Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode recently upgraded three Baales in Ajara kingdom in Badagry Local Government Area of the state to the status of Obaship to the delight of the community. In this interview, the Aholu of Ajara, Agamathen, Aholu Agano Toniyon I who is one of the elevated traditional rulers, speaks on the giant strides of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the need to retain the title of Aholu of Ajara Kingdom, Ajara Agamathen.
Congratulation sir Kabiyesi, how do you feel about this development?
I feel happy, I am very happy.
Appreciation to the people involved?
I am very happy and give glory to the Almighty God, the only God that can crown, the only God that makes man a king, so I’m very happy today, this is a battle we have been fighting since 1981.
I joined this race when I was 21 years old by the grace of God, by May this year, I will be 55, so you know that its only God that crowns, we have been in this tussle in Ajara for long.
we went to so many tribunals before the last tribunal which the report came in August 2011, that time former Governor Fashola was in the saddle then, but did not implement the tribunal report until now that the present Gov. Ambode implemented it.
Actually in 1981 what we had was Aholu of Ajara, and the prayer of Ajara-Agamathen is to resuscitate the Aholu of Ajara, because in those days before the colonials we had the Aholu of Ajara, we have some sacred places we can show you to prove that, even the first Aholu entered the ground, and till date people always come there as tourists because it has become a tourist centre.
In March 1981 government made a publication, that anybody that has interest in the Aholuship of Ajara should submit his interest, so from that time we continued the battle.
The last tribunal, which I told you about, the court recommended Aholu of Ajara, through the implementation of the tribunal report, our governor used his office because Ajara is a very large community comprising 14 towns and villages,
so Governor Ambode used his position to add two to the Aholu of Ajara, which is a very great thing that he has done for us, because everyone of us are happy, and the whole community are very happy to see that he used his wisdom to settle the case.
And now the additional two are approved the same day making three, on the 24th of January, 2018, so we are now having three recognised Aholu in Ajara today.
The issue of unity is among three of us, government has done enough for us, it’s now left for us to sit down as one, one family and make sure we make sacrifices to each other in order to avoid boundary crisis, all this crisis of sharing the community because we know the tradition.
To be sincere with you, adding two to it, adds more positive thing to Ajara generally. I’m appealing to my brothers that we should co-operate and make Ajara kingdom grow, we are like the Ijebu, we have Awujale there and we still have other kings there as well, even Alake of Egba and we still have many kings there even in Epe as well.
So I am appealing to our governor and government, we are very happy with it, but it doesn’t affect our own title which we have been praying for, that our title should remain Aholu of Ajara remain Aholu of Ajara doesn’t disturb any other Aholu in Ajara community,
we really appreciate the government and we are in support of it, but we are appealing that our former title should remain, that Aholu of Ajara should remain for Ajara Agamothen, that’s the prayer, we went to many tribunals and they recommended it,
but government view supersedes tribunal, but government should not mean to change the title of the community, the three of us requested different prayers in tribunal, like Aholu of Topa that’s his prayer, that they should grant him Aholu of Topa, and also Aholu Tha-zunnoh of Ajara Vetho and I say that they should grant me my own former Aholu of Ajara, and both of us left the tribunal happy.
So now my appeal to the governor, is that our title doesn’t have any crisis with anybody, it doesn’t affect any title at all in Ajara, so also Olu of Epe doesn’t affect any Oba of Epe, recently we have Oba of Itire, later we still have Oba of Itire-Ikate,
so I don’t see anything bad if we still have Aholu of Ajara, and Aholu Tha-zunnoh of Ajara Vetho and Aholu of Ajara Topa, nothing, the point is that we have 14 villages and now three of us are now upgraded to Oba status, now the remaining 11, it’s our responsibility and our right we can sit down at the round table and give the consent to any other community that any Oba deserves, so that we will round it off in peace.
We are not fighting here in the community, we don’t have any problem at all, we are really in support of government view, the point is that when other people can retain their prayer we also have the right to retain our prayer too.
So all we are saying is that they should reinstate the Aholu of Ajara title to Ajara-Agamathen which is our prayer and we have made our prayer, showed many evidence towards this and nobody is disputing it, nobody is opposing it.
Acknowledgement of Ambode?
He has done so well that he doesn’t need to campaign here because all the whole community is happy, before, we don’t know what is called street light but now we have it here in the community. Even the level of criminality has reduced in the community due to street light. He awarded road contract here and the contractor has arrived now for the construction. Ambode has done well for us.
Message to the people of Ajara?
My message has always been that I will never allow nor support any child abuse in this community, or deny any child education. I won’t tolerate it and I have zero tolerance on it, because the children are the leaders of tomorrow. I will appeal to the people to be law abiding and also ensure they pay their taxes.
They should also take good care of their children. I will also be ready to defend my people just as I’ve always been doing, but first they must be law-abiding.
I want to appreciate my Royal Father, the Akran of Badagry, may his days be long, I thank the governor and his executives, for their initiative towards this royal tussle that has just come to an end. I really thank them and also all the contributors to today’s success and pray that God will pay them accordingly.