Some aggrieved residents of Ifon Community, in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State, on Monday took to the streets of the town, to protest the alleged plan of the state government to impose a candidate on them to fill the vacant stool of the community.
The Olufon stool became vacant following the death of Oba Israel Adeusi, who was killed by some unknown gunmen along Benin-Owo Expressway in Elegbeka Area of the local government in November 2020.
The protesters who included elders match towards the local government Secretariat chanting different local solidarity songs to express the grievances against the alleged plan of the government.
Speaking, during the peaceful demonstration, a community leader, Akinbode Ajayi explained that the community had seven ruling houses, adding that the last king, Oba Israel Adeusi, came from the sixth ruling house.
According to him, state Deputy Governor, Lucky Ayedatiwa, in a meeting held with major stakeholders of the community affirmed that the next king would come from seventh ruling house – the Erunogbe Ruling House
He said , “One Prince from Umougba Ruling House is already parading himself as the next king with support of the state government. This is an abomination that would have grave effects on the community if it became true.
A youth leader of the community, Bidemi Abiodun, said that youths in the community were greatly disturbed that someone had been parading himself as an anointed government’s candidate that would be foisted on the community as the next Olufon of Ifon being a chieftain of ruling All Progressives Congress and an ally of the Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Abiodun called on the state government “to respect the custom and tradition of Ifon town in the process leading to the selection of the next Olufon of Ifon”.
In the same vein, a group, under the auspices of Concerned Indigenes of Ifon urge the state government not to interfere with the selection process of filling the vacant stool of community.
The leader of the group, Prof. Adetokunbo Adeola, said the matter on the stool was still pending at the Ondo State High Court in Akure and there was a need for the government to suspend action until the outcome of the court on the matter. He also urged government to allow the people to choose their candidate.
Adeola said, “As a matter of fact, the choice and preference of the Umaugba ruling house by the Ondo State Government over the other ruling houses who are supposed to be the next in line of succession according to the 1968 Olufon Chieftaincy declaration, is now being challenged in the Court of Law in Owo.
“An interlocutory injunction restraining the Ifon Kingmakers from acting on the state government’s directives to select the next Olufon of Ifon, pending the hearing of the motion on notice was subsequently granted in May, 22nd, 2022.
“While the motion on notice was yet to be heard at the High Court in Owo, one of the Princes from the Umaugba ruling house, who had been parading himself everywhere in the town as the anointed government’s candidate, being an APC stalwart.
“We have also heard from the acclaimed government’s anointed candidate that all arrangements had been put in place to vacate the interlocutory injunction on Tuesday, 5th of July, 2022, while his selection as the Olufon elect by some of the Kingmakers had been slated for Thursday, 7th of July, 2022, somewhere outside Ifon town.
He appealed to the government not to unduly interfere in the traditional process of selecting the next king of the town, warning that, “politics should not be introduced to the process of filling the vacant stool of the Olufon of Ifon”.