The controversies trailing the appointment of a new paramount ruler for the Owu Kingdom in Ogun State may have taken a turn for the worse as the state Governor, Dapo Abiodun and the kingmakers are presently at loggerhead over the appointment.
Sources close to Governor Abiodun and the kingmakers told our reporter that the two parties have so far failed to agree on the right candidate to fill the vacant stool among the seven princes that scale the screening process.
The bone of contention, according to our source, who doesn’t want his name mentioned, is the alleged intention of the state Governor to impose one of the candidates, whose ties to the Owu kingdom are in doubt, as the next Olowu of Owu.
This development had not gone down well with the kingmakers, who vowed to resist the move by ensuring that an imposter is not imposed on the Owu people.
Our source also revealed that several meetings called by the governor and the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs have so far failed to resolve the disagreement because the state government has refused to shift grounds.
Also one of the kingmakers, who chose to speak to our reporter under the condition that his name would not be disclosed, said that they are aware that Governor Abiodun is planning to appoint one Prince Matemilola Adeola purportedly from Ile Soke Ruling House on the kingdom but that the plan will fail.
He said, “we have told the Governor not to create an unnecessary crisis in Owu because the move to impose Matemilola on us is an unpopular decision that will be resisted by every freeborn Owu indigene.
“We appeal to the Governor to resist the temptation of allowing himself to be used by the enemies of the Owu people.
“How can a man that has allegedly sworn to an affidavit that he is from Ibadan be appointed as an Olowu of Owu? Is it that we do not have capable sons of the soil that can occupy the prestigious Owu throne?
“Owu people are major stakeholders not just in Ogun State but in Nigeria and we are proud of our heritage, so let nobody think that they can push us around without getting the appropriate reactions from us.
“We are a peace-loving people but we are not cowards that would sit back and watch our heritage bastardized by strangers bend on taking undue advantage of our birthright,” he said.
The Olowu stool became vacant, following the demise of the late Oba Adegboyega Dosumu, who joined his ancestors on December 12, 2021.
Following a directive from the State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, mandating the Otileta Ruling House of Owu Kingdom to nominate qualified candidates to fill the vacant stool, seven princes from five compounds that made up the ruling house have been nominated and screened.
Those screened on March 30, 2022, by the Kingmakers led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the Oke Ago-Owu, Palace of the Olowu are Dr Adegbemi Adewale, a PhD holder from Ile Aderinoye, Princes Adelani Oladimeji from Ile Omo’le Efon, Matemilola Adelola from Ile Soke and Olatidoye Olaniyi from Soke.
Others are Princes Adeyanju Bakinson from Ile Otopo and Princes Abiodun Soyele. from Ile Lumosa and Adesina Adelani from Ile Soke.
However, controversies have continued to trail the possible appointment of a non-indigene as the next Olowu, particularly the inclusion of the name of Prince Matemilola Adeola from the Ile Soke Ruling House by the kingmakers.
Two families from Ile Omoleefon and Aderinoye of Otileta Ruling House had publicly rejected the nomination of Matemilola as the candidate for the stool in a petition they sent to the state government.
The two Royal families, represented by Prince Tajudeen Adelani and Princess Aminat Adesina have separately petitioned the State Government, warning against the appointment of Matemilola whom they described as a non-indigene as the Olowu of Owu.
In the petitions copied to the Ministries of Justice, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, the petitioners claimed that Matemilola is a native of Ibadan in Ibadan North East Local Government Area of Oyo State.
According to the petitioners, Matemilola had alluded to his Ibadan indigeneship in an affidavit he swore to, dated May 15, 2000, at the High Court Registry.
According to some sources at Owu, pertinent issues that have arisen as a result of the declaration via affidavit that he is a native of Ibadan include the question of what would he want the indigenes to believe between his mere words and testimony of interested parties or a legal document he voluntarily signed.
The second is the question of whether the indigenes of Owu could trust someone who lies for selfish reasons to protect the interest of Owu’s kingdom and its people when his interests clash with that of the people.
The sources contended further that even if Matemilola for argument is assumed to be an Owu indigene, his actions did not portray him as an Owu son who is proud of his heritage.
The fact that there is an affidavit affirming that Matemilola is of Ibadan extraction, which automatically makes his candidacy to the Olowu of Owu position criminal in nature, there is the argument that such action has enormous legal consequences hence Governor Abiodun must not make the mistake of appointing Matemilola as the next Olowu.