ALAAFIN STOOL: You're wrong, group tells Olunloyo.



A sociocultural group, the Movement for the Promotion of Yoruba Culture and Tradition has reacted to the comments made by a former Governor of Oyo State, Dr Omololu Olunloyo. 

The group spoke through it's convener, Mr Laide Ogunwale. 

In the piece trending on social media, the erudite scholar-practitioner and erstwhile politician, Olunloyo, is reported to have said that descendants of the other nine sons of Alaafin Atiba cannot enjoy a right of succession to the throne of their ancestor. 

Olunloyo was also quoted to have said that no Governor or Commissioner can amend a Chieftaincy Declaration and that it's the exclusive preserve of the Oba. 

First, we would like to state respectfully that we understand the position of Dr Olunloyo. But we hasten to add that given that he is an octagenarian (aged 89), we must grant him the indulgence of a failing memory. 

With humility, we beg to submit that the opinion expressed by Dr Olunloyo does not reflect the position of the Chiefs Law of Oyo State. For ease of reference, we hereby reproduce the relevant portions of the said law:

"10     (1)     Where the Executive Council is satisfied that a registered declaration-

(a)     does not contain a true or sufficient clear statement of the Customary law which regulates the selection of a person to be the holder of a recognised chieftaincy; or

(b)     does not contain a sufficient description of the method of selection of the holder of such a chieftaincy; or

(c)     contains any error whether as to its form or substance; or

(d)     is otherwise defective, faulty, or objectionable, having regard to the provisions of this Law, the Executive Council may require the chieftaincy committee which made the declaration to amend such declaration in any respect that it may specify, or to make a new declaration, according; as it may consider necessary or desirable in each case."

Section 10(1)(i) provides that if a Declaration does not contain a true or sufficient clear statement of the Customary law regulating the selection of the person to be the holder of the recognised chieftaincy, the Executive Council may cause an amendment to be undertaken and in doing that, the Executive Council, as provided by Section 25(1) of the Chiefs Law (ibid) had previously set up a commission of inquiry before deciding to carry out the amendment complained about.

Section 25 of the Chiefs Law reads:-

"25     (1)     The Executive Council or the Commissioner, as the case may be, may cause such inquiries to be held at such times and in such places and by such person or persons as it or he may consider necessary or desirable for the purposes of Parts 2 and 3 of this law.

(2)     The provisions of Section 94 of the Local Government Law shall apply in relation to an inquiry under this law as they apply in relation to an inquiry under that law."

As may be gleaned from the above, it is crystal clear that the Executive Council of a State is vested with the discretion to either chose to unilaterally amend the Chieftaincy Declaration after an Inquiry or refer same to the Chieftaincy Committee (headed by an Oba) to review or amend same. 

The Oyo State Government under the leadership of General Adeyinka Adebayo traveled this route when it empaneled the Justice Ademola Oladeinde to review the Alaafin of Oyo Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957. 

The Oladeinde Panel declared the 1957 Declaration as defective and recommended a review. The government, in turn, ACCEPTED the recommendation and directed the Chieftaincy Committee headed by Alaafin Adeyemi III to amend same. 

With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the government committed a fatal error by delegating such important task to an interested party whose likelihood of bias was very high. 

Conversely, the same Oyo State Government also established the Ademola Commission of Inquiry to review the Timi of Ede Chieftaincy Declaration of 1957 and found out that the Laminisa Royal Family was wrongly excluded. After the committee turned in it's report, the government singlehandedly amended the declaration and included the Laminisa family. Perhaps learning from its earlier error, the government did not refer it to the Ede Chieftaincy Committee for amendment. 

That is the best approach as it is unethical and breach of the doctrines of natural justice to allow someone be a judge in their own case. 

We'd like to notify Baba Olunloyo that the current Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Adesola, Laminisa 1 is a beneficiary of that amendment. 

In conclusion, we state that even though we defer to Olunloyo's expertise in chieftaincy matters, his opinion is not necessarily foolproof and as public intellectuals we have a duty to correct any erroneous conception flowing therefrom. 

For the Atiba 9, it is not over until it is over. One day, a Governor and government that is interested in equity, fairness and justice will see to their case and abrogate the close to 200 years of discrimination they've had to live with. Our group and indeed an overwhelming majority of the Yoruba race believe that Governor Seyi Makinde is the god-fearing Governor that will resolve this logjam by implementing the Oladeinde Report and the White Paper issued by the government afterwards. 

Ile Yoruba koni baje ooooo.


Lanre Ogunwale


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