*Kwara South revered monarch in bribery allegation scandal
*Elemosho accuses kingmakers of compromise
*The Saraki, Maigida, Otoge angle
By Abdulrasheed Akogun
Controversies have continue to trail the selection process of the new Olupako of Share, in Ifelodun local government area of Kwara State which has been heightened with the official submission of shortlisted successful contestants to the State government through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and local government affairs, Fresh Insight can authoritatively report.
It would be recalled the deceased Olupako of Share, Oba Garba Abubakar Dosunmu II, who died on November 2nd, 2019, after almost 52 years, was from the Akinyode ruling house.
Deceased Olupako Garba Abubakar
It would further be recalled that in line with custom and tradition of Share town, the process for the selection of a successor kick – started immediately after the 8th day Fidau prayer, which held on 10th, November 2019.
According to Fresh Insight’s investigation, in order to have a smooth and non – acrimonious selection process, an independent observation team comprising of representatives of Share descendant Union, Share Patriotic Movement and Share elders among others, who in conjunction with the eleven (11) kingmakers of Share; namely Alh. Olayiwola Kofoworola Zubair (Balogun), Alh. Zubair Adefila Adaranuagbada (Bale), Alh. Musa Elemosho (Elemosho Adeyi), Prof. Sulaiman Jamiu (Eesa), Alh. Abdulrahman Jimoh (Magaji Are) and Alh. Yakubu Adeyinka (Otun Oba).
Others include Alh. Saka Ahmed (Odofin Atobiloye), Chief Joseph Aweda Adeleye (Odofin Olopo oye), Alh. Yakubu Adeshinsa (Asanlu), Alhaji Lawal Idris Elemosho (Elemosho Alajagun) and Chief AbdulGaniyu Daisi (Elemosho Iware).
While the witnesses of the entire selection process had the Asiwaju of Share Alh. Muhammed Tayo Lawal, Baba Isale of Share Alh. Moh’d Yusuf, President Share Descendants Union and his secretary Elder Gabriel Jimoh and Mr. Daniel Adetokunbo Adeyemi respectively, while Prof. Abdulfatai Jimoh represented the Share Patriotic Movement.
The criteria for the eligibility of candidates for the vacant stool was rolled out, while the two ruling houses of Dada and Akinyode were asked to shortlist and forward four (4) names each for consideration.
According to documents seen by Fresh Insight, the criteria includes that;
– The nominee(s) must be certified a true and recognized descendant of Dada/Akinyode Dynasty.
– He must be of proven integrity and trustworthy without any criminal records.
-The nominee must have a minimum of Higher National Diploma (HND) or Bachelor Degree in any discipline. Higher qualification will be an added advantage.
-The nominee must be well exposed and experienced in the management of materials and human resources.
-The nominee must be well knowledgeable in the tradition, culture and affairs of Share community.
While Dada ruling house submitted the names of Abdulraheem Abubakar, Haruna O. Sulyman, Alh. Babatunde Zubair and Musa Sulayman. Akinyode ruling house submitted Sikiru Adeleye, Ibrahim K. A Zubair, Ismail Kolawole Abubakar and Muhammed Olupako.
A five (5) man committee was thus set up to interview and screen the 8 nominees and members of the committee include Professor Suleiman Jamiu who served as Chairman,
Professor Abdulfatai Jimoh (Secretary) while members include Mr. Daniel Adetokunbo Adeyemi, Muhammed Kabir Elemosho and Ahmed Sakariyau.
Documents obtained by Fresh Insight revealed an interview/interactive session was held with all the nominated candidates in the presence of all the 11 kingmakers, representatives of elders, representatives of Share patriotic movement, Share Descendants Union among others.
The results of the nominees screening and interview session
According to the document, after the interview and interactive session, the committee scored and rated the 8 candidates as follows.
Prince Haruna Olawale Suleiman was rated first with 81.1%, he was followed by Ibrahim K. A Zubair who scored 53.7% to come second, while Babatunde Zubair, Mohammed Olupako, Ismail K. Abubakar Abdulraheem Abubakar and Musa Sulayman polled 52%, 50.4%, 50.1%, 48%, 34.2% to come 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th respectively with Sikiru Adeleye disqualified as he couldn’t meet the NYSC requirement.
In furtherance of the screening and consultation exercise, the names of the remaining 7 nominees was sent to the spiritual consultation committee set up on 10th February, 2020 by the Kingmakers to seek God’s face in the selection process.
The 5 man committee had
Alhaji G. O. Bolaji (Muslim) as Chairman and Chief Adedotun Tunde Philips (Christian) as Secretary, while
Chief Omotoso Aliu (Muslim), Deacon G. O. Owolabi (Christian) and Mallam Ahmadu Oguntola (Traditionalist) as members and all saddled with the responsibility of consulting in the three (3) mode of worship.
The report of the committee submitted on July 16th to the kingmakers at the Olupako palace a copy of which was exclusively obtained by Fresh Insight submitted the names of Abdulraheem Olaloye (Dada), Ismail Kolawole (Akinyode) and Haruna Olawale (Dada) as the 3 most spiritually suitable nominees, who’s tenure will bring fortune, development and tranquility to the town.
The committee however went further to say “The committee, with high sense of conscience looked into the reports from different religious affiliations and came up with one candidate who has high degree of positive appraisal to benefit his tenure and the entire community is Sulaiman Olawale Haruna.”
They also recommended that Sulaiman Olawale Haruna should be presented as the sole candidate to occupy the vacant stool of Olupako and that the modality to choose Olupako of Share whenever the seat is vacant should be rotational among the approved ruling houses.
Fresh Insight findings according to a document dated 30th July, 2020 conveying the names of the nominees to Ifelodun local government was however different to the submission of the spiritual consultation committee earlier set up by the kingmakers.
According to the document obtained by Fresh Insight, the kingmakers as against the names of Abdulraheem Olaloye, Ismail Kolawole and Haruna Olawale as contained in the recommendations by the Alhaji G. O. Bolaji-led spiritual consultation committee.
Instead of the committee’s recommendations, the kingmakers dropped Ismail Kolawole Abubakar, the son of the deceased Oba and replaced him with Mohammed Sogo Olupako and Ibrahim K. Zubair. Therefore increasing the names of the nominees from three (3) to Four (4)
Fresh Insight gathered that the Elese of Igbaja Alhaji Ahmed Babalola Awuni Arepo III, who is the Chairman, Ifelodun traditional council, on 13th August summoned the kingmakers to his palace and allegedly asked them to vote from amongst the nominees, thereby disregarding the 2 previous exercises which had clearly shortlisted the 3 most preferred nominees.
Further findings by Fresh Insight showed that according to precedence, the traditional council ought to have received the Share kingmaker’s recommendations and forward same to the local government chairman for onward transmission to the Governor for announcement through the Ministry of local government and Chieftaincy affairs.
Disagreeing with the process and outcome of the exercise superintended by the Elese of Igbaja, Chief Lawal Idris Elemosho, the Elemosho Alajagun of Share, barely 24 hours after the Igbaja exercise via a petition dated 14th August, 2020 and addressed to Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, expressed displeasure with the process, alleging compromise.
The petition reads “After the exercise, the contestants were rated and the score sheet was signed by all the kingmakers and the stakeholders (please see a copy attached). Before this exercise, it was agreed that the first three (3) candidates from the interactive exercise will be shortlisted and forwarded for spiritual consultations in accordance with the customs and tradition of Share Community.
“However, when it was obvious that some candidates backed by some Kingmakers did not make the first three on the list, some of the Kingmakers came up with flimsy excuses and mischievousness that led to a resolution that the seven (7) candidates who were supposedly adjudged to be qualified be forwarded for spiritual consultations.
” Thereafter, a five-man committee was setup, commissioned and mobilized to carry out spiritual consultations on all the seven (7) candidates. After the completion of their work, a meeting was called where their written and signed report was presented and submitted (please see a copy attached). The report was applauded by all at the meeting, different comments were made to give thanks to the committee members and special prayers were offered for them for the job well done.
“However, I’m highly taken aback to be informed that these two significant reports as mentioned above were not taken into consideration in the final names listed in the letter written to the Director of Personnel Management of Ifelodun LGA and the Ifelodun Traditional Council for the final selection of the 11th Olupako of Share.
“This to me, as one of the senior chiefs in the Olupako-in-council that participated actively in the process for nomination and selection of the 11th Olupako of Share, is against the pledge we made at the beginning of the process and the one I made on ascending the throne of my forefather to be just and unbiased in the service to my great Community, Share.
“I considered the final conclusion of the so called kingmakers of Share in their letter addressed to the DPM, Ifelodun LGA and copied Ifelodun Traditional Council as an affront to the good people of Share community and betrayal of the established custom, culture and tradition of Share community in the process of appointment of a new Olupako for the Share community.
” Indeed, it is more worrisome and dangerous to note that the Ifelodun Traditional Council at their meeting that took place at Igbaja on Thursday, 13th August, 2020, refused to consider my earlier petition but went ahead to requested the Share kingmakers to pick a candidate for the stool of Olupako by voting at their office in Igbaja, a bizarre to the custom and tradition of Share community.
“To say the least, kingmaker’s decision by voting is never known to our culture, custom and tradition when it comes to the appointment of a new Olupako of Share Land. Our known custom and tradition have always been to recommend a candidate for the stool on the basis of the outcome of spiritual consultations that cut across the known faith of Islam, Christianity and Traditional Religion.
“Going by what happened in Igbaja, it had clearly shown that the so-called Share Kingmakers had compromised and allowing this to stand will spell doom not only on the custom and tradition but on the peace being enjoying in the community and the future of Share community
“As one of the most senior Chiefs of the Olupako-in-council of Share community, who has fear of God and respect for the customs and tradition of Share community, I humbly suggest that you should please use your good office to establish the truth of this matter as posterity will remember you for doing the right thing at the end.
“The supposed Kingmakers be mandated to do the right thing by recommending the candidate that truly came first during the two most critical stages of the process (the interactive section report as well as in the final report of the committee on the spiritual consultations) for possible appointment as the 11th Olupako of Share” it submitted.
In the same vein, 6 of the kingmakers who had against customs and tradition voted in Igbaja on August 13th, recanted via a letter addressed to the Ifelodun traditional council and dated 19th August, 2020, titled “Withdrawal of vote and signature from traditional election held on 13th August, 2020 at the Elese of Igbaja palace”.
Giving reasons for the recantation the kingmakers said “We were in the state of puzzle at the period of the electoral process, Alas up till now, we cannot understand the reason for the unusual election which is contrary to the custom and tradition of Share.
” The action of voting is adequately contrary and against the method by which Share kingmakers do select Olupako whenever the stool was vacant.
“We wish to recommend that the four names;
-Abdulraheem Olaloye Abubakar
-Haruna Olawale Olupako
-Mohammed Sogo Olupako and
-Ibrahim Kayode Zubair, earlier submitted to your honourable office should be valid for further process”, the letter reads.
It was however discovered that this letter also negates the submissions of the spiritual consultation committee, which okayed Abdulraheem Olaloye Abubakar, Ismail Kolawole Abubakar and Haruna Olawale Olupako.
Manwhile, allegations of inducement and bribery has been leveled against one of the highly revered traditional ruler in Kwara South, with claims that the said traditional ruler is bribing and inducing the Share kingmakers with gifts, with the aim of influencing them to settle for his preferred candidate, said to be relatively unknown and without presence in the town.
Speaking with Fresh Insight under condition of anonymity, a Prince from the Akinyode ruling house who refused to show interest in the vacant stool even though he was qualified said “One of the revered traditional ruler in Kwara South is doing everything humanly possible to pocket the next Olupako, so he has been inducing the kingmakers with gifts on behalf of one of the nominees from Akinyode ruling house.
“This said prince is an unknown personality in our family not to talk of our town, he has always taken one of the popular towns in Kwara South as abode, in fact he resides there and have all his investment and properties in that town.
“The said traditional ruler backing him sent bribe disguised as Sallah gift to all the Share kingmakers, each kingmaker got a big ram and a token of #40,000, which naturally shouldn’t raise eyebrows, but knowing that he has never given our deceased Olupako such talk less of his Chiefs raises eyebrows” he alleged.
In the same vein, a youth activist of Share descent residing in Lagos, Com. Jamiu Ibrahim Akande has decried the seeming politicization of a purely traditional process, stressing that the kingmakers have resulted to reincarnating the Saraki and Otoge struggle in the selection process.
He said “While it is expected that the former Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed who is an indigene of Share will show interest in activities in his town, since he is not one of the kingmakers, he should have played a fatherly role by embracing whoever emerges, his behind the scenes moves and influences is not good for our town and he should beware.
“In the same light, the Saraki elements not on the same page with Maigida should go and continue their political battle elsewhere and stop making Share’s revered stool a pawn, they should desist from influencing the kingmakers and other power blocs. The same thing goes for the Otoge crusaders, even though their government will announce the new Olupako, I enjoin them to do the wish of the town, let the wish of the town and that of God prevail.
“Any attempt to foist an unpopular candidate on the town, will not be in the interest of the Otoge government, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and more importantly Share town” he advised.
Personally debunking the allegations, via a phone interview with Fresh Insigh, the former Governor of Kwara State, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed denied attempting to influence the process either directly or through a proxy, stressing that all that concerns him is the progress of Share like any other indigene.
He said “I don’t have a preferred candidate, all the nominated Prince are bonafide sons of the throne, so I would partner and support whoever God installs, that has been my stand from the first day and it hasn’t changed.
” I’m not unaware of some of the jostling princes dropping name to curry favour, It’s however nothing more than name dropping. I’ve always advised the kingmakers, elders, committees etc, that while I don’t have a preferred candidate, they must be mindful of the needs of the community and that must guide them on who to select.
“Share needs a traditional ruler that will guarantee peace with our neighbours, we can’t afford to continue with the endless communal strives with our neighbours. Also, we must settle for someone with capacity, clout and contact to attract development to our town.
“I am eagerly awaiting the announcement of the new Olupako, whoever is picked will have my support and partnership towards taking Share to the next level” he added
In the same vein, AbdulGaniyu AbdulQuadri the media aide on local matters to Sen. Bukola Saraki, has denied the involvement of his principal in the process, stressing that his principal is ready to partner and support anybody that emerges, he said “Sen. Bukola Saraki is not interested in any particular candidate, whoever is picked is fine by him and will be ready to offer his support” he concluded