The recent emergence of two Iyalojas in Oyo State has begun to stir up controversies. The battle over the control of market men and women in the state continues as Alaafin of Oyo and traders favoured different candidates as the Iyaloja-General.
While the coalition of Traders, Artisans, Market Men and Women in the state appointed Alhaja Saratu Aduke Konibaje – the Otun to the late Iyaloja general Alhaja Wuraola Asake-Koladaisi, as the new Iyaloja General, the Alaafin of Oyo – Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, allegedly installed Princess Azeezat Folashade Abeo Nurudeen as Iyaloja General for Oyo State with the support of some traders.
The groups installed their separate Iyaloja General same day at separate venues, claiming they both considered the laid down procedure before appointing their separate Iyaloja General for the state.
Some select members of the Oyo State Market Leaders Joint Working Committee had written to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on March 14, 2021 where eight out of 12 various cluster groups comprising of Artisans, Technicians and Traders in Oyo State endorsed Princess Azeezat Folashade Abeo Nurudeen and asked the monarch to install her as Iyaloja General.
The other group said the coalition of Traders, Artisans, Market Men and Women in the state which appointed Alhaja Saratu Aduke Konibaje as Iyaloja General is the only credible body to appoint the Iyaloja General.
While government is allegedly backing one Iyaloja, the other is allegedly being backed by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, but investigation by Daily Trust on Sunday revealed that both the government and monarch lack the power to appoint Iyaloja General for traders.
Our correspondent reports that the only involvement of government and traditional leaders in the process is that when a new market leader emerges, the coalition of Traders, Artisans, Market Men and Women will write the government that another Iyaloja or Babaloja has emerged.
The government will appoint advisory committee among the traders to serve as bridge between the two and nothing more.
Thereafter, the traders will join the newly installed Iyaloja or Babaloja to the traditional rulers in their town for a funfair party. The traditional rulers are expected to pray for the newly installed Iyaloja or Babaloja.
Our correspondent gathered that before the demise of the immediate past Iyaloja, Alhaja Wuraola Asake-Koladaisi, the coalition appointed Alhaja Saratu Aduke Konibaje as the Otun Iyaloja, with intention that when she dies, the Otun will take over from her.
A source among the traders told Daily Trust that when she died, the coalition had to appoint somebody to serve in acting capacity in order to avoid a vacuum because the Yoruba traditional doesn’t allow mourning and at the same time celebrating the installation of a new Iyaloja.
The coalition, therefore, appointed the mother of the current Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Chief Justina Ogundoyin, as acting Iyaloja for easy transition and colourful funfair of the Otun Iyaloja general.
However, while performing the coronation exercise, the Alaafin of Oyo, who allegedly installed Princess Azeezat Folashade Abeo Nurudeen as the new Iyaloja General, congratulated her on the confidence, belief and sincerity that the market leaders have in her, to have suggested and confirmed her for the exalted position after several consultations and deliberations.
Oba Lamidi Adeyemi tasked her to maintain her status quo on reasons and factors which necessitated her nomination and installation as the new Iyaloja General for Oyo State, stressing that her pure and genuine disposition to the market leaders’ association will henceforth culminate into fruitful and prosperous results.
The monarch while affirming the coronation exercise, wrote to Governor Seyi Makinde, explaining that he (Alaafin) performed the coronation on her based on the unanimous decision of the market leaders.
Explaining the process of appointing Iyaloja General in Oyo State, aide to Babaloja General of Oyo State, Mr. Debo Adeoye, said there are laid down procedures which must be followed.
Adeoye said; “Government lacks power to appoint Iyaloja or Babaloja. There is a body set up by traders called Coalition of Traders, Artisans, Market Men and Women of Oyo State. This is the only union recognised by the state government. It is the only body that takes decision on behalf of the traders. It is the only body that has the power to appoint Iyaloja.
“On April 26, this year, the coalition approved Alhaja Saramotu Aduke Konibaje and presented her to the Congress of Babalojas, Iyalojas, Leaders of Traders, Artisans, Market men and women of Oyo State for ratification. At the event were 20 members of the Oyo State House of Assembly and she was decorated by the outgoing acting Iyaloja, Justina Ogundoyin.
“With all these processes, there were no complaints or crisis. Why now,” he queried.
A chief in Ibadan land, Mogaji Wale Oladoja, advised Governor Seyi Makinde to invite the two groups and appeal to them to resolve it amicably.
Oladoja said “the governor should mediate between the two groups. It is not the fault of the Alaafin or the government. The traders approached him before the monarch took the decision. If government intervenes and they refuse, then the governor should proscribe them and appoint his own person to head the market.
“This is not acceptable. We want a peaceful Oyo State. The issues on the table for the governor is beyond all this leadership tussle in market hierarchy. Let them do the needful and save the government from unnecessary issues.”
The media aide to the Alaafin of Oyo, Mr. Bode Durojaye did not pick his call for reaction while he only replied to the text message sent to him with; “not now.”
Similarly, the Chief press secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa said he was not in a position to react to the issue concerning traders, asking our Correspondent to talk to the Commisioner for Trade and Investment, Mr Nìyí Adebisi.
The commissioner did not pick his calls while the text message sent to him was not replied to.