OYHA Stops Fresh Election in Iyaloja-General’s Tussle as Market Leaders Affirm Saratu Aduke Konibaje

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…stakeholders hail Gov, Speaker, others

The Oyo State House of Assembly on Thursday stopped a fresh move by the State Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to organize a fresh election to pick the Iyaloja-General of the State.

Sources in the State legislative arm of government said the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin alongside his Deputy, Hon. Muhammed Fadeyi and a host of others waded into the matter when news frittered in that the ministry had called for fresh election.

The fresh effort was being touted by some people in the corridor of power working in cahoot with the defeated Princess Folashade Abeo to undo the long settled election and nomination of Alhaja Saratu Aduke Konibaje as the new Iyaloja General of the State.

“Some lawmakers at the meeting described the call for another election as an injustice and misguided attempt to silence the voice of the majority who freely chose and aligned themselves with Saratu Konibaje in the April, 2022 contest,” said a source at the meeting.

A source at the ministry also told reporters that “Princess Folashade Abeo could not get the needed supports and majority she was looking for, hence the need to agree on postponement.”

The lawmakers were given copies of the court judgment stating that no traditional ruler in the State can install Iyaloja or Babaloja for the traders, wondering why the said Princess and her collaborators were hellbent on creating crisis in the State.

The leadership crisis between the contenders for the post of Iyaloja peaked recently when 10 of the 12 leaders of the Oyo State Markets’ Association sent an open letter to the Governor of the State, Engr Seyi Makinde chronicling the process that led to the election and nomination of Alhaja Saratu Aduke Konibaje as Iyaloja-General of the State.

In the said open letter dated November 20, 2023, the leaders appealed to the State Governor to ensure immediate ratification of the nomination cum election of Alhaja Saratu Aduke Konibaje as Iyaloja-General of the State.

Titled ‘Appeal for prompt ratification of nomination of Alhaja Saratu Aduke Konibaje as Iyaloja-General of Oyo State’, the said letter to the Governor was jointly signed by the Oyo State Market Leaders’ Council including their President, Alhaji Dauda Abiodun Oladepo; the Vice President, Mogaji Salaudeen Qarmardeen; the Second Vice President, Chief Mrs. Stella Olabode; the Financial Secretary, Chief Mrs Labake Lawal and the Public Relations Officer, Alhaji Yisau Kolayode Hamzat;

Others were both Ex-Officios, Alhaja Hamdalat Iyadunni Lawal and Alhaji Azeez Amole Najimdeen; alongside three other members, Chief Mrs Odunayo Kayode Danjuma; Alhaji Malik Adebayo Babasale and Alhaja Fausat Adebiyi, respectively.

Only the Treasurer, Chief Mrs Juliana Titilayo Raimi and a member, Alhaji Sunmaila Aderemi Jimoh did not sign the document sent to the Governor.

Barely 10days after the open letter, the ministry called for a fresh election allegedly on the prompting of the supporters of Princess Folashade Abeo with a view of ‘crowing the woman through the back door.”

But the development caught the attention of the Assembly leadership who vehemently opposed the fresh move and directed its house committee supervising the ministry and traders’ affairs to wade jn, immediately.

Newsmen gathered that the House was told on Thursday how the Governor approved the inauguration of their Council in March, 2022 as the highest traders’ group in the State.

The source said, a leader of the markets told the house leadership that the Council during its meeting of Thursday, April 6th, 2022 commenced the process that led to the appointment of Saratu Aduke Konibaje as the new Iyaloja General in the State.

“The duo of Alhaja (Princess) Azeezat Folashade Nurudeen and Alhaja Saratu Aduke Konibaje were nominated during the Council meeting and election was held.

“Alhaja Aduke Konibaje polled a total vote of 7 while Alhaja (Princess) Azeezat Folashade Nurudeen scored 2 votes which showed that Alhaja Saratu Aduke Konibaje clearly won the election.

“To our dismay, the Ministry of Trade claimed to have forwarded the result of the peaceful election to Your Excellence for ratification as appropriate, but we are yet to receive any information regarding the issuance of Certificate and other instruments of Office to her, talk less of assuming duty as expected,” said the source who quoted one of the traders in the Assembly’s meeting.

Meanwhile, stakeholders comprising market men and women, Baales, Mogajis and Ibadan Chiefs have thanked Governor Makinde, the Speaker and members of the Oyo State House of Assembly for standing firm against acts of injustice by maintaining and supporting the clear results of the initial election and due process which produced Saratu Aduke Konibaje as Iyaloja of Oyo State.

A member of the group, Chief Folorunso Adegbite who hailed the stoppage of fresh election , urged Governor Makinde to walk his talk and direct the ministry to issue certificate of recognition to Saratu Aduke Konibaje.

He said there was no need for another election since the election that led to the emergence of Konibaje as the Iyaloja-General of the state followed due process.

Sources said some people seeking cancellation of Konibaje’s election and conducting afresh another election of Iyaloja-General of Oyo State.

But the state House of Assembly through the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Debo Ogundoyin was said to have intervened and disclosed that no need for another election since the one held was flawless.

The market leaders said conduting another election would amount to waste of time, saying Konibaje, who have majority votes at the last election remained the people’s choice.

“There is no need for another election because the one that produced Konibaje followed due process and was supervised by government agencies.”

Adegbite however thanked the governor Makinde and the state House of Assembly for their intervention over the tussle of the Iyaloja-General of the state.

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