Obaship tussle: Orile Ilawo chiefs accuse Ogun commissioner, others of conspiring to install Macgregor

The Orile Ilawo Council of chiefs in Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State have accused the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Ganiyu Hamzat of conspiring with controversial Oba-elect, Alex Macgregor to boycott due selection process.

The chiefs in a petition to the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, said Hamzat and some government officials are conspiring to install Macgregor against the will of the people.

The petition made available to newsmen on Saturday, also alleged that the commissioner was conspiring with first-class traditional rulers in Egba Council.

According to elders in the community, they had written two petitions dated 11th October 2022, and 14th November, 2022, and were addressed to governor Dapo Abiodun, chairman and Secretary to local government, commissioner for Chieftaincy and Local government affairs as well as the Ministry of Justice.

The petitions obtained by newsmen were signed by Oluwo of Ilawo Clan, Chief Samson Dosunmu and attested to by Balogun og Ilawo , Chief Abraham Adisa Soyoye ), Chief Nathaniel Abati (Lukotun) and Hon Taiwo Adewuyi(Youth representative).

It could be recalled that the stool of Olu of Ilawo became vacant following the demise of Oba Lawrence Aina in 2021.

The stool of Olu of Orile Ilawo Alagbagba, one of the five biggest communities in Ogun State, had been a subject of tussle since the process of selecting new king started. After McGregor was purportedly selected, it was greeted with huge protests as the clan insists that he has no roots in Orile Ilawo. 

The petition alleged imposition of Macgregor, who they accused of not following the tradition and custom Oba selection of the people. 

While protesting against the alleged imposition, a traditional chief in the community, Ogboye of Ilawo, Chief 'Banji Olaogun advised Abiodun and others against imposition of candidate on the community to avert a crisis.

He said, “Relevant Chieftaincy laws and Customary laws were not strictly followed in whatever they did with that process. Before they select an Oba, the procedure of selection needs to be in tandem with what is required by customary laws and chiefs law of 2021 which states clearly that aside the town which must be carried along in a transparent manner the law emphasized the position of the Oluwo iledi of the clan in organizing and submitting the list of warrant chiefs where there is no declaration yet for the stool and particularly the local government representative being the observer in the selection of an Oba. 

"The local government in this case bungled the whole process with so much incompetence and clumsiness as they unilaterally manipulated the list of warrant chiefs claiming they had gone to Alake and Osile for warrant chiefs list of an independent clan , (who had the rights), jettisoning the original list of the owners of the town headed by Oluwo Iledi and entire Ilawo council of chiefs and using another entirely different one with 6 strange names out of 9 names originally submitted by the council. This is injustice of the highest order and yet the commission is supporting this."

"They totally ignored and announce the absence of major members of the Ilawo council of chiefs, particularly Oluwo of Ilawo, Balogun of Ilawo, Jaguna and Lukotun in doing the bid of their paymaster. This is totally against the position of the tradition as there is no way you will truly consult with the Ilawo council of chiefs and not involve Oluwo of the Clan/Townahip , Balogun, Jaguna, Lukotun, Aro, of the clan in question. This is Yoruba land. 

“We are capable of maintaining the rich and fair tradition of our fathers and will be grateful if the commissioner for our Chieftaincy, Ganiyu Hamzat, Local Government chairwoman, Alhaji Shuaib, and all persons who wish Orile Ilawo well will stop the plan to impose Alex Macgregor on our clan, and instead, investigate the truth of the matter, and join the Ilawo clan, particularly the council of chiefs in ensuring that this tradition of culture as embedded in our tradition from time immemorial is followed.

The community, however, urged the state government to intervene to avert disturbance of public peace in the state.

“We hereby urge the Governor to reverse the process and order a legal review of our demands and approve our request as contained in the kingmakers’ report submitted to his office and which we believe some people have made sure the letter does not get to his desk or see the light of the day; their letters requesting for selection of the Olu of Orile Ilawo from the people of Orile Ilawos tentative ruling houses to participate in the process.”

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