Gbadebo emerges new Alake - • We’re yet to confirm any candidate — Ogun govt
He defeated eight other candidates, including his younger brother, Adeleke, by scoring 15 out of 23 votes in an election conducted on Wednesday by the Egba kingmakers.
Some of the other prominent contestants were a United States-based businessman, Prince Olufemi Obadimu, and a property consultant, Prince Adedayo Shyllon-Sogbolu.
Gbadebo’s election ended six months of jostling by prominent Egba sons to succeed Oba Oyebade Lipede who died on Febrruary 3, 2005.
Before the election that followed a four-hour meeting of the kingmakers, security was beefed up at the Alake’s palace, the venue of the exercise.
Two of the kingmakers - the Oluwo of Egbaland, Chief Adeyemi Adeboye and the Oluwo of Iporo, Chief Alani Bankole - confirmed the emergence of a new Alake, in separate interviews on Wednesday with journalists in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
“We have just elected a new Alake of Egbaland, in the person of Prince Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo,” Adeboye said.
Adeboye, who is also the Chairman of Egba Alake kingmakers, said Gbadebo’s name would be forwarded to Governor Gbenga Daniel for approval.
“We have done the appointment. It is the governor that should do the approval. If approved, he becomes the next Alake and the paramount ruler of Egbaland,” Adeboye said.
The Oluwo of Iporo said that Gbadebo “won convincingly in a freely contested election.”
According to Bankole, the Ifa oracle picked Gbadebo as the Alake-elect when the kingmakers consulted it on Tuesday.
He said, “The election was just a confirmation of what the Ifa said on Tuesday.”
Gbadebo could only mutter a few words when our correspondents spoke with him on Wednesday.
“I am overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed immensely. I thank God, I thank God or what else can I say; but to thank God for this opportunity to serve.”
While declining further comments on what shape his reign would take, the Alake-elect promised to run an all inclusive administration where all princes that lost out in the selection process would be carried along in the affairs of city.
He said, “I welcome everybody on board. We are all brothers of the same family and there is no need for us to be acrimonious.”
The Alake-elect is from the Laarun Ruling House.
An alumnus of the famous Baptist Boys’ High School, Abeokuta, Gbadebo was a Principal Staff Officer to the late Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Tunde Idiagbon between 1984 and 1985.
With his election, he becomes the third in the line of Okukenu/Gbadebo clan of the larger Laarun House to be elected as the paramount ruler of the Egba.
Oba Gbadebo 1, who was the son of Oba Okukenu, reigned between 1898 and 1920 while his son Oba Samuel Adeshina Gbadebo II reigned between 1964 to 1972.
Oba Gbadebo II, was an uncle of the Alake-elect.
News of Gbadebo’s election however drew mixed reactions from the Egba.
The Seriki of Egbaland, Dr. Lateef Adegbite, faulted the announcement of Gbadebo as the new Alake of Egbaland.
In a telephone interview with our correspondents, Adegbite described the announcement as a “bad error.”
The seriki said it was only the state government that could announce the appointment of an oba.
Adegbite who was the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the defunct Western State, said, “They (kingmakers) have no right to announce the appointment.”
He explained that what they should have done was to submit the nomination to the state government, which would wait for 21 days before approving the appointment.
Adegbite said the 21 days would enable the state government to consider reactions to the appointment
But at the Alake’s palace and some parts of the rocky city, there were jubilations by the residents.
In an interview with our correspondents, a resident of the town, Mr. Olukunle Adebisi, lauded Gbadebo’s appointment.
He said the new Oba was an experienced man.
In a telephone interview with our correspondents, the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Niran Malaolu, said the Regency Council nominated the Alake.
He said the council ought to have submitted its nomination to the Abeokuta South Local Government, which in turn would submit same to the state government.
He added that it was wrong for the Regency Council to have leaked its nomination to the press.