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‘I Am The Authentic Traditional Ruler of Sango Ota’ -Baale Abdulwasiu Olawale Akilo

Baale Abdulwasiu Olawale Akilo says he is the authentic traditional ruler of Sango Ota in Ogun State.
While he is awaiting upgrading to the position of Oba by the Governor of the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun as recommended by the Olota of Ota, Oba Abdulkadir Obalanlege, Baale Akilo insists that anyone parading himself as Onisango of Sango is only wasting his time and that such a person is an impostor.
In this interview with the Publisher of Ogun News Express (ONE), Alhaji Malik Ibitoye, Baale Akilo speaks on some contentious issues about Sango Ota and why the Aworis should be regarded as the true owners of the land.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your name, the school you went to and your background?
My name is Abdulwasiu Olawale Akilo, the Baale of Sango Ota, I am the Olofin of Ota.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Ota. I went to local government school, Sango Ota for primary school, which is Ota District Council, later I went to Sango Ota High School. I later proceeded to the Lagos State University (LASU) to read Banking and Finance.
You said you are the Baale of Sango Ota and it amazes us because we understand that there is Onisango of Sango, who is a king and you are the Baale of Sango, can you explain this to us?
There is nothing like Onisango of Sango, the man is just a chief, he is not a king. We have all the court and government orders and letters from the Ministry of Justice that said he is not a king. He does not belong to any royal family in Sango.
Why is he claiming to be the Onisango of Sango?
He is an impostor; he has the backing of some people, who are trying to use impunity to suppress the enforcement of the court order on him. All the police officer or law enforcements agents know this.
Tell us how you became the Baale of Sango
I became the Baale of Sango Ota after the demise of the late Baale, Ebenezer Akanbi Akilo. He was my uncle. After that, the late Olota of Ota, Oba Osanyintola wrote to the ruling house to present the next candidate and I was presented as the Baale of Sango Ota. Before installation, we got the approval from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to install Abdulwasiu Olawale Akilo as the Baale  of Sango Ota after the prescribed authority of Olota of Ota.
Who was the Governor of Ogun State then?
The governor then was  Ibikunle Amosun.
After that, were you presented with any letter or staff of office as Baale?
I was presented a letter by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs with a certificate from the Olota of Ota and a letter from the Local Government.
Why is the person that said he is the Onisango of Sango parading himself because it is a matter of urgency that the government needs to clear?
What happens is that he is an impostor and he doesn’t want to respect the rule of law. He is among the Ali Baba and the 40 thieves that we are talking about, the marabas. He only uses that as a yardstick to scam some people and collect their money.
You are saying that Gboun is a scammer?
Gboun is a scammer and an impostor.
Now that you have said that he is a scammer and an impostor, why are some people still recognizing him and I believe that former president Olusegun Obasanjo also recognized him as Onisango of Sango then?
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo did not recognize him; he was asking whether there would be a place where they could input him, which is not possible. He has told him point blank, he has told all other chiefs that went to visit him that he has told Gboun that he should go and look for any chieftaincy title that he could give to him. They went to visit him at Hilltop in Abeokuta. Oluesgun Obasanjo did not recognize him at all.
Can you tell us the history of Sango Ota, some people said the place belongs to the Egbas, while some people said that it is owned by the Aworis, so who really owns Sango Ota?
Sango Ota belongs to the Aworis, who are the land owners; those who came to live with us acquired a plot of land or two from us with receipts. Anybody without Awori receipt in Sango Ota is not the owner of the plot. There are several families that own the land; the whole land in Sango Ota has rightful owners.
There was a story that there was a war between the Egbas and Aworis and that the Egbas defeated the Aworis, which made the Egbas to lay claim to all the lands in Sango Ota?
There is nothing like that in Awori. There was no time that the Egbas lay claim to our lands. I remember vividly during the time of the then Olota of Ota, Oba T.T Dada, when the Alake of Egbaland wrote a letter that he wanted to come and tour his fatherland in Ota, the Olota of Ota and the local government chairman then wrote to him that he could visit Ota land as a guest that Sango Ota and Otaland belong to the Aworis. That was what stopped the late Alake of Egbaland, Oba Oyebade Lipede from coming down here. I have a letter that they wrote to him to that effect that this land belongs to the Aworis and he did not challenge that letter and he had to stop.
We spoke to some prominent Egba indigenes in Sango Ota, who said you are just a Baale and that there is a king in Sango that 5,000 Baales do not amount to one king, referring to Gboun, what is your reaction to this?
Any resident in Sango Ota claiming to come from another tribe, they are our guests; they are living with us as guests. We did not disturb anybody, but anybody that is claiming that Sango Ota belongs to him is wrong because Sango Ota is under the authority of Olota of Ota. The only thing the government wants to do is to upgrade the Baales to Obas and since 2010 we have sent the letter and they told us that the letter has received acknowledgment that we would get the upgrade since 2010.
If this is done, will there not be issue?
There is no Oba in Sango Ota now, the Governor has said it, and the local government has said it. The only Oba that is coming is the Baale that they want to upgrade.
Can we then say that Sango Ota is a no man’s land?
How can Sango Ota be a no man’s land, when those who are living there know the families they bought their land from with survey. How can you say where you are staying and bought a land is a no man’s land.
Let’s look at Ketere section of Sango, it is populated by the Hausas, what about that?
They are our customary tenants. That place, the first settlement belongs to Ebiti Family, the Hausas can testify to that.
But we have Ago Gbagura and many Agos in Sango Ota, why did the Gbagura people from Abeokuta have a place in Sango Ota?
The Ago Gbagura you are seeing belongs to the Ajegan Family, which happens to be our land. My great grandfather welcomed the people from Gbagura when they were coming from where they went to sell their goods. As traders, they would sleep overnight in that place and start going home later. After a while they started getting one plot of land from our great grandfather and they would go home on weekends after selling their products.
What about Ago Igbiras?
The Igbiras also are customary tenants, they came before the Egbas. The Hausas were the first set of people to live with us, we gave them a place in Orita Alaafia. So, they never for one day say that the land belongs to them. They normally say that they are customary tenants of the Aworis. The Igbiras too say it out that they are our customary tenants. Anyone that claims Awori land in Ota is doing so at his own peril.
What advice do you have for the people that recognize Gboun as Oba of Sango?
They have a clique, they are foreign people and the government has told them to live in peace. They are impostors, what they are doing is against the law. If the law has not caught up with them, it will catch up with them any moment from now.
But the law enforcement agents know and they see it up and down that Gboun and his people parade him as king, why have they not arrested him?
We have some bad eggs among the officers that sell police information to them.
What is the position of the current Olota of Ota, Oba Obalanlege about the issue of the Obaship in Sango?
The current Olota of Ota, Oba Abdulkadir Obalanlege, Ekun 11 has called for peace meeting and he has told them that they were not chiefs in Ota unless they have been installed by the Olota of Ota. Many of them have realized that what they are doing is wrong. They have shown them the court order that it is only Oba Obalanlege that has the right to install anybody as a prescribed authority.
There are so many areas in Sango that have Baales for different environments even in Temidire, what do you think can be done to stop this?
What will make this to stop is the move taken by the Olota of Ota, he has installed Baales there directly. We have Baales in all those places installed by the Olota of Ota, any other person is an impostor.
What would you advise the state government to do on this issue?
During the tenure of former governor Ibikunle Amosun, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Muyiwa Oladipupo sent a memo to all the governments that anybody that paraded himself as Baale or an Oba without approval should be arrested by the law enforcement agencies. We want the current commissioner to do the same. Look at what is happening in Lagos State, if you call yourself Baale anyhow, they will get you arrested and prosecuted.
What efforts are you making to expedite action for you as a Baale to be upgraded to Oba by this incumbent government?
All what the government wanted from our prescribed authority, who is the Olota of Ota has been done. They are only waiting for the pronouncement by the government for the upgrading.
Are you hopeful that the government would do the right thing?
I am very hopeful that the government would do the just and the right thing because we are liasing with the government every time.
How many wives do you have?
I have wives, but I have only one wife.
How do you relax?
I relax by playing table tennis; I relax whenever I am free.
Do you intend to get more ‘oloris’?
Well, time will tell.

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