Nine royal families from the Atiba Ruling House have urged the Oyo State governor, Engineer ‘Seyi Makinde, to implement the 1976 Report on the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration as a prerequisite for the appointment of the next Alaafin of Oyo.
They said the recommendations made in the report of a Commission of Enquiry set up in 1974 and gazetted by the state government on 16 July, 2001 should guide the governor in choosing a successor to the Alaafin throne.
Recalled that there has been an intense race for the Alaafin stool following the demise, last month, of the 44th occupant of the throne, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.
Based on the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration, as recommended by the then Oyo Divisional Council, the ruling houses in Oyo was limited to the Alowolodu (where the late Oba Adeyemi III hailed from) and the Agunloye (variously referred to as Ladigbolu or Gbadegesin) families.
However, the nine other royal families, who also belong to the Atiba Ruling House, described the arrangement as illegal and contrary to the recommended amendment by the state government to the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration.
Rising from a meeting, recently held in Oyo, the nine royal families frown at what they alleged to be an attempt to sidetrack what has been gazetted by the state government to serve as a guide in appointing a new oba for the ancient town.
The protesting nine Atiba descendants included Olanite, Tella Okitipapa, Adesiyan Tella Agbojulogun, Adelabu, Baba Idode, Abidekun, Adediran and Adeitan families.
Their spokesperson, Mogaji Afolabi Ademola Adeitan of the Adeitan/Atiba Royal Family, implored Governor Makinde to be guided in appointing the next Alaafin of Oyo by looking into the recommendations contained in the 1976 Report and as gazetted by the state government on 16 July, 2001.
He said, rather than two, as claimed by the Alowolodu and Agunloye families, 11 royal houses have a right to the throne and, with the first two having successively produced the last two Alaafins, the remaining nine royal families should be allowed to produce the next successor.
“It is very wrong and illegal to claim that we have just the Alowolodu and Agunloye families as the only two ruling houses in Oyo.
“We have one Atiba Ruling House, consisting of 11 direct descendants of Atiba. These include Agunloye, Alowolodu, Olanite, Tella Okitipapa, Adesiyan Tella Agbojulogun, Adelabu, Baba Idode, Abidekun, Adediran and Adeitan families.
“The Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration has been declared defective, since 1976, just as the Oyo State government has, since then, pronounced that the other nine royal families are equally entitled to producing successors to the throne.
“The report of a Commission of Enquiry, as attested to in a letter written to the then Oyo Local Council on 8 December, 1976, had declared the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration defective for failing to accommodate the other nine royal families.
“The recommendation contained in the 1976 Report of the Commission of Enquiry was equally accepted by the Oyo State government and was gazetted in the Oyo State of Nigeria: Gazette on 16 July, 2001.
“In the interest of peace, fairness, equity and justice, we hereby appeal to the Oyo State governor, Engineer ‘Seyi Makinde, to look into all these documents and act accordingly.
“All eyes are on the governor, Oyo Kingdom and the entire Oyo State as we look forward to the appointment of a worthy 45th Alaafin of Oyo who will be acceptable to all,” Mogaji Afolabi said.
The Oyo State government had, in a letter through the then Oyo Local Government Council and dated 8 December, 1976, declared the then Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration defective for failing to recognise the nine royal families as successors to the Alaafin throne.
The government had then expressly stated the defect in the letter captioned “Letter To Atiba Descendants on Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration”, addressed to the 11 royal families and signed by the secretary of the then local council, one S. O. O. Opadiran.
“I have been directed by the Secretary to the Oyo State Military government and Head of Service to inform you that the Oyo State Executive Council has declared the chieftaincy Declaration in respect of Alaafin of Oyo defective and has directed that the chieftaincy committee of the defunct Oyo Southern Local Government Council should prepare a new Declaration providing for only one Ruling House, the Atiba Ruling House, to include all the descendants of Atiba.
“I am further to inform you that necessary action is being taken in compliance with the directives of the Executive Council and you will be further informed of progress on the matter, if necessary, in due course,” the letter stated in part.
Furthermore, a White Paper issued in 1995 on the Chieftaincies Power of Prescribed Authorities also reflected the decision of the state government on the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration.
It was contained in the Oyo State of Nigeria Gazette, No. 27, Vol 26, 16 July, 2001 and signed by the then Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Michael Koleoso, under the Governor’s Command.
As contained in the Gazette, the state government, on the Alaafin of Oyo, stated that Chieftaincy Declaration (Section 38.1) the recommendation of the 1976 Report of the Commission of Enquiry ((38. 1.1) that “Government should design a system of ensuring the implementation of its decision of 1976 which
(i) “Declared the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration made by the Chieftaincy Committee of the then Oyo Divisional Council defective because it did not reflect the true customary law governing appointment to the Alaafin Chieftaincy.
(ii) “Directed the Oyo South Local Government Council Chieftaincy Committee to amend the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration to provide for only one ruling house, the Atiba Ruling House, including all the descendants of Atiba.”