There is concern in the household of Mr. Samson Olawale Olalere of the Eleyele area of Ibadan, Oyo State, as he claims that the community's native cult worshippers have served a one-month ultimatum on his family that he should either emerge as the new Oluawo (herbal chief) of the area or face unpleasant consequences.
The 33-year-old Olalere said he is by tradition, the heir apparent to the aged Oluawo of the area, adding that he had been living in fear as a result of frequent threatening phone calls from the cult group.
He said prominent and influential members of the group had visited his Ikorodu residence in Lagos, to warn him of the dire consequence of his decision not to accept the offer.
The current Oluawo who is aged 96 years, according to him, is mandated by age-long traditions to install and perform the traditional rites and rituals that would usher in the new Oluawo of the town, before his demise, for the peace and prosperity of the old community.
There is now serious tension in the community, he said as the cult group has allegedly threatened to trace him to anywhere in the country through magical powers and paralyse him if he fails to surrender himself before the community's native shrine.
According to a chief in the community who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, "It's very important that the family bring Olalere and make him accept the traditional role, as his continued refusal would spell a lot of danger for him, and the community at large should prepare for the misfortunes that would follow."
He also stressed, "It's very important that the rites and sacrifices are performed before the demise of the current Oluawo."
According to him, "it has been the customs and a tradition that any passing Oluawo must perform some rites to usher in his successor before his demise. So it is a must for the family to produce Olalere or wait for the penalties and dangers that will follow, if the current Oluawo should pass on without performing the necessary rituals."
All attempts by our correspondent to speak with the leaders of the family were fruitless as none of them was willing to talk about it for fear of native curses.