, recounted.
Recall that Governor Adeleke on his inauguration day, sacked all the local government bosses elected by the Oyetola administration.
With the sack of the illegal monarchs, the affected Osun communities are expected to revert to laid down traditional rules, in appointing new monarchs.