Egungun Festival Fracas: Gov Ahmed sets up Reconciliation Commission
Following the recent communal clash over celebration of masquerade (Egungun) festival that engulfed over five communities in Oke-Ero Local Government Area of Kwara State, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has set up a Reconciliation Commission to unravel the root cause of the fracas, National Pilot has gathered.
Governor Ahmed who spoke through the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Haruna Mohammed Tambiri disclosed to this medium during a chat at Iloffa on Saturday that the commission is headed by the Alofa of Iloffa, Oba Samuel Dada.
This development is coming just as Oke-Ero Council has also set up a similar body to complement the efforts of the government.
Tambiri who represented the Governor where he was honoured with the chieftaincy title as the Otunba Atobase of Iloffa, by the monarch during the celebration of the elevation of the stool of Alofa to first class status said, "There is work already going on and we have set up a reconciliation committee that is chaired by the Alofa of Ilofa, Oba Samuel Dada.
"The Governor is determined to get to the root cause of the matter and everything is under control. We are determined and optimistic to bring lasting peace to the affected communities.
"Kwara is the state of harmony and we will ensure that harmonious relationship is being witnessed in all communities we have in the state," Tambiri added.
Speaking further on the efforts of the local government to resolve the issue, the Transition Implementation Committee (TIC) Chairman of Oke-Ero, Hajia Kudirat Lawal who confirmed the setting up of a complementary committee by the council told this medium during the event that all the parties involved in the issue had been reached and expressed optimism that everything will soon be resolved.
She added that the presence of most of the warring monarchs at the event was a demonstration that the reconciliatory efforts are yielding the desired result.
"On our part, we have looked into the issue and we have talked to all parties. As you can see, all the traditional rulers are here to grace the occasion. This is to tell you that it’s an issue that we have addressed," Lawal said.
Explaining further on the committee set-up by the council, its Chairman who doubles as the TIC Vice Chairman of Oke-Ero, Samuel Ashaolu told this medium in a telephone chat last night that the two committees will work in synergy to ensure lasting peace at the end of the day.
"We now know where the problem is. We are preparing to submit our report to the local government and we will also submit same to the state government. We have met all parties involved both traditional rulers and youth leaders in the communities.
"One of the things that have been recommended is that those communities should not hold their masquerade festival at the same time and this will go a long way to resolve the issue.
"Yes the Police and Civil Defence have been doing well but I think we still need more efforts on issues relating to security in the local government," he disclosed, adding that the committee is made up of seven members.
Meanwhile, the four monarchs summoned by the police over the Egungun festival fracas are to appear before the Kwara State Police command on Thursday.
The monarchs summoned included the Olota of Odo-Owa, Oba Joshua Adeyemi Adimula. Osolo of Igbede, Oba Johnson Jide Aina, Edemarun of Kajola, Oba Joseph Adeleke Oyewole and Obadofin of Ikotun, Oba David Ajibola Omape.
They appeared before the State Investigation Bureau (SIB) last Tuesday where they were grilled over the incident based on a petition from the Olota of Odo-Owa, Oba Joshua Adeyemi Adimula who sent in a representative.
They were however told to report back to the police on Thursday for continuation of the matter because of the Easter break.
A source at the meeting had told National Pilot that the Olota identified himself in the petition as the "defacto traditional ruler in the affected communities and accused the other monarchs of ganging up against him to celebrate the festival separately.
"But the other monarchs in their argument reportedly told the police that the claim of a paramount ruler by the Olota was "a fluke and accident of history"; which does not foreclose other monarchs from exercising their franchise.
They added that each community has its own traditional council, religion, idiosyncrasies and the paraphernalia of other offices belonging to a monarch," the source added.
Recall that this medium had exclusively reported the fracas that broke out from the masquerade festival which led to the reported shooting of Officer-in-Charge of the masquerade, (Eeshorun), Clement Ayantoye Aro in the leg "at close range".
Aro is said to be recuperating in New Era hospital, Osi, since then following the incident that also led to destruction of property worth millions of naira in the affected communities.
Meanwhile, in his acceptance speech of the new title, Governor Ahmed, congratulated the Alofa and his subjects for the honour and reiterated the commitment of his administration towards improving infrastructural facilities in the community and state.
"His Excellency, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed cares about the welfare of our traditional rulers in the state, this we have witnessed through the upgrading of monarchs and presentation of staff of office. And to complement that, cars were recently distributed to ease movement of the monarchs," he submitted.
Earlier, the Oke Ero TIC Chairman Hajia Kudirat Arinola Lawal while appreciating the state Governor noted that the people have long awaited for the upgrading of their monarch which came into reality.