By Victor Ogunje
The Chairman of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Ajibade Alabi, has appealed to the state monarchs not to be agitated by fear that the state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, was planning to acquire lands in some towns for ranching for Fulani herders.
The head of the monarchs, who is the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, said he had got assurances from the state government that the wish of the traditional rulers and Ekiti people would prevail in the matter.
Last Wednesday, some traditional rulers under the aegis of Majority Obas of Ekiti Land (MOBEL) had opposed the establishment of ranching proposed by the federal government under its National Livestock Programme.
The monarchs in a letter dated March 25, 2021, and addressed to the governor expressed opposition to the Ekiti State decision to adopt the project following preponderance of complaints from subjects both home and abroad.
The letter was signed by the Chairman of the Majority Obas in Ekiti Land, Olomuoke of Omuooke-Ekiti, Oba Vincent Otitoju; the Secretary, Onikun of Ikun Amure-Ekiti, Oba Olatunde Olusola, and 79 other monarchs.
They said the federal government proposed plan to acquire land for herdsmen for grazing activities is a ‘crystal imperialist agenda’ with potent potential to cause serious security challenges for the host communities.
But dousing the tension elicited by the fear that the government was allegedly contemplating keying into the federal government project, Oba Alabi in a statement issued yesterday said: “The attention of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers has been drawn to a publication made by some traditional rulers under the aegis of Majority Obas in Ekiti Land (MOBEL) alleging that Governor Fayemi intends to cede land to some people for cattle ranching or grazing.
“I wish to state unequivocally that the allegation was not true as the governor has no plans to cede an inch of our land to any group of people for ranching.
“Available information from the state government revealed that the news making the round on plans to cede land was meant to cause disaffection among our people. The chairman of the traditional council, therefore, appealed to monarchs to show some circumspection in reacting to news from social media in this era of misinformation, disinformation and fake news.”
He said: “I therefore appeal to all traditional rulers and the various communities in the state to remain calm that there was no cause for alarm or tension on ranching as the governor has made it abundantly clear that no part of our land would be ceded.”