By Eric Elezuo
A ruling House, Ogunyemi Ruling House in Iruland, has spoken out as the contention for who becomes the Oniru of Iruland, following the death of the former Oniru, Oba Idowu Oniru, gets more prominent.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, the Ogunyemi Ruling House, stated categorically that it is their turn to occupy the revered seat, saying that after relinquishing its space earlier, the crown has returned to it one more time.
Leading the address, Prince Ademola Daramola, who spoke on behalf of the family, consisting of elders of the family, said the essence of the briefing was to ‘put the records right’ and correct most anomalies making the rounds in the public domain.
This development brings to three the number of ruling houses laying claim to throne. Others are the Abisogun and Akiogun ruling houses.
Daramola said the Ogunyemi family is speaking out now to nip in the bud a potential crisis.
In his remarks, the Arubadade of Iruland, Chief Abayomi Daramola, who recounted that the last time the Ogunyemi Ruling House sat on the throne was as far back as 1894 through to 1926, said all they ask for is for due process to be applied in choosing the next oba.
A section of the statement reads:
”That on the 14th of September 1993, the then Executive Governor of Lagos State, Sir Michael Otedola in exercise of the powers conferred on him under Section 9(1) of the Obas and Chiefs Law of Lagos State 1981 approved the Lagos State Declaration made under the Cusomary Law Regulation Selection to the Oniru Chieftaincy of Lagos of 14th September that the Section 1 of the Declaration established identities and number of the Ruling Houses in the Oniru Chieftaincy Family to include the Abisogun, Akiogun and Ogunyemi.
”That Secion 2 of the Declaration specifies the order of rotation in which the respective Ruling Houses are entitled to provide candidates to fill the successive vacancies in the Oniru Chieftaincy as follows: Ogunyemi, Abisogun and Akiogun.
“That with the death of Chief Yesufu Abiodun Oniru in 1993 , on the 14th of September 1993, the Ogunymi Ruling House received a Letter of Public Notice from the Office of the Chairman of Eti-Osa Local Government Area (‘the Office of the Chairman’) (Ref. No. EOLG.00153/Vol. II/192) calling upon the Ogunyemi Ruling House to produce candidate (s) to fill the vacancy of Oniru of Lagos in the Oniru Chieftaincy within 30 days of receipt of the Notice.
“However, the last paragraph of Section 5 of the Declaration states that if the Ruling House whose turn it is to produce candidate(s) to fill the vacant Stool of Oniru of Lagos fails to provide one and there are more than one Ruling houses, the Ruling house next entitled according to the order of rotation contained in the Declaration shall be entitled to produce a candidate.”
Daramola added that Section 2 of the Declaration stated that the order of rotation shall be: Ogunyemi, Abisogun and Akiogun, saying it sufficed to say that whenever the Ogunyemi ruling house is unable to provide a candidate to fill the Stool when it is vacant, the next entitled Ruling House would be the Abisogun Ruling House.
”On the 14th of October 1993, with the Ogunyemi Ruling House having been unable to produce a candidate, the Office of the Chairman of Etio-Osa LG issued a letter of public Notice to the Ruling House (Ref. No. EOLG. 000153/Vol. III/.570) informing them that the Ogunyemi Ruling House, which was the next Ruling House according to the Declaration has been unable to present any candidate in respect of the vacant stool of the Oniru of Lagos in the Oniru Cheiftaincy and as such, in compliance with section 5 of the Declaration and 17(1)(c) of the Obas and chiefs Law of Lagos State 1981, which makes the Abisogun Ruling House the next entitled Ruling House, the Abisogun Ruling House of Oniru Royal Family is thereby called upon to produce candidate(s) to fill the vacant Stool.
”Therefore, it is clear by the provisions of section 5 and 11 of the Declaration and section 17(1) of the Obas and chiefs Law of Lagos State 1981, that it is Law that determines who fill the Stool of the Oniru of Lagos whenever it is vacant and thus it is practically impossible for any Ruling House to give another the right of rotation to occupy the stool as the law clearly recognizes and preserves the order of rotation through the principle of “Next Entitled”. Consequently, the claim by the Abisogun Ruling House that the Ogunyemi Ruling House conceded their chance to occupy the stool to the Akiogun Ruling House remains baseless,” he explained further.
Daramola said it was not true and is not expected of Abisogun Ruling House or any other person to mislead the people of Lagos State that the Ogunyemi Ruling House conceded their right to the Stool of Oniru of Lagos to the Akiogun Ruling House in 1993 when the Abisogun Ruling House are the next entitled after the Ogunyemi Ruling House by the provisions of the Declaration in the same way that the Declaration infers to the Ogunyemi Ruling House as the next entitled after the Akioguns based on the order of Rotation.
He said it was evident that by the public Notice (Ref. No. EOLG. 00153/Vol.III/76) issued to the Akiogun Ruling House by the Office of the Chairman of Eti-Osa Local Government Area on the 8th of November 1993, informing the Akiogun Ruling House of the failure of the Abisogun as the next entitled Ruling House to produce a candidate (and the further calling upon the Akioguns to produce a candidate in line with the Order of Rotation), it was the Abisogun Ruling House that conceded their right to the Stool of the Oniru of Lagos to the Akioguns in 1993.
”On the basis of the above, it is also clear that the historical antecedents relating to the emergence of the last two Onirus of Lagos have in no way altered the order of rotation as provided in section 2 of the declaration but rather complied with the order of rotation in compliance with the principle of next entitle.
”By the extant provision of section 2 of the declaration, it is very clear without any form of ambiguity that the Ogunyemi ruling house is the next entitled by law after the Akiogun ruling house (late Oba Idowu Abiodun Oniru II) to produce the next Oba Oniru of Iru Land, Lagos state,” Daramola stated.