The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State has accused the Ataoja of Osogbo land, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji of issuing directives to non-indigenes to vote for all the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming general elections.
The allegation was contained in a statement signed by Tajudeen Lawal, the Osun APC acting Chairman and obtained on Saturday.
In the statement, the Osun APC noted that the posture of the Ataoja towards the APC was undemocratic and absolutely an act of illegality.
The party frowning at the alleged directive said a palace source had disclosed that the royal father had summoned the leaders of the Hausa, Igbo, Fulani and Ebira communities where he warned them against voting for any other political party.
According to the party, at the meeting, the Ataoja also directed attendees to switch off their telephones to ensure the video and audio versions of the meeting are not captured.
The party also stated that the absence of the Igbo community leader in the meeting drew the irk of the monarch who angrily maintained that it has become his habit to exclude himself from such meetings.
The statement said, “It is on record that the monarch has never hidden his dislike for the APC as he celebrated the loss of the party as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC on July 17, 2022.
“It is this despisement that the Ataoja has for the APC and Mr Gboyega Oyetola that has not made the Oba Oyetunji congratulate Oyetola since the governorship tribunal sacked his preferred candidate, the embattled Governor Ademola Adeleke, and withdrew his certificate of return to be given to Oyetola, the winner of the governorship election.”
While maintaining that the alleged directive from the traditional ruler breached the fundamental human right of association of those in attendance, Lawal urged the affected non-indigenes to resist all illegal directives that might be coming from any quarters to infringe on any of their fundamental human rights.
“Such directive from the Ataoja wasn’t within the purview of his constitutional roles and it’s capable of precipitating avoidable violence among the inhabitants of Osogbo.”
The Osun acting APC chairman advised Oba Oyetunji to be a father to all politicians irrespective of their political leanings.
Reacting on behalf of the palace, Wasiu Bello, the Secretary to Oba Oyetunji described the APC allegations as mere exaggeration and politicking.
Bello also maintained that the Ataoja never warned anybody from the communities.
In his words, “I convened that meeting as directed by His Royal Majesty, Ataoja of Osogbo.
“Even though I was not privy to the topic of the invitation, the usual topic is pertaining to Osogbo and its security. The Igbo, Hausa, Ebira and Fulani community representatives were in attendance.
“On Wednesday, the day of the meeting, other community representatives were in attendance except for the leader of the Igbo community
“I called the Igbo community leader to inquire why he was absent and he made me understand that he did not get any invitation and I assured him that I’d communicate with him whatever was discussed at the meeting.
“Ataoja only discussed matters pertaining to the security and welfare of Osogbo and appealed for calm with regard to the general elections. He also encouraged them to vote for any candidate of their choice.
“I was with the Ataoja and I never heard him issue any directive for phones to be switched off.”
Also, a rejoinder signed by the wife of the monarch who also doubles as his spokesperson, Kafayat Adedoyin Oyetunji stated that the statement by the APC sought to discredit the Ataoja and dent his reputation as a father to all irrespective of political leanings.
According to her, “The Ataoja of Osogbo has never been known to engage in any political activity that would breach the constitutional roles of his office. The directive given to some non-indigenes was in no way illegal or undemocratic as portrayed by some politicians. The Ataoja, in his capacity as the traditional ruler of Osogbo, has always sought to promote peace and unity among the people living in Osogbo and the recent directive was aimed at maintaining that peace.”
While reiterating that it was imperative for politicians in the state to desist from using the Ataoja for their political gains, she added that the monarch’s position as a monarch should not be taken for granted, and his role as a mediator and peacekeeper should be respected by all.
“The Ataoja should not be used as a political tool for settling scores and advancing personal interests.
“The Ataoja of Osogbo is a patriotic traditional ruler who has always acted in the best interest of his people. The statement by the Osun State chapter of the APC is not only an affront to the Ataoja, but it is also a disservice to the people of Osogbo who have always held the Ataoja in high esteem.”
She also advised the politicians not to drag the monarch into their political mudslinging and show respect for the Ataoja stool as he remained a father to all and a symbol of unity, peace, and stability in Osogboland.