The Bashorun of Oyo and head of the ancient kingdom’s kingmakers, Yusuf Akinade, has maintained that Prince Lukman Gbadegesin was appointed as Oyo’s next Alaafin after due process was followed.
Akinade said the kingmakers were not informed that Mr Gbadegesin’s nomination was rejected by Governor Seyi Makinde.
In a statement made available to the media on Tuesday, the Bashorun said the seven kingmakers unanimously voted for Mr Gbadegesin from among the 82 princes interested in the stool.
“What they failed to tell the people was that warrant chiefs are appointees of government and not that of Oyomesi. They are appointed on the recommendation of the local government.
“For example, to fill the vacant position of Ashipa of Oyo, Atiba local government applied to the ministry of local government and chieftaincy matters that the position needed to be filled to select a new Alaafin. The council thereafter proposed three names. Aare Ago was picked. The ministry wrote a letter appointing him as warrant chief. I didn’t appoint him.
“While the selection process was ongoing, we lost the Alapinni. The Alapinni, traditionally, is a member of the Oyo East traditional council and by the office, he is one of the Oyomesi who participate in the selection of an Alaafin.
“There was confusion as to whether to treat the Alapinni in his customary role as a member of the Oyomesi to participate in the selection.
“There was also confusion as to whether Atiba or Oyo East local government should nominate. Atiba made recommendations for three people. Oyo East equally felt Alapinni is a member of the LG’s traditional council and equally suggested three names.
“The ministry of local government and chieftaincy matters chose Alapo of Oke Apo. We later learnt that it chose Alapo because, after looking at names on both lists from the two council areas, he appeared in both. The ministry thereafter wrote a letter appointing him as the approved warrant chief to fill the vacant position of Alapinni in the Oyomesi.
”With the two positions of Ashipa and Alapinni properly filled and in conjunction with the five surviving Oyomesi members, the seven of us met on the 30th of September, 2022 and decided to vote who should be the Alaafin among the 82 princes whose applications were before us.
“All the seven of us unanimously picked Prince Lukuman Adelodun Gbadegesin as the Alaafin-elect.
”And as it is customary, we wrote a letter conveying our choice of Prince Lukuman Gbadegesin as the Alaafin to the governor of Oyo State. This is in line with the chief laws. Section 20 (2) of the law gives the governor 21 days to approve, within which either an unsuccessful prince or a ruling house can write a petition to the governor, stating that such selection shouldn’t be approved.
“After the 21 days and up till now, no petition or claim has been received by the governor. The governor of Oyo State or through his ministry has not called our attention to the existence of such petition.
”But curiously, one of the unsuccessful princes, Hakeem Ladigbolu, dragged the governor, attorney general, commissioner for local government and the seven of us who participated in the selection of Prince Lukuman Adelodun Gbadegesin as Alaafin-elect, to court.
“One of the prayers was that the two warrant chiefs— Alapo and Aare Ago, were not supposed to join us in the selection because the five of us were in the majority, and enough to select a new Alaafin. All of us— Oyo State government, attorney general, commissioner for local government and chieftaincy matters and the seven of us defended the process in the law court.
“The court, in its ruling of 19th December 2022, agreed with all of us that the process was validly done. Up till today, there is no appeal pending against the judgement.
“We need to ask the duo of Samu and Agbaakin that at what point did the choice of Aare Ago and Alapo become illegal in the selection of a new Alaafin?. Was it after the court had given judgement, before or during the case?
”The only time our attention was called was a letter written on 31st October 2022 with reference number CB.141/38/1/79 and addressed to the chairman of Atiba local government, conveying the substitution of Alapo of Oke Apo with the Baale of Ajagba. But the matter was already in court. The governor and the ministry that wrote the letter were co-defendants. Therefore, no such action can be done with the letter until the court came up with the judgement. And finally, the judgement came and approved the two warrant chiefs (Alapo and Aare Ago).
”It is clear, if at all, that if there is no effect to the letter substituting Alapo with Baale of Ajagba, it was because of the court judgement that had approved the nomination of Alapo as warrant chief to participate in the selection of the new Alaafin.”
Basorun challenged the Samu and Agbaakin to explain to the people of Oyo why they wanted to change their position after successfully defending their roles in the selection of Mr Gbadegesin before a court.
Mr Akinade also spoke on the new chieftaincy law of Oyo state.
“It came into existence this year. The act and the process of selection of Alaafin were already done in accordance with the 1961 Alaafin chieftaincy declaration and the 2000 chief law of Oyo State which were prevailing at the time the selection was done.
” Therefore, if there is another provision in the new law, it would never have retroactive effect, invalidating the action done when the new law was not in existence.“
The Bashorun said that they met several times last year until Mr Gbadegesin was selected.
”We met several times as all the 82 princes appeared for an interview before us. Was the interview conducted in just a day? The interview dragged on for two weeks. The minutes of the meetings as recorded by the secretary of Atiba, Hon. Akerele, would attest to the series of meetings we held.
“We are, therefore, appealing to our two colleagues not to bring falsehood into justifying their new attempt to go against what we all approved.
“We want to call the attention of the generality of the Oyos that the positions of the Samu and Agbaakin in antagonising the selection process is not known to anybody in Oyo, at least for the past 10 months.
“At what point did they find out that the participation of the warrant chiefs in the selection process was ill-constituted? Was it after successfully defending their roles in the selection process before a court of competent jurisdiction or after the judgement?
“It is a lie that the government rejected the nomination of Prince Lukuman Adelodun Gbadegesin. They should come out with a letter from the government rejecting the process.
”We want to remind our two brothers— Samu and Agbaakin, that the appointment of warrant chiefs is just to fill the vacant positions of Asipa and Alapinni in the selection process alone and not replace any late member of the Oyomesi.”