An oil and gas magnate, Prince Ademola Oluponle has been elected as the 16th Aree of Iree Land in Osun State after four years after the stool became vacant due to the death of Oba Jimoh Olayonu who was from Olaro ruling house.
After the death of the monarch, five ruling houses namely, Oyekunle, Oyetite, Iyaola, Ojo and Olubonku lay claims to the stool. However, a prince from Iyaola, Alhaji Lasisi Ayinde Lawal took the kingmakers and the other ruling houses to the State High Court, Oshogbo. He claimed that it was the turn of his ruling house to produce the next king.
Iyaola was the third ruling house in the chieftaincy Declaration of Aree of Iree. They were supposed to produce the king after Olayonu’s predecessor, Oba Michael Omotosho of the Oyetite ruling house died in 2003. They were unable to produce a candidate. The next two ruling houses, Ojo and Olubonko were also unable to produce a king. The third, fourth and five ruling houses thereafter had a misunderstanding and were unable to settle for a candidate so the sixth ruling house, Olaro produced Olayonu who became the king.
While the case was in court, another ruling house, Olubonku claimed another ruling house had produced the king more than once so they should be given the chance to rule as well.
However, in its ruling, Justice Jide Falola of the State High Court, Oshogbo pronounced Iyaola, Olabonku, Oyetite and Oyekun as the ruling houses eligible to produce a candidate to fill the stool.
When it was time for the selection process, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy title, Adebayo Adeleke appointed Iyalode of Iree, Serifat Adebayo as member of the town’s kingmaker. Others frowned at it stating that the commissioner wanted to put his anointed candidate on the stool. The court cases and kingmaker’s case dragged on for four years before 11 aspirants signified interest and Oluponle emerged the winner. The king-elect is the Chief Executive Officer of Arise and Shine Energy Limited, a firm in oil and gas business.