Fayemi, Alaafin Hold Talks over Crisis in Ekiti Council of Obas
Monarchs tell Makinde to call Oyo ruler to order
By Martins Ifijeh
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, at the weekend met with the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, over the raging leadership tussle among traditional rulers in the state.
The meeting, at the palace of the Alaafin in Oyo, was held against the backdrop of the monarch’s intervention, to enable the governor clarify some grey areas to the monarch.
The monarch, in a letter to Fayemi, dated March 12, 2020, purportedly written along with other top Yoruba traditional rulers , including Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona; Alake of Egbaland, Oba Gbadebo Adedotun and Owa of Ijeshaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, had cautioned Fayemi against disrupting the historical leadership system in Ekiti State, based on the Pelupelu grading.
The letter, which has further deepened the leadership crisis in Ekiti State, drew rebuttal yesterday from the state Council of Obas, which called on Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde to caution Oba Adeyemi over what it termed ‘undue interference’ into monarchial affairs in Ekiti State.
Sources told THISDAY yesterday that the meeting with Oba Adeyemi was held at the behest of Fayemi who felt it would be more proper to personally brief the traditional ruler instead of responding to his letter.
“It was a meeting held behind closed doors, essentially to discuss the letter he(Alaafin) wrote. The governor just felt that it would be better for him to give the monarch the honour by going to see him instead of replying his letter. The Alaafin was overwhelmed by the governor’s gesture as the expectation was that he would fire back,” the source stated.
According to the source, efforts are being made to resolve the crisis, which predated the Fayemi administration, adding that a delegation of top Yoruba monarchs, likely to be led by the Ooni, is expected to arrive in Ekiti today to hold discussion with the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, on how to resolve the crisis.
Responding to THISDAY inquiry on what transpired during the meeting between the governor and Oba Adeyemi, Fayemi’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, simply said “they had fruitful discussion.”
However, in the response to the Alaafin, signed by the Chairman of the Ekiti State Council of Obas and Alawe of Ilawe, Oba Adebanji Ajibade Alabi,, the councils said the action of the Alaafin was unbecoming, adding that the content of the letter was unwarranted as he cannot superintend over the monarchy in Ekiti State.
Alabi said: “The letter of Oba Adeyemi contained a lot of misrepresentation of facts and inaccurate accounts of events between the state government and Ekiti State traditional institution
“It is a matter of fact and law that grading, classification and composition of Council of Obas in Ekiti State and perhaps anywhere in Nigeria is governed by law through government gazettes even from the colonial era.
“From his letter, Alaafin is unable to define what qualifies an Oba to be a Pelupelu Oba. He is not aware of the fact that among the first group of Obas that formed the association in 1900 were: Deji of Akure (Ondo State) and Owalobo of Obo Ayegunle (Kwara State) who have since left the association.”
According to him, the Alaafin goofed to say that from time immemorial, obaship leadership had been within the 16 obas who he could neither name nor mention.
The council described Alaafin as a traditional ruler who enjoys stirring controversies and crises where there are none.
“He is without doubt a meddlesome interloper who is bent on exporting the crisis he engineered in old Oyo State during which the traditional council was unable to hold a single meeting as a result of leadership tussle between him and the Ooni of Ife until Osun was carved out of old Oyo State,” he added.
Alabi said the council was offended by the vituperation poured on Fayemi through what it described as Alaafin’s unsolicited intervention, adding that Alaafin’s letter was borne out of ignorance.