Oba Sikirulahi Akinropo
On Friday, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, allegedly attacked his colleague, Agbowu of Ogbagbaa, Oba Sikirulahi Akinropo, at a meeting in Osogbo, Osun State. Akinropo tells BOLA BAMIGBOLA his side of the story
You were allegedly attacked by the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, at a meeting in Osogbo on Friday, but he has said he acted in self defence, what really happened?
It was not just a meeting, it was a peace meeting called by the Assistant Inspector General of Police in Osogbo. The meeting was not the first we would have. The former AIG (Leye Oyebade) once called us for such a meeting. The then AIG told us the police would only resolve criminal cases, but as a Yoruba man, he urged us to settle the matter at the palace of Oluwo of Iwo. It followed a petition against us (some traditional rulers) by Oluwo. But all the royal fathers that Oluwo alleged were selling land in his domain realised that the security situation didn’t favour us. So, we resolved to use the chieftaincy hall at the Iwo Local Government Secretariat for the meeting and we made provision for adequate security at the venue.
We were seated already at the venue when suddenly Oluwo along with his drummers and some thugs arrived at the venue.
The policemen that stood guard at the entrance told Oluwo he could not enter the venue with thugs and drummers but he insisted on doing so. They all entered and we allowed them in because we might be harmed. About 30 of us (monarchs from Iwo, Olaoluwa and Ayedire) left the venue through the back door.
Immediately we left the place, the then AIG arrived at the premises. After sensing the situation around the premises and the fact that he did not meet us on our seats, the AIG also left.
The former AIG wanted to call for another peace meeting before he was transferred so he could not do so. Then the present AIG, Bashir Makama, came on board. He also decided to continue with the peace meeting and wrote to us. He invited us to his office for another meeting on Friday.
We all obliged him. At the meeting, he told us that being the custodians of our culture and leaders, we should allow peace to reign. Oluwo then stood up to talk and said, as the leader of all Obas in Ayedire, Olaoluwa and the remaining towns in the area, other Obas were selling lands and he didn’t want that to happen anymore.
But we told him that the lands we sold belonged to our towns and not Iwo. The Olu of Ile-Igbo Kingdom said he only sold lands in Ile-Igbo. Onigege also said the same thing, and I also said the lands I sold belonged to Ogbagbaa, my domain.
Alhaji Kamoru, the Chairman of Iwo Local Government Area, sat between me and him (Oluwo). Those present at the meeting were Officer-in-Charge (Legal), Osun State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, representative of the state Commissioner for Lands, AIG and the Obas Oluwo wrote a petition against.
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, while speaking, said since the issue had to do with land, we should rather go to court instead of a peace meeting. He said he would report the matter to the governor.
But Oluwo said should they do that, they were calling for war. I did not even see it coming; he just sprang forward from his seat, and asked why I was speaking while he was talking.
He left his seat and the Iwo Local Government Chairman was trying to restrain him, but he pushed him away and started punching me where I sat. It was the AIG that came to my rescue by pulling him away from me.
Did he use any sharp object on you that inflicted the wound on your face?
Well, he didn’t hold a knife when he attacked me, but I think the ring he wore or the car key he held while beating me gave me the wound on my face.
His allegation was that you and other Obas were trespassing on the domain of Oluwo to sell land, how true is that?
The lands I sold solely belonged to Ogbagbaa and I have never trespassed on his land. In fact, the Onigege, whose domain shares boundary with Iwo, didn’t trespass on Iwo. Oluwo also wrote a petition against the Onisara of Fesu and other Obas in the area.
Did you come up with any resolution at the meeting?
We couldn’t come up with any resolution since it ended abruptly. Like I said earlier, it was the AIG that pulled him away from me. I told the AIG that assaulting me in front of him was tantamount to assaulting me in front of the President. He even attempted to come back to where I sat to beat me again, but the AIG told his aides to lead him out of the venue of the meeting.
Oluwo alleged that you called him unprintable names and tried to stick your staff into his eye, is that true?
That’s an outright lie. He was just trying to defend himself.
Why didn’t you not try to fight back to defend yourself while he assaulted you?
I have been a traditional ruler for 24 years and I know the worth of the institution I represent. Have you ever heard of an Oba exchanging blows or fighting? I can’t be part of that madness; that was why I held my peace. If I also had fought back, I would have constituted a nuisance.
We heard you were treated at Trauma Centre of Osun State General Hospital, Asubiaro, is it that serious or were you blowing it out of proportion?
Not at all! Except for the cut on my cheek, I don’t have any other cut. But I went to receive treatment because of the way he assaulted and punched me. I also received a tetanus injection to prevent a viral infection. I was supposed to be on bed rest and not return to my place on Friday, but I didn’t want to spread panic in my community. That was why I left for Ogbagbaa. I went back to the hospital this morning (Saturday) to continue my treatment.
What do you think is the solution to the problem?
Since the incidence happened in the presence of government representatives, I believe they must take adequate action on it. So I am expecting what the governor and other concerned authorities will do about the manner Oluwo treated me.