L-R. Princes Soyele, Olatidoye,Adesina,Bakinson,Matemilola, Adewale & Adelani
Kingmakers of the Owu kingdom in Ogun State, led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo have screened seven princes jostling for the Olowu of Owu stool in Abeokuta North Local Government Area of the state.
Obasanjo, who is the Balogun (Chief warrior) of Owu kingdom led other Kingmakers in the statutory selection process, which lasted for about seven hours on Wednesday, March 30.
According to source from the palace, the Otileta Ruling House, following the notice by the Abeokuta North Local Government area, as the ruling house to produce the next Olowu of Owu, screened 12 Princes, who were nominated by five compounds that made up the Ruling House.
It was gathered that out of the 12 princes screened, seven of them were, however, cleared and nominated on March 10, including an Archbishop of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Adegbemi Adewale.
The six other candidates nominated along with Adewale, who has PhD in African law and from Ile Aderinoye, are Princes Adelani Oladimeji from Ile Omo’le Efon; Matemilola Adelola from Ile Soke and Olatidoye Olaniyi from Soke.
Others are Prince Adeyanju Bakinson from Ile Otopo; Simeon Soyele from Ile Lumosa and Adesina Adelani from Ile Soke.
Though no voting was done during the screening by delegates, it was gathered that scores were awarded based on performances of each of the candidates, at the screening and interview sessions.
According to the results sheet, Prince Adegbemi Adewale, a PhD holder, came first with 1,027 points, Prince Adelani Oladimeji, scored 909 points, Matemilola Adelola 886 points, while Prince Olatidoye Olaniyi scored 863 points.
Other scores are Prince Adeyanju Bakinson, 862 points; Simeon Soyele, 827 points and Adesina Adelani, 801 points.
It was gathered that following the nomination, the kingmakers led by Obasanjo last Wednesday conducted a seven hours screening on all the princes.
Reliable sources from the palace said Obasanjo had addressed the seven candidates before and after the rounds of interview which was witnessed by both the Abeokuta North Local Government Secretary and other officials.
The source said the Kingmakers’ process was “thorough, transparent and neat because everyone was engaged by the Kingmakers.”
It also gathered that no voting took place during the exercise but the kingmakers had forwarded their report to Gov. Dapo Abiodun.
According to the sources, Obasanjo said the outcome of the screening lies on the shoulders of Gov. Dapo Abiodun whose statutory duty is to announce the Oba.
Hundreds of the sons and daughters of the kingdom had thronged the Oke Ago-Owu, Palace of the Olowu where the Kingmakers were interviewing the candidates, hoping to receive an announcement of the Olowu-elect.
The governor is expected to announce the new Olowu, in a matter of days, it was reliably gathered.
The Olowu stool became vacant, following the demise of the late Oba Adegboyega Dosumu, who joined his ancestors in December 12, 2021.
Meanwhile, a mild drama occurred while the 2nd round of selection was ongoing at the Oke Ago-Owu, Palace of the Olowu where the Kingmakers were interviewing the candidates.
“More than 100 Owu Sons and Daughters were seen around the Palace awaiting the announcement of their Oba, an announcement which never came, so, many of them went home disappointed.
“A group of young men came in a Sienna Van demanding to see the Secretary of the Ruling House, Prince Tunde Adediran who was alleged to have enriched himself during the selection process, he was alleged to have collected a Camry (Big Daddy) from one of the 12 initial candidates who could not make the list of 7.
“The young men said they have reclaimed three of the four vehicles collected from their candidate and they will make sure the last car with the Secretary of Otileta is collected from him, even if they cannot collect the over N40m their candidate was made to waste by the Secretary.
“Another group of young men were outside raining curses on one of the candidates Prince Olanrewaju Bakinson who was said- (a) to have bought his way into Otopo Compound about 4 days to the selection through the same Secretary of Otileta who was said to have collected so much from two candidates to become part of his own compound Otopo, which the Secretary’s father Alakoso Adediran is the current Chairman.
“Our reporter sited the affidavit sworn to by Prince Bakinson and discovered it was sworn to at the High Court of Lagos State on 4th March, 2022 in preparation for the selection on 10th March of the same month.
“The compound name was not even correctly spelt, but corrected with pen in the copy cited by our correspondent.
“The young people said none of Prince Bakinson’s submitted dozier has any link with Otopo Compound, as he did not include his birth certificate, local government of origin certificate except the sworn affidavit which he did 4 days purposely for the selection.
“Prince Bakinson was said to have spent so much money for the purpose of the Kingship which included spending so much for Oba Ogunleye the Oba of Akinale, Owu, who is said to be solidly behind the candidate.
“Bakinson was also accused of gathering Owu Baales to a function he organized to mark his 40th birthday ceremony and his house warming ceremony recently held in Lagos where he lavishly spent so much on the Baales under the Royal influence of Oba Ogunleye of Akinale.
The young men outside the Palace on that day raised issues on why Prince Saka Matemilola who should have been screened out for perjury should be allowed to continue in the race because apart from his Sworn Affidavit of 15th May, 2000 which says he is a native of Ibadan in Ibadan-North East Local Government Area of Oyo State of Nigeria, his submitted birth certificate gave his parents name as Sule and Aliratu Motemilola and not Matemilola.
“On citing the Certificate of Registration of Birth issued by Ibadan City Council on 24th February, 1965, our correspondence discovered that the claims of the young men against him in the said document are facts.