Ikoyi Royal family feud: Some family members sign petition to declare Ikoyi monarch incapacitated

By Island News

A letter addressed to Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Rotimi Agunsoye by the Muti branch of the Onikoyi Royal Family has recreated a similar national issue of incapacitation similar to that of ailing President, Umar Yar Adua. In the letter, signed by 12 frontline family members, the protagonists want the state government to depose the monarch of Ikoyi, Oba Patrick Ibikunle Fafunwa-Onikoyi. Why, you may ask? They claimed that the Oba has been incapacitated by illness for the past two and a half years, has not been seen in public and is no longer capable of defending, protecting and preserving the family heritage. At the base of this brewing feud are issues concerning money, over N500 million, as well as vast family land in swanky Park View Estate where a plot of land sells for about N150 million.

The letter requesting the deposition of Oba Fafunwa-Onikoyi was written on the letter head of Onikoyi Royal Family and addressed to the commissioner for Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Rotimi Agunsoye. Dated 18th March, 2010 with the heading, ''Re: Oba Patrick Ibikunle Fafunwa-Onikoyi of Ikoyi, Imoba & Obalende; An Appeal and Request for His Immediate Deposition'' , Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola as well as the Chairman of Ikoyi/Obalende Local Council Development Area, Razack Adeniji were put in copy. The aggrieved Onikoyi family members made a series of allegations against the reigning Oba of Ikoyi from ill health to fraudulent activities. The rosy relationship between the erstwhile bosom family members has now gone sour with allegations against the Oba coming fast and furiously. The group allege that the Oba had been incapacitated by illness for the past two and half years rendering him incapable of performing his official functions.

Oba Faunwa-Onikoyi has been accused of disregarding all agreements put in place prior to his installation of protecting the overall interest, heritage and properties of the royal family. ''Kabiyesi has sold some plots of land in our estate without due process in compliance with the terms and conditions of the agreement referred to above'', his kindred complained. Even the use of the Oba's official vehicle, a somewhat private matter has become a major issue. They alleged that the official vehicle with the inscription, ''Oba Onikoyi of Ikoyi and Imoba Land'', has been subject to abuse by the palace staff and particularly his son-in-law whom they allege has been parading himself as Prince Jimoh Onikoyi. The vehicles they claim have always been seen around areas not befitting the exalted royal office.

The family members went further to make weighty allegations against the Oba's son, Kunle Fafunwa-Onikoyi. Their words, ''Kunle Fafunwa-Onikoyi has taken advantage of the incapacitation of his father claiming that he is fully in charge and surrounded himself with people of the same mind set to perpetrate malpractices by using fake documents signed by illegal chiefs to unlawfully change Onikoyi Royal Family bank account mandate and also withdrew substantial sum of N300,000,000 (three hundred million naira) and made unapproved payments to contractors for work and services not done. This is a serious case of bank fraud which may attract the attention of the EFCC organisation. '' Allegations against Kunle does not stop there, they went on in their letter to declare the 26 year old young man claims that, ''…his father has written his will and testament giving out all land and properties belonging to the Onikoyi Royal Family to him in perpetuity and has been squandering Onikoyi Royal Family funds viz, illegal withdrawal of N265,000,000 (two hundred and sixty five million) from the family bank account at Union Bank, Kakawa Street branch in connivance with the branch manager'', the group claimed. The Oba himself was not left out in the string of fraud allegations. The group alleged Oba Fafunwa-Onikoyi unilaterally without consultation with the family branch heads, appointed six illegal traditional chiefs without due process. That he selected the six chiefs from only four of the ten family branches of the royal family without recourse to the chairman and members of Ikoyi/ Obalende Local Council Development Area and the approval of the appropriate authority in accordance with the provision of the Oba and Chiefs Laws of Lagos State. Oba Onikoyi they alleged in spite of his assurance in writing to the local council chairman still went ahead and installed the 'illegal traditional chiefs'.

The accusers even alleged physical violence, bringing another dimension to the crisis. They claim the Olori Ebi (family head), Chief Lateef Kehinde and 95% of the Royal Family members have been barred from entering Onikoyi's Palace in Park View Estate, Ikoyi, even for courtesy calls with instructions to the six mobile police constables at the palace gate to enforce strict compliance. 'On one occasion Chief Alhaji Leteef Kehinde our Olori Ebi was physically attacked by the eldest son of Kabiyesi named Duro and his car was damaged. The matter was subsequently reported to the Oba of Lagos by Alhaji himself.'' In conclusion in their letter, they urged the state governor to depose Oba Patrick Ibikunle Fafunwa-Onikoyi pending the appointment of a new Oba. In the interim, they requested 'a committee headed by Professor A.B. Fafunwa and Otunba Ganiyu Kola Onikoyi, chairman and deputy chairman respectively with one representative from each of the royal branches as members to manage the affairs of the family''. The duo of Kola Onikoyi and Prof. Fafunwa had been elected in 1991 and have been running the affairs of the family since then except from the present 'hitch', they claimed. The letter was signed by the following family members, Alhaji Chief Lateef Kehinde Onikoyi, olori -ebi, Prof. Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa, executive member, Otunba Abdul Ganiyu Kola Onikoyi, executive member, Alhaja Oyebolade Onikoyi, head Idewu Branch, Odofin Kehinde Elegushi, head Ikubayije Branch, Alhaji Chief Lateef Kehinde Onikoyi, head Aluko Ajose, Akin Oyeniyi Fafunwa, head Fafunwa Branch, Deacon Olabode Vaughan, head Kugbamola Branch, Chief F.A. Sulaimon, head Ojubari Branch, David Olu Onikoyi, head Dosunmu Ajiwe Branch, Ms. Bolanle Doherty, head Adelo Branch and Barr. Quam A.M. Balogun head of Ilumo Branch.

Culled from the latest edition of Island News