Since the burial ceremonies of the late Oba Phillip Oni on 14 April 2017, the Omo Owa, the princes of Iwoye Ijesa, have been reviewing multiple documents and jostling to agree on the next family to present its candidate. All the ruling families, in their typical behaviour, have also been trying to get their candidates ready for a possible presentation first to the Omo Owa group then the Ilu group which selects the candidate and informs the Local Government Area Council.
The Local Government Council in turn informs the State Government and the State Executive Council ratifies the decision of the king makers .
To be fair to all parties, the king makers and the Omo Owa had at last agreed on the family to produce the next Oba.
In compliance with the Chieftaincy Declaration gazette, the candidate had to meet certain criteria in terms of age, education and social standing. The king makers, optimistic about the outcome and viewing the interested candidates, added some additional criteria like ownership of a university degree, a house in the town, projects done by the candidate in Iwoye etc.
The family in line had suggested a specific candidate who did not meet any of the minimum requirements, talk less the superfluous extra requirements. The candidate refused to show up for screening. Then suddenly, on 19 May 2018, the Local Government Area Council informed the king makers that they were to conclude the selection process on Monday 21 May 2018. The king makers promptly wrote a protest to the supposed imposition on the town and distributed it before the said date.
On arrival and out deference to the Local Government, the king makers were introduced to the new king and forced to accept him with threats to their safety and freedom. The imposition was already done
. They installed the prince as Oba. On the strength of the concluded installation the “New Oba” drove in a motorcade parading and he is still parading himself of the Oba.
It is suspected that the Local Government Council felt that the selection would not get past the State Executive Council for three reasons:
1. The candidate is, prima facie, not qualified.
2. The approval of the king makers was obtained under duress and in short order, the protest of the king makers will get the State Government.
3. The State Government had interest in some candidates who equally had genuine claims to the stool. For this reason, the State Government wanted the process to be transparent so that crises would not ensue.
4. The sponsors of the candidate so enthroned were from outside the ruling party with promotion of their party in mind.
Their main motivation has nothing to do with getting the town a suitable king but to do with winning the next elections. Discovery of this could be viewed as anti party activities by those in power.
The Local Government Council decided to defy the State Government in a matter that is gazetted. It is highly doubtful that the State will just roll over and succumb.
It is also most likely that the process will be stalled by court injunctions as many of the princes are not in support of this disregard for custom by the perpetrators. Protests keep flooding into the State Government but I think the Government has its own grouse too. Would Prince Amos Ogidiolu be able to defy all constituted authorities and wear the crown? Time will tell but I strongly doubt it.