Prince Yaya Agedegudu from the Olushi Onigbesa royal family of Oshodi, Lagos State, speaks to GODFREY GEORGE about the alleged bid of the Lagos State Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Musiliu Akinsanya, alias MC Oluomo, to assume the vacant Oba of Oshodi stool
What is your name and what is your position in the Oshodi royal family?
I am Prince Yaya Ayinla Oseni Agedegudu. I am from the Olushi Onigbesa royal family. I am the Oba-elect of the Oshodi royal stool. The family has chosen me to be the Oba of Oshodi.
Briefly tell us about the history of the traditional stool of Oshodi.
The royal family, which I am from – Olushi Onigbesa – is made up of two ruling houses. One is the Agedegudu ruling house, whereas the other is known as the Akinowo ruling house. These were the findings and recommendations of the standing Lagos State Chieftaincy Tribunal held between 2003 and 2012. After these findings, the recommendations were forwarded to the state government. I would like to stress that when this event took place, all other families that make up the Oshodi traditional stool were present at the tribunal. Such families include Oshodi-Itapa and the Arota-Ologun families. Later on, we concluded after the findings to give the Arotas lands in the community. This does not make them title holders or entitle them to produce the king of the land. That was the position of the panel.
After agreements were reached, we forwarded these recommendations to the state government who, in turn, issued a White Paper on the findings of the chieftaincy tribunal. The process of making the king was on when the aggrieved family – Arota Ologun – in 2012, went to court to challenge the ruling of the tribunal on the matter.
In 2014, the Federal High Court in Lagos ruled in favour of the Olushi Onigbesa royal family. Yet aggrieved, they went to the Court of Appeal. In 2020, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Olushi Onigbesa. Not satisfied, they went to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, which dismissed their case and ruled in favour of the Olushi Onigbesa family. When the Lagos State Government was about to fulfil the process, they went to court again, and we are still in court over that issue now. I have all the documents here with me to back this up, and at the appropriate time, I will make them public.
How long has the throne been without a king?
All these would be made known in detail at our forthcoming global press conference.
How true is the claim that the Lagos State Chairman of the NURTW, Mr Musiliu Akinsanya, alias MC Oluomo, is seeking to assume the vacant Oshodi royal stool?
It is true but he cannot call himself Oba as nobody has crowned him Oba. He cannot call himself an Oba. This was the same issue that happened in Ikeja sometime ago. You saw what happened, didn’t you?
Is MC Oluomo a member of any of the ruling houses in Oshodi?
This is a good question. He cannot be Oba because he is not from Oshodi. He belongs to no ruling house in Oshodi. He is a tenant in Oshodi. How can somebody who is not a member of the royal family assume the throne as Oba? It is a taboo in the land for a tenant to even aspire to be an Oba. It is a taboo. This is why I said he cannot be Oba. He is just using propaganda and parading himself as the new Oba. This shows that he does not know what he is doing. He does not even know the culture; because if he does, he would have known that our culture doesn’t allow such a thing.
Are you saying he has no links whatsoever to the Oshodi land? Why then is the rumour so rife that he wants to become Oba of Oshodi?
He has no link whatsoever with Oshodi. He has no link. I cannot tell why he suddenly became interested in the stool of Oba of Oshodi. He is the only one that can answer that question at this time. I may not know. Being a tenant in Oshodi does not give him the right to ask for something that does not belong to him.
When you heard about his alleged intentions, what steps did you take?
We called a press conference to state our own case as it was from the very beginning. It was also in The PUNCH and other newspapers. We told them everything about the correct position of things in Oshodi. It is also on different blogs that Oluomo does not have a place in Oshodi as he is not from the land in the first place.
Did anything change after the press conference?
After the press conference, Oluomo started making unnecessary troubles with us. He was issuing threats (to the kingmakers and other chiefs in Oshodi). In fact, last Sunday (January 23, 2022), there was to be a festival to appease the gods of the land concerning the matter. But he came to the shrine with policemen, soldiers and other armed men. He brought in so many of them as if we were at the battle front. This is a taboo too. We don’t know why he is doing this. This is what we have when someone is drunk on money. What we were trying to do was to appeal to our ancestors to give us peace and tranquility in the land, but he prevented it.
What is the stance of the people of Oshodi? Do you think MC Oluomo has the support of the people of Oshodi?
No, he doesn’t. The people of Oshodi are not in support of him to become the Oba. You can go round the town and conduct your own investigations. Except for the area boys and hoodlums in the land, nobody wants him. The indigenous families of Oshodi have said no.
How true is the rumour that MC Oluomo has already built a palace in Oshodi in preparation for his installation as the king?
This is not true. Where is his palace in Oshodi? He has not built anything. That is just propaganda. Nothing! Where is the palace in Oshodi? Who are the kingmakers who made him Oba? Who gave him the land?
Do you have any fears that this matter might turn out to be in his favour?
I trust my governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu. He is a peace-loving man. He will not do anything that will go against the community. I trust that he would act with respect to the laws of the land.
Has there been any attempt to have a dialogue with MC Oluomo over this matter?
How do we have a dialogue? It is not we who will go to him; he should come to us. It is an abomination for us to go to him for any form of dialogue. For what? Ah! It is unheard of. Is it possible in your own kingdom? It is a taboo. If he wants, he should come to us. He has not made any attempt to come to us for dialogue. He has not even told us anything officially. He is just bragging about being the Oba of Oshodi.
Has this issue disrupted anything in the kingdom?
It is the government that would give us the go-ahead to have this done, and we are yet to get the signal to do the coronation. After everything is settled, the state government, I am sure, would do the needful. I still want to reiterate that we have all the documents to back up our claims. All the court judgments, from the tribunal up to the Supreme Court, are with us and they are in our favour.
With the controversy on the ground, what is the situation of things in Oshodi?
That is why I said we are trying to appeal to our ancestors. We have received threats from the area boys and we don’t want any bloodshed before we get to the throne. That is why we want to appeal to our ancestors to calm down the minds of everyone so that the environment would be peaceful and be filled with love.
Is there a new date for the appeasement?
We cannot discuss that with the press. Tradition does not allow us to go into that. When it is time, our forefathers will tell us what to do.