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Nigerian Herald, 18 November 1977, p.1.

YOU CAN PICK DISTRICT HEADS: KWSG RULES ON ASA, MORO LGAs

The Kwara State Government has directed that district heads in Asa and Moro Local Government Areas would henceforth be appointed [from] among the indigenes of the area.

. . . .

[I]t is not the intention . . . to change the present district heads . . . but where a district head dies, an indigene will automatically be chosen to replace him.

. . . .

Such an indigene . . . would . . .  after being chosen by the town or district concerned, process his recommendations through the Asa/Moro/Ilorin Emirate Council to the military governor for final approval.

Nigerian Herald, 30 November 1977, pp. 9 and 15.

IT’S GREAT TO LAUGH AT LAST

p. 9. Oke Moro and Oke Asa Development Union gave a press conference on the Kwara State Government decision on the issue of district heads in Moro and Asa Local Government Areas.

Below is the . . . text.

WE do not want to narrate our grievances, but we wish to express our joy and gratitudes to the Kwara State Government over its recent decision on the issue of appointment of district heads in the two Local Government Areas . . .

. . . .

Ours is the sad history of a people who have for a long time been living in bondage and under the condemnable feudalistic system whereby “foreigners” were appointed to lord it over us, the existence of our own traditional rulers notwithstanding.

Our sad experience under this system can only be fully appreciated by those who had at one time or the other been in the same condition like the Igbomina/Ekiti people in Irepodun and Ifelodun Local Government Areas or the Ibolos in Oyun Local Government Authority.

Up to the 1950’s, our fathers were forced to carry on their bareheads thatched grasses from their respective villages, no matter how far, to Ilorin for the construction of the house of one Balogun or the other in Ilorin.

We were compelled to contribute large portions of our farm products to feed the families of some overlords in Ilorin every year . . .

Up to the 1960’s, our children were intentionally denied access to education because the overlords back at home in Ilorin felt we should have no right to education for fear that once we became educated, our eyes would be opened and we would cease to become “the soup ingredients” which they made us to be.

All these maltreatments were made possible by the “foreign” district heads who were the baros [sic] in our midst and who were the principal agents through which all these inhuman acts were being perpetrated.

In fact, our status under these “foreign” elements was that of a Serf, created to serve till death, their masters in Ilorin.

. . . .

We have at last been liberated with the recent decision on the appointment of districts in Moro and Asa Local Government Areas of the state.

. . . .

p.15. We are aware however, that the recent government decision cannot be too pleasing to all; there will be a few disgruntled external elements who would have loved to perpetuate the condemnable system and who will therefore do everything possible to cause unrest, disharmony and discord in our area.

. . . .

They will go to any length to show their resentment to the state government’s decision, all in a bid to perpetuate the obnoxious system.

. . . .

One last request we would like to make to the state government concerns the status of traditional rulers in our Local Government Areas.

We are appealing to the state government to accord the traditional rulers recognition and to grade those of them found qualified.

There is not a single graded chief in the local government areas.

Nigerian Herald, 19 December 1977.

The people write

REJOINDER TO CHIEFS’ APPEAL

REJOINDER TO THE INSPIRED APPEAL BY SOME DISGRUNTLED BUT POLITICISED VILLAGE HEADS IN OLORUN DISTRICT OF MORO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA TO THE MILITARY GOVERNOR OF KWARA STATE, BRIGADIER GEORGE INNIH

KINDLY permit me some space in your paper to write this open letter to His Excellency Brigadier George Agbazika Innih, Military Governor of Kwara State, as a rejoinder to an inspired letter of appeal credited to some fifteen out of seventeen village heads in Oloru district of Moro local government area to the military governor of Kwara state on the issue of the government’s recent policy to appoint henceforth only true and unadulterated indigenes of Moro and Asa local government areas as district heads whenever any vacancy occurs in any of the two local government areas . . .

I like to begin by saying outright that the 15 village heads were not speaking the minds of the taxpayers of their district.

They were merely speaking for themselves with the selfish aim of protecting their future and the future of their sons and brothers who should succeed them when they die if the former feudal system should remain in force whereby the Emir and/or Baloguns of Ilorin were empowered to send their own loyal kinsmen to the districts in Moro and Asa as district heads whenever a vacancy occurred.

. . . .

The Asa and Moro people are Yorubas and it is the custom and tradition of the Yoruba people all over the country to appoint obas and chiefs from among their fellow indigenous natives . . .

. . . .

The argument of the inspired agitating village heads of Oloru district that the father of the chairman of Moro local government who is at present the village head of
Elemere hails from Elemere compound in Ilorin town does not bite at all.

It does not help their case in any sense.

. . . .

The most disgusting . . . argument by some village heads in Asa and Moro local government areas against the new Kwara state policy on district heads . . . that because Ejidongari, Daniyan and Elemere, among others, were founded by Ilorin people, therefore the village or district heads for the area should continue to be indigenes of Ilorin town is absurd.

It is clearly on record that Ilorin was founded and first ruled by indigenes of Oyo town but can the Alafin of Oyo now begin to appoint ward heads or an Oba for Ilorin town?

Similarly, Offa was founded by indigenes of Ile-Ife but can the Oni of Ife send his nominees to Offa as the Olofa of Offa?

. . . .

J.S. OLAWOYIN

OFFA

Nigerian Herald, 30 December 1977, p.2

We are grateful

WE, the entire members of Oke-Oyi Oja community at home and abroad . . . express our profound gratitude to the Chief of Staff, Supreme Military Headquarters, Brigadier Yar’Adua, for his recent official visit to Kwara State.

. . . .

It is no gainsaying the fact that every decision of the Kwara state military government including the recent one (to recognise and upgrade traditional rulers, in Asa, Moro and Ilorin local government areas) was taken purely in the spirit of the local government reform or in other words in the best interest of the common people.

. . . .

Our humble prayer to the Kwara State Military Government is to recognise and upgrade the Oluo of Oke-Oyi Oja when carrying out the exercise in Asa, Moro and Ilorin local government areas.

YUSUFU AKANBI

(CHAIRMAN)

FOR & ON BEHALF OF OKE-OYI OJA DESCENDANTS UNION

Nigerian Herald, 14 July 1978

Stories from FELIX AJIBOYE, Afon

WE WANT TRADITIONAL COUNCIL—ASA PEOPLE

The people of Asa LGA . . . have requested the Ekundayo Chieftaincy Panel to establish a separate traditional council for them . . .

. . . [The] joint memo [was] read on their behalf by . . . Mr. Wole Oke.

He submitted . . . that before the advent of the Fulanis, the Yoruba traditions and customs had been fully established and deeply rooted among the people of Asa LGA. . . .

[He] further explained that at the advent of the Fulani hegemony, the traditional institutions already established were completely dislodged, adding, “the traditional rulers in these areas were reduced to nothing or at best they were regarded as ward heads.”

‘GRADE OUR BALE’

The people of Afon in Asa LGA of Kwara State told the Ekundayo Chieftaincy Panel that they wanted the Bale of Afon recognised and graded a first class chief.

According to the spokesman for Afon community, Alhaji M.D. Baako, the Bale of Afon was the then vice-chairman of Afon District Council . . .

He submitted that Afon is an ancient “walled” town which has never been conquered in history by any other town.

Alhaji Baako explained that Afon was under Ilorin because it was a moslem town and that was why it accepted Ilorin rulership.

He further submitted . . . that there are 12 villages under Afon . . .

Nigerian Herald, 14 July 1978

Stories from OMOBU APEH, Ilorin

WE’RE NOT AFTER THE EMIR—CHIEFTAINCY PANEL

The Chairman of the Kwara State Chieftaincy Review Panel . . . has warned members of the public against baseless rumours aimed at discrediting the panel.

. . .

[He] assured the Emir of Ilorin . . . to have confidence in the panel.

. . . .

‘RECOGNISE OLOGBONDOROKO AS OBA’

[The panel] has been told that Ogbondoroko is the oldest town in Asa LGA.

Testifying before the panel . . . on behalf of the Ogbondoroko community, an Ilorin-based legal practitioner, Mr. J.O. Ijaodola, urged the panel to recognise the Ologbondoroko as an oba . . .

He also requested the panel to grade the oba to a second class chief or to any class it deems fit.

[He] submitted that Ogbondoroko has never been under any town in Asa LGA but there have been a number of villages under . . . Ogbondoroko.

[He] explained that the Ologbondoroko had direct contact with the Emir of Ilorin just like the Olofa of Offa . . .

Also testifying on behalf of Okeso community, Mr. Salimonu Akande urged the panel to recognise and grade the Daodu of Okeso to first class.

[He] stated that Okeso was founded over 200 years ago during the reign of Alafin Abiodun of Oyo.

[He] submitted that the founder . . . was a prince from Ede.

[He] further stated that when Okeso was founded, only Shao was there in the former Ilorin District . . .

Nigerian Herald, 15 July 1978

Story from OMOBU APEH, Ilorin

Panel urged to approve . . .

. . . .

Oke-Oyi community has requested the panel to recognise and grade the Oluo of Oke-Oyi, Chief Joshua Alao to a second class chief.

Chief Alao, who gave evidence himself, said after the grading he would like to become a member of the Ilorin Emirate Council in order to bring his people nearer to the government.

He also requested the panel to recommend the removal of the district heads posted from Ilorin . . .

[He] said that his people were . . . Yorubas who emigrated from Oyo, their ancestral home.

He . . . presented . . . Sango and Ogun gods to prove that Oke-Oyi people descended from Oyo, and . . . showed . . . his tribal marks which he said were the same as the tribal marks of Oyo people.

Daily Times, 19 July 1978

‘WHY WE FOUGHT JIHAD’

The Ajagun of Elesinmeta fought on the side of the Fulanis during the Jihad wars.

The reason . . .was that the Fulanis promised the Ajagun, in Igponrin district . . . the post of a big chief, the . . . Panel was told . . .

. . . the Fulanis gave him the post of a Magaji, . . . which the people thought to denote a big chief . . .

An Elesinmeta community leader, Mr. J.A Otunola, who was testifying . . . said it was later discovered . . . that the post . . . was a subordinate one.

He prayed the panel to upgrade the Ajagun . . .

. . . .

. . . the witness [stated] that the village derived its name . . . from the fact that the Ajagun was in the habit of taking three horses to the battle front, so that if one was killed, it would immediately be replaced by another one.

Nigerian Herald, 17 January 1979

From Ademola Adetula, Ilorin

Moro people protest

The people of Moro Local Government area . . . have expressed their disapproval over the appointment of two district heads . . .

[They] . . . are . . . district heads of Oloru and Malete respectively.

At a press conference organised by the Oke Moro/Oke Asa development union, its chairman, Mr. Wole Oke, accused the Kwara State Government of double standards.

Mr. Oke said the announcement . . . took them back because it was the state government that took the decision in November 1977 that non-indigenes will no longer be appointed as district heads for . . . Asa and Moro . . .

He wondered why no consultation was held with the people . . . nor any reason given for this change of decision . . .

The reason that emphasis was on the federal government laid down procedure as being the basis for the latest appointment is unacceptable . . . Mr. Oke said.

Nigerian Herald, 25 January 1978

‘Save us from reign of terror’

The entire people of Ilofa in Akanbi district of Ilorin Local Government Area . . . have appealed to the Kwara State Military Administrator . . . to save . . . [them] from the reign of terror being established . . . . by the supporters of the Fulani Daudu . . .

In a release . . . [it was said that] the district head of Fufu in Akanbi district has been intimidating all those villagers who spoke before . . . [the] Chieftaincy Panel.

The district head threatened that the Emir of Ilorin had succeeded in influencing the state government to set aside the . . . panel report, all village heads who spoke before the panel against the system will be terminated . . .

. . . .

Nigerian Herald, 31 January 1979

UPN ‘WILL GRADE’ MORO CHIEFS

The Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) was launched at a mass rally held at Okutala in Ejidongari District of Moro Local Government Area . . .

In an address . . . Mr. S. Wole Oke . . . implored the people of Okutala and the surrounding villages to vote en masse for the party . . .

[He] specifically mentioned that the UPN, if voted to power in Kwara State, will construct a network of roads . . . which will make it easy for farmers to transport their farm products . . .

. . . .

[He] told the supporters that . . . traditional rulers in Moro Local Area will be graded . . .

. . . .

Nigerian Herald, 7 February 1979

NPN begins ‘operation grassroots’

The National Party of Nigeria . . . gubernatorial candidate for Kwara State, Alhaji Adamu Atta, begins a state-wide tour . . . today.

. . . .

. . . the party has promised to introduce mobile clinics as an interim measure, pending the time when hospitals would  be built when voted into power.

. . . .

Alhaji Atta . . . promised the people that his party placed . . . emphasis on the provision of basic health facilities and pipe-borne water.

He enumerated other programmes . . .

. . . .

Meanwhile, Alhaji Adamu Atta has promised the people of Paiye in Moro Local Government Area . . . that his party . . . will reconstruct the existing roads from Ilorin to Paiye.

. . . .

Nigerian Herald, 14 February 1979

Suit against district head for March 5

An Ilorin high court will decide on March 5, whether an interim injunction would be granted to restrain the district head of Malete from performing his duties.

The Bale of Malete . . . had sued . . . the new district head . . . challenging his authority.

The Emir of Ilorin is also joined in the suit as co-defendant.

. . . Mr. J.O. Ijaodola, counsel for the plaintiff . . . submitted that the appropriate authority to appoint the district head was not used.

He adduced that neither the Emirate Council nor the Military administrator has any legal role . . . the appropriate lawful authority to appoint district head is the Local Government Service Board.

. . . .

. . . Mr. Saka Yusuf, counsel for the defence said the appointment of a district head is the prerogative of the government invested in the Ilorin Emirate Council.

. . . .

Nigerian Herald, 16 February 1979, p. 3

UPN sure of victory in Moro—Olawoyin.

The Unity Party of Nigeria will win an overwhelming majority in . . . Moro . . . in the forthcoming general elections.

This assurance was given by the . . . gubernatorial candidate of the party, Mr. J.S. Olawoyin at all the centres [in which] he addressed his party’s support during his campaign tour of Lanwa, Ejidongari, Okutala, Igbo Emu, Adamo, Oloru and Mosankore.

. . . .

[The priorities] are free education at all levels; free medical and health services; full and gainful employment and integrated rural development.

. . . .

At Bode Sa’adu, Mr. J.S. Olawoyin told the people that if the UPN is voted into power, special attention will be given to the development of Bode Sa’adu with a view to bringing the town up to a status befitting a local government headquarters.

At Ejidongari, he said that . . . payment of poll tax . . . will be totally abolished.

. . . .

He told the people of Oloru that . . . district heads who are being imposed on the people will be removed and indigenes will be appointed as traditional rulers . . .

. . . .

The campaign tour continues . . . with visits to Amukoko, Alagbede, Apoya, Yeregi, Malete, Elemere and Shao.

Nigerian Herald, 16 February p. 9

UPN ends tour of Moro

The electioneering campaign of Moro Local Government Area . . . was yesterday concluded with visits to Shao, Malete, Amukoko, Apoya, Yeregi and Alagbede.

. . . .

At Amukoko, Apoya, Yeregi and Alagbede, Mr. Olawoyin was highly disturbed by the type of impure and unhygienic water the people were being forced to drink . . .

He assured the people that the UPN exists to improve . . . living conditions  . . . by providing pure and suitable water and other necessary amenities . . .

. . . .

He told the people that the era of roots with thatched grass is past, and there is no reason why every family in the state should not be provided with a house covered with corrugated iron sheets . . .

At Apoya, Mr. Olawoyin promised that . . . the Apoya-Saara-Agbogun-Elemere road would be reconstructed to link up with Shao-Malete road . . . to facilitate easy evacuation of farm products . . .

At each of the places visited, he emphasised the UPN’s determination to make education available to every citizen as a right.

. . . .

At Shao, Mr. Olawoyin assured the people that the supply of electricity would be extended to the town . . .

. . . .

New Nigerian, 31 May 1979

‘INTERVENE IN KWARA STATE CHIEFTAINCY ISSUE—Communities appeal to General Obasanjo

From OLU OMOLE, Ilorin

Five communities in the Oshin part of Ilorin Local Government area of Kwara State, have called on the Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, to intervene in the recent decision by Kwara State Government on the Ekundayo Chieftaincy Panel Report.

The communities are: Ilota, Apado, Mogaji, Oke-Oyi and Elesin-Metta.

The State Administrator . . . had made a pronouncement that the White Paper on the report of the State Chieftaincy Panel . . . would not be released until the case pending in court would have been disposed of.

In a joint petition . . . the people said that the only case pending in a high court was the one concerning Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari, which they claimed, had nothing to do with the other local governments in the state.

‘We are entertaining fear that if we . . . wait for the matter to be disposed of in court, it might coincide with the handing over of the military administration to the civilians and the government which may take over . . . might do injustice to the report,’ the communities remarked.

. . . .

. . . further . . . the panel was set up by a military administration ‘and we think that it is their duty to release the white paper . . .’

[They] also said that the military administration was the only administration which could handle ‘this particular matter properly.’

The communities . . . wondered how a single individual could take the public and the government to ransom on the matter.

. . . .

Nigerian Herald, 26 September 1980

Split Ilorin LG

Kindly permit me a space . . . to put my suggestion across to the authority concerned over the splitting of Ilorin Local Government into two local governments.

Ilorin Local Government is divided into two councils comprising of Ilorin Town Council and Osin Area Council . . .

. . . the Osin Area Council , comprising of Apado, Agbeyangi, Oke-Oyi, Ikponrin, Okaka and Elesin-Metta with some villages, is over 100,700 [people].

. . . .

Looking at the towns which make up the Osin Area Council, . . . there is no effort by the past administration to develop the areas.

. . . there is no electricity supply . . . [or] pipe-borne water . . .

. . . there is no secondary school . . . though the people have been making efforts to provide themselves with this.

BANJI A. ADEBOLA

Apado

Nigerian Tribune, 23 December 1981

THE SEARCH CONTINUES

LAM ADESINA

LETTERS . . . LETTERS

THIS week I intend to focus attention on some letters written to me by some members of the public. The letters carry contents of importance.

The first of the letters comes from Alhaji M.B. Ba’ako of Isale-Adere Compound, Afon, Kwara State. Here it goes:

“ . . . I am a regular reader of your column. I am particularly [un]happy about the non-payment of teachers’ salaries in Kwara State . . . The non-payment of teachers’ salaries in Kwara State is the worst compared with that of Oyo State. The NPN-controlled Kwara State had failed us in her education policy—the so-called ‘qualitative education.’

“The Local Schools Management Board (LSMB) of Moro and Orere LGA’s of Kwara State had found pleasure in issuing ‘bouncing[’] cheques to pay the salaries of their teachers for the months of August to November, 1981. In Asa Local Government (my own LGA), the LSMB wrote to all teachers employed in October, 1981, that they should not expect their salaries for the months of October, November and December, 1981, until the end of December 1981. . .

“The population of Asa LGA is 90,733 with only one Government Secondary School established in 1976 by Brigadier G.A. Innih. The NPN has not thought fit to do more than that since 1979. . .  The only primary school established at Afor [sic], the headquarters of Asa LGA was in 1947. Up till the time of writing this letter (3rd December, 1981), there are not enough classrooms for our pupils. . .

. . . .

. . . Asa[,] Owode, Moro and Orere Local Government areas of Kwara State are the most backward places in the provision and supply of social amenities. In Asa LGA, we cannot boast of a single doctor, lawyer, lecturer and so on. . .

. . . .”

[Note from Ann O’Hear:

The letter writer’s observations (see Nigerian Tribune, 23 December 1981, above) on education in Asa LGA echo the comments made by Mr. Ayotunde Raji, former Secretary, Asa Local Government Area, on this subject, during a discussion with me on 5 June 1978. Mr. Raji pointed out to me that there was no Asa boy at that time in the School of Basic Studies and maybe only one in the School of Education, both of which formed part of what was then called the Kwara State College of Technology, Ilorin. Mr. Raji stated that the Afon area was relatively better off than the other two districts, because at least it had some Grade 2 teachers. He told me that the University of Ilorin had offered entrance (remedial) to an Asa pupil, but the LGA was still looking for a candidate. He also noted that Asa people in the past had seen no use in education past primary school, since they could not get jobs in the Ilorin Native Authority—these jobs went to Ilorin natives. Some people migrated. Many had become drivers.]

Nigerian Herald, 20 February 1984

COURT RESTRAINS EMIR

By Chidi Jite

The Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari, has been restrained by an Ilorin high court order from installing Alhaji Memudu Amosa as the Bale of Afon in Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State.

. . . the appointment of Alhaji Memudu Amosa . . . has been declared irregular, null and void by the court also.

Mr. Justice Bisi Adegbite gave this order in his judgment in a civil case instituted by Alhaji Baba Kososi and late Alhaji Abdullahi Adebara against Alhaji Memudu Amosa, Alhaji Nassamu and the Emir of Ilorin . . .

Mr. Justice Adegbite also awarded N150 costs to Alhaji Nassamu (second defendant) to be paid by Alhaji Baba Kososi (first plaintiff) while Alhaji Memudu Amosa [first defendant] is to pay Alhaji Baba Kososi N200 costs. [Note from Ann O’Hear: it seems odd that, in one case, according to this paragraph, costs were awarded to a defendant (who lost the case) to a plaintiff (who won the case). It is possible that the author of the article has made an error here.]

In the writ of summons, the plaintiff wanted a declaration that the customary title of Bale of Afon cannot, under the native law and custom of Afon people, be conferred on any person not a member of the Bale Shuaibu [Ruling House] of Afon.

That the selection, recommendation and approval of Alhaji Memudu Amosa as the Bale of Afon was not made according to Afon native law and custom because of the irregularities and omissions in the said appointment.

. . . .

The plaintiff also sought court injunction restraining the first defendant from being installed Bale of Afon by the Emir of Ilorin, as well as restraining the Emir from accepting the recommendation of the second defendant that the first defendant was selected by the Afon King-makers as Bale.

. . . .

[The judge] said : “On the evidence before me . . . I intend to believe the plaintiff’s version that it is the ruling house that will decide which among its members . . . should be presented as Bale of Afon.”

. . . .

He also held that from the native law and custom of Afon, only the ruling house could choose among its members who is to be the next Bale and such Bale-elect would be presented to Magaji Gari.

. . . .