We must respect choice of the Oracle’
Controversy surrounding the obaship of Iruland
•The intrigues, twists and accusations
By Evelyn Usman
Last September , the Oniru of Iru kingdom in Victoria Island area of Lagos, Oba Idowu Abiodun Oniru, passed on , shortly after celebrating his 82nd birthday, leaving the stool vacant.
Soon after, tussle for the right successor to the throne began, with different parties sourcing for their choice candidate to be enthroned.
In the heat of the tension, former Commissioner of Agriculture in Lagos State, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, resigned his appointment to be crowned the 15th Oniru of Iru land , on July 6, 2020.
However, his enthronement has been greeted with crisis, following allegation that it did not follow the traditional method of installing kings.
Members of the Omowunmi Abisogun Oniru royal family, who claimed to be the next in line to the throne are among the aggrieved.
At the moment, there is a heavy presence of policemen in Oniru , to forestall any likely violence that may erupt. Two months ago, one of the sons of the late Oba, Tijani Onoru was seen being attacked by thugs , in a video that went viral.
Threat to life
Another aggrieved party in the Obaship tussle is Chief Mathew Adekunle Akinwunmi, a member of the Omowunmi Abisogun royal family . Akinwunmi , who is the Eletu of Iruland, claimed to have been chosen by the oracle to ascend the throne as the Oniru of Iruland, but lamented that he had been stripped of his mandate.
He has further raised the alarm that his life was no longer safe.
He said: “I have been accused of being a traitor and challenged on three different occasions in the palace. I have therefore ceased to visit the palace to avoid further confrontations that can degenerate into a fracas.
”Despite my resolve to stay clear from them, I am still being seen as an enemy depriving them of peace. Some guys have been contracted to kidnap me and assassinate me. They are presently monitoring my movements .
“I went out on Monday and a strange face came to where I packed my vehicle. He rested on its boot trying to pick up my plate number. He went to the front too to do the same. When the person left in my car came out and accosted him, the intruder’s response was that he was looking for a number of a vehicle. When asked who the owner of the vehicle he was looking for was, he went away without responding. There had been other incidents which I will keep to myself”
Painting what he described as the true picture of the whole obaship brouhaha, Adewunmi , exonerated one of the late King’s sons, Aremo Adesegun Oniru, from blame in the whole issue. The latter was accused of the cause of the tension in the area, all in his bid to ascend the throne .But Adewunmi, clarified that , “ In November 2019, immediately after the burial of the late king, Aremo Adesegun Oniru, placed a telephone call to the then Olori Ebi of Abisogun, Chief Biliaminu Adio Sanni Abisogun, informing him to call a meeting of the Abisogun family in order to pick a candidate to fill the vacant stool.
Aremo told Chief Billiaminu that the Abisogun family must pick one of its own and not a stranger”
He noted that while the meeting was ongoing, a man (names withheld ) was going around claiming to be the next king.
Continuing, he said: “As Aremo instructed, Chief Biliaminu Sanni called Chief Wasiu Ogunbambi, the Olisa of Iruland and myself who is the Eletu of Iruland, (both of us are from the Omowunmi Abisogun royal family) and are principal members of the family. At the meeting, Chief Biliaminu listed some names as the prospective Omo – Oye . my name was included.
“The Oracle was consulted and I was announced as the choice candidate. This happened at the house of Chief Biliaminu, the then Olori Ebi.
Again, as Olisa was about leaving for his house, I told Chief Biliaminu to allow him to go home with the names of the prospective Omo – Oyes and consult another Oracle to confirm the authenticity of the choice made by the first oracle.
This he did and on the third day, he called back and said he gave the names to three different Oracle centres and that they all mentioned my name as the choice candidate to fill the stool. Thereafter, a major family meeting was called where I was presented to the general Omowunmi Family as the candidate chosen by IFA ( oracle)”.
He said barely had he been mentioned as the chosen one by the oracle than he was accosted by one of the Chiefs who allegedly boasted he would never become the Oniru of Iruland because he was not connected politically and was not rich. He further stated that some of the chiefs queued behind one Ajasa, whom they nominated to be the Oniru of Iru land, because he was connected to prominent politicians and a serving governor .
Another intrigue according to him played out , when his name and three others were taken to the former members of the Board of Trustees for screening and consultation with the oracle to pick the choice candidate.
But he revealed that “ the Board of Trustees refused to consult the oracle, they decided rather that they would conduct an election to vote for the right person to ascend the throne, thereby turning traditional culture into politics.
They voted and one of the four persons, Ajasa Hakeem,won and was therefore declared their candidate”
He added that the outcome of the vote was kicked against by Aremo Adesegun Oniru, (son of the late King), on the ground that he was not a member of the royal family. . “ Aremo insisted that instead of a stranger to take over the throne, he would become the Oba, being the son of the late King.
He said he would not want all his father had labored to build to be given to strangers. This marked the genesis of the accusation of his being the cause of the whole crisis. Aremo Adesegun Oniru should be seen as a great man who wants things done the right way, rather than as a covetous man as being peddled around”.
As the imbroglio between Hakeem and Aremo Adesegun Oniru heightened, a prominent politician in Lagos State was said to have summoned Ajasa and former members of the BOT, where Ajasa’s choice was rejected.
He said that the politician asked the BOT members if they had another person to ascend the throne and they responded in the negative, consequent upon which the name of former Commissioner for Agriculture was mentioned as being a member of the Abisogun family.
But he was quick to add that the politician was misled by members of the BOT, asserting that had they told him (politician) about the choice of the Oracle which they rejected , the politician might have asked them to bring the Oracle’s choice for assessment and upward validation.
“This was how Gbolahan Lawal resigned on Friday, July 5, 2020 and was crowned on the 6th and given staff of office on the 7th of June 2020. His emergence was a bitter pill for the BOT members because their allegiance was with Akeem Ajasa. And they told the world that it was Asiwaju who forced Gbolahan on them, in order to cover their dirty and shameful act of betrayal and disobedience to the voice of the Almighty God disclosed through the Oracle.
The series of protests and unrest that have been ravaging Iru land since the enthronement of Gbolahan Lawal, was as a result of the failure of the so called BOT members to listen to the voice of God and the ancestors of Iruland. The unrest in Iru land today is not from anyone but from God Almighty and our Ancestors. They shall continue to trouble those who had hands in the murder of peace of our land (Iruland) till they reverse this brazen day robbery of our throne.
”My voice has not been heard all this while because I don’t believe in violence and because I never nursed the ambition of becoming a King, it was God and the Ancestors that named me as their choice and I believe the choice of God can never be denied no matter how hard men tried.
“In Yoruba land there are customs to be followed before an Oba can be installed for peace and tranquility to prevail but this was not followed in the case of Gbolahan and this is why the original owners of Iruland are vehemently opposing it. For peace to be restored, the right thing must be done
He therefore appealed to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Lagos State Government to intervene in the matter by calling the aggrieved parties to find out why those he described as genuine owners of Iruland were opposed to the installation of Gbolahan Lawal as the Oba of Iruland.
Written by Kartia Velino