Some members of the Baale Olatifede family, Olatifede village in Iwo Local Government area of Osun State on Friday urged the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi, to respect the tradition by installing the eldest male in the family as baale of the community.
They made the call during a peaceful protest against a purported plan to install a younger candidate over Rasaki Akande, a septugenarian who is the eldest and the most popular candidate for the position.
The Baale Oloba Olatifede family members, who took to the streets in Iwo town on Friday morning, displayed placards bearing messages such as: 'We appeal to Kabiyesi Oluwo to approve the installation of Rasaki Akande as our Baale', 'Baba Akande is our choice; let's follow tradition', 'We are for peace and justice. Pa Akande for fairness'.
Speaking on behalf of the group, leader of the protesters said: "Our message is clear and we are taking to the streets as well as the palace to ventilate our demand. We are appealing to our royal father, the Oluwo of Iwo, to acede our demand as his subjects.
"There are procedures set by our forefathers in filling or nominating candidate to the stool of Baale of Olatifede. Filling the position should, ordinarily, not generate controversy because there is an agelong practice of installing the eldest male in the branch of the family whose turn it is to produce occupant for the stool."
A communique addressed to the Oluwo, signed by the head of the Oloba Olatifede family, Staff Sergeant AbdulMojeed Agbaje (retd.); Secretary to the ruling family, Pastor Isiaka Akanji; and Community Leader of Oloba Olatifede, Hon. Sunday Salawu, read in parts: "There is a norm and tradition. The eldest son (in the ruling family is) to fill the vacant stool of Baale.
"Unless the eldest son is mentally retarded or not of sound mind or when a candidate is seen to have bad antecedent, the eldest son should fill the vacant stool of Baale."
Akande explained that there should be no contention on the rightful person to fill the vacant position.
"As the eldest person I am unarguably the next baale. The family took a unanimous decision to forward my name to Kabiyesi (Oluwo) but it appears is making moves to circumvent the agelong tradition," he said.
"The entire community and its council, the Oke Oba Parapo adopted me as the next baale, so there is no room for arguments about the whole matter."
Meanwhile, Morufu Adewale, younger half brother to Akande, said in a telephone interview that he is well qualified for the position as a bonafide member of the family.
Insisting that he is the best candidate for the position, Adewale said: "I am the preferred candidate. I left the village (Olatifede) 31 years ago and still met it the same way; nothing has changed since then. Akande, who is claiming right to the position, is hated in the village. I will spend my time and money on the village as baale."
While addressing the procession at the palace of the Oluwo, the Secretary to the Oluwo, assured the people of the readiness of Oba Akanbi to ensure that justice and peace are guaranteed.
The secretary said the interest of the people would be addressed appropriately without fear or prejudice.