A retired bishop of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Ayo Ladigbolu, is among the contestants for the vacant position of the Alaafin of Oyo who will appear for screening before kingmakers on Thursday (today), The PUNCH reports.
The kingmakers had earlier shortlisted 86 princes who have shown interest. They have since been taking turns to appear for screening.
Ahead of his screening, however, The PUNCH learnt that the 84-year-old retired bishop has raised questions concerning the screening process which will lead to the emergence of a new Alaafin of Oyo.
In a letter addressed to the Oyo chiefs, Ladigbolu demanded an explanation on how the 49 names of interested princes submitted by the Agunloye family to Babayaji ended up as 86 names.
Ladigbolu wrote, “How are you going to resolve the controversy concerning the number of princes tabled by the Agunloye family, which is 49, and the 86 tabled by Babayaji? I hope it is not that wheat has been mixed with the chaff.
“Have the chiefs and Atiba Local Government authorities found a way to differentiate between the authentic princes and the fakes? What will happen to the N200, 000 which will be paid by those who are not authentic princes?”
Seeking further clarification, he asked, “What is the total number of chiefs that currently constitute the Oyomesi itself? Are all the chiefs taking part in the ongoing screening of princes?
“The whole world knows that only six chiefs are required as stipulated in the law guiding the selection of a new Alaafin (Declaration 1961). The chiefs are Basorun, Agbaakin, Samu, Akinniku, Alapinni and Laguna.
“The whole world also knows that Alapinni is ill, which has been preventing him from attending meetings.
“Does the law permit Alapinni to delegate a representative to the meeting?
“Does the law say the remaining five chiefs cannot carry on with the screening process?
“Does the law empower the entire chiefs to add to members of the council charged with selecting a new king? If that is the case, who has the law empowered to do such, and how are we going to do it under the law?”
A source close to the retired bishop, who did not want his name in print because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said he decided to raise the questions because he noticed that six chiefs are currently carrying out the screening.
“Baba wants to know the sixth person on the screening panel and his duty on the panel. His questions are valid,” the source said.