We have read an open letter purported to have been written by some unverifiable people addressed to His Excellency, Prince (Dr) Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State, copies of which are being circulated on some WhatsApp platforms over the issue of conferment of the title of Aremo of Yewaland on Distinguished Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, (Yayi).
As Omo-Obas of Yewaland who by educational background, professional calling, status and exposure, know the value of the Obaship institution, nay, that of the traditional council as a rallying point and driving force for the coordinated development of their domains, we must say that we were greatly dismayed by the content, claims and motive behind the letter.
Having carefully considered the issues raised and sampling of the opinion of some Obas in Yewaland, it is apparent that the claim by the writers that the conferment of the title on Senator Adeola amounts to an attempt to politicise the process is a fallacy and more of a figment of the writers’ imagination and conjecture mischievously contrived, rather than being the intention of the paramount ruler and Obas of Yewaland who have for many years been muting the idea of giving various chieftaincy titles to the senator.
That Senator Adeola has not been conferred with numerous chieftaincy titles in Yewaland before now is not because he has not been approached severally by the Obas, but because the senator had declined such offers for personal reasons.
The Paramount Ruler, of Yewaland, Oba (Dr.) Kehinde Olugbenle, had also not been so keen in conceding to several pressures from his brother Yewa Obas for a pan- Yewa title to be conferred on Senator Adeola.
To that extent, the conferment of a title at this time should not and cannot be said to be for political purpose. Rather, it is a popular desire among the Obas which has now been endorsed by the paramount ruler. It is a decision and process that has stood the test of time, undergone due diligence and enjoyed popularity among members of the Yewa Traditional Council. This is why the process has not witnessed any protest from the Obas.
Rather, what we are having is a protest by some mean and petty politicians who cannot come out openly, but have sponsored some faceless individuals to whip up ill-motivated sentiments and stir up divisive tendencies among the Obas and people of Yewaland. They are the ones who have gone even beyond an attempt to outrightly politicize the issue at stake with disdain and it is important for the Yewa people to see these spineless detractors for what they really are.
As part of the desperate attempt to mislead the governor and the people with their ‘atamo atamo’ machination, these writers want the over 40 Oba membership Yewa Traditional Council to stop taking decisions to promote the development of Yewaland simply because some four Obas have not been installed since the demise of the last occupants of the stools.
Not only does this appear unreasonable, but it also runs contrary to the extant laws and principles guiding the operations of the council. Even when the council did not have the paramount ruler, who was its substantive chairman, in place following the demise of Oba Adekambi, some ten years back, the council did not close shop. It rather elected it’s secretary, the late Olu of Imasayi, to preside over its meetings and perform official functions as acting chairman of the council. Why then must the council now be encumbered and be rendered inactive because a couple of its members have not been installed.
Apparently, one can also understand why Senator Adeola is popular among the Obas and eminently qualified to be honored. They see and acknowledge him as a major supporter of meaningful developmental projects across communities in Yewaland.
To name a few, Senator Adeola is the major sponsor of the multi-million Naira Electrification project at the Ayetoro Campus of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ayetoro-Yewa. He has also donated a modern Library Complex to the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro.
He has supported and still supporting the development of community projects in Imeko/Afon, Ipokia and Ado-Odo/Igbesa areas among others, apart from bills sponsored to upgrade the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro to a University.
He has supported many churches, mosques and organisations in their programmes, just as he has empowered, supported many individuals and groups in their various businesses and projects.
In addition to all these, he has maintained an Omoluabi profile which has endeared him to both Obas and people of Yewaland. A cordial relationship exists between the Senator and Yewa Obas who have shared many productive moments with him, unlike some politicians who hardly respect nor honour the Obas and as such do not enjoy their goodwill.
Ironically, the rising profile of the Senator may be the source of envy from these politicians who now appear so desperate to do anything to run him down.
To further show how ill informed the writers of this ill-conceived letter are, they claimed that the title of Aremo is a highly coveted traditional title.
Traditional Title of where and coveted by who? An average Yoruba man who understands the Yoruba culture knows that Aremos are naturally first son of a reigning Oba and this does not require any formality or conferment before such son is referred to as Aremo. It is his birth right. People don’t become Aremo simply because they covet it.
However, sometimes an eldest son in an extended royal family or an important personality outside the royal family could be adopted and honoured by an Oba as worthy of being referred to as his son, and so the title of Aremo could be conferred on such personality.
This was why the Awujale of Ijebu land, Oba (Dr) Sikiru Adetona, Ogbagba a gbote wole, named Chief Olusegun Osoba, an Egba man the Aremo Awujale and Aremo of Ijebu land in recognition of his support for the Ijebus and as a way to curry more support for Ijebuland. Therefore, the title of Aremo is not a traditional chieftaincy title but earned by right of birth. Omo Oba o ki i je oye.
Accordingly, an Aremo title in this case conferred by the Yewa Paramount Ruler is an honorary title which the Paramount Ruler has the right and authority to confer on any worthy personality who has supported development in Ilaro and Yewaland at large, irrespective of his place of birth. We are part of those who had advocated that for as long as some politicians who pretend to be leaders of Yewaland emphasize and stir up factors that divide us or undermine our unity and the prime position of our traditional rulers, especially the paramount rulership which some of us relentlessly worked for, for so long shall major developmental strides elude us as a people. This is why we cannot put ourselves at the same social pedestal as the Ijebu and or Egba. Why didn’t Ijebu politicians or people raise their voices against the making of Osoba as Aremo by the Awujale. Those are people who value their development and the pivotal roles of their paramount ruler and traditional rulers generally in this regard.
Certainly, we cannot continue to leave the fate of our future and fortune, as a people, in the hands of myopic and self-centered politicians who are intolerant of others and would sacrifice our clamour for unity and progress for their selfish aggrandizement.
On the writers’ claim not to know Senator Adeola’s relatives, it is clear that they are only playing the ostrich and the pretentious deaf who select only what they want to hear. People who are open minded on the origin of Senator Adeola already know that he has his relatives in Isaga and among Isaga migrants in Pahayi, Ilaro. Like many typical Yewa people or Yorubas who have homesteads or cradles, Oriles, Oko and new settlements, and have migrated due to effect of wars, among other factors, Senator Adeola also can lay claim to Isaga Orile and Ago-Isaga/Pahayi in Ilaro as his cradle. If anyone wishes to know his relatives, they should go to these places to confirm or ask the Oba of Isaga or the Olu of Ilaro. These revered obas know who their sons are, no matter where they were born or how long they have stayed away from home. Of course, this is the essence of oriki in Yorubaland.
Going by the above, it is clear to us that there is the need for our people to be wary of politicians who are deliberately but unwittingly doing more harm than good to the obaship institution in Yewaland and our collective will to foster unity among our various communities.
This is the time to strengthen our traditional council and the paramount rulership as the primus inter peres who will be the rallying point for our collective aspirations, growth and development.
Enough of selfish divisive attempts to undermine our traditional council or smuggle hatred and ill-feelings into the council just as they have polarized themselves along political divides.
*Omo-Oba Femi Dokunmu.
*Omo-Oba Hon. Tunde Tella
*Hon. Albert Duro Asipa
*Omo-Oba Kayode Oni
*Omo-Oba Ayo Akanbi
*Omo-Oba Adebimpe Kazeem Adeole