Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Sequel to the appointment of the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, as the Chairman of the Ekiti State Traditional Council, some aggrieved monarchs have gone to court to seek the nullification of the action taken by the state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
The 16 most prominent monarchs in the state called ‘Pelupelu Obas’ described the action taken by Fayemi-picking someone outside the 16 Obas called ‘Alademerindinlogin’ to occupy the exalted seat-as a flagrant violation of the Ekiti State Chieftaincy Law.
Fayemi had last week appointed Oba Alabi as the council chairman to serve for a period of two years following the expiration of the tenure of Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju.
Joined in the suit with the registration number HAD/76/2019 are Governor Fayemi (1st defendant); Attorney General of Ekiti State, Wale Fapohunda (2nd defendant) and Oba Adebanji Alabi, who is the third defendant.
An originating summon filed by Dr. B.A.M. Ajibade((SAN) on August 7, 2019, and deposed to by Ajero of Ajero, Oba Joseph Adewole, on behalf of other 15 Obas, sought an interlocutory injunction restraining Fayemi from swearing in Alawe as the chairman of the council.
The claimants sought the following declarations: ‘Whether the 1st defendant is empowered under Council of Traditional Rulers Law, Cap 15, Laws of Ekiti State 2012, to appoint the chairman of Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers on a bi-annual rotational basis from among only class of Obas constituted-
‘That the claimants are the only valid authentic Obas or traditional rulers under the classification of Alademerindinlogun qualified to be so appointed as chairman’.
Also requested was a declaration “that the 3rd respondent can’t be appointed as chairman of the council in consonance to the Ekiti State Traditional Council Law.
“A declaration that the appointment of the 3rd defendant by the 1st was a flagrant violation of the law, unlawful, null and void, unjustifiable and unsustainable.
“An order nullifying the appointment of the 3rd defendant as the chairman of the council of traditional rulers.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendant as chairman of the traditional council and other relevant orders as deem first by the court.”
By composition, the Council of Ekiti State Traditional Council has permanent and rotational members.
The statute stipulated that: “The permanent and rotational members shall be appointed by the governor from among the recognised traditional rulers in the state.
“There shall be a chairman for the council who shall be appointed by the governor on bi-annual rotation among the Pelupelu Obas in the state,” the Obas stated.
In a letter earlier written to the governor on August 2 and signed by 15 Pelupelu Obas with the exception of Oore of Otun, Oba Adedapo Popoola, who traveled abroad, the monarchs told Fayemi to reverse the action, saying a court had earlier struck out a suit filed by five monarchs who were promoted to Pelupelu and seeking recognition of that status.
They said the promotion of Alawe, Olosi, Olojudo (Ido Ile), Arajaka and Oluyin to Pelupelu rank by the state government was an erosion of the tradition, adding that all the appointments were done in violation of the tradition and existing laws.
The traditional rulers said they were opposed to the appointment, and threatened that they won’t attend the inauguration of Alawe as council chairman and any meeting of the council which he presides.
“We respectfully state that we would be creating a bad precedence to accept to sit under a chairmanship of Alawe as it would amount to a disregard for the tradition on earth and a sin against our forefathers,” they said.