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Olukere deserves recognition


SIR: The controversy in Ekiti over the supremacy tussle between Olukere and Ogoga is in my opinion needless. However, it appears Ekiti State government, because of its insincerity is fanning and sustaining the ember of discord and if there is eruption of violence in the town, the government should be held responsible. Governor Ayo Fayose speaking through the deputy governor, at the commissioning of the new palace built by Ogoga few weeks ago added salt to injury by saying that Ogoga is the only recognised monarch in the town. With his proclamation, Olukere whom the deputy governor referred to as Oba is not recognised as a monarch in Ikere.

It is unfortunate that some of our political leaders only mounted democracy when it suited their claims. However, deep in their heart, they are dictators. Supremacy contest among Oba is not a new phenomenon in Yorubaland. Internecine war in Yorubaland in the 19th century had forced many towns to converge in a town to avoid fallen prey to the enemies. In this case, many traditional rulers, even those superior to the monarch of the host town lived together without rancor but gave mutual respect to one another. Till date, there are many towns where many monarchs cohabit without rancour.

The colonial administration and post-colonial government, because of political expediency caused disaffection amongst traditional rulers by classification of Obas based not on their ancient status, but on the size of a town, economic importance of a town, usefulness of an Oba in tax gathering project of the colonialist or closeness of an Oba to the government. The matter is even made worst today, as some Obas have become politician themselves. The recognition an Oba enjoys today depends on his political affiliation and ability to garner vote for a political party or a candidate in an election.

Ogoga and Olukere supremacy tango cannot be settled by government threat or effusion. As a historian, from his title Olukere has a claim to the ownership of the town. He is an important stakeholder. In Yorubaland, one of the easiest means to establish position of an Oba is through his title. The prefix Olu, Oni or any prefix that signifies ownership shows an Oba as the founder of a town. Exception is a town where the name of the founder is used as the title of the Oba of the town. In this context, both Olukere and Ogoga could lay claim on being the founder of Ikere.

The way out is to set up an independent commission of enquiry to look into the claims of the two monarchs and come out with its recommendations that will guide government in solving the problem. It is disgusting that most of the successful enquiries were set up by the military. Many politicians are too partisan to establish a successful commission of enquiry. What a sincere government does in the situation in Ikere is to give Olukere his due without tampering with Ogoga’s status. By so doing, they would live in peace, this is better than giving Olukere a headache over what ordinarily should be accorded him.
Adewuyi Adegbite
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