The issue of succession to the vacate stool of Ooni of Ife has continued to generate controversies, just as the Akui branch of the Osinkola Ruling House of Ile-Ife has warned against rotation of the stool among the existing ruling houses.
The house contended that rotation of the paramount stool was against the custom and tradition of the kingdom, as according to it, the norm is that Ooni be selected from the pool of eligible princes who are descendants of Lajodogun.
Ajodogun, according to the Osinkola ruling house, has three branches from where all the four ruling houses emerged.
Addressing a news conference yesterday in Osogbo, the Osun State Capital, Prince Adetowo Aderemi, faulted the 1957 and 1980 Ife Traditional Council Declarations, describing them as a fraud. He contended that the dictates of the 1957 and 1980 declarations were against the customary law of succession of the Ife people.
Aderemi also faulted the inclusion of Giesi Ruling House among eligible royal families to fill the stool of Ooni, saying such was accidental and an aberration to the stool.
Going by the history of past Oonis who have ruled in Ile-Ife, Prince Aderemi continued, Giesi was only invited to complete the term of Ogboru, not being from the male linage with right to the stool as the grandson of Ogboru (son of a Princess).
He explained that since there has only been one ruling house in Ile-Ife, all of which are descendants of Lajamisan and Lajodogun, there has never been recourse to rotation as each Ooni is selected from the pool of eligible princes who are descendants of Lajodogun. Indeed, there are three branches of this eligible pool but that does not constitute separate branches in the ruling houses, he stressed further.
He explained that the 1957 Declaration and 1980 Amended Declaration cannot stand the test of time because they are invalid, not following due process, and therefore illegal.
Prince Aderemi maintained that the stool of Ooni is not subject to rotation, just as there has never been and there should never be.
“Even the chieftaincy legislation implicitly recognizes this when dealing with one ruling house—No rotation is required in respect of such ruling house. This is historically important because of the symbolic paramount status of Ile-Ife to the Yoruba people.
“The best candidate from all the eligible princes has always been chosen. To unlawfully deprive candidates from three ruling houses/braches on the basis of an illegal policy of rotation would be to desecrate the primacy of the Ooni stool.
“Rotation does not exist in Benin or in Ibadan. It does not exist in Sokoto, neither does it exist in Kano. Why should our own paramount ruler be different?
He concluded that the news conference was only to set the record straight and stabilise the succession process, making sure that the tradition is upheld,” he noted further.