According to a statement signed by High Chief Ojumu of Owo and their family Secretary Olanrewaju Fadeyi, a plea has been submitted to the Akure Council of Chiefs, the Ondo State Government and Governor to kindly consider reinstating the deposed Deji of Akure. I call the plea a Trojan horse and a Greek gift to Akure and those who have the best interest of our town.
In the convoluted mind of the family and the deposed Deji, the only stumbling block to the possibility of Deji Osupa’s return to that throne like the late Olowo Olateru Olagbegi, was late Kabiyesi Afunbiowo the Second whose life was snuffed out like a candle in the wind on December 1, 2013 in circumstances that would have required an autopsy, if we are not operating in animal farm kind of country where life counts for nothing. It looks to me like the Kabiyesi was poisoned.
If the man was that important to us in his life time, we ought to be concerned about how the man who was hale and hearty, a day before, just slumped like that and died without the Law or the Government stepping in to at least order an autopsy. I feel terrible that our-so-called people oriented Governor, a medical doctor, for that matter, would not have raised an eye brow when he was one of the very few insiders in Akure to be called or notified about the sudden ailment of the Kabiyesi who has just returned from a medical check up in the United States upon a clearance by the same Governor less than 2 months before his death and 2 weeks after a high society wedding of his first son in Lagos which was attended by the cream of the Nigerian society. I knew the man. He was my first cousin and a profile in good health but he loved to party. I once cautioned him about that but I don’t believe he died a natural death. You can disagree on that but it is my own opinion.
Only a heartless cold-minded family would not think twice before embarking on their mission impossible to have their in-law returned back to the throne within a month of the death of his predecessor.
They claimed they have already reconciled with their in-law for the loss of their daughter on whose behalf they are now appealing to Akure king makers and the Government and Governor of Ondo State to grant their request because they consider the move a rare honor for their family and their late daughter who is in no position to freely speak for herself now because she has been silenced for ever by a husband who once accused her of being a mental patient and an unrepentant philanderer whose two children for her she once threatened to disown. Her family has completely forgotten that the Kabiyesi was accompanied to the public brawl to disrespect his wife by a new high visibility wife the Deji has acquired from the leftovers from M.K.O. Abiola. All we hear is that the report of the domestic violence was blown out of proportion or grossly exaggerated. Do these talking heads have the fear of God in their hearts as they try to pull a fast one on the reading public and the rest of us?
“O sero lara elebo, sugbon ko sero lara ugbin” meaning in Akure dialect, that what was comfort to the person using the snail for sacrifice is an unbearable hardship and excruciating pains to the snail which has to bear the brunt of the sacrifice, as its protective shell is slashed open with a cutlass to release the embalming water that stands as a substitute for the blood of the helpless snail. I thought the deposed Deji and his in-law family would have delayed or deferred their plea to a more appropriate time to prove their empathy for the late Deji, whose death was a terrible blow to the Adesidas and their imperishable legacies in Akure. The death was a major blow to the the Mimiko Government in Ondo State who saw in the late Kabiyesi all of the starling qualities the selfless and progressive Oba had displayed within his 3 short years on the throne. The Kabiyesi had recorded achievements the deposed Kabiyesi could only dream of in his 5 years of an oppressive reign in Akure any way you slice it.
If Akure is reminded of the number of litigations the deposed Deji has had to answer to, and the first time his dethronement by the Akure king makers was neutralized or reversed by Governor Mimiko on the excuse that those kingmakers have not followed due process, the man would have realized that Governor Mimiko had fully repaid whatever assistance or favors the deposed Deji claimed to have rendered the Governor in his 18 page letter that was so poorly written by his lawyer. He wrote that 18 page letter to the detriment of the State Capital, the detriment of the Deji as an institution and the detriment of all Akure Chiefs who have to swear to an oath of loyalty he is never obliged or required to pledge to them. He wrote that letter to the total detriment of the newly-created Osupa/Odundun ruling line which now has to endure the permanent blemish of having their first candidate since 1845 banished and disgraced out of office like a drifter just passing thru.
He wrote that letter to the detriment of all non-omo-ori-ite grand children like the late Deji , Oba Afunbiowo the Second and other grand children like myself from the male and the female lines and our generations of children and offspring who may one day aspire to that throne. It was an unforgivable blemish that the first non-omo-ori -ite candidate to be crowned a Deji in the 900 years of Akure History was actually banished with ignominy from the throne. Are the king makers that timid or forgetful to remind his family the transgressions the serial offender has committed using his power like a Lion?
Where, for Heaven’s sake, was the deposed Deji when late Permanent Secretary, Prince Adewole Adesida of blessed memory, Late Prince and lawyer Adedeji Faturoti Adegoroye and the current Chairman of the newly-created Osupa/Odundun Ruling House, Prince (Dr.) Adebimpe Ige Ogunleye Aladejana and myself were fighting tooth and nail to have the rights of grand children and great grand children recognized in the Deji’s Declaration? The deposed Deji was no where to be found when we were all making representations to the defunct Western Region, the defunct Ondo State Government embracing Ekiti to please grant the grand children the right to contest and be selected and crowned a Deji in Akure.
The man came from his base in London to claim a title all the people listed above have used their entire life fighting for. The deposed Deji gave the impression in his letter and the Nigerian News Media gave the impression as if his physically beating up his wife in public was just the only reason he was banished from the throne. He was guilty of a laundry list of offenses and traditional transgressions like sending hired assassins and thugs to go take out one retired soldier named Isijola, a cousin of mine on my father’s side at Irowo who sued the late Deji for several millions of Naira for attempted murder and premeditated assault and battery. The deposed Deji now says he has long reconciled with his wife and family before the woman died. He also claimed to have reconciled with deposed Omolare, my good childhood friend, Jossie Abegunde with whom he was said to have engaged in a public confrontation much to his own peril as the Deji.
He did not mention in his letter how he had summarily revoked the title of sale his second-in-command, the former Olisa Otutuleyowo the Second had bought during the reign of Deji Otutubiosun Adelegan Adesida who held the title for 16 years while Deji Ataiyese held the title for another 8 years and his daughter Princess Adeyinka as Regent for 6 years before the deposed Deji came on board in 2005. The deposed Deji had forced his Olisa under pain of harassment to buy the land on which his Cash Hold Petrol Station was built in Akure meaning that the Olisa had to buy the land two consecutive times at huge financial pains to the retired Colonel who he later removed as the Olisa because he dared to complain to Akure about his shabby treatment.
The deposed Deji was using the yearly” Ikunle” ceremony where all the chiefs have to take their turns in pledging an oath of loyalty to him as the Deji. There are repercussions for them to pay if they speak evil of him as their boss. A Deji who could perpetrate all those atrocities would have no problems whatsoever victimizing his chiefs if he is ever allowed to return to that throne. Akure king makers must remember how Kabiyesi Olowo Adekola Ogunoye decided to remove no less than 16 traditional chiefs in one fell swoop because he had the authority to remove them and he accused them of disloyalty. If that is the kind of a Deji the king makers and Akure traditional chiefs want back on the throne, it is all up to them. The way they lay their mat is the way they are going to sleep on them.
I am only stating the facts I know for the benefit of those who don’t have them. It is not just left to the deposed Deji to state his own side of the story, the people I am talking about are still alive and can testify to the veracity of all this information. I have no axe to grind with the deposed Deji, but I have a serious problem with his record and legacies and selective memory which should not and cannot be swept under the carpet in the interest of justice and fair play. Without documentation and record keeping a lot of things would fall thru the cracks. We are not going to let that happen for whatever it is worth. If he was a good Deji, we would all be rooting for him to come back. But for this one not by a long shot!
The Ojumu Family of Owo have the right to support their in-law for doing what he did to their daughter. That was their own business not mine. I am not ready to second-guess them on that, but they have no right to rail-road Akure into making a bad decision that could come back to haunt us. That is my point in writing this piece. Where was that family when the current Olowo Folagbade Olagbegi as Chairman of the State Council of Obas felt so embarrassed by the deposed Deji’s behavior and he decided to issue him a suspension from the Caucus of Ondo State Obas until he was able to answer to the serious charges of going out of his way to beat up his wife in the market place, and all the other atrocities he has committed?
They should, first of all, have appealed to the Olowo Folagbade who did the right thing at a time Governor Mimiko was still napping or dragging his feet because he thought he needed the deposed Deji to give him some political cover in the state capital. Mimiko was forced to act as I recall only when he realised he could no longer cover up the Deji’s transgressions when the Nigeria Senate summoned the Inspector General of Police to explain why the deposed Deji was being treated with kid gloves by the Ondo State Police Command for pouring acid on his wife and beating her up in the public in a well publicized case of domestic violence in Nigeria. Mimiko had to act when the whole scenario was going to blow up in his face embarrassing both himself and his Government. He quickly had to throw the reckless and the drowning Deji under the bus before his own reputation was irredeemably damaged beyond repairs. Those are the facts.
When the Women’s Organization openly demonstrated in Abuja urging the Nigerian Senate to act or face public condemnation, the Governor knew he had to act without further delay. These are all the facts the deposed Deji and his in-law family at Owo have been totally silent upon as they seek clemency for their depraved in-law. Anything is negotiable in Nigeria and no Nigerian understood that better than the deposed Deji who issued a bounced check to Akure King makers to pronounce him king and he later turned on them for harassing him and reminding them that he would have them removed if they did not behave themselves. He probably got into the mess he found himself due to “Okaraba Baba Edi” He didn’t have to go beat up his wife in the market place but he did anyway, because he was under a spell he could not explain.
I can understand the Ojumu Owo family wanting a Deji like that to retain his throne so Akure can continue to play a second fiddle to the current Olowo, a legal luminary who like his father the late Olowo Olateru Olagbegi was” a day time star that frightens the elderly and the wise”, (Irawo Osan to nbagba l’eru) kind of Oba who cannot be intimidated by any political office holder including the Governor because he is civilized and educated. The Ojumu family made a huge mistake by equating Olowo Olateru Olagbegi with their in-law. It was true that Olowo Olagbegi was banished and exiled for 25 years and he came back to reclaim his throne in large part because of the caliber of an Oba that he was.
Next to Governor Ooni Adesoji Aderemi in the old Western Region, Olowo Sir Olateru Olagbegi, a one-time Secretary to the Yoruba Obas, was a Minister without portfolio in the old Action Group Government under Obafemi Awolowo and S.L.A Akintola. He was one of the most progressive and dynamic Obas of his era. As at the time, the Olowo regained his throne after Kabiyesi Olowo Adekola Ogunoye, Olagbegi had no less than 60 graduates among his children. He was among one of two Obas in Western Nigeria whose official car was a Rolls Royce and he had one of the most modern Palaces in the Region quite apart from his Knighthood by Her Majesty, the Queen of England. Above all Olowo Olateru Olagbegi , a "sui generis" (one of a kind) was banished for political reasons and victimization and not because he was a guttersnipe who did not respect himself and the high office he held.
I don’t know how Governor Mimiko an astute politician and one of the best retail politicians in Nigeria is going to respond to the deposed Deji’s 18 page letter but I doubt if the man valued the deposed Deji more than he treasured Afunbiowo the Second, his senior boy at his Alma Mater, the great St Joseph Catholic Secondary School in Ondo town and his hand-picked Chairman of his State Council of Obas within a year or two of his coming to the throne. Governor Mimiko was like a family member to the late Deji from all we know.
Guess who was summoned to the Palace when the Deji got terribly sick around mid night the day he joined his ancestors. It was no other person than the Peoples’ Governor. It looks to me like very poor judgment on the part of the deposed Deji that he was so eager to close the chapter on the late Deji by asking to be reinstated within one month of his death thereby trying to rain on the parade of his Doctor of Pharmacy daughter who was traditionally picked to serve as the Regent of Akure before the flood gate is opened for candidates who want to succeed the late Deji.
The current Olisa and the head of the king makers in Akure is a gentleman and a good senior friend of mine. High Chief James Olusoga, a former Commissioner for Works in Ondo State and a former Adviser to the Ondo State Government and a top politician and patriot in Akure has a reputation for sound judgment and he is not a rabble rouser from all I know about him. How the deposed Deji would expect that Olisa and the Iwarafa Mefa and the Ikomo led by Baralaye Sao Adebayo to react to his desecration of Akure traditions and customs remains a puzzle for me as I write this piece for generations yet unborn.
I am a hundred per cent sure that if those chiefs love Akure, as I believe they do, they would be rooting for the best candidate who can step into the giant shoes of the late Deji. Their picking a Deji who is less in stature and influence to the late Deji and his daughter who is now the regent of Akure would be a great disservice to Akure and our sensitivity as the state capital and the 8th Millennium Center for Development in Africa.
As much as I believe in giving a second or a third chance to offenders if necessary, I make exceptions to the kind of transgressions the deposed Deji has committed. In American Baseball, it is three strikes and you are out. The deposed Deji has forfeited his claim to forgiveness and redemption. He should be glad he was not made to spend the rest of his life in jail or exile for abusing his office and undermining the high institution of traditional rulers in the Yoruba enclave of Nigeria.
I don’t know about you but I truly believe the deposed Deji has burnt all his bridges to redemption and he has himself to blame for that. He owes Akure and the Osupa ruling line a serious apology for dragging Akure’s name in the mud and for doing a great many of the things he has been accused of. That he is able to brazenly do what he is now doing in Akure without any let or hindrance speaks volumes on the terms and conditions of his exile and I put the blame for that at the door step of Governor Mimiko and his Government.
Mimiko should hold himself responsible for any fallout that may come from this neglect on the part of his Government. If the deposed Deji now decides to go after his perceived enemies in a country riddled with corruption and hooliganism, and lawlessness, Governor Mimiko and his Government must take the full blame for not doing enough to preempt the deposed Deji from taking undue advantage of the Law for his own selfish interest. The new Regent of Akure spoke for the generality of Akure people when he urged the king makers to put a human face to their search for the next Deji of Akure. The ball is now completely in their court. May the good Lord help them as they embark on that heavy responsibility.
I rest my case.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters