Olofa's stool: Council gives condition for reconciliation with Olugbense
Following the Supreme Court ruling, which ?struck out a suit by Olugbense family seeking a review of its earlier judgement on the stool of Olofa of Offa in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State, the Council of Offa Princes and Princesses yesterday said it was ready to reconcile with the contending party.
But the council also known as "Igbimo Omo Olofa", asked the lineage to purge itself of those it called "impostors and infiltrators" within it before any room for dialogue ?can be considered.
It said those on the side of Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Mohammed Gbadamosi Eswoye II, a descendant of Anilelerin, were opened to talk like the king did before the aggrieved party opted for ligitation.
The Chairman, All Purposes Committee of Council of Princes and Princesses of Offa, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Olayiwola Oyewale, who spoke to Journalists in Offa in company of other members of the council, said it was appalling and disgusting that some strangers were trying to alter history of kingship of the ancient town having failed in the previous attempts.
Oyewole explained that documentary evidences showed that the bona fide descendants of the then Oba Olugbense had stopped laying claim to the revered stool of Olofa due to age long curse placed on them by their progenitor ?over some atrocities committed against him.
He said the true survivors from the lineage of the then traditional ruler would not attempt to contest the throne cognisant of the potency of the spell placed on them long ago.
Oyewole noted that Keji family, which claimed to be part of Olugbense lineage, was never part of it because there was nowhere in the history a princely tag would be accorded such name
He contended that available evidence ?revealed that Keji was the descendant of the Oluode of Erin-Ile, a neighbouring town of Offa, whose pregnant wife fled her matrimonial home and took refuge in the Palace of Oba Olugbense, saying that all efforts to return her to her husband proved futile.
The chairman recalled that the note of warning ?sounded to real members of Olugbense lineage that those behind the agitation were pushing them to the abyss of ultimate destruction was disregarded.
He regretted that the proponents of kingship rotation in Offa town failed to ask themselves why it was the only Keji family that has been laying claim to the throne of Olofa.
"It is unfortunate that those who claim that they are bona fide descendants of Oba Olugbense have never asked themselves why it is the Keji family alone (Bakare Keji, Mustapha Keji and now Raufu Keji) that has been in the forefront of the claim to the throne. Are there no other descendants eligible to contest for the throne, even if they will not succeed?
"The mere fact that it is the Keji family alone that is interested in the Obaship underscores the story that bona fide Olugbense descendants still fear the efficacy of the curse pronounced by their progenitor. But, as the Keji family is not a descendant of the Oba, it believes it is immune and cannot be affected by the ancient curse.
"In truth, the progenitor of the Keji family is not Oba Olugbense but one Ojelabi, who historians say, was the son of the Oluode of Erin-Ile. The story goes like this. The pregnant wife of the Oluode of Erin-Ile ran away from her matrimonial home and took refuge in the Palace of Oba Olugbense. She was taken before the Oba, who she told of a quarrel she had with her husband at Erin-Ile and had to run away.
"The husband was invited but he sent words back that he no longer desired the woman in spite of her pregnancy, and the Oba could do whatever he wanted with her. She was allowed to stay and subsequently delivered of her pregnancy and the child was named Ojelabi.
"Ojelabi grew up within the Palace environment, got married and had a son he named Moronkeji or Morenikeji (short form 'Keji) literally meaning my companion. This Ojelabi was the progenitor/forebear of Bakare Keji, who in turn fathered Mu?stapha Keji (the tax collector), the father of Raufu Keji now aspiring to displace (God forbid) Oba Muftau Mohammed Gbadamosi, Esuwoye II.
"What other piece of evidence is there to show that the princely tag being accorded the Keji family is a fluke. They are not Olugbese's Descendants and will not be allowed to change the course of history.
"The fact being emphasised here is that no member of the Keji family has a right to the stool of Olofa because they are strangers in Offa. Their progenitor was never a prince of Oba Olugbense by birth. One other evidence that substantiates this fact is that in Yoruba anthropology, except that he is barren and was later blessed with a child, no Yoruba Oba will ordinarily name his child Moronkeji or Morenikeji as in this case.
"Oba Olugbense had over 300 children of which 140 princes were said to have aspired for the throne even when he was alive and had no cause to name any child of his Moronkeji. So far, having debunked all the falsehood told in their publication, it could be expected that sooner than later, someone will come up with the story like "Ojelabi" was the son of Arokan Otaogbaiye, who stood in for Oba Adegboye while on exile at Ofatedo". That will be yet another joker in their quest to once again distort history as they tried to do with the Alafin Lamodi's story", Oyewale said.
On the judgement of the ?apex court, he commended the Judiciary for being upright and standing firmly on the crest of truth.
Said Oyewale, "As a prince of Offa, I feel very highly elated and happy. I did not expect anything less than the ?victory we have achieved. And I believe that with this victory, the issue of this Obaship tussle has finally come to an end.
"I want to use this opportunity to thank all Offa people both at home and abroad for the support they have given us over this issue and pray that Almighty God will now open up the progress we have always wanted to achieve in Offa.
"Prior to now, we have always been open-minded. At a certain stage before the other side went to court, we have tried to persuade them to let us talk. We told them we were brothers but for one reason or the other, they didn't believe we are brothers, they wanted to be on their own and we knew that they can never achieve their aim of sending us out of the Palace of Offa.
"We wrote to them, asking them to consider, they never responded. ?But one thing was clear that even if we were going to talk to them, we were not going to talk to all of them; they would have to purge themselves before we talk to them, because we clearly believed that the so called Olugbense ruling house is not made up of genuine Olugbense descendants.
"So, that was why we were appealing. And in fact, we did tell them that if they failed to abide by our advice, that they were going into ruins and that they were going to come at a stage they would come to the end of the road, which I think they have now come to".
Also speaking, Alhaji Bisi Oyeleke, informed that efforts made by the incumbent Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, shortly after the apex court verdict that nullified the suit of the contending party in 2016, to resolve dispute, were frustrated due to the betrayal of arrowhead of Keji family.
?At the briefing were Alhaji Raimi Siyanbola Popoola and a one-time Chairman of Kwara State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Alhaji Abdulraheem Amototo among other princes and princesses.