THE AKARIGBO WE WANT

By Adedara S. Oduguwa

 (A Prince to the throne of Akarigbo of Remoland)daraOn the 23rd of July, 2016, my friend, father and a great king of Remoland, His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Adeniyi Michael Sonariwo, the Erinjugbo II, joined his ancestors in playing chess of immortality. Immediately our town crier announced this, Torungbuwa, the next ruling house on row, called a meeting to gather the families entitled to the throne. Historically, there have been some 18 Akarigbos to date: 1.) Akarigbo (Owa),  2.) Aroyewun,  3.) Odusote (also known as Kilaro),  4.) Radolu,  5.) Koyelu, 6.) Muleruwa, 7.) Torungbuwa, 8.) Anoko, 9.) Liyangu, 10.) Otutubiosun (Direct Owa descendant), 11.) Erinjugbotan I, 12.) Faranpojo, 13.) Igimisoje, 14.) Dueja, 15.) Oyebajo, 16.) Adedoyin I, 17.) Awolesi,  18.) Sonariwo (Ogundeko, 2016). Torungbuwa, a royal house long disenfranchised to wearing the crown of their forefathers have been exonerated. The last king that came from this ruling house was a voodoo Lord, extremely powerful and feared among his people. By name, Oyebajo. Oyebajo was a very powerful king who would be remembered for his powers in invoking punishment of curse upon his subjects whenever the need arises. Before his death, he was dethroned and another king found in Awolesi, later Adedoyin was made his replacement. This is to say least of how powerful he was.

What is more, the Torungbuwa Ruling House looked inwards, in rough estimate, about 10people expressed their interest from the three families in the Royal House. However, the kingmakers employed these families to select at least two prospective candidates each, who are to contest for this highly prized stool. Traditionally, before the 1980s, the major requirements of selecting anybody to become a king in Remoland and any other parts of Yoruba land were:

  1. He must have royal blood (Prince);
  2. He must be chosen (at least by Ifa);
  3. He must be powerful (both spiritually and physically)
  4. He must be influential among his people.

Conversely, this tradition changed in the 1990s. For any community that craves for true development and progress, such community needs a king that is well educated, financially buoyant and well connected. These trio reasons transfigured the criteria for selecting a king and add the social capital. By the time most towns and villages whose royal stools were vacant by early 1990s requested for a replacement, they requested for a prince that is well-educated, financially buoyant and well connected.

Further, this new criteria changed the order of selection, weakens the traditions and traditional institution, and vested more powers in the kingmakers, who themselves have become gods in the selection process. As argued by a Chief “Ohun eniyan ni ohun Olorun (the voice of man is the voice of God).” The Ifa (deity) now acts in ceremonious capacity. Many have argued that suppressing the power of the Ifa deity in modern time contributes to the reasons why many new kings don’t live long on the throne. Nevertheless, present view has been faulted for lack of empirical evidence, but then, we should begin to reason in that line.  More so, this development has made the King Makers to be too powerful and unreliable in chosen the new king. The king is chosen by choice not by merit or capacity, a major reason why most kings are brutal, corrupt and incompetent when compared to the kings in the Pre-colonial eon.

Back to the issue at hand, the selection of a new kabiesi for Remoland. What is the old and new requirement? Which ruling house and families are qualified to provide candidates? What is the position of Chieftaincy declaration of 1957 and the amended one on the king makers and voting? These are quintessential questions to be answered.  Unlike office of the Governor or President, duration of an Oba is eternity. Kings in Yoruba land do not die.  Their services are forever needed, a reason why they are called ‘Kabiesi (meaning, who can query you!).Remo is a metropolitan community, comprises of three local governments areas and 33 towns. The three local governments are: Shagamu, Ikenne and Remo North. With the original 33 towns such as:

Makun,Isara,Ake,Akaka,Ilara,Egudu,Ogunmogbo,Eposo,Are,Emuren,Iraye,Ode-Remo,Ogere,Idena,Idarika,Iperu,Ilishan,Irolu,Idotun,Ikenne,Oko,Ado,Ipoji,Batoro,Ijoku,Latawa,Ijagba,Igbepa,Ipara,Ibido,Soyindo,Epe and Ofin (Ogun State Database,2008). These 33 towns have 33 obas with the Akarigbo as the paramount lord of the entire Remo kingdom. Between 1917 and 1937, the Remo people were under the jurisdiction of the Awujale of Ijebu Land, as a result of administrative conveniences, which was established by the colonial masters. Furthermore, since the independence of Remo from Ijebu, the aforementioned original 33 towns have expanded and still expanding. Presently, there are 47 towns in Remoland, with each town with their separate Oba.

However, major native law governing appointment of a new Akarigbo was first put together in 1957 under the then Premier of Western Region, Chief (Hon.) Obafemi Awolowo, Western State Chieftaincy Declaration (Ijebu Remo Division). This statutory instrument clearly states the number of the original ruling houses entitled to the throne of Akarigbo and the eligible voters (Chiefs) when such need arises. In reference, “the declaration made under section 4(2) of the Chiefs Law, 1957 of the Customary Law Regulating The Selection to the Akarigbo Chieftaincy (p.1) is hereby reproduced below:

  • There are four Houses and the identity of each such ruling house is:
  • Liyangu
  • Torungbuwa
  • Anoko
  • Koyelu
  • The persons who may be proposed as candidates by a ruling house entitled to fill a vacancy in the chieftaincy shall be:
  • Liyangu
  • Torungbuwa
  • Anoko
  • Koyelu
  • The persons who may be proposed as candidates by a ruling house entitled to fill a vacancy in the chieftaincy shall be:
  • Members of the ruling house
  • Of the male line; provided that succession may devolve on the female line where there is no qualified candidates of the male line.
  • There are three grades of kingmakers as under:
  • The Osugbo (4)
  • The Olisa
  • The Losi
  • The Oliwo
  • The Apena
  • The Odi (1)
  • The Ogbeni Odi
  • The Omobas (1)
  • The Olotu Omoba
  • The method of nomination by each ruling house is as follows:

The ruling house whose turn it is to provide a candidate shall nominate at a family meeting to be summoned by the family head a candidate for the chieftaincy to be  presented by the family head to the kingmakers.  Made by the Chieftaincy Committee of the Ijebu-Remo Divisional Council which has been designed as the competent Council by W.R.I.N. 61 of 1955 and signed by the chairman and secretary of the Chieftaincy Committee this 9th day of October,1957.”

However, this document was amended under Governor Otunba Olugbenga Daniel as follows:

  • There are five Houses and the identity of each such ruling house is:
  • Liyangu
  • Torungbuwa
  • Anoko
  • Koyelu
  • Owarodo
  • The persons who may be proposed as candidates by a ruling house entitled to fill a vacancy in the chieftaincy shall be:
  • Liyangu
  • Torungbuwa
  • Anoko
  • Koyelu
  • Owarodo
  • The persons who may be proposed as candidates by a ruling house entitled to fill a vacancy in the chieftaincy shall be:
  • Members of the ruling house
  • Of the male line; provided that succession may devolve on the female line where there is no qualified candidate of the male line.
  • There are three grades of kingmakers as under:
  • The Lamuren (2)
  • The Olisa
  • The Losi
  • The Osugbo (2)
  • The Oliwo
  • The Apena
  • The Oloopere (1)
  • Balogun
  • The Odi (1)
  • The Ogbeni Odi
  • The Omobas (1)
  • The Olotu Omoba.
  • The method of nomination by each ruling house is as follows:

The ruling house whose turn it is to provide a candidate shall nominate at a family meeting to be summoned by the family head a candidate for the chieftaincy to be  presented by the family head to the kingmakers.

In summary, this new amendment added Owarodo to the four existing Ruling Houses to make it five and Balogun to the six existing king makers to make it seven.  Now, it is the responsibility of all well meaning Remo Indigenes to identify the requirements for true development and qualities expected in the next Akarigbo. I am a Prince to the stool of Akarigbo (Koyelu), which qualifies me to have a say in this quintessential community matter. Apart from this, I am also Esoe Remo Palace Affairs Coordinator which gives me the privilege to add my voice to this issue.  In addition, just few days ago, I was honoured with “Distinguished Worthy Ambassador of Remo Youth”. By implication, this award officially confers on me the responsibility of representing all Remo  youths both home and abroad on what is expected of the next Akarigbo of Remo land. More so, it is important for all of us to know that the Akarigbo is the Paramount Ruler of Remo land, with some 46 obas under him. Nay wonder this highly exalted position is so competitive.  Therefore, as a mouthpiece of Remo Elites and the grass-root Youths, the following are what is required of all candidates to the stool of Akarigbo:

  • He must be member of a ruling House (Torungbuwa), preferably the male side;
  • He must be well educated and well connected;
  • He must be have genuine love for Remo people and their development;
  • He must be ready and willing to converge Remo Economic Submit , by inviting both home and Diaspora Remo indigenes that are captains of industries in their respective fields of endeavour;
  • He must seek to move Remo to higher grounds by accepting wise advices from his subjects that revolves around bringing positive change and development to Remoland. For instance, the new king should help to fast track:
  • First True human Capital Development Programme in Remoland
  • First Radio Station in Remoland;
  • First Television Station in Remoland
  • First Cinema in Remoland
  • First Modern Library in Remoland
  • First Youth Oriented Community driven programmes in Remoland and so on.
  • He must be ready to give a true representation by moving and mingling with other progressive kings and emperors around the world.
  • He must be simple and ready to listen to the cries of his people, most especially the weakest among us i.e widows, market women, orphans, the haves-not and so on.
  • He must be for all and not for few i.e he must be ready to be king to Remo land and not king of a section. Enough of unhealthy dichotomy that tickets us nowhere.
  • He must be God fearing and responsible.
  • He must be ready to lift dashed hopes.
  • He must be bold, strong and ready to sacrifice whatever it takes to be great king.

In addition, the soul of Remoland is crying for a king that is not motivated by honour, respect and deference received by the office of the most powerful king in Remoland. But one that is motivated by service, and cries of his subjects. With passion and love of his people who have persistently waiting for the Almighty Messiah soon to be found in their king.

I must say any person who is so qualified and lucky to be selected as the next Akarigbo should first see through periscope the great task ahead than the merriments of office, which often are distractions to damnation and economic sickle-cell anemia that debar us from getting to the Promised Land in the past years.

God bless Remoland!

God Bless Remo Metalelogbon!

Adedara Oduguwa is 31 years old, Multi-Award Winning Remo Youth Ambassador, who writes from Sagamu.

 

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