A socio-cultural group from Iree in Boripe North local council area of Osun State, Iree Cultural Frontiers (ICF), has expressed appreciation to Governor Ademola Adeleke for nullifying what it describes as the illegal installation of one Prince Ademola Raphael as monarch for Iree community, by the last administration.
The group, however, seeks the intervention of the governor in correcting the historic injustice in the Iree Obaship race, by allowing the Olubonkun Ruling House, which has been sidelined for over 200 years, to fill the vacant stool of Aree of Iree, this time round.
The group made the appeal in a statement by its chairman, Mr. Ilori Adanlawo, and Secretary, Hon. Oluwole Adisa, in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, on Friday.
Recall that Governor Adeleke had on Thursday sacked three traditional rulers namely the Akirun of Ikirun, Oba Yinusa Akadiri; the Owa of Igbajo, Oba Adegboyega Famodun, and the Aree of Iree, Oba Ademola Raphael, based on a government White Paper faulting their installations.
The ICF, in making a case for the Olubonku Ruling House for the Iree obaship stool, also stated that the royal household had long fielded Prince Afolabi Ali, as its preferred candidate.
It particularly anchored its plea on the need to give justice to the sidelined Olubonku Ruling House of Iree, and also attract development to the town, bearing the fact that Prince Afolabi Ali is an international lawyer, a philantropic businessman, and estate developer par excellence.
According to the ICF, Oba Olubonku, who ruled about 200 years ago, is the forbear of Afolabi Ali, a man who has committed his resources and international connections to develop Iree and empower many homes, especially the youths.
It said whereas the Olubonku Ruling House in Iree ruled only once 200 years ago, some of the other ruling houses had ruled six times, five times, four times, three times and two times, respectively.
“We are eternally grateful to Governor Ademola Adeleke for preventing another historic injustice from taking place by halting an attempt by the administration of former Governor Gboyega Oyetola to foist a candidate that was not wanted by the people of Iree on us.
“But we urge the governor to complete the process, by allowing the Olubonku Ruling House to produce the next Aree of Iree,” the group enjoined.
Explaining how Prince Raphael was made Oba before his final sack, the ICF stated, “We recall how under former Governor Gboyega Oyetola, the then Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Adebayo Adeleke, also known as Banik, who is from the community in Boripe North Local Council Development Area, wanted to foist their crony as new Aree.
“Then, all the 11 aspirants to the vacant stool were asked to pay N500,000 each to the Boripe local council, and N150,000 to the Osun State Government.
“They were also ordered to pay varying amounts of money to cover their three-year tax clearances, respectively.
“However, the contestants soon smelt a rat when the then Oyetola government, having siphoned various sums of money from them, made a volte face by subverting the community’s convention through the appointment of a new female Chief, an Iyalode, to join the Iree kingmakers.
“Meanwhile, it is a taboo for a woman to be a kingmaker as such had never been witnessed in the history of the community.
“What Banik and other people in the Oyetola government did was to impose a preferred candidate of the governor as Oba (monarch) of Iree, and they were so desperate that they installed the candidate before the governor left office, despite a court order stopping the installation.
It urged Governor Adeleke to revisit the Iree issue, and pick Afolabi, who is the preferred candidate of the youth and generality of the community, and install him as Aree, to further enhance peaceful coexistence and the progress of Iree community.