ADDRESS BY PRINCE DR (GEN) OLU BAJOWA, OFR (JAGUNMOLU OF IKALELAND) TO THE PANEL OF INQUIRY SET UP BY THE ONDO STATE GOVERNMENT TO INVESTIGATE ARAROMI-OBU/IKALE CRISIS, ON WEDNESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 2019, AT IGBOTAKO OSOORO – OKITIPUPA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA.

Written by on September 18, 2019

ADDRESS BY PRINCE DR (GEN) OLU BAJOWA, OFR (JAGUNMOLU OF IKALELAND) TO THE PANEL OF INQUIRY SET UP BY THE ONDO STATE GOVERNMENT TO INVESTIGATE ARAROMI-OBU/IKALE CRISIS, ON WEDNESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 2019, AT IGBOTAKO OSOORO – OKITIPUPA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA.

Introduction

Honourable Chairman and Distinguished members of the Panel, I heartily welcome you to my Igbotako residence. I profoundly consider your visit as a singular honour.

I was thrilled and exited when the Honourable Chairman of this Panel, Barrister Tunde Atere, intimated me last Saturday, of your intention to further dialogue with me, on the Araromi-Obu /Ikale crisis. I am most humbled!

Firstly and foremost, I would like to dispense the rumour that I was quarrelling with His Excellency, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, the Governor of Ondo State. This propaganda is nothing but far from the truth. I acted purely based on “principle”, considering my background, experience and status in the society and the nation.

The roles I have played so far in the Araromi-Obu/Ikale crisis, as Jagunmolu of Ikaleland, was to ensure that equal right, justice and fairness, are accorded my people, the Ikales, particularly those who were subjected to torture and inhuman treatment, in Araromi-Obu and Ago Alaye environs and most importantly to defend the institution of Ikale Traditional Rulers, which should be revered and not to be publicly ridiculed, by anybody, regardless of his or her status!

Accusation of Bias

I came out vociferously at the press conference I delivered at Akure on 1st August 2019, on behalf of the Ikale Traditional Obas and the Ikale people. The press conference was informed by the pronouncements of His Excellency the Governor, at Abodi Palace, where I was present. I re-echoed this incident during my first appearance before this august Panel, at Abodi Palace on 21 August 2019, accusing the Governor of bias, for failing to address the Ikale people at Ago Alaye, while he only addressed the Araromi-Obu settlers, before he ordered the indiscriminate arrest of the Ikale people who assembled at Mobolorunduro to welcome His Excellency.

As at date, only the Ikale people were rounded up and dump into detention and subjected to imposed curfew which disrupted the economy, social activities and well-being of the Ikale people, particularly the women, the elderly and the children’s education. The Ikale people were forced by Araromi-Obu boys to flee the area, while their homes were vandalised.

 During the melee, some lives were lost, people were wounded and hospitalised, with many properties also destroyed both at Araromi-Obu and Ago Alaye, but only Ikale people were arrested and detained. Hence, the accusation of bias and double standard leveled against Ondo State Government, in the handling of the Araromi-Obu/Ikale crisis. 

Yoruba Tradition

We are all Yorubas and descendants of Oduduwa, with cherished culture, custom and tradition, as our heritage. It is instructive that His Excellency, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, the Executive Governor of Ondo State, could prostrate before the Olowo of Owo, a grade “A” Oba of Ondo State, but took to the cleaners, and threatened the Abodi of Ikaleland, who is similarly, a “First Class Oba” in Ondo State. The Governor’s example therefore, smacks on political satire and double standard! I have already forwarded to the Chairman’s WhatsApp, excerpts and transcript of the Governor’s speech, at the Abodi’s Palace, on 19 July 2019.

The Aggressors

The Araromi-Obu settlers were the aggressors. They angrily reacted to the verdict of the Court judgments in a case initiated by them against the Ikale people, where out of fifty nine (59) settlements, the Court ceded only two (2) settlements to Ararromi-Obu settlers and fifty seven (57) settlements to Ikale people.

It is apparent that the Araromi-Obu settlers are desperate to take by brute force and violence, what they could not take from the Court or by an order of a Court!

The judgment of the Court remains valid and binding on the parties concerned and their privies, until set aside by due process of law; hence they should be obeyed by Araromi-Obu settlers who were strangers on Ikaleland, ab initio!

It is a fact that “It takes two to tango”. It is therefore, inconceivable, as much as it is outlandish, to claim that the Ikale people, who won a court case, would turn round to be fighting against themselves and destroying their own properties. Evidently, arresting and detaining only the Ikale people in a crisis involving two communities, are against fairness, equity and natural justice and invariably a betrayal of the expectations of Ikale Nation for protection against bias.

The names of the Araromi-Obu attackers which I gave during my press conference at Akure were: Okuyemi Sola (a.k.a Agba), Seun Akinbule (a.k.a. Oba Ilu Kan), Folu Akinmadelo (a.k.a. Chief FAA) and Sunkanmi Ogundayomi. They were all shielded by the power that be and are still walking freely around, without arrest or questioning by the Police, on their roles in the crisis!

Peaceful Coexistence  

The Araromi-Obu settlers have co-habited with the Ikale people for many years with inter-marriages and living with peaceful co-existence. For instance the mother of the incumbent Ajobu, His Royal Highness, Oba Aderemi Adelola, is from Agirifon quarters in Ilutitun-Osooro, Senator Omololu Meroyi’s mother is from Idebi Aderibole’s family in Igbotako-Osooro, and the mother of the current Chairman of Okitipupa Local Government Area (LGA), Omoba Abayomi Adesanya, is from Igo Aduwo Quarters in Ilutitun-Osooro, while his father is from Araromi-Obu; and many more! There is no doubt that the status quo can be maintained with mutual understanding and good administration on the part of the community leaders, politicians and Odigbo Local Government officials, where due process, inclusiveness, mutual respect, peace and the rule of law, should prevail.

Land Ownership

I would like to reiterate as contained in my previous deputations that our progenitors discovered Ikaleland in about 1502. The territory which is rich in agricultural and natural resources stretches from Siloko/Owena River in the East to the West, forming boarder with Oni River, in Ogun State. The area is bounded in the North by Ife in Osun State and the Ondos, with whom Ikale people fought and won three (3) wars, while in the South, with Apoi, Ijaw Arogbo and Ilaje respectively. There are historical and documentary evidence in the national archives to support the Ikale ownership of the lands: at Umoboro, Epewe and Mobi in Ijaw Arogbo boundary areas. They also include: Agbabu and Odigbo near Aye, Otafufufu-Gbekereru near Ajue, Umoron, Kajola, Araromi-Obu, Ago Alaye, Ayetoro, Mobolorunduro and Ajebandele. They are all Ikale lands in Ondo State. Also Lomiro, Arijan, Ayila and Ayede, in Ijebu water side area of Ogun State, belong to the Ikale people.

I now have the honour to tender the following nine (9) supporting documents: (1) Rev Hinderer notes in 1875, (2) Meeting held at Aiyesan on 12th and 13th October 1922, (3) Assessment Report on Ikale District Okitipupa (1932), by Mr B.J.A Matthews, (4) Intelligence Report on Ikale District Okitipupa Division, Ondo Province (1933), by Mr C.I Garvin, The books: (5) Ikale (1993) by Olu Bajowa and (6) The Making of Ikale (2018) by HRM Oba G.B Faduyile (Adegun II), Copies of: (7) Press Conference on 1st August 2019, at Akure, by Prince Dr (Gen) Oluyemi Bajowa, OFR, (8) Address Before The Panel at Abodi Palace on 21 August 2019, by Prince Dr (Gen) Olu Bajowa, OFR and (9) Address Before The Panel at Igbotako on 18 September 2019, by Prince Dr (Gen  Oluyemi Bajowa, OFR – (Presentation of Documents).

Observation

In addition to the brief to me by Ikale lawyers, I have followed the deliberations of the Panel with keen interest thus far. I have observed that the report credited to the media attaché of the Panel is sensational, premature, not balanced, as it weighs favourably towards Araromi-Obu. This is because the ingredients of the peace accord are yet to be concluded. There is subsisting judgment of Court that restrains Araromi-Obu from trespassing on the land adjudged to belong to Ikale people. Even if Araromi-Obu settlers are allowed to harvest crops planted on the land adjudged to belong to Ikale people, in the spirit of reconciliation, peace and harmony, it is not the same thing as having unfettered access, as this will amount to Contempt of Court.

Any attempt by Araromi-Obu settlers to embark on another cultivation of cash crops on the land as they did during the pendency of the Court action, is an attempt to foist a fait accompli which is contemptuous. In the same vain, tenants on the land should switch allegiance to the rightful land owners (the Ikales), as a successful litigant is entitled to the fruit of litigation, including payment of royalty on the land.

I believe that neither the Panel nor Government, should do anything capable of rendering nugatory, a valid judgment of Court. Any attempt to do this, will be an invitation to anarchy and lawlessness. Therefore, media practitioners should engage in investigative journalism and endeavour to cross-check details of the peace deal from lawyers to both parties, before publishing same.  

This was the reason why I earlier advocated for an Independent Panel of Inquiry, headed by a retired Judge, since the subject matter, had already been decided by a High Court Judge and is now subjudice, as it is alleged to be on Appeal.

Recommendation

I would like to respectfully advance, that Kabiyesi Ajobu of Araromi-Obu, Odigbo Local Government officials and indeed Ondo State Government should honour the judgments of the Court and treat the Ikale people who are the Land Owners, with fairness, equity and justice, to avoid trouble, selfish desires and conflict in relationship, through the bond of peace, so that people may live in unity within Araromi-Obu environs and Odigbo area, where the Orunja of Odigbo, aided by Odigbo Local Government, is using the Police to harass and terrorise the Ikale people at Agbabu which historically, belong to Aye (Halu/Lapoki) Kingdom of Ikaleland.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would like to humbly appeal that:

a) The Ondo State Government should encourage and give effect to the judgments of the Court.

b) Release unconditionally all the innocent Ikale people that were arrested indiscriminately and detained at Olokuta Prison, Akure.

c) Lift the curfew imposed on Ago Alaye, so as to bring peace and tranquility to the affected troubled areas, in order to avoid the repeat of 16 July 2019 incident.

d) The Government should pay compensation on compassionate grounds to the families of those who lost their lives during the crisis and to those whose property were destroyed, including those who were hospitalised for the injuries sustain during the melee, whilst the culprits of the crisis should be fished out and prosecuted according to law.   

Once again, thank you and God bless.

Prince Dr (Gen) Olu Bajowa, OFR

(Jagunmolu of Ikaleland)

                       &

(Ojagbulegun from The Source)


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