Ekiti Chiefs Kick against Fayemi’s Appointment of New Monarch

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Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

The Ogoga-in-Council of Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti State, has declared as null and void the recognition granted by the state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, to Olukere of Ikere, Oba Ganiyu Obasoyin, as a traditional ruler, describing the “balkanisation” of the town as sacrilegious and wicked.

The council chaired by Sapetu of Oke Ikere, Chief Olufemi Babatola, bluntly rejected the autonomy granted Odo-Oja, a section of Ikere Ekiti, and delineated territory to be presided over by the new Oba.

Based on the outcome of the Justice Jide Aladejana-led Chieftaincy Review Commission, which found Olukere’s claim as an Oba credible, Fayemi had last week recognised him as a full-fledged Oba, and he also designated Odo Oja axis of the town as his territory.

A statement signed by the 16 members of the council yesterday said the governor’s action buttressed the fact that he was being allegedly vindictive for losing the 2018 governorship election in Ikere Council to an indigene of the town and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Prof Kolapo Eleka.

Maintaining that Fayemi’s action was also allegedly contemptuous, the chiefs said: “We have long instituted a case at the Ekiti State High Court to challenge the legitimacy of the claim of the Olukere of being made an Oba.”

The governor and the state Attorney-General (AG) were made defendants in the suit for purposes of making them bound by the decision of the court on the subject matter.

“As a matter of respect to a court of law, once a subject matter is brought before the court, no party is expected to do anything that could have the effect of rendering the decision of the court on the subject matter nugatory.

“In a calculated attempt to deviate from this noble obligation, the governor and the Attorney-General recently brought a motion before the court for their names to be struck out on the purported premise that they are not proper parties to the suit.

“That motion of the state government was ruled upon in favour of the state on October 8, 2021, by the then Chief Judge-designate, Justice Adeyeye.

“Within a twinkle of an eye, a statement issued by the state Secretary to the Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs surfaced, and Ganiyu Obasoyin was called to the Governor’s Office, and by the time he came out from there, he was wielding his staff of office as an Oba.

“That the state government would in such a situation pronounce Olukere as an Oba and give him staff of office spoke volumes of the attitude of Fayemi to the judicial system of our state and country at large.”

They stated that the alleged evil machination by the governor to ruin Ikere’s traditions, culture and customs as bequeathed to them by the founders of the land and our forefathers will not endure.

The Chiefs argued that the Odo Oja, where Fayemi awarded the autonomy to be presided over by Olukere is being headed by Chief Ologotun for ages, saying it was a sacrilege, aberration and absurdity for that axis to be constituted into a town.

“It was in 1987, before the Augustus Adebayo Chieftaincy Commission set up by the then old Ondo State Government that the family of Olukere first made a case for Obaship recognition. The verdict of the commission was that Olukere is just a priest of Olosunta, and that he was not the founder of Ikere, and the authentic founder and first settler at Odo Oja being Aladeselu,” they stated.

Shedding more light on the lingering crisis, the chiefs disclosed that the Ekiti State Traditional Rulers’ Council had allegedly rejected similar request in 2014, saying Olukere’s position is that of a priest.

The chiefs said: “We know that Governor Fayemi has been viciously vindictive against the unity of our kingdom as a reprisal for the defeat he suffered in Ikere to our son, Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka, the immediate-past deputy governor, in the 2018 governorship election.”