-Four out of six kingmakers voted in favour of Sotobi
-Lambo family challenge Sotobi, Adegorushen Branch eligibility
-Other branches warned govt against installing Odofin Sotobi as next Aynagbure
-Odofin Sotobi’s name finally sent to the Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs
-Other candidates intensify actions
After about five months of passage of late Oba Salaudeen Afolabi Adekoya Oyefusi, (CON) and the former Ayangbure of Ikorodu and barely a month after public notice that signified the commencement of process of selecting another Oba, the Ikorodu Kingmakers have resolved in favour of High Chief Kabiru Sotobi.
The IMPACT gathered that the body saddled with the responsibility of selecting a preferred candidate for the consideration of Council of Obas and Chiefs in the division, State and the government finally resolved in favour of High Chief Kabir Sotobi, the sitting Odofin of Ikorodu after the members of the council present at a meeting on 17th day of December, 2014, unanimously voted for the Oba-elect out of the twenty-four candidates forwarded to them from four branches of the Lasunwon Ruling House.
Two members of the Council of Kingmakers- Chief Alowonle, the Losi of Ikorodu and Chief Alejo, Oluwo of Ikorodu could not attend the sittings and are said to be confined indoor by sickness. Those present at the sitting were-High Chief Zaccheus Oludele Odusoga, the Regent and Olisa of Ikorodu, Chief Afolabi Adekayaoja, Solomade of Ikorodu, Chief Karimu Ore, Apena of Ikorodu and Chief Jacob Kolawole Adaraloye, Oponuwa of Ikorodu.
At the said meeting of the Kingmakers, IMPACT authoritatively gathered that the 24 names were pruned to three, namely Prince Adetayo Ladega, High Chief Kabir Sotobi and Prince Tajudeen Odofin, among whom the Kingmakers intended to pick one.
According to a reliable source, it was gathered that Chief Afolabi Adekayaoja, Solomade of Ikorodu raised objection on the ground that if decision was made on the three, Chief Sotobi would win and it would amount to them favouring one of their own. He then suggested that they should consult Ifa Oracle. After the consultation, it was revealed that Chief Sotobi, the Odofin of Ikorodu has the best revelation, but not without another serious implication which some were of the view that it can be adjusted through magical powers.
While Chief Kabir Sotobi is from the Adegorushen branch which also presented eight other candidates on the twenty-four man list, Odujumo-Araba presented two candidates, while Lambo-Lasunwon and Odusajo branches presented the remaining thirteen.
Before the commencement of the selection process, The IMPACT learnt that the Lasunwon Ruling House met several times to discuss on likely problematic areas and resolved where possible so as to ensure a crisis-free process.
Among the issues resolved were to allow all claimants to the ruling house to vie for the stool once they can establish their connection and sharing of key family positions to give the four branches sense of belonging. This was the process that produced Chief Ezekiel Shodipo (Adegorushen branch) as Olootu (family head), Pa Emmanuel Shodipo (Lambo branch) as Deputy family head, Alhaji Adekoya (Odusajo) as Secretary.
It was gathered that the Ikorodu Division Chieftaincy Committee played very prominent roles in resolving all differences within the Lasunwon Ruling House before the commencement of the Obaship selection process. It was gathered that the committee inaugurated a 2-man committee made up of High Chief Alliu Musediq, Olisa/Regent of Ijede and High Chief Tajudeen Duduyemi Alade Onasanya, the Odofin of Igbogbo to work with the family in resolving their differences and were able to resolved many issues.
The family also constituted a Standing Committee to look into the selection process within the family and resolve problems arising thereof. The four branches were represented by five members each in the committee.
IMPACT gathered that the committee in its last meeting approved that the entire list of candidates should be forwarded to the Kingmakers since the family cannot resolve its difference. A crucial decision was also taken on High Chief Kabir Sotobi, the current Odofin of Ikorodu, who is also by virtue of his position, a member of the Council of Kingmakers that he should step down as Odofin if he wants to contest for the Obaship position so as to allow for an equal playing ground.
At the meeting, IMPACT gathered that after heated argument, votes were cast by the 19 committee members out of the 20 were present at the find meeting on December 17, 2014. While 15 members were said to have voted in support of the motion that he should step down as Odofin, four other members voted against it. But when the list was sent to the Council of Kingmakers, High Chief Kabir Sotobi’s name was included.
In an interview with Chief Adeyemi Ladega, an executive member of Lasunwon Ruling House, Adegoruwa of Ikorodu and Secretary, Ayangburen-in-Council, he confirmed this. His words “For the process of screening the twenty-four candidates, the four branches nominated five members to form a twenty member committee. At the last meeting which was held on 17th December, 2014, it was resolved that Chief Kabir Sotobi, one of the candidates should either resign his position as Odofin if he wanted to contest for the Obaship or his name would not be forwarded to the Kingmakers. This generated lots of argument, but at the end it was put into vote. Out of the twenty committee members, nineteen were present out which fifteen voted that he should resign and four voted against. Thus, it was resolved that he must resign his position as Odofin if he wanted to contest for the Obaship. By virtue of this, Odofin’s name ought not to have been sent but in error it was sent to the Kingmakers.”
But the outcome has not been without controversies as other candidates and branches are kicking against the process that allegedly led to the emergence of the Chief Sotobi as Oba-elect with Lambo-Lasunwon instituting a court case with Suit No: IKD /454 GCM/2014 dated 29th December, 2014, to stop the completion of his installation as next Ayangbure of Ikorodu.
In the court case filled by the Mattew Adetayo Shodipo, Omoba Sokelu, Shakiru Shodipo, Nurudeen Fakomaya and Albert Aina for themselves and on behalf of the Lambo branch of Lasunwon Ruling house of Ikorodu, they asked the court to determine six grounds among which are – whether the consent judgment of Lagos High Court, Ikorodu Division in Suit No. IKD/57/2007; Matthew Adetayo Shodipo & Others Vs. Ezekiel Shodipo & Others is subsisting and valid? Whether parties and privies are not bound by the aforesaid judgment until same is set aside on appeal? Whether the 3rd Defendants/Respondent is not bound and stopped from being presented, nominated and selected as a candidate from Lasunwon Ruling House to any future Chieftaincy title? And, Whether indeed the Adegorushen Branch of the Lasunwon Royal House is not precluded by the decision in IKD/57/2007 from presenting a candidate for the now vacant title of Ayangburen of Ikorodu?
If the answers to the aforesaid questions are resolved in the affirmative, the Claimants are also seeking for five reliefs: A declaration that the consent judgment of the Lagos Satte High Court dated the 1st day of April, 2009 I Suit No. IKD/57/2007 between Matthew Adetayo Shodipo & Others (for themselves and on behalf of the Lambo Branch of Lasunwon Ruling House of Ikorodu) Vs. Ezekiel Shodipo & Others (for themselves and on behalf of Adegorushen Branch of the Lasunwon Ruling House) is subsisting, binding and in force and a declaration that by clause 2 of the consent judgment aforesaid the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents conceded the right to the Claimants in future to the next Chieftaincy title that is due and available to the Lasunwon Ruling House.
Three, a declaration that the Kingmakers , the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Respondents herein are bound by the decision above having been parties themselves in Suit No. IKD/57/2007 (as the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Defendants), and cannot now consider any candidate from the said Adegorushen Branch of the Lasunwon Ruling House; A declaration that 3rd Respondent, having by the aforesaid consent judgment been installed as Odofin of Ikorodu, cannot in defiance of the aforesaid judgment, present himself as a candidate for the new vacant Ayangburen Royal Chieftaincy Title and he is thereby stopped from contesting any other vacant Chieftaincy title available to the Lasunwon family and lastly, an injunction restraining the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Respondents by themselves, agents, privies from considering the 3rd Respondent, nor any candidate from Adegrushen Branch of the Lasunwon Ruling House for the candidature of the vacant Ayangburen stool.
Other grounds that are being adduced by those opposed to the purported selection of Chief Sotobi as next Ayangburen were, failure to step down as Odofin of Ikorodu as agreed by the Lasunwon family; need for other branches to be considered for positions; demand for fair claim to the Obaship stool since Adegorushen branch to which Chief Ododin belong to have reign as either Oloja or Oba of Ikorodu for nine times out of the thirteen reigns of Lasunwon Ruling House.
According to a Memorandum by Lasunwon Royal Ruling House submitted to the Committee on Review of Remuneration of Obas and Chiefs in Lagos State dated29th December, 1985, and signed by prominent members of the ruling house, it was stated that since the .inception of Ikorodu in 1500 A.D., there has been nineteen Oloja/Obas in Ikorodu since the time of Oga which was described in the Memorandum as first Olori Egure (head of pepper settlement) at Agbala
After Oga demise, Lasunwon, Lambo, Olupekan, Adedotelu, Kalu (Ekawa Olu), Odumoku, Ireshe, Ogunlarun, Odujumo Araba (1882-1895), Ajayi Ewujebe 1895-1928), Oba Adenaike Aina Alagbe, the first Ayangbure of Ikorodu and Oba of Ikorodu to wear the beaded crown in 1950. After the passage of Oba Alagbe in 1951, Oba Samuel Oderinde Ladega was installed in 1953 and reign till 1970.
Though, Olojas and Obas from Rademo Ruling House were not mention in the Memorandum, but another record shows that six members of the ruling house have reigned in Ikorodu starting with Oloja Rademo, Oguntade, Kuyinu, Idowu Alagbo (1783-1803), Orelaja Odumbo (1803-1823) and the immediate past Oba and Ayangbure of Ikorodu, HRM Oba (Dr) Salaudeen Afolabi Oyefusi (1970-2014).
Pa (Barr.) Samuel Falabake Ogbe, the Olootu (head) of Odujumo-Araba in an interview with THE IMAPCT also faulted the process that led to the emergence of Chief Sotobi as Kingmakers preferred candidate to occupy the vacant Ayangbure throne.
“The reaction is one of a protest. We object absolutely to the selection. Firstly, he is currently the Odofin of Ikorodu and seeking promotion to Obaship level. These are two different positions. How can one man ascribe a right to hold two positions? We argue against it at the general meeting of Lasunwon Ruling House and during the central committee meeting at Olootu (head) of Lasunwon’s house, Otunba Ezekiel Shodipo. The committee is constituted with five members each from the four branches and at its meeting on 17th day of December, 2014, we protested that if he want to be a candidate for the position of Oba, he must have nothing to do with title of Odofin. He was asked to renounce and revoke his Odofin title. Our stand was that he must withdraw from the Odofin position and then, he’ll be considered as a candidate for the vacant Oba position like others. This was debated and resolved at.“
The head of Odujumo-Araba family also added, “Secondly, the Adegorushen had entered into a judgment by signing a consensus judgment before Justice Abiru sometime in 2009 when Lambo branch charged them to court that they were not entitled to the vacant position of Odofin. Then, I saw the handwriting on the wall and they themselves saw it which was why they offered a carrot that the family should let them have the Odofin title and relinquished their claim to any other vacant chieftaincy title to them, therefore, since it is Lasunwon turn to produce an Oba, Adegoruhen cannot claim any entitlement”
But Chief Adeyemi Ladega differ with the interpretation of Pa Ogbe on the Consent judgment delivered by Jutice Abiru in 2007. To him, the judgment does not preclude Adegorushen from contesting but only conceded next Chieftaincy title to Lasunwon Ruling House which was Odofin and which incidentally he is occupying. “What is causing controversy in the agreement (judgment) was the claim by the Lambo branch that Chief Sotobi and other members of the branch (Adegorushen) of conceded the next Chieftaincy title to them by the agreement. When we talk of chieftaincy title, it is different from Obaship title. The next Chieftaincy title meant for Lasunwon after the Odofin title bestowed on Chief Sotobi was the Adegoruwa of Ikorodu, but they (Lambo) did not claim that because they are eyeing the Obaship position.”
A prominent personality in Ikorodu who spoke with THE IMPACT under the condition of anonymity because the crisis is still internal to Lasunwon Ruling House said, “I hope the Lasunwon elders would allow reason to prevail and quickly settle their differences, because Ikorodu cannot afford to allow the issue of finding another successor degenerated and be prolonged. When we learnt that Odofin has been picked we felt that he is a deserving successor because he has been with the late Oba Oyefusi and knows his ways within the traditional and governmental circles. In fact, there have been outpour of affections through visit and congratulatory messages to him confirming that he is also the choice of the people, but the due process must be followed”
Though, the Kingmakers as it is have completed their primary duty with the selection of High Chief Kabir Sotobi, but other candidates seems not to be lying low as they are intensifying efforts to upturn the Kingmakers’ decision in ensuring that they are eventually favoured. These aspirants not only enjoy the backing of their families, but also important groups and eminent personalities in the state that can influence the final outcome in their favour.
In this category are Prince Tajudeen Odofin, former Commissioner for Finance, who also set record as the first candidate in the history of Obaship in Ikorodu to have a manifesto; Alhaji (Chief) Olawale Jimoh Andus, the Asiwaju Eleluku of Ikorodu, Estate Developer and in-law of Onikoyi of Lagos; Prince Olukorede Bamisedun, one of the Odujumo-Araba candidates who is an Automobile Engineer and Prince Adetayo Ladega, who is also one of the Adegorushen candidates.
While Prince Tajudeen Odofin from Adegorushen Branch, like Chief Sotobi, is said to have close link with Oba of Lagos, HRM Oba Okikiolu Akiolu, the permanent Chairman, Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs and a major figure among those who could determine who becomes the next Ayangbure of Ikorodu. Prince Odofin also has the supports of good number of family members and some influential groups in Ikorodu to which he belong.
In his own, Asiwaju Eleluku, Chief Olawale Jimoh Andu, popularly known and called “Andus” from Odusajo Branch, is said to have the supports of prominent monarchs in Ikorodu and Lagos State and also a large number of Lagos White-cap Chiefs who are members of the State Council of Obas and Chiefs. His influence and supports, IMPACT also gathered extends to major traditional institutions in Ikorodu, being the Asiwaju Eleluku and a wealthy person.
Another candidate, Prince Bamisedun Olukorede from Odujumo-Araba and the Managing Director, Kolimsrede Nigeria Limited, Lagos, who holds Masters Certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), from Harold Washington College, Chicago, IL, U.S.A, 2002; Diploma in Automotive Technician from Universal Technical Institute, Lisle, IL, U.S.A, 1999; another Diploma in Collision, Repair and Refinishing Technology, Universal Technical Institute, Sacramento, U.S.A. 1995 and Advance Level Education, Federal School of Arts & Science, Victoria Island, Lagos, 1990.
Prince Adetayo Babajide Ladega from Adegorushen, is another major contender for the Ayangbure stool. He was born in 1974 and graduated from University of Ilorin in 2000, where he studied Law and later called to Bar. He has worked in various Law firms before starting his own. The Ladega prince is also into many businesses and investments and one of his businesses produces La Grame table water. As somebody who cares for others, Prince Adetayo Ladega run a Non Governmental Organization, (NGO), Marvelous Support Foundation, a body which scares for widows and the less privilege.
Through Marvelous Support foundation which he runs with his wife, many lives had been touched. Over 600 residents of Agbowa and Imota areas of Lagos State had benefitted from the foundation’s free health services.
Prince Durojaiye Olakunle Musa Ekundayo Alejo is another candidate from Odusajo branch of Lasunwon Ruling House. Born in April 4, 1967 to late Prince Lamidi Okanlawon Bolade Ekundayo Alejo, the former Olootu (head) of Odusajo branch. He is Bachelor degree holder in Mathematics and Statistics (UNILAG) 2000. For his secondary education, Ekundayo attended Ebute-Metta High School, Lagos Mainland.
Between 1992 and 1993, Prince Ekundayo Alejo was a Board Member, Lagos Mainland Housing Authority and since then he has been running his own private business, Pressure Garment Company which deals in manufacturing of singlets, t-shirts etc. Prince Ekundayo who is said to be a Chieftaincy holder at Igode enjoys the backing of Chief Ganiu Kayode Talabi, the Olisa/Regent of Igode, Ogun State and other family chieftains in his quest to mount the Ayangbure throne.
Meanwhile, IMPACT reliably gathered that the Secretary, Ikorodu Division Council of Obas and Chiefs, Alhaji M.B. Ajenise-Kuti on Thursday, January 9, 2015 sent a document which had the name of Chief Sotobi as the preferred candidate by the Council of Kingmakers to the Ministry of Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs.
It was gathered that before the name was sent to the Ministry, it was alleged that Alhaji Ajenise-Kuti was working for another candidate against the candidature of Chief Sotobi which was why he refused to send his name for quick resolution.
IMPACT also gathered that the Secretary did not send the name to the Ministry because due process was not followed. It was gathered that before such name is sent, it must first be sent to Ikorodu Divisional Council of Obas and Chiefs for consideration. The Council if satisfied with the candidate will have to provide a covering note (to authenticate the nomination) for onward transfer to the Commissioner for Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs.
After the Ministry of Chieftaincy’s consideration, the Office of Commissioner for Justice & Attorney-General will have to look at the legal implications and properly advised the State Executive Council. Another body that will also play a very important role in the decision is the Council of Obas and Chiefs in the State. The advice of the apex body of the Obas and Chiefs in the State will go a long way in affecting the Governor’s decision.
Names of the 24 Contestants submitted by the four branches of Lasunwon
- Prince Kabir Adewale Sotobi
- Prince Idowu Fatuga
- Prince Tajudeen Adedapo Odofin
- Prince Wasiu Tiwalade Odofin
- Prince Aderotimi Olajide Onabanjo
- Chief Joseph Olatunji Aluko
- Prince Adetayo Babajide Ladega
- Prince Anthony Olatunji Ladega
- Prince Gblahan Adesunkanmi Onabanjo
- Prince Olagbade Adejugba Benson
- Prince Adeboye Benson
- Prince Ademileke Benson
- Prince Kazeem Alowonle Adeniran Benson
- Prince Gabriel Adedotun Sunday Benson
- Prince Adesola Omotayo Benson
- Prince Tunde Ayodeji Ayeni
- Col. (Rtd) Eniola Adeniyi Odupitan
- Prince Waheed Abiodun Hassan Jimoh Shodipo
- Prince Albert Oyejola Aina
- Prince Emmanuel Olukorede Obajimi Bamisedun
- Prince Waidi Lanre Balogun
- Prince Jamiu Olusola Alejo
- Prince Jimoh Olawale Andu
- Prince Durojaye Ekundayo Alejo