As the grand finale of the annual Osun Osogbo festival holds on Friday in Osogbo, there is mixed feeling in the ancient city owing to controversies surrounding the throne of the Ataoja of Osogboland.
Despite the fact that the historical city is in celebration mood with various tourists, traditional worshipers and Nollywood actors and actresses trooping into Osogbo, it is of note that four ruling houses in Osogbo who have spiritual roles to play have vowed to boycott the event.
The ruling houses that include Sogbo, Matanmi, Lahanmi-Oyipi and Lajomo (Olude and Aderohunmi) disowned embattled traditional ruler of the city Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun who had earlier been dethroned by the Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo.
Addressing a press conference at Gbaemu Royal Family compound in Osogbo, representatives of the ruling houses, led by Alhaji Nasiru Oyeniyi said they decided not to participate in the festival to avoid sending a wrong signal to the people that they approve of Olanipekun’s stay on the throne.
They warned Olanipekun to stop parading himself as the Ataoja and urged the state government and other authorities to stop recognizing him. They said Olanipekun does not belong to any of the ruling houses and they could not understand how he ascended the throne.
Oyeniyi said the four ruling houses had been challenging Oba Olanipekun’s appointment since he was installed in 2010 by the Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola administration.
He said the State High Court judgment, which nullified Olanipekun’s appointment and declared the stool of the Ataoja vacant, is still intact.
Urging Olanipekun to vacate the throne, Oyeniyi said: “We state clearly that Olanipekun is just an interim occupant of the stool of our forefathers. We are only waiting for the Court of Appeal, sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, to determine Olanipekun’s appeal by upholding the judgment that dethroned him.
“Two judges of the Osun State High Court, Justices Yinka Aderibigbe and Jide Falola, in their separate rulings, ordered Olanipekun to vacate the throne and declared it vacant.”