Tension is mounting in Owu Kingdom, Abeokuta, Ogun State, over the endless wait for the final selection of who ascends the vacant traditional stool of the Olowu of Owu.
This is fueled by widespread allegations of bribery by some candidates to tilt the kingmakers’ choice n their favour as well as forgery of documents by some contestants to trace their origin to the kingdom.
It will be recalled that the Kingmakers of Owu Kingdom conducted a 7-hr statutory selection process which should produce the next Olowu of Owu Kingdom on Wednesday March 30, 2022.
Earlier, on March 10, 30 delegates of the Otileta Ruling House had met and picked seven of the 12 Candidates who were nominated by their five different compounds for the throne.
During the exercise, seven princes presented from the Otileta Ruling House were individually screened for the stool. They are:
1. Prince Adegbemi A. Adewale, 56, an Arch Bishop of the Methodist Church, Lawyer and a PhD (African Law) holder of the University of Ibadan with Supreme Court Reg. No. 052019 from Aderinoye Compound.
2. Prince Semiu Adeyemi Adelani, 59, a Master of Urban & Regional Planning Degree holder of the University of Ibadan and a Registered Town Planner (with RTP no 2050), of Omoleefon Compound.
3. Prince Saka Adeola Matemilola, 57, a PhD holder of the University of Cambridge and a COREN registered Mechanical Engineer (with Registration no R. 13,609). of Soke Compound.
4. Prince Olaniyi Adejumo Olatidoye, 72, a Retired Perm Sec in the Ogun State Civil Service, an MBA degree holder of the University of Ado-Ekiti, of Soke Compound.
5. Prince Adeyanju Kazeem Bakinson, 40, from Otopo Compound, a 2021 Doctor of Science Degree Holder from Atlantic International University, USA, a Registered Town Planner with no RTP/2130.
6. Prince Simeon Abiodun Soyele, 63 from Lumosa Compound a Retired Director in Ogun State Civil Service, business mogul, seasoned journalist and Graduate of Sociology of the University of Ibadan and Post Graduate Diploma of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism.
7. Prince Adelani Olukayode Adesina, 48, of Soke Compound, a 2020 Master of Science Degree holder of Bells University of Technology, Ota.
Notably, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo addressed the seven candidates before and after the rounds of interview which was witnessed by both the Abeokuta North Local Government Secretary, the HOGAS, and other Local Government Officials who came with the Local Government Information Unit to record the process.
The Kingmakers’ process, according to some of the candidates, is more thorough and neater because everyone was engaged by the Kingmakers. The outcome of which Chief Obasanjo said lies on the shoulders of Governor Dapo Abiodun whose statutory duty it is to announce the new King.
All efforts by our correspondent for any hint on the outcome of the selection process met with brick wall as all kept the outcome to their chests.
However, many sons and daughters of the ruling house and Owu sons and daughters expressed the hope that all the anomalies that accompanied the earlier selection process would be taken care of by the Afobajes and Governor Abiodun.
Many, however, have argued that the scores claimed to have been awarded by the 30 OTILETA Ruling House delegates were doctored, teleguided and or influenced.
One of the aggrieved who wants to remain anonymous wondered why one of the contestants who was deeply involved in drawing the selection template was not disqualified in the first instance but allowed to contest!
“This is unfair to other contestants and to a large extent, renders the scores suspicious and inadmissible,” the source said.
A group of young men who were also at the palace during the final selection process, demanded to an official of the Ruling House who allegedly to have enriched himself during the selection process. He was alleged to have collected a Camry car from one of the 12 initial candidates who could not make the list of seven.
The young men said they had reclaimed three of the four vehicles collected from their candidate and they will make sure the last Car with the official was collected from him, even if they cannot collect the over N40m their candidate was made to have doled out as bribe.
Another group of young men outside the palace, rained curses on one of the candidates who allegedly:
(a) Bought his way into Otopo Compound about four days to the selection through the same official of Otileta Ruling House said to have collected so much from two candidates to become part of his own compound Otopo. The affidavit sworn to by the said Prince was discovered to have been deposed to at the High Court of Lagos State on March 4, 2022 in preparation for the selection of 10th March, 2022 even as the house said any affidavit in that regard should have been sworn to maximum two years earlier.
(b) The compound name was not even correctly spelt, but corrected with pen in the copy cited by our correspondent.
(c) The young people said none of the documents submitted by the prince has any link with Otopo Compound, as he did not include his birth certificate, local government of origin certificate except the sworn affidavit which he did four days purposely for the selection.
(d). The Prince was said to have spent so much money for the purpose of the Kingship which included spending so much for an Owu Oba, who is said to be solidly behind the candidate.
(e). He was also accused of gathering Owu Baales to a function he organized to mark his 40th birthday ceremony and his house warming ceremony recently held in Lagos where he lavishly spent so much on the Baales under the Royal influence of an Owu Oba.
Furthermore, some men outside the Palace on that day raised issues on why Prince Saka Matemilola who should have been screened out and prosecuted for perjury would be allowed to continue in the race because apart from his Sworn Affidavit of May 15, 2000, which says he is a native of Ibadan in Ibadan-North East Local Government Area of Oyo State of Nigeria, his submitted birth certificate gave his parents’ names as Sule and Aliratu Motemilola and not Matemilola.
The purported Certificate of Registration of Birth issued by Ibadan City Council on February 24, 1965, to a large extent shows that the claims of the young men against him in the said document are facts.
As the waiting game continues, it is believed that the Afobajes and the government of Ogun State’s decision would have taken note of all allegations, devoid of any suspicion and acceptable to all sons and daughters of Owu Kingdom, home and in diaspora and prevent any litigation in future.
Pix above: The contestants (L-R): Soyele, Olatidoye, Adesina, Barkinson, Matemilola, Arch Bishop Adegbemi, Adelani