Olowu Of Owu: Irregularities, Involvement Of Archbishop As Contestant Set Stage For Controversy

By Winnie Kodilonye

The preliminary stage of choosing who becomes the next Olowu (traditional ruler) of Owu in Ogun State has been marred by unhealthy reactions since the conclusion of nomination process involving thirty (30) delegates of the Otileta Royal Ruling House whose turn it is produce the next Olowu. The exercise was concluded last Tuesday.

AtlanticNewsonline sources disclosed that the ruling house had last week nominated seven princes as candidates for the next Olowu of Owu.
The nomination for the Olowu stool was coming three months after it became vacant, following the demise of Oba Adegboyega Dosumu, who joined his ancestors on December 12, 2021.

It was gathered that seven of the screened twelve princes were chosen from five “compounds” that make up the Otileta Ruling House. They include an Archbishop of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Ogun State, Dr. Adegbemi Adewale, (Ile Aderinoye); Adelani Oladimeji (Ile Omoleefon); Matemilola Adelola (Ile Soke) and Olatidoye Olaniyi from Ile Soke. Others are Princes Adeyanju Bakinson (Ile Otopo); Abiodun Obadayo Soyele (Ile Lumosa) and Adesina Adelani (Ile Soke).

According to our sources, no voting was done during the screening by delegates, yet it was gathered that scores were awarded based on performances of each of the candidates, at the screening and interview sessions.

The results sheet under contention showed Prince Adegbemi Adewale as emerging first with 1,027 points; Prince Adelani Oladimeji, scored 909 points; Matemilola Adelola got 886 points, while Prince Olatidoye Olaniyi scored 863 points.
Also, Prince Adeyanju Bakinson got 862 points; Abiodun Obadayo Soyele, 827 points and Adesina Adelani, 801 points.

Many indigenes have reportedIy queried the nomination process adopted, describing it as not being transparent but full of schemings which put some candidates at disadvantageous position.

One of the elders who spoke on the basis of anonymity argued that, “It is in fact, morally wrong for someone who, to all intents and purposes, drafted the guidelines and template used for the selection process to now present himself as a contestant.
“It can only be likened to a situation where an examiner decides to sit for an examination whose questions he assisted in preparing.

“Without circumscribing the Aderinoye compound’s candidate’s (Archbishop Adewale) full rights to be a contestant to the Owu throne, the equitable thing would have been for him, knowing well enough that he would be a contestant, to refrain from being directly involved in the Otileta Dynasty Elders’ meetings. His involvement at the meeting had obviously conferred on him an undue advantage over the other contestants and which in turn diminishes his current lead on the score sheets despite his eminent credentials and antecedents.”

Another elder in the house being accused of highhandedness by some personalities, in turn has also pointed accusing finger at the Methodist Archbishop who was involved in drawing selection template and later turned out to be a contestant.

Without specifically mentioning any name as his accuser while speaking with AtlanticNewsonline, he lamented, “May God forgive whoever my accuser is, but do not think that I am impressed by your being vocal and fantastic in the art of disparaging people’s work and efforts, because that action cannot earn you any credit and kudos from intelligent and honourable people.

“Your repeated clamour about the selection of Aderinoye and Omolefon candidates is baseless.
“My accuser is not God fearing at all, he is just out, to forment unrest and ill feeling amongst the Otileta people. My people that are blessed with divine wisdom.

“Talking about Aderinoye’s candidate, the candidate can be considered as our mentor in all Otileta elders forum. In fact, Aderinoye’s candidate championed and was the one who drafted the guidelines used for the selection of candidates, the visits to Balogun of Owu Kingdom was arranged by him and in his company. His opinions were highly respected by me than all others at our various meetings, without any inkling that he also wanted to contest for Olowu’s throne! Some members must have known but I never suspected. Hence, seeing him as a candidate on Tuesday, 8th of march 2022 was a great shock to me!

“Every unrighteousness is a sin.
None of the other candidates attended our meetings or took part in the decision making except him.
And all the other six candidates were rated well on merit ,without any bias or ill feeling.

“I met some of the candidates for the first time that day, apart from Aderinoye and Omolefon candidates.
I was accused of being assertive because I advised that a candidate who performed much better than some other selected candidates should be added to the list .This candidate was dropped because he did not have a godfather amongst them.

“After all, the king makers will apply their own criteria for the final selection of the Olowu of Owu kingdom.
“I was the one following the course of justice by saving the poor candidates from being cheated.

“The second occurrence that day that I may be accused of being assertive was when a candidate brought in a black bag containing bundles of Naira for the high table.
I ordered that the bag should be returned to the candidate, but when I saw that people were being hesitant, I was forced to stand up and instructed the candidate to take his money away. If that was assertiveness, well it’s up to you. Perhaps by stopping a man from asking the Omolefon candidate, an embarrassing question that can tarnish the candidate’s image and affect his chances. He requested him to explain how the candidate had been accused of misappropriation of fund some time ago.

“What did they want to gain from being confrontational. I had to stop him before it escalated into confrontation that might disrupt the exercise of the day.
How can my accuser be so inconsiderate and callous to the extent of insulting and humiliating elders the way you did?

I leave you to your conscience, that’s if you have any.”

As news filtered outside the Ruling House on the list sent to the kingmakers, questions have begun to be asked on morals behind the method adopted in the nomination of the Methodist contestant.

AtlanticNewsonline investigation revealed that many members of the Diocese could not come to terms with the stand of their revered leader drawing the church into avoidable controversy.

Many asked if an Alhaji or chief Imam would aspire to the position of kingship in a contrived manner as the Archbishop did. Some queried how and why a man of God should be involved in the selection template drawing, in the first instance; knowing he would be a contestant.

Some argued the incompatibility of deep traditional institution and divine call in this case.

Written by: Frank Oshanugor

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