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Amending The Age-Long Wrong Of The Ancient Stool Of The Source

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The media has been awash with propaganda of the existence of four ruling houses of equal standing in Ile-Ife. This is expected as in-fighting is the stock in trade among the princes whose list never ends in the jostle for the mantle of leadership of one of the most influential monarchies in the whole of Black Africa.

History should be used to correct the wrongs of the present in order for the errors not to repeat itself. The rotational kingship system in Ile-Ife was established during the reign of Ooni Lajamisan whose reign was a very long one and had three children – Lajodogun, Lafogido and Oworowara, a daughter. Lajodogun succeeded him after Lajamisan passed on and Lafogido, his younger brother succeeded him. The first two ruling houses of equal standing thus became Lajodogun and Lafogido. Lajodogun split into two ruling houses at the behest of his two children Ogbooru and Osinkola. This was the genesis of the injustice against Lafogido who also had eight children as Kings who ruled the ancient city at different times in history and were never made Ruling Houses.

When Ogbooru was crowned as the Ooni of Ife, he had an unusually long reign which made the people of the kingdom revolt against him and at the end he got dethroned, banished and spent his last days in Ife Odan. The interregnum led to Ife people requesting that Princess Moropo ascend the throne of her forefathers. She refused because of her female gender and her son Giesi was authorized by his maternal grandfather to succeed him. Giesi eventually did and sat on the throne for a decade. From the above scenario, it is crystal clear that Osinkola, Ogbooru and Giesi all belong to the Lajodogun Ruling House in the city fondly referred to as the source.

Ooni Adelekan Olubuse 1, the grandfather of the recently departed Ooni ruled Ile-Ife from 1894 to 1910, a descendant of Ogbooru from the Lajodogun Ruling House. After he joined his ancestors, Adekola from the same Lajodogun Ruling House became the Ooni-elect but died the same year and Ooni Ademiluyi Ajagun Lawarikan from the Lafogidon Ruling House succeeded him and reigned from 1910 to 1930. The flamboyant Ooni Tadeniawo Adesoji Aderemi, the first literate Ooni reigned from 1930 to 1980 and was from the Osinkola in the Lajodogun Ruling House. The recently departed Ooni Sijuwade Olubuse 11 hailed from the Ogbooru in the Lajodogun Ruling House.

The records have it that the enthronement of Ooni Sijuwade faced stiff opposition from the Giesi, the maternal grandchild of Ogbooru who contested the throne but failed in their quest because the Giesi and Ogbooru belong to the same ruling house.

Contrary to the sinister brain washing being put forward by arm chair historians aimed at twisting history, Osinkola, Giesi and Ogbooru all belong to the same Ruling House – Lajodogun.

From the time of Olubuse 1 to his grandson who just joined his ancestors, the Lajodogun Ruling House has produced four Oonis as against just one Ooni from the Lafogido Ruling House.

The Justice Ademola commission of 1976 as Gazetted in 1977 ignored the position of the Lafogido Ruling House as it was not given adequate consideration in the kingship rotational system. The earlier 1957 declaration largely authored during the reign of Ooni Adesoji Aderemi falls short of the fairness and equity principle as you cannot be a judge in your own cause.

The recognition of the Giesi Ruling House is rather preposterous as its origin is traced to maternal descent which is an antithesis of one of the core requirements for becoming an Ooni.

Change has come to this country at the centre with the election of President Muhammadu Buhari, this should also diffuse to the traditional institution as the injustices meted out to the Lafogido Ruling House spanning centuries must be redressed this time around for the fragile peace in the tourist destination to be sturdily maintained.

The Ademiluyi family of the Lafogido Ruling House has been propped up as a possible successor to the throne. These are mere speculations and we do not begrudge the speculators who may subtly be sending a message that it is high time the anomaly is redressed. Whatever their reasons are, it is only natural for pundits far and near to take more than a passing interest in the spiritual home of the Yoruba race whose culture has spread to as far as South America, with its language being taught in fourty-seven American Tertiary Institutions and the language was listed as one of the languages new recruits into the United Kingdom Police Force must speak fluently apart from English in their bid to make it bilingual or multilingual in response to the new globalization challenge.

A prominent name, Prince David Ademola Ademiluyi has consistently featured. The media has erroneously referred to him as an octonagarian lawyer but he is actually a septuagenarian and was a close confidante of the late Ooni.

He was born seventy-six (76) years ago to the family of late Prince Adeleke and Princess Idowu Ademiluyi in Lagos. His father served as Minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources in the cabinet of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo while the latter held sway as Premier of the defunct Western Region. His Paternal Grandfather, Ooni Ademakin Ademiluyi Ajagun Lawarikan reigned as Ooni from 1910 and 1930. It is instructive to note that his illustrious grandfather sat on that stool in 1914 when the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorate of the country took place under the administration of Lord Frederick Lugard as Governor-General. He started his primary school education at the Baptist Academy on Broad Street, Lagos from 1944 to 1952 and then proceeded to Ibadan Grammar School from 1953 to 1957 for his Secondary school education. He had a stint at the Ministry of Finance in the Old Western Region and on September 9, 1969 he left for the United Kingdom in ardent pursuit of the Golden Fleece.

He first went to South West Essex Polytechnic in London where he obtained his G.C.E A Levels and then went to Holborn College of Law and got admitted into the inner Temple Inns of Court in 1965. He returned triumphantly back to the country in August 1965 and was enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in January 1966. He started his working career in the chambers of Late Funmi Jibowu until he joined the services of the former Electricity Corporation of Nigeria now Power Holding Company of Nigeria on 3rd December 1968 and later became Director of Litigation and Legal Services until his voluntary early retirement on 31st March 1984.

He had a successful career in the private sector with his establishment of Albion Construction Limited where he served as Chairman until 1994. He later set up Road Masters Civil Engineering Company and has vast real estate interests. He is presently the chief promoter of Global Systems Limited, a real estate development firm based in Abuja.

He is a strong family man and is blessed with nine children – five daughters and four sons with numerous grandchildren. He is a socialite and belongs to the Island Club, Yoruba Tennis Club, Ife Club 90 and the Board Members and enjoys swimming and playing billiards.

TONY ADEMILUYI

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Articles by Anthony Ademiluyi