In what could be described as self-reversal, the Oyo Traditional Council also known as Oyo Mesi has said all the 65 aspirants eyeing the stool of the Alaafin will be presented before the Ifa Oracle for consultation.
This decision was a shift from the earlier directive by the council, which announced that 10 aspirants have been shortlisted out of the over 65 who appeared for screening, which ended last Thursday.
The council denied any form of rift between its members, but confirmed that there was “little disagreement” on the 10 shortlisted names.
The Director of Media and Publicity to the Alaafin of Oyo, Mr. Bode Durojaiye, confirmed the development to The Nation yesterday.
Speaking about the new development, the Acting Regent, who is also the Bashorun of Oyo, High Chief Yussuf Ayoola Layinka, said the decision became imperative following a minor disagreement among the council members.
He said whoever emerged among the 65 aspirants would be the candidate and the next Alaafin of Oyo.
The Regent said: “Following minor disagreement among some members of the Oyo Traditional Council (the Oyo Mesi), over shortlisting of some aspirants, who qualified for the interview, there will no longer be shortlisted contestants.
“All contestants who appeared for the interview are qualified for the next level, which is Ifa consultation, after the meeting of members of the Oyo Mesi.
“Whoever emerges among the aspirants will be the candidate and the next Alaafin of Oyo.
“There is no rift among members of the Oyo Mesi, contrary to insinuations and misinformation milling around. We are as united as ever.
“Misunderstanding can happen at any time. It is natural. What is important is the amicable resolution, in order not to let the misunderstanding degenerate into violence.
“None of the Oyo Mesi members has a favoured aspirant, as all the contestants are equal before us. For the umpteenth time, we are conscientious, thorough, not money conscious and greedy.”
Signs of crack in the council surfaced at the weekend when the Iba Saamu of Oyo, High Chief Lamidi Olayanju and three other chiefs distanced themselves from the 10 persons shortlisted for the vacant stool, saying he knew nothing about it.
He said he confirmed the news on the 10 shortlisted aspirants from the Bashorun, adding that the decision was not jointly taken by the council members.
“I called Basorun and he told me that he was the one behind the news that 10 persons had been shortlisted. Four of us know nothing about it. When we completed the interview on Thursday, we all agreed that we would meet next Tuesday to do that but hearing that 10 persons had been shortlisted on the radio is news to me. I called Basorun and he told me he authored the news.”