Residents of Ifon Community, the administrative centre of Ondo State’s Ose Local Government Area, took to the streets to protest the purported state government’s intention to impose a candidate on them to fill the community’s vacant traditional leader’s seat.
Following the passing of Oba Israel Adeusi, who was shot and assassinated by unidentified assailants on the Benin-Owo highway in the local government’s Elegbeka Area in November 2020, the Olufon stool became vacant.
Elderly protestors and youths marched in opposition to the purported government plan while chanting various indigenous solidarity songs as they marched to the headquarters of the local government.
Speaking during the peaceful protest, a community elder named Chief Akinbode Ajayi revealed that the community has seven ruling houses with the sixth house producing the last king, late Oba Adeusi.
He claimed that state deputy governor Mr. Lucky Ayedatiwa stated during a meeting with major community leaders that the seventh ruling house, the Erunogbe Ruling House, will produce the future monarch.
“One Prince from Umougba Ruling House is already parading himself as the next king with the support of the state government.
“This is an abomination that would have grave effects on the community if it became true,” he said.
Mr. Bidemi Abiodun, a community youth leader, claimed that youths in the area were very upset that a leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had been posing as the government’s chosen candidate who would be forced upon the neighborhood as the next Olufon of Ifon.
“Respect the custom and tradition of Ifon town in the process leading to the nomination of the next Olufon of Ifon,” Abiodun urged the state government.
In a similar spirit, a group, Concerned Indigenes of Ifon, urged the state government not to meddle in the process of choosing who will fill the open community stool.
Prof. Adetokunbo Adeola, the group’s leader, stated that the matter involving the stool was still pending at the Ondo State High Court in Akure and that the government needed to halt its actions pending the court’s decision.
He also encouraged the government to provide the people the option to select their own candidate.