A socio-cultural group from Iree in Boripe North local council area of Osun State, Iree Cultural Frontiers (ICF), has urged Governor Ademola Adeleke to activate the wish and aspiration of the youth and people of Iree, by appointing Prince Ali Afolabi as the next monarch of the ancient community.
The group, which rose from an emergency meeting held in Iree on Sunday, in a statement by its chairman, Mr. Ilori Adanlawo, and Secretary, Hon. Oluwole Adisa, anchored its plea on the need to give justice to the sidelined Olubonku Ruling House of Iree, and also attract development to the town, bearing the fact that Prince Afolabi is an international lawyer, a philantropic businessman, and estate developer par excellence.
According to the ICF, Oba Olubonku, who ruled about 200 years ago is the forbear of Afolabi, a man who has committed his resources and international connections to develop Iree and empower many homes, especially the youths.
It said whereas the Olubonku Ruling House in Iree ruled only once almost 200 years ago, some of the other ruling houses ruled six times, five times, four times, three times and two times, respectively.
“We are eternally grateful to Governor Ademola Adeleke for preventing another historic injustice from taking place by halting an attempt by the administration of former Governor Gboyega Oyetola to foist a candidate that was not wanted by the people of Iree on us, immediately upon his inauguration as Executive Governor.
“In the spirit of equity and justice that Senator Jackson Ademola Adeleke is known for, Olubonku Ruling House should be the next Aree in the person of Prince Ali Afolabi.
“A lawyer and a businessman of international repute, Prince Afolabi will bring development to the town. He has remarkable empathy for the downtrodden and will bring development that will keep the youth employed,” the group emphasised.
It added, stating, “We recall how under Oyetola, the then Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Adebayo Adeleke, also known as Banik, who is from the community in Boripe North Local Council Development Area, wanted to foist their crony as new Aree.
“Then, all the 11 aspirants to the vacant stool were asked to pay N500,000 each to the Boripe local council, and N150,000 to the Osun State Government.
“They were also ordered to pay varying amounts of money to cover their three-year tax clearances, respectively.
“However, the contestants soon smelt a rat when the then Oyetola government, having siphoned various sums of money from them, made a volte face by subverting the community’s convention through the appointment of a new female Chief, an Iyalode, to join the Iree kingmakers.
“Meanwhile, it is a taboo for a woman to be a kingmaker as such had never been witnessed in the history of the community.
“What Banik and other people in the Oyetola government did was to impose a preferred candidate of the governor as Oba (monarch) of Iree, and they were so desperate that they wanted the candidate installed before the governor leaves office.
It urged Governor Adeleke to revisit the Iree issue, and pick Afolabi, who is the preferred candidate of the youth and generality of the community, and install him as Aree, to further enhance peaceful coexistence and the progress of Iree.