Kunle Adelabu & Wale Jagun
The leadership crisis rocking the Ikorodu branch of the Lagos State Butchers Association lingers on as the chieftains of the Osugbo, the highest decision making organ in the traditional setting in Ikorodu, have sealed off the slaughter slab.
There has been no activity at the ever – busy livestock market since the crisis erupted last Thursday caused by an alleged attempt to install an unpopular candidate as the next chairman of the association.
Youths within the association, we gathered, protested against the alleged imposition which they said is against the convention through which their leaders have been emerging over the years.
It was said that the association has been existing peacefully for over 50 years before the present crisis.
Following the protest that led to burning of tyres at the slab along the T.O.S. Benson Avenue in Ikorodu, THE IMPACT gathered that the Osugbo traditional group sealed off the slaughter slab on the directive of the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabir Shotobi, the Adegorushen V and the First Permanent Vice Chairman, Lagos State Council of Obas & Chiefs, due to an alleged effrontery by a section of the association against his order.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Bisola Ruth Olusanya and her team, we also gathered, visited Ayangbure last Saturday to find a solution to the crisis.
It was gathered that following the death of the former chairman of the branch, Alhaji Taliat Lawal, popularly called ‘Baba Nosimo’ on Saturday, October 23, 2021, members of the association elected another chairman about four weeks ago in the person of Alhaji Sulaimon Abd. Ramon Abiodun Obalowu who hails from Ilorin.
His emergence, which was said to have been supported by others from towns outside Ikorodu, according to the report , did not go down well with the Ikorodu section of the association which protested to the Ayangbure palace.
According to a section of the association, the leadership of the association is being rotated between five towns that controls the association – Ikorodu, Ilorin, Egba, Iwo and Ibadan.
While the lkorodu group is said to have produced the first Chairman of the association, the Abeokuta group produced his successor, late Alhaji Lawal whose recently elected embattled successor, Alhaji Obalowu is from Ilorin.
The Ikorodu group is supporting one Mr Dosumu Aleje which, we gathered, received Ayangbure’s blessings to be the new Chairman of the Lagos State Butchers Association, Ikorodu branch.
The Ikorodu section alleged that the non – indigenes did not carry them along in the process of electing the new chairman and that no consultation was made before they decided on Alhaji Obalowu’s choice as the new chairman.
According to a senior palace aide who spoke with THE IMPACT, he said that the position of the Ayangbure is that the Ikorodu group who are the land owners, have the right to the leadership of the association.
He said that the royal father who recently returned to his kingdom from abroad, was not aware of any election/selection of any new chairman but that he only called them to the palace where he made his decision known to the association openly.
The senior aide to Ayangbure also told our reporter that none of the six chieftains that attended the palace meeting opposed the decision of the monarch, and added that they also agreed that there would be peace at the abattoir.
Speaking with Alhaji Sulaimon Obalowu who was said to have been elected by other groups, he said that the association had agreement on a rotational system that has been in practice over the years.
“We have a process of selecting our leadership in Odo – Eran (slaughter slab) and that has been what we have been following since”, he said.
“Five communities rotate the leadership among themselves and with the arrangement, Ikorodu has produced the leadership and it was Egba that produced the last chairman. It is now the turn of Ilorin where I came from and I was duly elected by members.
“We are peace loving people but the imposition by the Kabiyesi caused the youth restiveness and protest.
“We urged Kabiyesi to accept our decision because that is how we have been living together for many years”, Alhaji Obalowu appealed.
Alhaji Afeez Olanrewaju, the youth leader in the abattoir, said that the process that produced Obalowu as the new Chairman of the association, was rancor-free.
He told our reporter at ‘Odo – Eran’ that although, they are yet to present the new chairman to the Aayngbure of Ikorodu as custom demanded due to the fact that the royal father was abroad when the election was conducted, he said that that does not in any way invalidate their collective decision
“We elected our chairman weeks back the way that we have been conducting the process from inception”, he said.
“Although, we are yet to present the new chairman to Kabiyesi because he traveled abroad but we plan to do so. Suddenly, we were summoned to the palace and the royal father imposed his candidate on us”, he alleged.
He also alleged that the imposed candidate is not one of them but only used to come around to see his father who was a former chieftain of the association.
“The most unfortunate aspect is that this said guy that Kabiyesi is imposing on us is not one of us. It was his late father who was a former chieftain.
“We, the youths, are protesting against Kabiyesi because the association has elected its own chairman and we want that to be respected”.
The General Secretary of the association and the only lkorodu indigene in the current executive, Alfa Amuda Taofeek, speaking, pointed accusing finger at a prominent Ikorodu chieftain who has major interest at the slaughter slab, of fueling the crisis and for supporting the non-indigenes against his own people.
He said that threat by the other groups that they would vacate the market cannot have any effect whatsoever because Ikorodu too has experienced persons within the association of which Alejo (Oba Shotobi’s candidate) is one.
Meanwhile, the activities at the ‘Odo – Eran’ are still paralysed while residents of Ikorodu who are used to getting their beef from the market have been forced to go elsewhere to get their needs.
They hope that the crisis surrounding the leadership of the biggest and most organized slaughter slab in the division will be resolved soon.
Our reporter spoke with the Commissioner for Agriculture in the state on phone regarding the abattoir’s leadership crisis and she promised to get in touch with him as soon as possible but she, however, has not as at the time of going to the press.