Olu of Ilaro, Senator Olamilekan ‘Yayi’ and the Politics of Indigene-ship
By Gbile Oshadipe
Recently, the Olu of Ilaro and the Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba Olugbenle lambasted people he called political detractors over the conferment of the title of Aremo of Yewaland on Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola ‘Yayi,’ Senator representing Lagos West. It is within the purview of the traditional council of obas in Yewaland to give whatever title to whomever they liked. That is their privilege.
However, this goes beyond the conferment of a title. The Kabiyesi cannot fool the worthy people of Yewaland that this is not partisan politics and a political ploy to smuggle in a disputed candidate in the build up to the upcoming governorship elections in Ogun State. He is the fall guy to betray the Yewa people.
The Olu of Ilaro should be the custodian of the tradition and culture of the people, though in his utterances and actions had fallen far short of a sterling example. Besides, which sons and daughters of Yewaland are being scared from returning home to aid in the development of Yewaland? The Kabiyesi should consult the keepers of traditions in Ilaro and local historians to help him understand the dynamics of the quarters that make up Ilaro Township and the numerous suburbs.
The real issue is the unwritten convention that governs Nigerian politics, which gave birth to rotational balance within the geopolitical zones. For equity, balance, fair play and a sense of belonging, logic dictates that the next governorship candidate in Ogun State should be conceded to Yewa South, which has never been elected into the Oke Mosan government office since the state was created in February 1976
This raises the specter of a non-indigene and impostor masquerading as a son of Ilaro in Yewa South of Ogun State. Twice, Senator Olamilekan ‘Yayi’ had tried to pass off as an indigene of Yewa, and twice he’d failed. First, he went to stake a claim in Isaga Orile where the people, in pure mischief gave him a plot of land located in Yewa North to build a house. Second, he claimed to be from Ago Isaga in Ilaro but he could not point to his ancestral home nor identify who his parents were! The third time around, he is now claiming to be related to Pahayi, a satellite of Ilaro Township which was just like Ijado, Ijana, Ilobi Omuwa and others settled by people from Ilaro quarters.
Conferring legitimacy on a politician through a ‘frivolous’ title is nothing other than an attempted impostion on Yewa people. And the Paramount Ruler of Yewa land ought to know better. It is the Tammany Hall tactics of a benevolent politician where the democratic political organization is hijacked by the Senator from Lagos West. It is nothing but oppression of a people. In his carefully orchestrated shenanigans, Senator ‘Yayi’ got the Paramount Ruler, Oba Olugbenle to coral other obas in Yewaland to come to Abuja, propose the upgrade of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilato to a university while in return he will be foisted on the people as an indigene of Yewaland, thus eligible to be ‘anointed’ as the next governor.
This is the classic politics of the Godhead, with numerous patterns of imposition, including the current governors of Lagos, Ogun and Osun States, the Local Government chairmen, the NURTW, among others. What it means is that in the control of the society, political power is limited and distributed in such a narrow way that the best candidate does not emerge. Instead, society is saddled with hierarchical and authoritarian rulers who are not only incompetent but are rabidly corrupt and are unaccountable to the people.
These politicians, in cahoots with the Kabiyesi are not students of group harmony but task specialists who demanded loyalty, even when they’d not earned it. Nor are they consensual operators or students of history, who ought to know that Yewa people had exhibited greater freedom in choosing who their political leaders would be, and are not easily intimidated by upstarts. It is time someone should tell the Kabiyesi to leave politics and politicians alone, and not encourage the imposition of a political candidate on the Yewa people.
It is such a pity that the Olu of Ilaro is not interested in improving the welfare of his people but only bent on foisting a political candidate by all means. How come he’d not championed the dualization of the Ibeshe – Ilaro – Papalanto road which had become the grave yard of commuters from the recklessness of Dangote Cement trucks? How come he is at loggerheads with the chiefs of the town over such trivial issues of number of beads that can be worn to the palace?
Aside political permutations, every ruler ought to know which way to go. That is perhaps the single ‘greatest’ test of a leader’s intelligence, intuition and insight into ruling the people. Any Kabiyesi worth his salt should not be motivated by anything other than public service, and should have the sagacity, the subtlety and discretion of forging alliances across the board. He must have the understanding and the psychology of leadership. He must be persuasive, be responsible and relevant, be able to bargain, have the ability to influence, be believable and with a good reputation. Being ‘always right’ is definitely not a sterling quality.
The Olu of Ilaro should not mistake privilege for liberty and power to capture the rights of the people to choose one of their own for the exalted office of the next governor of Ogun State. Besides, how dare Senator Olamilekan ‘Yayi’ to think that Yewa people are fools he can toy with in the classic politics of “Baba Wipe” (the Godfather says) which is the hallmark of Lagos politics? As the Ilaro people will say: Whose son is he and from what quarters?
Is he from Ona Ola, Ona Otun, Ona Osi, Ilu Ata, Oju Orona, Oju Oja, Ago Isaga, Oke Ibeshe, Akinniku, among others.
For example, the late political icon, Dr. Tunji Otegbeye of imperishable legacy is of royal family of Adeika, with his ancestral quarter in Oju Oja and the family farmstead at Ijado, while his maternal heritage and family root is the Alapinni in Oyo. Where is Senator Olamilekan from? Which quarter in Ilaro is he from? The Yewa people know their own: Olurin, Laditan, Fadairo, Ibikunle, Onifade, Oduntan, Ilo, Oyekan, Ajibola, Akinola, and many others.
What the Kabiyesi and his traditional ruling council in Yewa Land ought to do is call upon true Yewa children from Ilaro, Okeodan, Ajilete, Olokuta, Idogo, among others to get very qualified bonafides and present them to contest for the next elections in 2023.