A group of Market Leaders and Traders on Monday in Ibadan accused the Governor of the State, Engr. Seyi Makinde of looking askance by allowing some men in his government to politicise the leadership of their organization.
The Leaders under the auspices of concerned Elders said under the current administration of Engr. Makinde, factions continue to fester in the market associations because of the unbridled influence of some Commissioners, Assembly lawmakers and political appointees in his cabinet who are hellbent on distorting facts and historical ascendancy of leadership to status of Babalojas and Iyalojas in the State.
A member of the group at Bola Ige International Market New Gbagi in Ibadan, Elder Kola Oyedepo in a signed press statement said, “many of us are concerned about the politicisation of the process leading to the appointment of new leaders for market men and women in Ibadanland in particular and Oyo State in general.
“Apart from the infiltration of the rank and file of traders by some people in the government of Engr. Makinde, the roles played by past Olubadan and palace Chiefs in enthroning Chief Yekini Abass as Babaloja-General of the State was the beginning of the crisis which had now created serious gulf amongst all the traders-associations in Oyo State.
“Ahaji Yekini Abass was installed as Babaloja General of Oyo State in August 2020 by the late Olubadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji and was subsequently removed by the court in June 2022. His installation did not follow due process because it was we, the traders who usually picked or appointrd leaders amongst ourselves without political or external interference.
“And that was why an Ibadan High Court judge nullified his installation as Babaloja-General. We, the traders from across Oyo State under the auspices of Babaloja-Generals and Iyaloja-Generals from all the five zones in the state had after the said case, applauded the court judgment that Yekini Abass Oladapo should desist from parading himself as Babaloja General of Oyo.
“It must be recalled that the court also reprimanded six members of Oyo State Market Advisory Board that were involved in the matters leading to the judgement.”
He further stated that, according to the judgment delivered by Justice K. B Olawoyin of Ibadan High Court in a suit filed by the aggrieved section of our group, the court nullified the process that produced Abass and warned him from parading himself as the Babaloja-General of the state.
A member of our group who is now an aide to Governor Makinde; Odunayo Kayode Danjuma who is also a member of Oyo State Market Advisory Board then described the court judgment as a victory for the state’s commerce.
Danjuma described purported action of Abass as “unethical and an insult to over two million market men and women in Oyo State”, adding “it is shameful and a reflection of ignoble and degenerating society.
She had posited added that traders, market men and women from all the zones in the state along with our members from the 11 local governments in Ibadan have gathered at the House of Chiefs, Agodi in Ibadan in 2020 to dully elect Sunmaila Aderemi Jimoh as the Babaloja-General of Oyo State, and “nothing has changed till this moment. He remains our authentic leader”.
Her words: “as you can see, not just representatives but Babaloja-Generals and Iyaloja-Generals from the five zones in Oyo state are here, we have market leaderships from Oke-Ogun, Babaloja-General, Whaab Adebayo Elesin, Iyaloja-General Oke-Ogun, Limota Whaab, Iyaloja-General Oyo Alaafin, Khadijat Adepeju Bakare, Babaloja-General Ogbomosoland, Olusegun Akangbe Joseph, Iyaloja-General of Ogbomosoland, Rafat Morenike Wahab, Babaloja-General of Ibarapaland, Ayandeji Olusola and Iyaloja-General of Ibarapaland, who is also the Acting Iyaloja-General of Oyo State,Justina Iyabode Ogundoyin.
“Like a recurring decimal, Ogundoyin who was hitherto an acting Iyaloja-General of the State also attempted to use the State House of Assembly headed by his son, Rt. Hon. Debo Ogundoyin to be Iyaloja-General of the State albeit through the backdoor and without due process.
“We are today more worried that Danjuma, who was part of our struggle and now an Adviser to Governor Makinde is not doing enough to ensure the disputes are put to rest moreso that all of us know that Alhaja Saratu Aduke is the Iyaloja-General of Oyo State widely and dully nominated and elected by all of us after the demise of her predecessor, Alhaja Wuraola Kola-Daisi.
“We are of the opinion that the said Ibadan High Court judgment had settled the matter in law that only the market men and women can elected our leaders as against how the late Olubadan picked YK Abass, the same trend the late Alaafin, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III who also installed Lagos-based trader Princess Folasade Nurudeen Abeo as Iyaloja-General of Oyo State.
On behalf of my colleagues, I am appealing to the Governor as a peace-loving leader to ensure that the issues of market leadership is resolved without further delay in line with the recent court’s judgment and in tandem with the historical antecedents of how market leaders emerged over the years.