By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
Awori indigenes of Ojo Kingdom have cautioned indigenes of Iba to stop laying claims to the ownership of the land on which the Lagos State University (LASU) Ojo campus is sited.
They asserted that the large expense of land belongs to their forefathers and has not been ceded to any other kingdom or individuals.
The assertion was in response to a remark by the traditional ruler of a neighbouring kingdom, HRM Oba Sulaiman Adeshina Raji Asade, the Oniba Ekun of Iba kingdom claiming that the land belongs to the Awori indigenes of Iba kingdom.
Oba Adeshina stirred the hornet nest, when he declared in an extempore speech on the 22nd of June, 2023 at the 40th anniversary and 26th convocation ceremony of the institution that the land belongs to Iba kingdom.
He made the speech while appreciating the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the management of the University for the Homourary Doctorate Degree award conferred on him.
In a swift reaction at a press conference at the Palace of the Olojo of Ojo kingdom HRM Oba Galib Adeniyi Rufai (Ade-Ife 1), the Ojo Kingdom claimed that the indigenes has been bothered since the remarks by the Oniba and have become upset, seeking to know if the land has been ceded.
In a speech delivered on behalf of the indigenes, the Otunba of Ojo Kingdom Chief Sulaiman Obasa hinted that the palace of the Olojo Kingdom has been inundated with several calls locally and internationally seeking clarification.
He declared unequivocally that the land is owned by the Awori indigenes of Ojo kingdom and has not been ceded to any other kingdom or individuals.
While justifying his claim, Obasa quoted the Law of Lagos State Vol.5, part 1, setting up the institution, saying the law recognises it as Lagos State University, (LASU) Ojo.
The titled Chief of Ojo Kingdom added that the law specifically stated that the University will operate a multi- campuses at Ojo, Epe, Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu and Lagos Island as may be determined.
To further buttress his assertion of the ownership of the land, Obasa said the immediate past monarch of Iba kingdom, HRM Oba Yishau Goriola Oseni of blessed memory had dragged the management of LASU and Ojo Indigenes before a Lagos High Court over the ownership of the land and was resolved in favour of the management of LASU and indigenes Ojo kingdom.
From the above, he maintained that it is crystal clear that the School is sited on a land owned by Ojo Kingdom land and should not be a subject of controversy from any quarter.
” We make bold to hereby state unequivocally, without doubt that the expanse of land on which the main campus of the Lagos State University (LASU) is sited is owned by the Awori indigenes of Ojo kingdom and has not been ceded to any other kingdom or individuals.
” In a nutshell, we wouldn’t have bothered ourselves glorifying the wrong information as peddled. However, we felt it is imperative to correct the wrong impression, most importantly since it was uttered by a respected and reverred monarch in the person of HRM Oba Sulaiman Raji Asade, the Oniba Ekun of Iba kingdom.
“:We recall that HRM Oba Sulaiman Raji Asade in a short speech on the 22nd June, 2023 rendered extempore in Yoruba dialect at the 26th Convocation ceremony of the institution, marking its 40th anniversary, held at the school auditorium, remarked that the institution is sited on the land of Iba kingdom.
” Since the remarks at the ceremony, the office of. HRM Oba Galib Adeniyi Rufai Ade-Ife Olojo of Ojo kingdom has been inundated with several calls locally and internationally on the subject matter.
“:Moreso, Indigenes particularly, have been bothered, thronging the Palace of our monarch seeking to know if the ownership of the land has been ceded from Ojo kingdom”, the speech reads in part.
Stating that the Ojo kingdom holds the Oniba Ekun in high esteem and bears no grouse against his majesty, Obasa said the Ojo kingdom felt it becomes imperative to straighten the records, correct the wrong impression so that members of the public, particularly the Indigenes of Ojo kingdom are not mislead.
” We are also embarking on this “fact stating mission” in order to avoid an occurrence similar to the most unfortunate bloody clash that erupted between Ife and Modakeke few years back in Osun State, where several lives were lost and property perished”, he quipped.
Also speaking at the occasion, an elder of the Iloro Ruling House and also the Apex Leader of All Progressive Congress (APC) Ojo Federal Constituency, Alhaji Raji Olorunfunmi gave the genesis of how the land was handed over to the State Government in the early seventies before it was later converted to the University in 1983 by the administration of late Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande.
His words, ” When the Lagos State Government was looking for where to site a Secondary School in our area, the officials met with the elders which include Toga Labulo, Hassan Isaja, Rabiu Ege, Joseph Falana, Sule Alaka and Anihun Laka family and they took the officials to the land gave them the portion.
In 1983, during the Jakande’s administration, Rabiu Ege had become a Commissioner and he told Jakande that we don’t have University graduates, but grade 2 teachers, that we want a university in our domain. The governor acceded to the request and asked for a land to build the institution and he was taken to the same land that the College will be relocated elsewhere. The elders called the Ariyo family in Ira quarters for a land space. There was a large space that had already been sold, but they pleaded with the buyer and relocated him to the water side of Ira,while the school was established there and named Government College, now known as Lagos State Model College”.
Fielding questions, the elder disclosed that a river path that is some few metres away from the back of the university is the boundary between Ojo and Iba.