Oba Olusegun Salau
By Michael Odama
The Oba Yoruba Abuja, His Royal Highness, Oba Olusegun Salau, has been a courageous and fearless fighter in defending the interest of the Yorubas and other Nigerians residing in the Federal Capital Territory for the past 17 years.He started his lone crusade initially at his base in Kado by settling inter communal disputes between his kinsmen and other ethnic groups in the territory.
Oba Salau equally used to organise Yoruba Day activities which was a platform for projecting the Yoruba culture through dance, music and other events in the Federal Capital Territory. In recognition of his selfless service to the Yorubas and other Nigerians in Abuja, the Ona of Abaji and the Chairman of the FCT Council of Traditional Rulers HRH Alh Adamu Baba Yunusa formally crowned him as the Oba Yoruba, Abuja in 2002.
Oba Olusegun Salau did not ascend the throne smoothly as he has been facing a lot of challenges from some factions of the Yoruba Community in the FCT. One of such notorious challenges came from a group of Yorubas, who installed one Arowolo Falawale as the Asiwaju of Yorubas in the FCT to undermine his position as the Oba Yoruba Abuja.
Being a dogged fighter, Oba Salau sued the group at an Abuja High Court in 1997 and got a court order granting an interim injunction stopping Arowolo Falawale from parading himself as the Asiwaju of the Yorubas in the FCT. The traditional ruler recently dragged a faction of the Yoruba Community in Abuja who went as far as Kaduna to invite one Ganiyu Oguntiyibo to come and destabilise the Yoruba Community in the Federal Capital Territory to court again.
Oba Salau told the court that the group floated an unregistered Association known as Yoruba Community Council whereas the registered Association of Yoruba Community, Abuja already exists. However, the presiding Judge struck out the suit saying the constitution guarantees citizens freedom of association.
Oba Salau demonstrated his courage when he told the former President Obasanjo at a town hall meeting in Abuja then that the infamous demolition of houses in Abuja by Mallam Nasir El-rufai that the exercise was like a war which made the then president to flare up in anger. Oba Salau once drew a large crowd of prominent Nigerians to Abuja when he conferred the traditional chieftaincy title of Maiyegun of Abuja in 2002 on the then Minister of Abuja, Engineer Abba Gana.
He has been agitating that community leaders like the Oba Yoruba Abuja, the Eze Igbo Abuja and the Sarkin Hausawa in the FCT be paid stipends to enable them perform well as is the case in some states like Kwara, Osun and Oyo.
• Odama writes from Suleja, FCT