By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The people of Orin Ekiti in Ido/Osi Local Government on Tuesday trooped out enmass to protest alleged plan by some power brokers to impose a king on the town.
They accused the government of Dr Kayode Fayemi of planning to appoint a new king from a family that doesn’t belong to the royal family.
The stool of the Olorin of Orin Ekiti became vacant following the death of Oba Oluwole Olubunmo in 2015.
The protesters flaunted various placards with the following inscriptions: ‘No third ruling house in Orin’, ‘Imposition Won’t Work’, and ‘We Won’t Allow Perversion of History’, among others.
Briefing newsmen after the protest held early morning Tuesday, Chief Francis Falua, the Eletin of Etin and head of kingmakers, said the only legally recognised royal family that had been in existence for over 200 years were the Olubunmo and Famokiti.
The kingmaker added that it was a serious perversion and mutilation of history for the government to have included Idimeyinsunwon or Ajibewa as the third ruling house, contrary to tradition that only recognises two.
He described as illegal and sacrilegious, the attempt by government to bring another ruling house from a family that had never occupied the traditional stool since the formation of the town.
Falua was assisted by two other living kingmakers — the Onikare, Chief Bamidele Fasuyi and Obaooye, Chief Gabriel Olofinro — while three of the existing six kingmakers in the town, had died.
Falua said from tradition and oral rendition, the town had never had a third ruling house, adding that such coming up now was an aberration.
He said it is the turn of Famokiti to produce the king since the late Oba Oluwole Olubunmo was from Olubunmo ruling house.
Falua added that Idimeyinsunwon, where the government, based on the advice of the Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, was planning to bring out the next king, was not a ruling house.
“Before the late oba was installed, it took the town over 15 years. We could not produce the king because of the crisis,” he said.
Tracing the royal gynaecology of the town, Prince Moses Olubunmo said: “From history, Olubunmo and Famokiti were the descendants of Olayisade the eighth Oba of Orin. And they have reigned for over 200 years alternating the throne.
“Ajibewa from Idimeyinsunwon are not from ruling house, they are chief priests called Aworo Ero. They have never been king and they will never be.”
The deputy governor of the state had visited the town last Thursday and ordered the community to nominate a candidate to fill the vacant Olorin royal stool in line with the extant law as soon as possible.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, government said the choice of the next king must be in line with the Olorin Chieftaincy Declaration, Gazette No 2.
He said the government’s intervention followed a disagreement on the number of ruling houses eligible to produce candidates to contest for the Olorin stool.
Countering Falua’s claims, an aged member of the Ajibewa family, Pa Samuel Ajibewa, 77, denied claims that the documents that generated the gazette was a fraud.
He said that the position of the Morgan Commission of 1978 which recognised only two ruling houses of Famokiti and Olubunmo has been cancelled in the gazette owing to an out-of-court settlement by the three ruling houses in 1995 which also led to a judgment of the court the same year.
According to him, “We had challenged the Morgan Commission’s declaration in court when the late Olorin, Oba Oluwole Olubunmo, was to be installed. The crisis had lingered from 1988 till 1998 when the Famokiti and Olubunmo families and the town pleaded with our family to settle out of court with a promise that once the late Oba was installed, the Kabiyesi and kingmakers would sit and make another declaration that would recognise Ajibewa as a third riling house.
“We agreed and the declaration was eventually done with the signature of the late head of kingmakers, Chief Ige Eletin, and other kingmakers. We have documents confirming these claims including the one which the town wrote to our family on the agreement which was duly signed and stamped by the then regent of the town, Chief A. Ajayi, who ruled before Oba Oluwole Olubunmo.”
He also countered claims that Ajibewa were never of royal blood, saying against claims that a certain former monarch of the town had two wives who gave birth to Famokiti and Olubunmo that now became two ruling houses, the monarch in question had had three wives, the third of whose son was Ajibewa.