According to Yoruba tradition and custom, the family had long established an order of succession which leaves no room for dispute and acrimony. The decision on any IDEJO CHIEFS NOW OBA is usually taken by council of respected elders representing all the family units never have been any (Baales ) I said again BAALES never takes the decision or even part of the decision making body.
These elders decide on someone who is not only entitled to the post, but who can serve the best interests of the own family. He must be a man imbued with integrity, ability and other leadership qualities and ability and other leadership qualities. Between the time of his election and the time he is installed or capped, the ONIRU ELECT is expected to put his resources together for the installation ceremony. Once a decision is taken by the full house of the elders, it is taken by the full house of the elders. It is final and all gladly abide by it.
This has been the procedure since the time of the first ONIRU OF IRU LAND (ONIGEFON). MABOGUNJE, the second Oniru succeed ONIGEFON. The third ONIRU was IHUNTAYI.
The 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th Oniru in succession were ODUDU ELEYIWO, ABANU, OLALETAN and ORISASANYA. They were all direct descendants of IHUNTAYI, the third Oniru.
The 8th Oniru ORUNBE, a descendant of ABANU, the 5th Oniru. 9th, 10th and 11th Oniru we’re sons of Oniru Orunbe, 8th Oniru. These were ABISOGUN, AKIOGUN and OGUNYEMI who ruled in succession.
By the time these three brothers had ruled, the family, to avoid dispute in family matters and in the other of succession, it became necessary to add a legal element to the customary system.
Consequently, the lineage of the three sons of ONIRU ORUNBE who ruled after declaration as the three ruling houses from which the Oniru can be elected in turns.
Arising from this declaration, there could be no further dispute in electing an ONIRU. No kingmakers are applicable in the selection of any IDEJO OBA in the declaration.
However where the rigidity of a law could not solve a problem, the flexibility of custom and tradition could save the situation as it happened in two instances.
After Abisogun, Akiogun and Ogunyemi had ruled in turns, it was the turn of a descendant of Abisogun to rule. JINADU was picked, but he died between the time of his election and his installation. The next person within the Abisogun Ruling Family. Pa Ilumo was invited. Pa ILUMO declined the offer conceding the stool to Jinadu son, LAWANI ODULOYE an act of magnanimity and statesmanship that prevented the possibility of ill-felling and acrimony with the Abisogun Ruling House. LAWANI ODULOYE the 12th Oniru ruled between 1927 and 1933. At his death YESUFU ABIODUN from AKIOGUN ruling house was elected in 1934 by the family units not the Baales we see today and formally installed in 1936 as the 13th Oniru.
In view of the legal declaration mentioned above, the next ONIRU should have come from OGUNYEMI ruling house. Of course, nobody could deny them their right to nominate the ONIRU from among their brethren. But again the larger family display of magnanimity and statesmanship prevailed that YESUFU ABIODUN laboured so much and so long for the family but died at the moment of victory without enjoying the fruits of his labour and the also conceded to his direct son IDOWU ABIODUN.￼
Even if the immediate late Oba Idowu Oniru was the first crowned Oniru,is it morally right for his son, from the same lineage to be crowned the next Oba at the expense of other royal families that constitute the entity called Oniru royal kingdom?
Except, you want to tell us that the other two families do not have any royal link to the Kingdom. The late Oba Idowu Oniru was first capped Chief Oniru before he was upgraded to first class king in 1995. And he became a chief through his Akiogun branch of the Oniru family.
So it was not as if the kingship was created for him. The kingship was created or upgraded for Oniru family and not a branch of the family.
If you agree that there is no way we can separate the chieftancy title from the kingship, then it will be fair for the Akiogun branch of the Oniru to allow other branches to occupy the vacant stool that they have occupied for about 80years .
The immediate Oba Oniru's father was in charge of that kingdom for 50yrs.
He died in 1984 and there was a body set up the family to administer the affairs and properties of the Oniru family, which was said to have been headed by the late Oba Oniru. He was in this capacity for 10yrs, before he was capped as Chief Oniru then to Oba Oniru.
The best the proponents of Akiogun family can do is to tell the public that the other two branches are not linked to the Oniru royal family. If not, for fairness, equity, and to maintain peace in that kingdom the next ruling house should be allowed to occupy the vacant royal stool.
Kunle Oduah is a core Lagosian and social commentator,he writes from London.