Nigeria: Ondo State government removes ruler of Akure Kingdom for beating up wife

After five years of controversial rule as the paramount ruler of Akure Kingdom , the Deji of Akure, Oluwadare Adesina Adepoju, Osupa III was yesterday deposed by the Ondo State government for beating up his estranged wife, Bolanle, in the street.
With his removal, Mr Adepoju becomes the first oba in modern times to be sacked and banished from his kingdom by a seating government in Ondo State . His removal has now paved the way for a member of the other ruling family, known as "Ojijigoguni" to ascend to the throne.
Meanwhile, a regent, who must be a woman, is expected to be enthroned in order to avoid a vacuum in the leadership of the town.
Besides, the state police command yesterday began the process of prosecuting the deposed monarch and the command may file charges against him in court today.
The deposition of the Akure king was endorsed by the state executive council meeting headed by the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko on Thursday.
The state governor had summoned an emergency meeting following series of criticisms which trailed the dishonourable act of Mr Adepoju some two weeks ago.
The meeting, which started around 2pm shortly after the governor had attended to other state matters, resolved that Mr Adepoju should be banished for six months.
As the executive meeting was going on at the Cocoa Conference Hall, security operatives acting on the instruction of the state government moved Mr Adepoju to an unknown destination in conformity with the banishment order.
Addressing journalists at the end of the executive meeting, the state commissioner for Information, Ranti Akerele, said government has approved the deposition of the Deji of Akure with effect from June 10, 2010.
Mr. Akerele hinted that the monarch had been relocated to a safe place pending further decisions of the security agencies, as they relate to the criminal aspect of his actions against his wife.
Acted with meticulous care
He noted that government had taken its time to study the reports of the security agencies, reports from well meaning Akure citizens on both sides of the divide and particularly the response of the deposed monarch to a query issued by the relevant office of government.
"Government also studied the position of the State Council of traditional rulers before arriving at the decision which it believes is in the best interest of the people of Akure, the woman who was involved, the man who have in the eyes of all brought opprobrium to the office he occupied, and the larger society," he said.
"It must be stated that government has exercised uncommon restraint even in the face of a national uproar against the monarch after the public display of indiscretion and loss of decorum. Government has been deliberate, meticulous and firm in looking at the issues involved. Government took its time and explored all possibilities permissible under the laws of the land so as to demonstrate beyond all doubts that it has no stake other than protecting the interest of the people of the state according to the laws of the land."
The commissioner added that the state government was careful to avoid being drawn into the controversy over the stool of Deji of Akureland, particularly the personality and attitude of the erstwhile Oba, "In order not to be seen as an accuser and a judge at the same time on the same matter, it has been guided all along by its firm believe in the sanctity of the laws of the land and their sacred provisions," he said.
"The allegations against the deposed monarch, we need to re-emphasise, touched on the deep values that we hold dear as a people. That was why we insisted on handling them with a clear focus hoping that at the end of it all, justice will be seen to have been manifestly done to all." Mr. Akerele stressed further that, "government took the decision without submitting to blackmail or hysteria of any kind but was guided by the strict provisions of the laws of our land."
He noted that government had to restate Mr Adepoju in November when the kingmakers did not follow the provisions of the law, adding that government had no alternative than to halt the flawed process then as it was already being misinterpreted in other communities as lack of spine and credibility to avert a breakdown of order.
According to him, in the present circumstance, the government, after due recourse to laid-down procedures and having found compelling evidence of punishable infractions, has no other alternative than to visit the required punitive action on the controversial Oba.
He stressed that the process of investigating, ascertaining and deciding on what to do to the errant Oba has been concluded, hence the action.
Mr. Akerele stressed further, "Government has displayed commendable responsibility in handling this issue which touches on our culture and tradition and so expects no less a level of responsibility and discipline from all at this point in the history of Akure Kingdom. We also solicit the understanding as well as full cooperation of all".
The state government therefore enjoined the people of Akure to go about their normal duties without any fear of molestation as the security agencies are alert to arrest whoever would want to take the laws into their hands.
He warned that any attempt to act in a manner that could lead to a break down of law and order will be viewed with all seriousness.
A controversial history
The Deji of Akure had, on Sunday evening, May 3oth, 2010 beat up one of his wives in a manner that shocked the people of the state and elicited condemnation from far and near.
Olori Bolanale had earlier been ordered out of the palace, following a slight disagreement. The traditional ruler then invaded the private residence of his estranged wife with stern looking people,
suspected to be thugs, who thrashed the woman and left her with lacerated arms.
A brother of Mrs. Adesina and some passers-by descended on the Nissan Pathfinder brought to the scene by Oba Adesina. The vehicle, marked "Deji of Akure", was seriously damaged by the irate youth, who vowed to deal with him seriously. It took the quick intervention of the police from the state command to save him from being lynched by the mob.
His conduct attracted the wrath of the Council of Obas, who quickly announced his suspension as member of the council.
Earlier in November 8, 2009, Mr Adepoju was declared unworthy of the throne and his seat was declared vacant by the kingmakers in Akure. He was subsequently barred from the palace. Oba Adesina was then accused of not completing the traditional rites four years after he assumed the throne. It took the intervention of the state governor, Mr Mimiko, to make the kingmakers revert their decision.
The Akure traditional ruler has involved himself in all kinds of controversy and will be remembered for his open display of arrogance and misconduct.
During his reign, he encouraged the collecting of fees from non indigenes who want to embark on building projects. Notable Akure indigenes have continued to react to the deposition.
Dare Bada, a notable politician cum medical doctor, said the deposition of the monarch was unfortunate.
‘It is a very unfortunate situation that Akure people have found themselves in this situation.

June 10, 2010