The coronation of a new Olupo of Ajase-Ipo, 41-year-old Ismail Bolaji Yahaya Muhammed Atoloye Alebiosu, less than a month ago, was seen as a welcomed development by the people of Ajase-Ipo and its environs in Kwara State, Nigeria.
Many Kwarans hailed the ascent of the new Oba to the throne after the demise of Oba Sikiru Atanda Sanni Woleola II in February 2021, with jubilations and praises, and the hope of a better community, especially as the new Oba is seen as a young and learned man.
However, eye witnesses say a disturbing event which suggests otherwise ensued in the Olupo’s palace on Saturday, in which the new Oba displayed what they described as an absolute abuse of office and disrespect towards a leading cleric in the State, the Imam of Eleyoka, a major settlement under Ajase-Ipo community. </p>
This act, and a few other actions of the new king since his coronation, they say, have become a source of worry to those who have had close contact with him, especially as he is accused of living below the expectations of his highly revered office.
They say the Imam had been summoned to the palace by the Oba over his title as Imam of Eleyoka. On getting to the palace, Oba Yahaya, instead of engaging in constructive questions and answers session with the Imam according to sources, was said to have come out as a bully towards the cleric. He was said to have ordered the Imam to kneel while hauling insults and invectives on him, questioning his right to go by the title “Imam of Eleyoka” in the first place. He was said not to be interested in listening to the Imam who they say has been serving in that capacity as the Eleyoka community for over four years now.
Eye witnesses who gave this report said it was a very embarrassing experience for the Imam and others in attendance as Oba Ismail made the Imam kneel for about 3 hours throughout the entire “one-sided interrogation”. At a point, when the Imam and some other people present pleaded to talk, Oba Ismail was said to have threatened to lay a curse on them – even to the extent of boasting he has the power to command the Imam to stray into the bush in madness.
We must understand that the Oba and other traditional rulers for that matter, must understand that their role is to promote peace and harmony, to unite towns and villages, to listen more than talk, and to work with other leaders around them to further strengthen their reign and bring more prosperity to the people, and bring honour to our traditional institutions…