If All Obas Were Like Awu­jale...

THISDAY - - HIGHLIFE -

If na­ture used a one-size-fits-all ap­proach, all tra­di­tional rulers would be par­ti­san and ob­se­quious. But na­ture is di­verse and dy­namic. That is why the Awu­jale and para­mount ruler of Ije­bu­land, Oba Sikiru Adet­ona, is not in the rank of Obas who are po­lit­i­cally vol­u­ble and vis­i­ble for per­sonal or parochial rea­sons. A pointer to this was his absence in Gover­nor Ibikunle Amo­sun’s del­e­ga­tion to Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari in State House re­cently. Two prom­i­nent tra­di­tional rulers, the Olu of Ilaro and the Alake of Eg­ba­land, were among those rail­roaded to fol­low Amo­sun to ap­peal to the pres­i­dent to in­ter­vene in the state’s dis­puted pri­mary elec­tions.

The gover­nor had uni­lat­er­ally drawn up the list of all as­pi­rants on the party’s plat­form in­clud­ing his pre­ferred gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date, Hon. Adekunle Akin­lade. How­ever, dur­ing the pri­maries, party mem­bers unan­i­mously voted for Prince Dapo Abio­dun, the bil­lion­aire founder of Hey­den Oil. Amo­sun was livid. He tapped all his con­tacts and con­nec­tions with a view to up­turn­ing the de­ci­sion but the APC hi­er­ar­chy did not budge. Then, he took on the party chair­man, Adams Osh­iom­hole, call­ing him un­print­able names while mount­ing pres­sure on the pres­i­dent – us­ing dif­fer­ent prox­ies – to get the party to sub­sti­tute Abio­dun for his can­di­date. He met a brick wall ev­ery­where he turned. In the midst of this, prom­i­nent tra­di­tional rulers in the state fell over them­selves to show their loy­alty to the out­go­ing gover­nor. Only the pa­tri­ar­chal Awu­jale main­tained a re­spectable si­lence.

Sources in the Awu­jale’s palace said as much as he had ear­lier in the year fer­vently prayed for the emer­gence of a com­pe­tent can­di­date from Ije­bu­land, declar­ing that hav­ing an Ijebu man at the helm of af­fairs would au­gur well even­tu­ally for the state, the oc­to­ge­nar­ian king re­fused to make any po­lit­i­cal pro­nounce­ment there­after.

It will be re­called that the im­me­di­atepast Com­mis­sioner for Com­merce and In­dus­try, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, was the pre­ferred can­di­date of the Awu­jale, a sup­port, priv­i­leged sources say he has now put be­hind the sub­stan­tive APC can­di­date, Prince Abio­dun. While not afraid to make his con­vic­tions pub­lic, the Awu­jale be­lieves that stay­ing above the fray of par­ti­san­ship is more dig­ni­fy­ing. How­ever, he re­mains un­yield­ing in his re­solve to see an Ijebu man gov­ern the state – a ma­jor plus for the can­di­da­ture of Abio­dun.

Awu­jale

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