Since the former Soun of Ogbomoso, the late Oba Jimoh Oyewunmi, joined his ancestors on December 12 last year, all eyes have been on the Laoye family, which is to produce his successor, according to the 1953 Soun Chieftaincy Declaration.
As expected of contests for good positions, the family had a tough time screening the 25 interested applicants to a manageable number of three, for kingmakers to make the final selection. Successful sons in the Laoye family globally showed interest in mounting the throne of their forefathers. They include businessmen, top civil servants, other professionals and military officers. But one of them, who is a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Jesus House Washington DC, United States (US), Afolabi Ghandi Laoye, eventually got the nod of the kingmakers to be enthroned as the next Soun of Ogbomoso.
The family heads had difficulty screening the candidates for fear of being accused of bias. The Laoye family has 10 sub-units; hence, it was difficult to talk any candidate to stepping down for others since it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The declaration recognises five ruling houses – Aboru-Maku, Gbagun, Laoye, Bolanta and Odunaro – with the throne rotating among the five in that order. Oba Oyewunmi hailed from Gbagun family.
Due to their inability to pick a consensus candidate from the contestants, they referred all of them to kingmakers for selection. The Nation learnt that about 18 of the candidates were shortlisted and invited for interview by the kingmakers to Ogunlola Hall, but others who were not invited joined them. Besides, it was learnt that the town’s development association – the Ogbomoso Parapo – advised the kingmakers to avoid any approach capable of attracting legal action from among contenders or other interested persons. This made the kingmakers to interview all of them. The only contender that could not attend the interview, having gone on a business trip, was said to have been interviewed on the phone. A representative of Ogbomoso North Local Government under whose purview the throne operates attended the interview as an observer.
At the end of the interview, the contenders were screened to two. They are Lt. Col. Sirajdeen Laoye and US-based Pastor Afolabi Olaoye.
Then, the four kingmakers were said to have been divided over the two candidates. They opted for voting and each candidate was supported by two kingmakers each, meaning a tie. The head of kingmakers resorted to using his Casting Vote Right (power to have an additional vote) to resolve the tie. His vote went for the pastor; hence he scored three, while the military officer scored two.
Although the chieftaincy declaration stipulates that six members shall constitute the kingmakers council, one kingmaker passed on about six weeks ago according to The Nation’s investigation, while another one is still in the process of having his installation as a kingmaker officially confirmed, thereby leaving the number at four. He was said to have been installed a kingmaker by the late Oba Oyewunmi, but formalisation of his papers is not yet completed.
The declaration also stipulates that four members of the council shall form quorum for decision-making, but that the head of the council shall have an extra vote in case of a tie.
Pastor Laoye’s name has since been forwarded to the local government for onward recommendation to the governor for approval.
Those who contended for the throne were Princes Gbolahan Idowu Oyegoke, Sirajdeen Lawal Olaoye, Tirimisiyu Gbolagade Bello, Abayomi Isaac Jacob Oyewusi, Gbadamosi Taofeek Lawal Olaoye, Mohammed Gazali Jamiu Oyetunde, Isiaka Oluwasegun Lasisi, Ismail Kayode Olaoye and Olabode Akeem Olayide Olaoye.
There were also Musibau Adeniran Alimi, Amusa Felix Bello, Peter Olatunde Olaoye, Abubakar Abduganiyu Akano, Johnson Olusola Olaoye, Taofeek Adeyemi Akorode Olaoye and Olalekan Olaoye.
Others were Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, Badmus Babatunde Olaoye, Abdulrahman Hamzat Adebayo, Sirajdeen Akorode Olaoye and Muhammed Nurudeen Bello Olaoye.