Boundary dispute: We belong to Ondo, not Ogun, lrokun Regent says - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Boundary dispute: We belong to Ondo, not Ogun, lrokun Regent says

The Regent of Irokun Kingdom, in the llaje council area of Ondo State, Princess Adeyinka Abejoye-Ogunyemi, has disputed the claims by the Ogun state government, that their communities belong to the state.

Abejoye-Ogunyemi, declared that the lrokun Kingdom ” has always been as an inseparable component of the Ilaje nation as part of Ondo State.

It would be recalled that the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele, had called on its Ondo State counterpart, to caution its citizens, from encroaching on Ogun State territory.

Salako-Oyedele equally alleged that an attack was recently launched on Ogun State indigenes in the communities bordering the two states by citizens from Ondo.

But in a swift response, the Secretary of the Onirokun of lrokun, Ode lrokun, Prince Emmanuel Ogunbajo,  in a letter dated November 5,  to the State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, dismissed a false claim by the Ogun State Deputy Governor, that ” Irokun kingdom is part of Ogun State.

Ogunbajo declared that in setting the records straight ” Irokun is an ancient Ilaje Kingdom which people are Ilaje, speak undiluted Ilaje-Yoruba tongue within the territory of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State and nothing will change that reality.

” The immediate past Olurokun, Oba Olowoniyi Abejoye, whose daughter Princess Adeyinka Abejoye-Ogunyemi, is now the Regent, was the 16th Olurokun of Irokun.

The letter reads in part that  “On the claim of Olurokun being a member of the Ijebu Traditional Council,  records in both Ondo and Ogun States show that as far back as 1920, the District Officer Ijebu-Ode in his letter N0.71/1920 of 9th July 1920, to his Ondo Division counterpart had confirmed that “neither Irokun nor the village of Obi was in Ijebu country”.

“After the enactment of the Native Authorities Ordinance of 1924 and the groupings of traditional rulers, Olurokun of Irokun Oba Joga Adejipe in his letter through the Maporure of Ihapen Agerige dated 8th October 1937 to the District Officer on Tour  Mahin traced his ancestry to Ilaje requesting that his kingdom remained part of the Mahin (Ilaje) District.

“This archival document is available with the National Boundary Commission,  both states and our palaces.

“Not too long ago during the reign of Oba Beniah O Omosehin, the 15th Olurokun of Irokun, this same false claim was made prompting the Chieftaincy Department in a letter ref. N0. CHM7/4/24 dated 24th May 1982 addressed to the Secretary Ijebu Traditional Council and signed by S.O Abiodun for the Secretary to the Ogun State Government to seek clarification on whether the Olurokun of Irokun was a member of the Ijebu Traditional Council.

“Responding, the Council at its meeting held at the Conference Room of the Ijebu-Ode Local Government Itoro, Ijebu-Ode on Friday 22nd October 1982, resolved, among others, that “available records did not show that Oba Olurokun of Irokun was at any time a member of the Ijebu Traditional Council”.

“At the death of Oba Omosehin and during the ensuing interregnum, the Ogun State Government, now motivated by the Olokola project which is largely within the Irokun kingdom, attempted to appoint one Buari Olayinka Balogun, an Ijebu man, from Ise as the new Olurokun of Irokun and sought to lead him into Ode-Irokun accompanied with security men and thugs on Friday 27th January 2011.

“This strange culture was resisted in the strongest terms by the people who prevented the impostor from accessing their ancestral community and never since.

 “Irokun kingdom predated Nigeria and all its British-imposed administrative structures.

” As confirmed by the Ijebu Traditional Council, Olurokun and Irokun have never been part of Ijebu but Ilaje Obaship arrangements.

“At the beginning of colonial administration, Ilaje land of which Irokun is an inseparable part was administered as part of the Colony of Lagos by the Resolution of the Legislative Council of the 12th day of November 1895 made under Ordinance 5 of 1890, in a joint administration with Epe.

 “Ilaje in the coastal part is not contiguous with Ijebu which is north of it and was under the Abeokuta Province which had no coastal access as part of the Southern Protectorate.

“The current non-existent territorial dispute was schemed when the Ondo and Ijebu Provinces were created in 1915 and part of Ilaje in the western boundary with Lagos along the Lekki Peninsula was sought to be carved to create littoral access for the new  Ijebu Province.

“This is evident in a letter from the Ijebu Province, Ijebu-Ode Ref. N0. 72/1915 dated 8 February 1915 to the District Officer Ondo Province describing the boundary of Mahin District (Ilaje) “on the west by a line drawn from a point six miles west of Atijere due South to the sea”.

“The National Boundary Commission, perhaps exasperated by contradictory claims held a Meeting with the Deputy Governors and officials of both Ondo and Ogun States at Abeokuta on February 21st 2016 wherein it was agreed,  among others, “that the Commission shall carry out an elaborate ethnographic study of the boundary” to determine the dispute which was done for over two years resulting in the outright rejection of the obvious expansionist claims of Ogun State.

” It cannot be overemphasised that apart from ambitious territorial claims  Ogun State has no presence in any of the constituent communities of Irokun kingdom which limited access to social amenities including secondary education is from the Ondo State.

“By this vaulting territorial claim of Ogun State, the Olokola project has become moribund and investors in oil refinery, deep sea port and petrochemical industries scared away giving room for fake real estate developers and land speculators aided by officials of the Ogun State Government.

  “The proposed Araromi-Lekki (Lagos) Road through the old Ilaje-Lagos trade route by the Ondo State Government is a salutary re-enactment of the connections between Ilaje and Lagos.

“Thus, while the Ogun State  Deputy Governor is within her jurisdiction that “on no occasion will the Ogun State Government cede an inch of its land to Ondo State” we wish to let Her Excellency know that Irokun kingdom is not being claimed for Ondo State.

” It has always been as an inseparable component of the Ilaje nation as part of Ondo State. This reality will remain the same wherever the Ilaje is made to be by any administrative arrangement by Nigeria.

 “The resort to violence and intimidation by the Ogun State Government using the police and other security agents, including some miscreant immigrants within the Irokun kingdom, will not alter the status quo that Irokun kingdom is an integral part of Ilaje and Ondo State.

It added “On this we are resolved and prepared to endure any hardship in its realisation in all generations.

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