The murdered traditional ruler in Ekiti


Late Oba Gbadebo Ibiloye Ogunsakin

IN bizarre circumstances last week, Oba Gbadebo Ibiloye Ogunsakin, the Onise of Odo Oro in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State, was stabbed to death  allegedly by a man initially described as insane. The traditional ruler’s daughter, Mrs. Taiwo Daramola, however, claimed that the assailant was of sound mind. She wondered how someone who was sane enough to vote during the recent governorship election in the state could suddenly be presumed insane after allegedly committing murder.


Initial reports said that the traditional ruler was attacked as he prepared to depart from the venue of a traditional council meeting which he presided over. The attacker then vanished into thin air, causing furore in the previously sedate community. On the other hand, Oba Ogunsakin’s family claimed that he was attacked on his way from a prayer session.  Thankfully, the suspect, 40-year-old Omonoyi Ademola, was later arrested. He claimed that he was told by the spirits and his family that it was the turn of his clan to reign over the community, and that based on this information, he headed for the palace on the fateful day.

The state Commissioner of Police, Bello Muhammed, who paraded Omoniyi with 26 other suspects, told journalists that he did not believe he was insane going by his conduct and actions so far. According to the CP, it was illogical to think that a mentally challenged person could kill a traditional ruler with a knife, escape into the bush and then travel to Ado Ekiti, the state capital, where he was later arrested.

Indeed, it is quite absurd for a royal father to be so vulnerable as to be easily accessed and mortally stabbed within his community. It is a sad commentary on the efficiency of the traditional council which could not provide adequate security, at least by the local guards. If the traditional ruler could be so easily slain, it says much about how much premium members of the council place on the lives of ordinary folks in the community. The protection of elders is generally supposed to be a communal function and since this has obviously failed in Odo Oro community, the community has to search itself to know what went wrong within it to warrant the cheap exposure and eventual death of its ruler. The event certainly portends danger because there is no telling who might be the next to fall in the hands of an assailant.

It would seem presumptuous, not to say naive, to claim that life is safer in rural areas, as opposed to the urban centres. As the Odo Oro tragedy has proved, such a view is no longer tenable. Sociologists may have some work to do in this area to give insight into these tragic developments in order to provide the path to follow in policing rural communities in the country. More than ever, there is a need for better community, and intelligence-driven, policing.This poin

t was canvassed for by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his memo to the Inspector General of Police where he ordered the reorganisation of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) while acting as president recently.

There is so much amiss in the accounts of the Ekiti murder. We urge the police to get to the root of the matter and ensure that justice is done. May the soul of Oba Ogunsakin rest in sweet repose.


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