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Between fame and penury: Life and times of Olabisi Ajala- the traveller

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Same person in Ebenezer Obey’s Ajala travel all over the world, Ajala travel, Ajala travel, Ajala travel all over the world . . . In a moment of psychological terror, anguish and angst, Sophocles, in Oedipus Rex, at a point of deep exasperation, said “call no man happy, until he is dead!” Life did terrible things to Oedipus. He had unknowingly murdered his father and married his mother. Chance rules our lives and the future certainly is all unknown. In Yoruba pantheon -”Alejo l’owo”- Money is a stranger, if it enters your hand, take good care of him like a lady fresh from puberty. Moshood Adisa Olabisi Ajala, popularly known as Ajala the traveller in his hey days, wanted to capture the world but was eventually consumed by his passion. He was born in 1934 in Ghana, into a Nigerian Polygamous home, of 30 Children and four wives. He was the 25th child of his father, who relocated back to Nigeria, when Olabisi was an infant. He had his secondary education, at the Baptist Academy, Lagos and the Ibadan, Boys High School, Ibadan. AJALA TRAVELS TO US AT 18, GOES TO LA FROM CHICAGO ON BICYCLE In 1952, at the age of 18, Olabisi proceeded to America, to further his education. He was admitted to the university of Chicago, as a pre-medical student, whose dream, was to become a medical doctor and return to medical practice in Nigeria, to debunk and disparage the traditional medical practice as being fetish. He was shortly thereafter, captured by a superlative dream, to become a traveller and perhaps, travel around the world. He abandoned the stethoscope, for a street life on the road. In 1952, he became an instant star, when he went on a lecture tour across the United States of America, with his bicycle and well donned in Yoruba Agbada outfit, with a matching cap to fit. He travelled from Chicago and covered about 2, 280 miles in 28 days, ending in Los- Angeles. The success of this trip, encouraged him to explore the world further and he became a self appointed Nigeria’s cultural ambassador, to showcase Nigeria and educate Americans, about the prospects in Nigeria and that Africans, nay Nigerians most especially, do not walk about naked or covered in leaves and loin clothes. AJALA VISITS 87 COUNTRIES, MEETS TOP LEADERS The famous Olabisi Ajala was now emboldened to explore the world, aside the United States of America. Ajala visited about 87 countries, with a Scooter Vespa motorcycle in six years. He visited countries such as Israel, India, Australia, Iran, Russia, Ghana, Cyprus, Egypt and so on, where he met some of the greatest leaders in the world, such as Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt, Jawarhalar Nehru of India, Niki Khrushchev of the USSR, Mohammed Ressa Shah Pahlavi of Iran. He had movie relationship with Ronald Reagan, that later became president of America and visited Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the then Prime Minister of Nigeria and many more eminent people across the globe. Seun Kuti nominated for Grammy’s best world album Ajala’s endeavour, exposed him to the world of movies. He featured in the movie- “White Witch Doctor”, produced by the 20th century fox motion picture, with a bumper payment of 300 Dollars per week. He played the role of “Ola”- a companion of “Loni”, a famous African hunter, played by Roberts Mitshun. In 1955, he signed a movie contract with the Eagle Lion’s studio of Hollywood. He had several television appearances in impeccable African traditional attires. He was attractive, handsome and charismatic and he became an instant attraction, to so many women. His marital exploits, features different women across the globe. AJALA’S MANY WOMEN His first philandering exploit in 1953, was with a Chicago nurse, named Myrtle Basset. Ajala, after Basset’s pregnancy, refused to acknowledge paternity. Basset had no choice, but to file a paternity suit against Ajala, for denying being the father of their son. The lady nurse claimed that Ajala himself named the child Oladipupo and also signed his birth certificate. Despite this paternity suit, Ajala held firmly to his ground, of denying paternity of the boy. He suggested a DNA test, which the lady initially refused, but later agreed to surrender the boy, for a DNA test. The lady’s change of mind, made Ajala to disappear into thin air. The court nonetheless, ruled against him. The Court ordered Ajala to pay Ten dollars per week, for the upkeep of Oladipupo, also named Andre. Ajala never saw Oladipupo again until 1976, when he looked for Oladipupo in New York and discovered him- a budding pianist and musicologist. They reunited, having told him, he was his father and that he was his first child and first son. He enocouraged Oladipupo to come to Nigeria and take part in the up coming cultural fiesta, named “Festac 1977.” The year 1953 was like a festering sore, for Olabisi Ajala. He was arrested on the charges of forgery, grand theft and worthless cheque by the police. He pleaded not guilty, to the charges, but rather claimed he was also duped by an ex banker- Arnold Weigner. The court sentenced Ajala to one year jail term and immediate deportation after service of sentence. The sentence was aggravated for the fact, that Ajala had abandoned his studies, at the Santa Monica Junior College and the student Visa had been invalidated, for lack of regular school attendance.

Olabisi Ajala and A Friend

Olabisi Ajala refused deportation and protested to the immigration authorities in the United States and that he would be killed by his father, if he was departed back to Nigeria on the grounds of tribal execution. To make good his protest against this deportation order, he climbed an 80- Foot radio tower, where he screamed that he would jump rather, to his death, than being deported. He protested on the tower for about 24 hours, turning deaf ears, to the pleas of the immigration authority and passers by. He eventually caved in to the pleas, by scaling down from the high tower and jumping down from the heights of about 15 Feet. He was lucky to have sustained a sprained back. After the tower episode, he embarked on a strike, which he termed a 30 day Ramadan fasting, that he had to observe, as a devoted Muslim. Despite all these protests and desperate efforts to stay in America, Ajala was flown to London, instead of Nigeria. He had earlier wished to be flown to Canada, but the Canadian immigration, did not approve his application. In December, 1954, Ajala found his way back to America, with another wife- Hermine Aileen, who later divorced him on charges of being an adulterer and a philanderer, in August 1955. In December of that year, Ajala married another 19- year -old white London Radio T.V actress- Joan Simons. Ajala became a world renowned celebrity, who travelled round the world with a motor cycle scooter Vesper. EBENEZER OBEY’S HIT ALBUM AND HIS FEUD WITH BARRISTER In 1972, the Nigerian music legendary, Chief Ebenezer Obey, celebrated Olabisi Ajala and his adventures, in his hit Album- “Board Members.” Obey sang the praises of Olabisi Ajala in the album– “Ajala Travel all over the world (2ce), Ajala travel (2ce), Ajala travels all over the world, Alajala mi omo olola, Alaja lami oko Alhaja Shade, Alhaja los’obokun fun alajala, emi meje o, emi meje.” The album sold millions of copies. Aside from Alhaja Sade, Ajala had wives and children scattered all over the globe. His Australian wife- Wajuan had for him Femi, Dante, Lisa and Sydney, who were then based in Australia. There were Taiwo and Kehinde in London, Mrs Toyin Ajala in England, Mrs Sherifat Ajala in Nigeria. Ajala in his mid life, was an advertising and entertainment guru. He was a very notable publicist. He promoted the music of many Nigerian musicians, including Chief Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, with whom he later had a brawl. Ajala, as Ayinde’s music promoter, had helped Barrister, to organise media promotion and also played major roles in securing shows for Barrister. Ayinde Barrister, felt that Ajala was too exploitative, unbending on his numerous demands and bills. Ayinde Barrister, felt the only way he could extricate himself from Ajala’s numerous demands, was to wax an album, perhaps to disentangle himself, from Ajala’s strangle hold and he did wax a hit album and sang thus- “Egbon kini Gbegede, Kini gbegede, oni o gbe bukata wa Ayinde mo gbo bukata re, ola ogbe bukata wa Ayinde mo gbo bukata re Ema se bawon wi o Fine bara Decent bara ni” Ajala felt highly embarrassed, insulted and defamed by the “fine bara” album and also saw it as a huge damage to his integrity. Fine Bara, suddenly became his nickname. The innuendo was striking and direct. Ajala had to go to court to sue Barrister for defamation. Chief MKO Abiola, Chief Ebenezer Obey, Alhaji Buari Oloto and M. Ola Kassim, had to intervene, to mitigate the crises from further degeneration and an armistice, was signed between the warring parties, as a cessation of hostility. Post-OPEC Deal: Oil price stability raises hope for budget benchmark Ayinde was asked to produce another album in praise of the publicist, while Ajala was also asked to withdraw his defamation suit, as a settlement out of court. In the spirit of this understanding, Ayinde waxed another album, to sing Ajala’s praises, to control the damage, Oke-Agba Album, caused to Ajala’s intergrity. In this follow up album, Ayinde Barrister sang- “Bisi Ebony mi … Ajala … Advertisment pelu publicity Ebony, eyin lee ni Image making f’ awon up coming stars Ebony Eyin lee nii E’ ma P’ Ajani ni fine bara.” Ayinde also had to play free for Ajala’s friend from London- Folly Taiwo. AJALA’S DECLINE Ajala, following this spirit of settlement, filed a notice of discontinuance in court and he withdrew his suit. Sooner thereafter, Ajala’s influence, popularity and fame began to wane. Olabisi Ajala could no longer sustain the life of opulence, showmanship and glamour. He had no building, he could call his own and he had to relocate, to a rented apartment in a two storey building, on Adeniran Street, Bariga, Lagos. To get to Ajala’s dingy apartment, you need to climb two stairs of the top floor and you would be confronted with the way life had treated this globe trotter. A passage leads to a 15 by 12 feet sitting room. A visibly disturbed visitor, on a visit to Ajala’s flat reported thus- “Ajala’s sitting room was devoid of carpet, had a table of about five locally made iron chairs in a corner which also served as a dinning table, an old black and white television set, seats uncomfortably in an ill-constructed shelf, the cushion on the sofa hurts the buttocks as it has become flat, the curtains on the window of the two bed room flat, showed sign of old age, it is indeed a story of penury” Ajala suffered stroke and an irredeemable one indeed. It was a year long sickness in pain, agony and melancholy. Alhaja Sade, who then lived in Ikotun, a suburb of Lagos and his numerous children, scattered across the globe, could not save the situation, except Olaolu, who was then a teenager, then in Baptist Academy, Bariga, Lagos and Bolanle, who was also in secondary school, tendered him. Ajala could not take adequate care of himself, because he had no money and the stroke became terribly worst and devastating, until he breathed his last. The lesson learnt, is that when fortune and opportunities smile on you, they must be held with a hand of steel and never allowed to slip off. Ajala perhaps, returned the smile with an unwelcoming and uncaring mien, and thus, a life that ended tragically on the 2nd of February, 1999, at the general hospital Ikeja Lagos, as a result of paralysis from stroke at the age of 65 years. Olabisi Ajala, having started a meaningful and robust life at the age of 18, it is still strange, mind bugling and befuddling that Olabisi Ajala did not leave behind a single house in his 65 years, and thus the exit of a life, that started in early prosperity at the age of 18 and ended in penury at 65. Nonetheless, Ajala made his mark! May the soul of Moshood Adisa Olabisi Ajala (the traveller), continually find peaceful repose with the Lord. ARTICLE BY- HON. BARR. FEMI KEHINDE FORMER MEMBER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

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History

Between Osibajo, Afe Babalola, MKO And Aare Ona Kakanfo

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Between Osibajo, Afe Babalola, MKO And Aare Ona Kakanfo

Professor Yemi Osinbajo was then a Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the Federation.

 

That was the year Oba Yesufu Oloyede Asanike, Olubadan of Ibadan made history. Olubadan installed Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as the Bashorun of Ibadan. It was a prestigious title befitting of a distinguished personality in the mould of MKO Abiola.

 

That was the title of the legendary Bashorun Oluyole who was the paramount chief of Ibadan in 1850. It was also the title of Bashorun Ogunmola who reigned between 1865 and 1867. It was therefore historic that exactly 120 years after the death of Ogunmola, MKO Abiola became the fourth person to be conferred with the prestigious title.

Between Osibajo, Afe Babalola, MKO And Aare Ona Kakanfo

 

It was indeed a befitting honour for someone who had amassed chieftaincy titles from almost every town in Nigeria. As of the time of his installation in 1987, MKO Abiola was reputed to have over 150 chieftaincy titles. He was the Bobajiro of Ode-Remo. He was the Bada Musulumi of Gbagura Egba.

 

As he drove out of the palace of Oba Asanike that fateful day with his son by his side, MKO must have thought that he had reached the peak of traditional chieftaincy in Nigeria.

 

He was just settling down in his Ikeja home when he was informed that he had a call. Who was on the line? He asked before collecting the phone. It was the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.

 

MKO snatched the phone. “Iku Baba Yeye, Igbakeji Orisa! Kabiyesi!” The newly installed Bashorun paid his homage to the foremost traditional ruler. Alaafin must be calling to congratulate me, MKO thought. Kabiyesi was however not calling to congratulate the business magnate.

 

“We have decided that you are to be conferred with the title of Aare Ona Kakanfo!” Kabiyesi informed him.

 

The phone nearly dropped from the hand of Bashorun. Aare Ona Kakanfo! The Generalissimo of Yoruba race! The Field Marshall for all descendants of Oduduwa! The portfolio held by Afonja, the founder of Ilorin! The title of Aare Obadoke Latosa of Ibadan – the scourge of Efunsetan Aniwura! The position held by the last premier of Western Region, Ladoke Akintola of Ogbomoso!

 

For a single person to be Bashorun and Aare was unheard of. It was the ultimate! Traditionally, Bashorun is the Prime Minister. Aare is the Field Marshall. When Bashorun Gaa moved against Alaafin Abiodun around 1770, it was Oyalabi from Ajase (now Republic of Benin), the Aare Ona Kakanfo that came to the powerful monarch’s rescue. Now, Abiola was going to be both the Prime Minister and the Field Marshall!

 

Alaafin had spoken. MKO Abiola had no choice. The news spread like wildfire. Congratulatory messages poured in from all over the globe. Aare Ona Kakanfo was not just another title. It was the title. It was the father of all traditional titles. Father ke? No, it was the Grandfather of All Titles. If it were to be a national honour, it would be the equivalent of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic!

 

Everybody in and outside Yorubaland was ecstatic at the choice of Abiola as the 14th Aare Ona Kakanfo. Well, almost everybody.

 

It happened that the Ashipa of Oyo, Chief Amuda Olorunosebi was not pleased with the choice of Bashorun MKO Abiola as the Aare. Ashipa was one of the prominent chiefs of Alaafin. He objected to the choice of the flamboyant publisher, an Egba man, as Aare Ona Kakanfo. He went to Kabiyesi to protest. Iku Baba Yeye was adamant that MKO was eminently qualified to be the Aare Ona Kakanfo.

 

The Ashipa went back to his quarters at Isale Oyo. As MKO Abiola and the Alaafin were preparing for the installation of Bashorun, Chief Amuda was consulting with his lawyers. This was however unknown to the Alaafin. It was assumed that the Ashipa had been convinced to support Abiola’s candidacy.

 

Abiola was no ordinary person by any standard. He was larger than life. He was flamboyance personified. He was determined to make the chieftaincy installation as grand as possible. He invited all his contacts from all over the world. All the military governors were invited. A special invitation was delivered to the President, Ibrahim Babangida, who was a close friend of the Bashorun. African Heads of States cleared their schedules in order to honour MKO. Nigerian Embassies were issuing visas on daily basis. It was going to be a grand occasion.

 

Then the unthinkable happened! It started as a rumour. It was days to the installation.

 

‘Eti Oba nile, eti Oba l’oko, eniyan lo n je be.’ – The ear of a king is everywhere. Iku Baba Yeye was in his palace when he heard from the grapevine that a case had been filed to stop the occasion! “Ewo! Sango o ni je! Abiodun o ni je! Aole o ni je!” Kabiyesi went on to invoke the names of his predecessors on the royal throne of Alaafin!

 

It was around noon when the phone rang in Ibadan. It was from the Palace, Oyo Alaafin. Chief Afe Babalola, the famous legal practitioner, picked the phone. After exchange of homage and royal blessings, Alaafin informed Afiwajoye of Ado Ekiti that Ashipa had filed a suit against the installation of MKO Abiola. Not only that, a motion ex parte for interim injunction had also been filed. It was apparent that Ashipa was not ready to gamble with his chance.

 

Though Kabiyesi did not say it, Chief Afe knew the urgency involved. Installation was on Saturday. The call came in on Tuesday.

 

Less than thirty minutes after the call, Chief Afe was almost at Oyo. The legendary lawyer covered the 57 kilometres between Oyo and Ibadan as if he was on a chariot. He proceeded to court where he met the court registrar. Of course, the registrar knew Chief Babalola. It is doubtful if there is anyone in the Judiciary who does not know the Mayegun of Modakeke. Mayegun paid the requisite fees and conducted a search of the court’s file. It was there! Alaafin’s information was correct!

 

Iduro ko si, ìbèreè ko si fun eni ti o gbe odó mi – A person who swallows a pestle can neither stand nor sit comfortably. Installation was on Saturday. The search was conducted on Tuesday! The motion ex parte was to be heard the following day, Wednesday.

 

Time was of the essence! Chief Afe turned his car around, off to Emmanuel Chambers, Ibadan. Before the car reached Fiditi, he had mentally finished composing the processes. He was nodding as the cases and other relevant authorities began to surface in his mind.

 

By the time he reached his office, the mental process was complete. In a minute the Counter-Affidavit was ready. There was no need for a Written Address. Professor Yemi Osinbajo was then a Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the Federation. It would be years later before he introduced Written Address as the Lagos State Attorney General. The counter-affidavit was filed and served on counsel to the Ashipa.

 

On Wednesday, the court was full. Chief M. L. Lagunju, Ashipa’s counsel was in court. He adjusted his wig and checked his books. He smiled. It was a Motion Exparte. It won’t be contested. He checked his time. Then there was some commotion at the entrance of the court.

 

Chief Lagunju blinked! He blinked again! Walking in majestically was the Afiwajoye of Ado-Ekiti, the Balogun of Mobaland, the Mayegun of Modakeke, Chief Afe Babalola in flesh! He was followed by a host of other lawyers, each armed with bags of legal authorities enough to open a law library. Chief Lagunju didn’t know when he said: “The game is up!”

 

On the dot of 9 O’clock, the Court began sitting. The trial judge was a royalty himself. Justice Aderemi’s father was the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Sir Tadenikawo Adesoji Aderemi, the first Governor of Western Region. The case was called.

 

The plaintiff’s counsel sought to move his application. The learned counsel informed the court that it was an ex parte application and therefore the other party had no right of audience.

 

His Lordship turned to Chief Afe Babalola. The court was as silent as a ghost town. Young lawyers craned their necks to hear what the Legend was going to say. They have been taught in law school that Ex Parte Motion was for only one party. Some of them must have been wondering what magic the Mayegun of Modakeke was going to perform.

 

Chief Afe Babalola brought out the White Book. Oh! Sorry, you don’t know the White Book? The White Book is an important book for lawyers. It contains the sources of law relating to the practice and procedures of the High Court. Ask your lawyer friend to show you a copy. He won’t charge you, unless you open it.

 

The Legal Colossus was on his feet. He was vibrating like a trumpet, but his voice was as soft as velvet. He began to reel out authorities after authorities to the effect that a defendant who became aware, anyhow, that a party had gone to court and was about to obtain an order ex-parte that would affect him, had a right to appear in court and to insist on being heard.

 

His Lordship – a brilliant Judge from the Source of Yoruba Race – was nodding as he scribbled down the authorities being cited by the Legendary Advocate. His Lordship was not the only one writing. Most lawyers in court were writing furiously. One old man turned to his friend and whispered: “I don’t mind selling my house, Mufu, my son must become a lawyer like this man. Look at the way he is speaking English as if he is chanting oriki Sango!”

 

“There is merit in the case of the Defendants. I agree with Chief Afe Babalola, the Defendants deserve to be given the right to be heard. Case is hereby adjourned to tomorrow for arguments on the Motion on Notice.” His Lordship rose.

 

It is doubtful if the parties involved in the case slept that night. Whilst the lawyers checked and re-checked the authorities, the litigants were in anxiety mode. Chief MKO Abiola’s invited guests had started arriving from their various bases. Musicians engaged for entertainment had begun to set up their instruments in Oyo and Ikeja. Caterers had booked all the cows in Ilorin, Oyo and Ibadan. Local drummers had cancelled all engagements. The royal poet, Lanrewaju Adepoju had finished composing his masterpiece. All roads led to Oyo Alaafin.

 

If the court was filled to the brim on Wednesday, it was spilling over on Thursday. Litigants, journalists, lawyers, in fact everybody was in court that day. Chief Lagunju stood up. The learned counsel knew what was at stake. He argued his application expertly. He guessed the likely issues that Chief Afe would raise. He addressed each comprehensively. It was advocacy at its best.

 

Then the Balogun of Mobaland stood up. Like a surgeon, Chief Afe surgically cut through the issues deftly. He was not going to take any prisoner. After cutting through the issues, the authorities followed. From Halsbury’s Law of England to Commonwealth Law Reports, from decisions of House of Lords to decisions of Court of Appeal, from WACA to White Book, and then finally to the Supreme Court. The authorities were flowing like water from Asejire Dam. There was no stopping the deluge.

 

“In the light of the copious authorities cited by the learned counsel for the plaintiff and the defendants, the Court will be adjourning to…” There was pin-drop silence in Court. The installation was only two days away. “… Friday” Ha! Palpable relief went through the court.

 

On Friday, Chief Afe Babalola’s phone began to ring from dawn. “Chief, E ma lo gba ruling yin l’Oyo loni o. Please send your junior o.” Clients, friends and well wishers who witnessed or heard of the tension soaked session in court on Thursday were justifiably apprehensive. But Chief Afe was not the Balogun of Mobaland for nothing. A General must not be afraid of the warfront. Off to Oyo.

 

Chief Afe had hardly left Ibadan when he started seeing policemen at strategic junctions on the road to Oyo. As they approached Fiditi, the number of policemen increased. By the time they got to Jobele, it was as if the Police College had moved its campus there. In the forest, on top of trees, in the bushes, and on top of buildings, the police were everywhere.

 

The Courtroom itself was no exception. More than fifty police officers joined lawyers and litigants in the courtroom. If you were not wearing a wig and you were not a party to the case, you would have to stay outside.

 

Court!

 

Justice Aderemi went straight to the business of the day. “RULING” His Lordship began. Time stood still as His Lordship went on to review the facts of the application and the authorities cited by the counsel for the parties. “In the final analysis…” Counsel and cops in the court became tense.

 

“This application fails and is hereby dismissed.”

 

As if by telepathy, the crowd outside heard the ruling immediately! Shouts of joy erupted. Drummers who must have been hiding theirgangan drums under their agbada sprang out.Sekere came out. Agogo was not to be left behind. Chief Afe Babalola was pulled out of his car, The Balogun was placed squarely on the roof of the car. Women danced, men jumped. I’m not sure but one of the songs on that day must have been “Ajekun Iya ni o je”. I have to confirm this from Chief. May God preserve his life.

 

Alaafin was waiting in the Palace with his Council Members. For a moment, the Sango of our time, Iku Baba Yeye was close to tears. It was an emotional moment. MKO Abiola was called. The Bashorun shouted: “Allahu Akbar! Alhamdulillah.”

 

On Saturday, January 14, 1988, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III installed Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Abiola as the 14th Aare Ona Kakanfo. The famous Yoruba Poet, Lanrewaju Moshood Adepoju was then called to the podium. In his deep and flawless Yoruba, Adepoju movingly rendered traditional poetry tracing the history of the title and the qualities of the new Aare Ona Kakanfo.

 

Abiola smiled

 

It was indeed a glorious day for the husband of Simbiat Atinuke.

 

In recognition of his service to the Crown and the Law, Alaafin later conferred Chief Afe Babalola with the prestigious title of Aare Bamofin of Oyo Empire.

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Ataoja, Akirun, Olokuku were Baales As Alaafin shakes Osun

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The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III on Friday said that the Ataoja of Osogbo, Akirun of Ikirun and Olokuku of Okuku used to be District Chiefs (Baale) some years ago.

Thepagenews gathered that the monarch made the revelation during a visit to the Palace of the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, explaining that the Oluwo has never been a District Chief (Baale).

“Oluwo is not Iwo’s District Chief (Baale), there was no Nigeria here before, it used to be the Northern protectorate, Southern Protectorate and the protectorate of Lagos before the amalgamation in 1914 during the reign of my father.

“Alaafin was the only Oba that went to sign for the amalgamation in 1914.

“Ataoja was given crown in 1948 during the reign of my father and that was when he moved from being a Baale to becoming an Oba. At least, we have Ita Baale in Osogbo till date.

“It is not because I’m seated here with him, when a young man becomes a king, don’t call him a young man.” The Alaafin stated.

Also, the monarch implored kingmakers across Yoruba land not to appoint old men as kings, because of the huge job of the status.

“If you make an old man a king, you’ll miss a lot. We’ll keep appealing to Yorubas not to select old men as kings because they wouldn’t have the capability.

“Oluwo has transformed this palace because I’m used to coming here and I commend the good works done here so far.” He added.

On the rumoured feud between Yoruba Obas, the Alaafin traced it to the decision of the leadership of the Old Oyo State under the late Chief Bola Ige to appoint the then Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade, as the Chairman, Council of Chiefs after the demise of the late Sir Adesoji Aderemi.

“When the Late Aderemi, Ooni of Ife joined his ancestors, the first person to move the motion that the Alaafin should be the Chairman of the Western State Council of Obas and Chiefs was Oluwo Abimbola and it was supported by all Obas present.

“But the government decided to go otherwise and that was the beginning of the disunity between Yoruba Obas.

“The Deputy Governor, acting on the directives of the Governor, S.M. Afolabi, issued a release that the Ooni of Ife is automatically the Chairman of the Council of Obas because he is the foremost monarch in Yoruba land.

“All the kings disagreed. When did constitutional government came compared to the long reign of the Yoruba traditional system.

“There is a book written by a foreign author which I sent to the then Oyo State, the book states that Oranyan is a direct descendant of Oduduwa and he is reputed to be the head of the princes in Yoruba land.

“Bola Ige then called me, saying he doesn’t want to quarrel with the Alaafin because such could distabilize their government. He said government doesn’t reverse official decisions but I’ll still be accorded necessary respect particularly to represent the state in Lagos during meetings of the Council of Chiefs.” Alaafin explained.

Among others, the Alaafin said the right thing was to make Iwo the capital of Osun State but the government chose to act otherwise.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Oluwo of Iwo urged Alaafin to bring the entire Yoruba Obas together to form the Yoruba Council of Obas, noting that the Alaafin remains father of all Yoruba Obas.

“Don’t let us be scattered like this, state creation came recently. You are the Alaafin of Yoruba land and I want you to bring us together because there can never be unity across the land if we kings are not united. I am not cursing.

“Our father Alaafin; Iku Baba Yeye, there must be Yoruba Council of Obas. Today is not for talks because of where we are going but this is what I want request from you before the whole world.

 

“You are our father in Yoruba land, there are many things we should have done since but some elements whom I wouldn’t wanna call enemies because I don’t keep enemies. I see people in such category as my promoters because the more they talk about me, the popular I become. Even US President now knows Oluwo.” Oluwo said.

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History

Man Freed After 44 years in Prison for Wrongful Conviction of Raping Woman

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A man named Ronnie Long have been freed after 44 years in prison for wrongful conviction of raping woman.

Mr Long was sentenced to 80 years in prison after he was found guilty of raping Sarah Bost in 1976 but after years of appeals, his conviction has been thrown out.

The 64years-old man was accused of raping Sarah Bost, 54, at knifepoint in her home in Concord, North Carolina on the evening of April 25, 1976.

He was sentenced to 80 years in prison for first-degree rape and first-degree burglary.

What followed were decades of appeals for his conviction to be overturned, according to MIRROR

In 2005, Ronnie filed a petition to review biological evidence from the scene and to submit DNA testing.

It then emerged that hair samples and clothing fibers didn’t match Ronnie, and it was later discovered that none of the evidence was ever shared with the defense during his trial in 1976.

And in 2015, it was revealed that 43 fingerprints from the crime scene “excluded Long as the source of those prints,” according to court documents.

Despite these revelations, his quest for a new trial was rejected by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

But earlier month, a court ruled Long’s due process rights were violated under the constitution when he was convicted.

Ronnie walked from prison a free man on Thursday. He told reporters outside the court: “They will never ever, never ever ever, lock me up again.

“This is real. I’m going to try to enjoy every minute of it.”

According to court documents “a man entered the home” of Bost, who was 54 at the time, in 1976.

He also “put a knife to her throat.” When Bost was unable to give the intruder any money, the man “became angry, cursed her, threw her to the ground, ripped her clothes off, beat her, and raped her.”

The next day, Bost was shown 13 photos of potential suspects. Ronnie was not included in the photos and she could not identify any of them as the attacker.

Two weeks later, detectives told Bost that her attacker might be in court on the day she was asked to attend. Long attended court for a separate trespassing charge and Bost said she recognised Long’s voice.

She later picked Long out of a photo lineup. She told officers “there was no doubt in her mind that this person Ronnie Long was the person who entered her house.”

Despite the lack of physical evidence linking Ronnie to the crime scene and an alibi, he was arrested and later found guilty.

Long’s mother and the mother of his two-year-old son at the time said he was on a group phone call with them when the attack was reported to have taken place, records say.

Long lived with his mother and was preparing to attend a party in Charlotte that night, they said.

The fourth Circuit opinion, led by Judge Stephanie D. Thacker, cited “a troubling and striking pattern of deliberate police suppression of material evidence.”

A main argument by prosecutors to the jury, it said, was that “police acted honestly.”

A petition was launched calling for Ronnie to be released. Nearly 40,000 signed it.

Speaking outside of the prison, Ronnie told WBTV : “Don’t ever give up. No matter how rough it can be, always believe that you can overcome. The name of the game is surviving.

“Hopefully incidents like this can be avoided. If you see injustice being done against somebody – then speak out against it. Speak out, if you don’t then hate it, hate it with all your heart.”

Hi sister Lynda Smith added: “Yeah, this is the happiest news I done had in a long time.

“The Long family have really had their moments, and this is lifted a big burden off of us.”

Jamie Lau, Ronnie’s attourney, broke the news of his release on Twitter.

He tweeted: “The State of NC filed a motion with the Fourth Circuit this morning asking that it immediately issue the mandate in Ronnie Long’s case.

“The state said it will ask the district court to enter a writ vacating Ronnie’s conviction. In short, Ronnie Long is coming home!”

The case isn’t entirely closed. Local prosecutors could refile charges. But Lau doesn’t think that will happen.

“I’m optimistic the charges will be dropped,” he said. “What evidence could the state present? There is none.”

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles tweeted: “Ronnie Long suffered through 44 years of injustice. I can’t imagine the strength he and his loved ones needed to endure it. I am elated that he will soon be free.”

 

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