Kwara: Indigenes Protest Nomination of New ‘Onidofian,’ Call Him ‘Wrong Candidate’
Indigenes of Idofian, a community in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara, have staged a peaceful protest in Ilorin against alleged nomination of one Jamiu Omikunle as the traditional ruler of the town.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the aggrieved community, on Wednesday stormed the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to protest alleged plans to impose the new traditional ruler.
The protesters, comprising youths, women and community leaders in their numbers, warned the government against installing the “wrong candidate.”
The stool of Onidofian of Idofian Land became vacant in June 2021 after Late Alhaji Zubair Oyesoro from Oloyi Ruling House died.
Also, a letter of protest signed by one of the Kingmakers, Mallam Akolade Abioye, the Oloye Aare of Idofian Land of Debebioro, addressed to Gov AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, requested a quick intervention for the peaceful co-existence of their community.
Abioye alleged that three out of many aspirants for the stool of Oludofian of Idofian were selected and the Kingmakers notified the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Aliyu Saifudeen.
He stated that the Commissioner on June 21, held a meeting with two of seven Kingmakers, Oloye Odofin, Chief Raheem Olarewaju Odofin and Oloye Balogun, Chief Idrisu Owolafe.
He alleged further that the rationale behind the action of the Commissioner was to fence other Kingmakers working for the remaining candidates.
“But from all indications the invitation of two Kingmakers out of seven is nothing but bias and injustice against other aspirants and action of the commissioner,” he said.
In his reaction, Mr Ayodele Agbalaya, Secretary of Agbalaya Royal Family in Idofian town, expressed suspicion of foul play since the beginning of the process of the Obaship tussle in the town.
He alleged that two of the princes that came out to contest were unknown to them and were nominated by the kingmakers.
Mrs. Abibat Ajala, the Iya Adini of Idofian, stated that the Idofian community wanted Alhaji Rasheed Agbalaya as community king.
“The nomination of Jamiu Omikunle was against the norms, customs and traditions of the land,” she said.
Also, a chieftain of the Idofian community, Mr Yekini Olawale, the Omo Adumase, said that they were registering their grievance on the nomination of Omikunle as the new Onidofian of Idofian.
This, he said, was because the person imposed on them by the Kingmakers was not from the royal family.
Olawale therefore called on the state government to do the right thing and reverse the selection of Omikunle as Onidofian of Idofian, adding that due process should be followed in choosing a king from the right ruling house.
He noted that there were two ruling families in the town which included the Oloye family and the Agbalaya family.
Olawale pointed out that the former produced the last monarch and it was now the turn of the Agbalaya family to produce the next Onidofian.
Reacting to the allegations, Mr Aliyu Saifudeen, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, denied the allegations levelled against him by the protesters.
The Commissioner also denied involvement in the logjam surrounding the selection process of the new Onidofian of Idofian.
Saifudeen, however, appealed to the people to maintain the peace always, insisting that some elements were trying to tarnish his image over the issue.
“Right now, I don’t even know the reason of their protest. I was just told now that somebody is been paraded as prince.
“The truth of the matter was that I am not in the position to know who is a prince in Idofian, or not.
“But for whatever reason our judgment is usually based on the resolve of the Kingmakers who themselves know better than anyone,” he said.
The commissioner observed that if the Kingmakers brought somebody who was not a prince, that was left for the Kingmakers to go and resolve with the community.
“I am just hearing it for the first time that there is somebody among the contestants who is not a prince.
“One thing I can assure you here is that all the people that were presented to us here have the endorsement of the Kingmakers. They have one or more kingmakers behind them.
Saifudeen reiterated that the administration of Gov AbdulRazaq did not meddle into who became King in the communities.
“But we are working round the clock to ensure that only the best comes out of Idofian township king contest,” he said. (NAN)