DETHRONEMENT OF DEJI OF AKURE
The deposition of the Deji of Akure, Oba Oluwadare Adepoju Adesina, Osupa 111, by the Ondo State government, is a logical reaction to the gale of public opprobrium that the king attracted to the royal stool of Akure by his recent despicable involvement in a public brawl with his estranged wife, Bolanle.
The State Executive Council, on Thursday, invoked Sections 17(1) and (2) of the Ondo State Chiefs Law 1984, as amended, to dethrone Adesina. The government explained that the Deji was dethroned for conducting himself in the 'most dishonorable, condemnable and disgraceful manner', and for bringing the institution of obaship and the stool of Deji to disrepute and public odium. The dethroned king was banished from Akure for six months, in the first instance, while kingmakers in the town were directed to begin a search for a regent to handle the affairs of the town until a substantive Deji is appointed.
We commend the Ondo State government for dethroning Adesina. The State Executive Council is right. The king had apparently lost the confidence of his subjects and the polity. Calls for his removal had become strident since the strange spectacle of the Oba in a street fight in which he was beaten and thrown into a gutter in a reprisal attack by his own enraged subjects, was splashed in the media. His colleagues in the Ondo State Council of Traditional Rulers had suspended him from their fold.
The Council of Kingmakers in Akure called for his deposition. His estranged wife sued him for battery, while the Senate demanded that he be remanded in custody and prosecuted. The police hierarchy announced a plan to charge him with battery, assault and invasion of a private territory. Eminent citizens of the town called for his dethronement. This is also not the first time the Oba is embarrassing the royal institution. He was to have been dethroned last year for street fighting and extortion of his subjects but for the governor who insisted on keeping him on the throne.
By deposing Adesina, therefore, the government was only carrying out the wishes of the majority of stakeholders in the matter. We salute the state government for the courage and the speed with which it resolved the embarrassing issue. The decision is truly in the best interest of the people. The government, by the deposition, restored dignity to the exalted office of Deji and sent a strong message that the royal stool of Akure and, indeed, the traditional institution of monarchy in Yorubaland and the rest of the country, demand the highest levels of public decency and decorum from those who occupy them.
The story of Adesina's journey to infamy began on May 30, when he, alongside his latest wife and four other accomplices, attacked and injured his estranged wife, Bolanle, in her home in Akure. The victim, Bolanle, is now nursing serious injuries at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, from where she sued the deposed Oba for assault. The entire sordid saga, which left the nation, scandalized, generated reactions from Nigerians who found it difficult to reconcile the bestiality of the monarch with the sacredness of his high office.
Oluwadare Adesina deserves the consequences of his appalling conduct. The Deji, who is a first class traditional ruler, and indeed any traditional ruler, should not be found engaging in a public brawl for any reason whatsoever. His explanation that the brawl is his domestic affair is untenable. The vicious attack on Bolanle that landed her in the hospital is not a domestic affair at all. There is no justification for the brutish treatment meted to her. The attack is a criminal offence. It is also a breach of customary law and tradition and the police authorities are right to charge the king with assault. The estranged wife is right to go to court. We support her bid to get justice. Let the Deji defend his action and let the court decide.
The attack on Bolanle is yet another dimension of the perpetration of violence against women. The attack also illustrates the culture of impunity and disregard for the law and rights of others by the well placed in society.
Traditional rulers, by their exalted offices, should be examples of good behaviour to their subjects. They are expected to have the ability to control their temper.
They ought to be able to keep their homes in order, and eschew public brawls. They should, through their behaviour, demonstrate respect for women and promote public peace. Nigeria is a signatory to the treaty on prevention of violence against women. A similar bill has been pending in the Senate for some time now. Nigeria should move quickly to pass it into law. We applaud the Ondo State government for promptly stopping the unrelenting public denigration of the conduct and person of a sitting Deji.