As part of the ongoing step towards digging to the root of a land dispute between Offa and Ijehu people, FOLASADE ADESOYE of our community desk went to Ijehu where she spoke with Chief Moshood Adeogun at Ijehu. Here is the excerpts:
Let’s meet you, sir
I am Chief Moshood Adeogun, the current Baale of Ijehu community, along, Ikotun road.
It is alleged that you are not Baale but impersonating the title, whats your response to this?
That is a very big lie; I heard that Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi made this allegation but the truth is that in modern history no Oba has ever crowned Baale for Ijehu. We are a community of our own. No Oba has ever selected Baale for us, whether from Ikotun, Igbona or anywhere. We have the elders who normally select our Baale. The elders have selected me since 2013 and later we sent’ blessing letter’ to Olofa, nothing more, just to inform him and ask for his blessing, nothing more.
Did he give his blessing?
We don’t know, we have been going there often and often but simply because of this atrocity that happened on our land but we are not bothered about that and so I have been operating since 2013; I have been attending functions and representing Ijehu community as the Baale.
How many family houses are there in Ijehu?
Ijehu has eleven family houses or call it compounds and not eight. The Olofa doesn’t know the history of Ijehu. Let me give you the names of our compounds: Ile Aborisa, Ile Baale Oke Amulekangbo, Ile Oluola, Ile Olukore, Kaa Okuta, Kaa Alagbaa, Aiyelade, Agbojulogun, Ile Onilu, Atalaka and Ile Olu Kekere.
You were also said to have been avoiding settlement efforts by Oloffa whereas other seven compounds have agreed?
If it is true let him call out the seven compounds that have agreed with him. How can he come to settle our land issue with us? Is he supposed to be coming to settle our land; the land we have occupied since about seven centuries?
But Olofa said that land is his personal inheritance?
How can that be? If it is true then let him leave Offa and come and settle in Ijehu. We were never under Offa at any point in time. We are a community of ourselves. We are from Oyo Ile. My forefather is the founder of Ijehu. We have been collecting royalty from the land for the past 200 years or more (shows various land/royalty receipts), there is nothing to show any royalty paid to Offa or Esuwoye by people using Ijehu land. Is he related to us? Let him tell the world how we are related. That land is our own inheritance.
You are the only compound not amenable to settlement?
That is not true; All the 11 compounds I mentioned are represented here today as I speak with you. Kabiyesi himself has been inducing those who showed up as being against us so that he can take over our land. My mother is the first born of the popular Oluode Ogunlade at Offa. Let them go and verify the history. He has been using divide and rule on our people and that was why he invited some of our brothers to be fighting us. The people he showed you as Magajis are not. We have been reporting our issue to the palace for several years but instead of listening to us they are always sending us away.
We respect the Oloffa very well but even the federal government cannot take over your land without consulting with you first. We are even ready and willing to give him several acres of land for the use of the people because we know he is well loved by the populace and we want to support him but he must sit down with us and let’s talk. Anyone in doubt about our historical claims should go and read the popular Iwe Itan Ilu Offa (History of Offa) by Baba Chief Olafimihan. The history of Ijehu is not complete if Ile Baale Oke is not included. In 1978 when we were collecting royalty on our land, where was Kabiyesi? The history of Ijehu is well known to at least 75 percent of Offfa people and there is no High Chief in Ijehu who doesn’t know it.
You claim to be independent of Offa; how then are you related with Offa People?
Thank you. It is on record in history that the first Olofa fought about four bitter wars; the last being the one with Ilorin (Ogun Karara and Dende). The then Oloffa, Oba Adegboye invited my forefather, Adebisi Odeajo who was then Baale of Ijehu. He sought his help because Ijehu people are known to be brave hunters and farmers. Oba Adegboye later had to leave Offa to settle in Ido Osun and my forefather followed him. In 1906, Oba Adegboye returned to Offa and when my forefather wanted to return to Ijehu, Oba Adegboye prevailed on him to stay because he was not sure if there wouldn’t be problem again. He asked my forefather to settle in Offa and only use Ijehu as a farm settlement. The man agreed and that was how many of our people were made to come over to Offa. We were given land at Ile Amulekangbo Baale Oke but some also had to settle at Isale Ago because of their large number. Offa always looks up to us for help in time of crisis, till date. Our sons and daughters usually contribute to the development of Offa. Currently my son is the ODU Secretary General in Houston Texas and every year they bring help to Offa.
But you attacked Oloffa’s aides?
(One Rasheed Eso, cuts in) That is a blatant lie, because my father was beaten up. We were about to report to Olofa, we met him on the way; he crossed my father’s car and ordered his thugs to beat up my father. He loaded about two Hilux, they stopped my father at St Clairs on his way coming to the police station to report him. They tore his cloths. They locked my father who is 85 years old. He apprehended four of our people. The fifth one, who is now in the hospital, Olofa ordered his driver to hit the boy on his bike. He is on the hospital now. They came to our family, Akingbasa family and started shooting. They uprooted the graves of our fathers on the land.
(Chief Moshood Adeogun, resumes): We are peace loving in Ijehu, we don’t like trouble. If Kabiyesi wants peace let him leave our land and then we will talk.
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