Vacant Stool: Ondo Community Protests Alleged Imposition of Candidate by Govt
Fidelis David in Akure
Residents of Ifon community in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State yesterday took to the street to protest the alleged plan by the state government to impose a candidate on them to fill the vacant traditional stool of the community.
The Olufon stool became vacant in November 2020 following the death of Oba Israel Adeusi, who was killed by suspected gunmen on Benin-Owo expressway in Elegbeka area of the local government area.
The protesters, who included elders, match towards the local government secretariat chanting different local solidarity songs to express their grievances against the alleged plan of the government.
Speaking during the protest, a community leader, Chief Akinbode Ajayi, explained that the community had seven ruling houses, adding that the last king, Oba Israel Adeusi, came from the sixth ruling house.
According to him, the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Lucky Ayedatiwa, in a meeting held with major stakeholders of the community, affirmed that the next king would come from the seventh ruling house-the Erunogbe Ruling House.
Akinbode said: “One prince from Umougba Ruling House is already parading himself as the next king with support of the state government. This is an abomination that would have grave effects on the community if it happens.”
Also, a youth leader in the community, Mr. Bidemi Abiodun, said youths in the community were greatly disturbed that “someone had been parading himself as an anointed government’s candidate that would be foisted on the community as the next Olufon of Ifon being a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) and an ally of the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Abiodun, therefore, called on the state government “to respect the custom and tradition of Ifon town in the process leading to the selection of the next Olufon of Ifon.”
In the same vein, a group under the auspices of Concerned Indigenes of Ifon has urged the state government not to interfere with the selection process of filing the vacant stool of the community.
The leader of the group, Prof. Adetokunbo Adeola, said the matter on the traditional stool was still pending at the Ondo State High Court in Akure, and that there was need for the state government to suspend action until the outcome of the court on the matter, urging the government to allow the people choose their candidate.
Prof. Adeola said: “As a matter of fact, the choice and preference of the Umaugba ruling house by the Ondo State Government over the other ruling houses who are supposed to be the next in line of succession according to the 1968 Olufon Chieftaincy declaration, is now being challenged in the court of law in Owo.
“An interlocutory injunction restraining the Ifon kingmakers from acting on the state government’s directives to select the next Olufon of Ifon pending the hearing of the motion on notice was subsequently granted in May 22, 2022. While the motion on notice was yet to be heard at the High Court in Owo, one of the princes from the Umaugba Ruling House had been parading himself everywhere in the town as the anointed government’s candidate, being an APC stalwart.
“We have also heard from the acclaimed government’s anointed candidate that all arrangements had been put in place to vacate the interlocutory injunction on July 5, 2022, while his selection as the Olufon-elect by some of the kingmakers had been slated for July 7, 2022, somewhere outside Ifon town.”