WHO is the authentic Erelu of Lagos between Erelu Sherifatu Abiola Dosumu Fernandez and late Erelu Abiola Solabomi Dosumu?
This controversy between these two women has been raging on for some years now but died down after sometime without anybody knowing the authentic Erelu between the two women.
The controversy reared its head again when one of the two women died on January 1, 2014.
In fact, there was a bit of pandemonium when the news came on the internet that Erelu of Lagos was dead.
Many people thought it was the popular socialite, Erelu Abiola Dosumu Fernandez, that was being referred to; not until clarification by some of the bloggers that she was not the one.
The bloggers still did not help matters when they referred to the late Erelu as Erelu of Lagos, Erelu Iledi Osugbo of Lagos.
When the late Erelu was buried on Friday, February 14, 2014, the issue of who is the authentic Erelu of Lagos between the two came up again.
ENCOMIUM Weekly, therefore, took it upon itself to know which of the two women is the authentic Erelu of Lagos. From our investigation, we gathered that the surviving Erelu was installed Erelu Kuti of Lagos in 1974 by virtue of her lineage to the progenitor of that title, Erelu Kuti 1, who was the sister of Oba Akinsemoyin, and later the mother of Oba Ologunkutere, the lineage from which all Obas of Lagos up to the incumbent one emerged.
The late Erelu, according to our findings, is Erelu of Iledi Osugbo of Lagos, a sort of chieftaincy title.
According to a prominent white cap chief who spoke to us on condition of anonymity (because he said it is only Oba Akiolu who has authority to speak on the issue). “The one (Erelu) that is alive is Erelu Kuti of Lagos and the one that has just died is Erelu Iledi Osugbo of Lagos.”
What is the difference between the two we asked? “Sheri Abiola Dosumu, the Erelu Kuti of Lagos is a white cap chief, while the other one Erelu Abiola Solabomi Dosumu is not,” he said.
He said conflicts in the past brought about the installation of Erelu Iledi Osugbo of Lagos and that now that she is dead, there can be only one Erelu which is Erelu Kuti of Lagos.
“Anybody who is not descendant of our first Oba, Oba Ado and does not have any lineage to Erelu Kuti cannot be Erelu of Lagos,” he further said.
When ENCOMIUM Weekly pointed it out to him that the two Erelus are from Dosumu family which indicates that they are from the royal family, he explained that only one of the Dosumu is from the royal family and that is that of Erelu Kuti, which is Erelu Abiola Dosumu-Fernandez.
When ENCOMIUM Weekly contacted Erelu Abiola Dosumu-Fernandez, it was her Personal Assistant that picked her call. She told us her boss was not around but obliged to answer our questions on her behalf. These are her response to our questions.
The mistaken identity between the two (Erelus) came because both of them bear the name Abiola Dosumu. But the other one is also referred to as Erelu of Lagos, we asked. “No, she is Erelu Iledi of Lagos. The confusion came in when she dropped Iledi from her title. She is Erelu Iledi of Lagos. You are not a stranger in Lagos, you know who is Erelu of Lagos. You know who you see around in the palace and all other places. That woman (late Erelu) is Erelu Iledi of Lagos. There is no controversy. We have Erelu of royalty being the mother of the king. We have Erelu Iledi of Lagos. Erelu of Lagos who is also Erelu Kuti has been there for 40 years.”
But we gathered that she was installed as Erelu of Lagos by Oba Adeyinka Oyekan in 1984, we asked again. “How can (Oba) Oyekan install her as Erelu? I am her PA and I am not a Lagosian but I know that she was installed as Erelu Iledi. Only descendants of royalty in Lagos can be installed Erelu of Lagos. The woman (late Erelu) is not of royalty. She was Erelu Iledi. There is an Iledi in Lagos Island, go there and find out.
“You know when people want to be mischievous or arrogate to themselves what they are not, they are silent on the truth,” she said.
The PA to Erelu Abiola Dosumu-Fernandez went down memory lane to trace the etymology of the title Erelu Kuti of Lagos. “The first Erelu Kuti was the sister of the king. Later, she became mother of the king. For 400 years now her descendants have been kings of Lagos. If you go to Oba of Lagos, he too will tell you that his claim to the throne is as a result of his lineage to that of Ologunkutere who was the son of Erelu Kuti.
“So, this woman (late Erelu) who is an outsider who is from a chieftaincy family cannot be referred to as Erelu of Lagos, when you have a queen mother who descended directly from the person who created the dynasty,” she said.
“Now, we thank God, her death now will clarify the situation of people imposing on themselves what they are not,” she concluded.
– TOLANI ABATTI