Yusuf Akinade, the Basorun of Oyo, has misled the press with the single intention of ensuring only one man becomes the next Alaafin of Oyo, FIJ can report.
It is no secret that Lukman Gbadegesin, an Oyo prince, has been Akinade’s favourite since the Alaafin candidate selection in October 2022.
Akinade has now taken his determination, armed with disinformation, on behalf of Gbadegesin to press, while the prince also contacted FIJ, among other newspapers, to delete reports he deemed damaging to his image.
The reports on Gbadegesin in question carry zero untruths and reveal a side of the prince that has negatively affected many people for years.
After numerous sources reached out to FIJ to narrate how Gbadegesin fraudulently took their money and ruined their businesses, Gbadegesin realised that the reports were distasteful in light of his bid to become Alaafin of Oyo. This has fueled Gbadegesin’s desire to make the stories about his wrongful deeds go away.
‘BRING DOWN THIS STORY‘
Prince Lukman Gbadegesin
In his most recent approach, Gbadegesin sent representatives from Flame Integrated Solutions to ask FIJ to delete a revealing report that narrated how he forced his N48-million debt on an unsuspecting businesswoman.
Rather than approach the newspaper directly, Gbadegesin’s representatives sent a private mail to the reporter who wrote the story.
“I bring you greetings from the incoming Kaabiyesi and trust you’re having a great day so far,” the mail from Gbadegesin’s representatives read in part.
“I am reaching out to you concerning this story published on FIJ and tagged in your name on the 20th of May, 2023. (https://fij.ng/article/lukman-gbadegesin-kept-n200m-to-lobby-for-alaafin-but-wont-settle-n48m-indebtedness-to-friend/).
“As you may or may not be aware, given into account the circumstances that led to this particular issue, both parties have since settled this matter amicably and they are back together as friends putting behind them these past issues.
“Prince Lukman Gbadegesin is in self-isolation as a ritual rite in preparation to ascending the throne of his forefathers as the next Alaafin of Oyo — considering the tradition, and the historical significance & reverence of this stool, we are appealing to you, Joseph Adeiye, as the author to bring down this story as it will be damaging to the incoming Iku Baba Yeye Kabiyeesi, the entire oyo Kingdom and the Yoruba race as the custodian of the palace.”
Email requesting for the damaging story to be brought down
Gbadegesin’s request, FIJ found, also included disinformation which he and the Basorun of the Oyomesi have been sharing with other newspapers.
DISINFORMATION TO THE PRESS
In an attempt to convince the public of his position as the favourite of the Oyomesi, Gbadegesin has pushed disinformation to newspapers.
A tactic to share false information about the kingmaking process in Oyo has been employed in order to obscure the truth of the current state of affairs with regard to the Alaafin selection. This is where the Basorun of Oyo comes in.
Akinade gave an exclusive interview to The Punch on Monday to claim that the Oyomesi was awaiting the go-ahead of Oyo governor Seyi Makinde for the inauguration of the new Alaafin.
“We concluded the selection process for the new Alaafin on October 4, 2022, and we informed the state government of our decision immediately. As the law of the land demands, we didn’t get any petitions against our decision, but a suit was filed against us,” Akinade said.
“We got our own lawyer, and we won the case, with the court throwing away the case and stating that the initial decision that Oyomesi made was right, and since then, we have expected the governor to make an announcement, but he didn’t. We will continue to wait for him to do that.
“We will never do that (another selection process). God will not allow us to see such a setback. The complete Oyomesi has conducted a process that has been completed, and we have all signed it. We will wait till the governor is satisfied to announce the candidate we have selected.”
The Basorun shared the Oyomesi’s choice with The Punch in a signed document; it was Gbadegesin.
The fact, however, is that Makinde already rejected the selection of the Oyomesi.
Akinade knew this, but he deliberately left it out of his exclusive interview. FIJ understands that the Basorun of Oyo’s habit of prevarication is founded only on his loyalty to the Gbadegesin selection.
WHY MAKINDE REJECTED GBADEGESIN’S SELECTION IN 2022
A source familiar with the disagreement between Makinde and the Oyomesi told FIJ that the governor rejected the selection of Gbadegesin in October 2022.
FIJ also understands that Makinde let the Oyomesi know why he did not approve of its selection
“Truly, the Oyomesi completed their kingmaking process in October last year. They concluded and duly appointed an Alaafin-elect. As a matter of fact, the proclamation document was signed by the five living members of the Oyomesi and two warrant chiefs who were appointed to replace the two dead Oyomesi members,” the source, who asked to remain anonymous, told FIJ on Monday.
“So, all seven members of the Oyomesi signed the proclamation documents, meaning that their decision was unanimous. In that document, Lukman Gbadegesin was the candidate they proclaimed and recommended to the governor to be appointed as the Alaafin of Oyo. Everything they did was within their rights and it was in accordance with the process guiding the selection of a new Alaafin. But it is also within the rights of the governor to either accept or reject an Alaafin candidate selected by the Oyomesi; and the governor, this time, chose to reject their choice.
“So, the fact that the Oyomesi have duly appointed somebody as the Alaafin-elect doesn’t tie the hands of the governor. It is the governor who is the final authority and he has the authority to either reject or approve anyone so appointed. In this case, the governor rejected that appointment. He rejected the appointment and he told the Oyomesi why he rejected the appointment.
“The reason he gave was that the body, that is the Oyomesi, that sat to make that appointment, was not duly constituted. That was the reason the governor gave. To put force to that reason, to justify the reason the governor gave, one of the two warrant chiefs who participated in the appointment of Lukman Gbadegesin was removed and replaced by another person because the government deemed his appointment inappropriate. The law says that the government can appoint warrant chiefs to replace the number of Oyomesi members missing. There must be seven members in the Oyomesi.
“So, there were two Oyomesi positions that were vacant and the government purportedly appointed two warrant chiefs. In the process of selecting new warrant chiefs, the Oyomesi would suggest three names from among the Baales of the different sections in town. They will recommend three and then the government will choose one. Apparently, in selecting the two warrant chiefs, that process was not followed. I suspect the governor found out that those warrant chiefs were handpicked. They were handpicked by those who they knew would do their biding. So, the warrant chiefs were not independent. Due process was not followed and it was on that basis that the governor rejected that appointment.”
According to this source, the Oyomesi ought to reconvene. The Oyomesi that was responsible for nominating the Alaafin in 2022 included a member whose merit was called into question.
The Basorun of Oyo has however refused to convene a meeting of the Oyomesi for them to vote afresh.
“If the governor has facts that any appointed candidate compromised the Oyomesi, that could form a basis for him to reject the appointment. If the governor finds that the candidate is unfit; maybe there are security reports or confidential reports about the candidate that make him unfit, it is a ground for the governor to reject said appointed candidate,” the source further explained.
“The only reason the government gave in this instance was that the body that appointed Prince Lukman was not duly constituted.”
‘ALAAFIN STOOL IS NOT FOR SALE’
Makinde recently stated that he would not approve of an Alaafin candidate who influenced the kingmaking process with money.
In an event to celebrate the newly appointed Aseyin of Oyo, Makinde said that the Alaafin stool was not for sale.
A video footage from Friday captured part of Makinde’s address at this event.
“Those who said that I don’t appoint traditional rulers, you can see that I have appointed one here. The people present are happy with the choice,” Makinde said.
“I’m looking forward to returning for the coronation and presenting the sceptre to the new Aseyin. Those in Oyo, you can see that we’ve linked Iseyin to Oyo now. It’s only 23 minutes (away). Let’s make peace in order to appoint a new Alaafin.
“To those who collected money from a certain person, the Alaafin stool Is Not for sale. It is very important to Yorubaland. Those who took money, I will hand you over to the EFCC.”
FIJ understands that the governor has the final say on the appointment of the next Alaafin of Oyo.
Dotun Oyelade, Oyo State’s Commissioner for Information, told The Punch that the government was wary of the embarrassment that would follow picking the wrong candidate for the Alaafin stool.
“The Oyomesi has all the rights in the world to do its job; however, the statute allows His Excellency (Makinde) to take a look as the final authority on the issue as provided for by the law to take a canal look and ensure that no misdemeanour or mistake is made that will lead to subsequent embarrassment or litigation as we had with the former Eleruwa of Eruwa,” Oyelade said.
KINGMAKERS POINT ACCUSING FINGERS AT BASORUN OF OYO
A section of the Oyomesi released a statement on Monday to express their disagreements with the Basorun of Oyo.
High Chief Agbakin of Oyo, High Chief Samu of Oyo and Chief Alajagba of Oyo said that they were opposed to the Basorun of Oyo’s refusal to follow the government’s directive.
These high chiefs also accused the Basorun of Oyo of nepotism and manipulation of the Alaafin selection process.
“There are five living members of the Oyomesi, and there are two warrant chiefs eligible to nominate/recommend a nominee to the Governor of Oyo State for appointment as the Alaafin,” their statement read in part.
“The kingmakers met only once in 2022, with the following members of the Kingmakers in attendance: Basorun, Agbakin, Samu, Akinniku, Lagunna (Oyomesi) joined by Areago Basorun, and Alapo (both warrant chiefs unilaterally selected by Basorun without the knowledge or consent of the Oyomesi). As a matter of fact, one of the contestants also wrote a letter of protest questioning the inclusion of one of the warrant chiefs in the Kingmakers Council.
“It was at the meeting of this ill-constituted seven-member kingmakers first meeting that, a nominee for the office of the Alaafin was sent to the government for endorsement. Immediately after submitting our nomination, we got the government’s response that our nomination could not be accepted because we did not follow due process in coming to our resolution.
“The government directed that we should go back and do our work properly in accordance with the declaration. It was also discovered that one of the warrant chiefs (handpicked by Basorun) who participated in our earlier resolution was ineligible to be a warrant chief. He was therefore removed and replaced with another chief. Thus the ALAPO (handpicked by Basorun) (who participated in our earlier Resolution was replaced with ALAJAGBA).
“We were directed to meet and follow due process. Unfortunately, the Basorun who is Chairman and Convener of our meetings decided not to convene any meeting of the Oyomesi since late last year till the present moment.
“The new member of the Kingmaker (ALAJAGBA) has been denied the opportunity of participating in or contributing to the eesolutions of the the kingmakers since his official appointment in 2022 on account of the blunt refusal of the Basorun to comply with the directive of the government for due process in our task of recommending a nominee to the government.
“About 7 months ago, during an official visit to Oyo, the governor held a meeting with the Oyomesi and specifically told us of the government’s decision that due process must be followed in the nomination of Candidate for the Alaafin Stool. He instructed us to do our duty freely because the government is only interested in the best for Oyo and Yorubaland.
“Regrettably, Basorun remained adamant, and no meeting of the kingmakers was convened to deliberate on the major issue of Nomination or Selection of Candidate for the Stool of the Alaafin.
“Recently, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs invited the kingmakers to a meeting in his office. Some of us honoured the invitation but Basorun and others refused to honour the invitation from the commissioner.
“We, are opposed to the Basorun’s utter disregard for the government’s directive on due process and his continuing imposition of one of his handpicked chiefs (Are Ago Basorun) as a warrant chief whose letter of appointment is questionable. We are ready to meet with other kingmakers to perform our legitimate duties in accordance with our tradition, custom and the law of the land.”
‘IT WILL BE DAMAGING TO GBADEGESIN’
Gbadegesin’s representatives at Flame Integrated Solutions told FIJ’s reporter that they wanted the story to disappear because FIJ’s stories concerning their client were damaging.
Although Gbadegesin wishes to sell the image of a spotless man to newspapers and the public, there have been tales of his conduct that just won’t go away.
Akin Adejumo, an engineer, told FIJ that Gbadegesin was like a younger sibling but he was also a criminal. They established contact in April 2014 and Gbadegesin convinced him that he could help him purchase some agricultural equipment.
Adejumo said that he had accepted Gbadegesin’s proposal and paid N64 million for the purchase and delivery of two hatchery equipment and other accessories by 2015. Gbadegesin did not deliver the goods but held on to the money.
Adejumo said that when he asked for a refund, Gbadegesin refused to send his money back to him. Gbadegesin eventually resorted to threatening to get rid of Adejumo if he continued to ask for his money.
Others said that they were too terrified of possible retribution if they spoke about Gbadegesin’s wrongs.