Controversies Over Replacement Of Iyaloja Of Ifon Over Partisanship

Controversies Over Replacement Of Iyaloja Of Ifon Over Partisanship
  • PublishedSeptember 16, 2023
  • My Life In Danger – Traditional Iyaloja
  • We Didn’t Dethrone Her, We Just Asked Her Not To Go Market Again – PDP Leader

Sodiq Yusuf

Controversies have continued to surround the replacement of the Iyaloja of Ifon, Mrs Moriliat Ajibade by Orolu Local Government in conjunction with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Ajibade who was installed at the Iyaloja in 2015 by the late Olufon of Ifon, Oba Almaroof Adekunle Magbagbeola, was replaced with a PDP member, Mrs Olatoye Fatimo Modupeola.

Ajibade was accused of not being loyal to Governor Ademola Adeleke’s administration, and for being a loyalist of Alhaja Awawu Asindemade, the former Iyaloja General of the state.

Asindemade was removed from her position by Governor Adeleke in May this year. She was replaced by Chief Oyebode Aderonke Mary.

Ajibade, the traditional Iyaloja

Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER yesterday, Ajibade, the traditional Iyaloja, said it was wrong for the government to deny her the traditional right of coordinating the market, describing the development as a cheat and politics taken too far.

Ajibade said she has not been doing anything untoward to the Adeleke administration to warrant being sidelined.

She said: ‘When Governor Adeleke assumed office, as the Iyaloja association, being an NGO, we welcomed his administration and pledged our support for him. We always attended his programmes; but later, we were told that we, the Iyaloja at various local governments in the state are members of All Progressives Congress (APC). They declared that they couldn’t work with us because they are PDP.

“We thought it was a joke until the reality dawned on us. About two weeks ago, a meeting was held in the state, the new Iyaloja General of the State told us that we the local government Iyalojas are not needed in the PDP government.

“After that, a PDP leader in Orolu local government, Alhaji Issa Bello, announced a new Iyaloja in Ifon. He brought the woman into Obada Market; my own market. Ifon community cautioned him; they told him I am a traditional Iyaloja and nobody can dethrone me. He was warned not to cause crisis in the town. But Issa Bello insisted that he was carrying out the order of Governor Adeleke (to remove all the local government Iyalojas because we are APC).

“On the previous market day we held in Ifon (on Sunday, September 10), the PDP installed Iyalola in Ifon came inside the Obada market and started dancing around. I was harassed with thugs inside the market; I had to run for my dear life. This crisis was orchestrated by Alhaji Issa Bello and our Baba Oja. Issa Bello said he needed to carry out the government directive because he wanted political appointment and patronage.

“On Thursday again, the PDP installed Iyalola and Issa Bello came to the market with thugs.

“All what Issa Bello is saying is that he must carry out the government’s directive to install a new Iyaloja in Ifon so that he would be given political appointment in Ede.

“We held a meeting with the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Revd. Bunmi Jenyo, this week and he cautioned Issa Bello on the matter. He said the government was not interested in dethroning or removing any Iyalola at local government. He told us that the directive of the government was to appoint market coordinator in each of the local governments.

“People should help me; my life is in danger. These people are not joking with me.”

In his reaction, Alhaji Issa Bello, the PDP Leader in Ifon, denied using thugs to harass the Iyaloja, even as he accused her of not being loyal and supportive to Adeleke administration.

READ: Adeleke Holds Inaugural Exco, Tasks Cabinet On Performance

Bello said: “The Iyaloja of Ifon is an APC member; Alhaji Moshood Adeoti was the one that persuaded the late Olufon of Ifon to install her as the Iyaloja because she contested Women Leader of ACN in the local government and lost then. It was the ACN that installed her as Iyaloja through Kabiesi that time. We didn’t oppose it because it was a community matter then.

Alhaji Issa Bello

“When government changed and the PDP came into government; the Iyalojas were always invited to government programmes and so many things started happening. You will recall that Governor Adeleke recently removed Alhaja Asindemade as the Iyaloja General of the State; our own Iyaloja in Ifon is a loyalist of Alhaja Asindemade. She does Asidemade’s bidding and not what the government wants.

“She does not cooperate with the government. She was reported to us and I reported her case to community leaders, including the Eesa of Ifon, Chief Babatunde Oyetunji. She did not change her ways still. She is not ready to cooperate with the government; that is why we appointed another person to represent the local government among the Iyalojas.

“Several meetings had earlier been called by the government; and we were told that any market woman that was not ready to cooperate with the government should be sidelined, not removed. That was why we appointed another person as Iya Oja of Ifon, not Iyaloja. The two local governments in Ifon signed her letter of appointment.

“Since Ajibade, the Iyaloja was installed 13 years ago, she has been raking in about N400,000 every market; and the government has not been getting any amount. That is what the PDP government wants to change. We have been realizing between N200,000 and N250,000 as IGR from the market now.

“We didn’t dethrone her as Iyaloja; we just want her to remain in the palace, while another person coordinates the market for us. She should not go to the market again.

Responding, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Revd. Bunmi Jenyo, denied government’s involvement in the matter, saying that it was the market women in the local government that came together and chose somebody among them as a coordinator for market activities.

Jenyo said: “There is nothing like appointment or installation of a new Iyaloja. Government did not dethrone or appoint anybody as Iyaloja in Ifon. The government does not have the power; it is the paramount ruler of a town that appoint Iyaloja. But you cannot stop us from getting the people that will coordinate or look after our market business. It is not even the government that appoints a market coordinator, it is the market women themselves that chose one of them as the coordinator, not Iyalojas. The market women have their own arrangement.”

In her comment, Osun Market Leader, Mrs Hamsat Arowolo said an Iyaloja is the representative of the king in the market who cannot be removed by anybody.

Arowolo warned that the title of Iyaloja should not be politicised because it is a traditional one.

She expressed her dissatisfaction on the crisis surrounding the position of the Iyaloja of Ifon Osun, saying her traditional duties and rights should not be given to somebody else.

The Eesa of Ifon, Chief Babatunde Oyetunji, urged the state government to intervene and settle the matter amicably.

Oyetunji disclosed that Jenyo had declared that the government did not dethrone the Iyaloja of Ifon, wondering while another person would be parading herself as Iyaloja.

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