Tension as Fayemi allegedly moves to depose Ewi, 10 others
·No such plans-Govt
Palpable fear has gripped Ekiti State as strong indications emerged that Governor Kayode Fayemi was allegedly making moves to dethrone the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe and 10 other aggrieved prominent traditional rulers in the state otherwise called ‘pelupelu Obas’.
The affected Obas include Ewi of Ado-Ekiti Oba Rufus Adejugbe; Oloye of Oye Oba Oluwole Ademolaju; Elekole of Ikole Oba Adewumi Fasiku; Elemure of Emure Oba Emmanuel Ogunleye; Ajero of Ijero Oba Joseph Adewole; Alara of Aramoko, Oba Adegoke Adeyemi.
Others are: Ogoga of Ikere-Ekiti Oba Samuel Adejimi; Olomuo of Omuo Oba Noah Omonigbehin; Alaaye of Efon Oba Emmanuel Aladejare; Ologotun of Oguntun Oba Samuel Oyebade and Olujudo of Ido-Faboro, Oba Ayorinde Ilori-Faboro.
The monarchs, according to a reliable source in the Government House, Ado-Ekiti, might be dethroned for their absence at Government functions and Obas Council’s statutory meetings.
There has been an intractable crisis between Fayemi and the most prominent traditional rulers over the rejection of Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, as the new chairman of Ekiti traditional Council.
The prominent monarchs had on August 9 instituted litigation with registration number HAD/76/2019 before an Ado-Ekiti High Court, challenging the appointment of Oba Alabi by Governor Fayemi.
In a writ of summons file, the 17 Obas urged the court to reverse Fayemi’s action on the premise that Alawe was not recognised by statute to chair the council.
They claimed they had the exclusive rights to head the council, among the 22 members, in line with the extant tradition and the State Chieftaincy Laws.
The aggrieved 17 monarchs said they were opposed to the appointment and threatened they won’t attend the inauguration of Alawe as Council Chairman and any meeting of the council where he presides.
However, five out of the 17 aggrieved prominent monarchs- Onisan of Isan Ekiti Oba Gabriel Adejuwon; Attah of Ayede-Ekiti, Oba Abdulmumin Orisagbemi; Onitaji of Itaji-Ekiti Oba Idowu Babalola; Owa of Oke-Imesi, Oba Gbadebo Adedeji and Arinjale of Ise-Ekiti, Oba Ajayi Adetunji back-pedaled and have been attending the council meeting presided over by Oba Alabi.
But, since the appointment was made on July 31, the other 11 aggrieved Obas, shunned the council meeting and government function owing to the impression that Alawe was politically promoted to that rank and that he was not qualified to occupy the exalted seat.
The source noted the monarchs might be dethroned soon for allegedly desecrating the proper administration of chieftaincy matters and taking dissident actions and inactions against the Fayemi-led administration.
“I think Mr. Governor has directed the ministry of local government and chieftaincy matters to issue a query to them demanding explanation on their absence at the statutory Council meeting and government function they were invited to.
“As things stand now, the affected 11 prominent traditional rulers might be dethroned if they failed to respond to the query issued them.
“Since the crisis began, different reconciliation moves has been made by Governor Fayemi, the Minister of Trade, Investment and Commerce, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and particularly the Ekiti State Council of Elders. But all efforts to broker peace were obviously rejected by the warring obas.
“The Governor at different meetings told them that his actions on the appointment of Oba Alabi were based on the existing Ekiti State chieftaincy records.
“And that officially there are 22 Pelupelu obas in the record. And that he didn’t elevate any Obas to Pelupelu status.
“But could you believe, the remaining 11 monarchs because of their backers have refused to attend Council meetings, Mr Governor’s first year anniversary, the turning of sod of the council chambers, budget presentation and other engagement they were invited since August last year.
“They even requested for out- of- court settlement on the litigation instituted against Governor Fayemi and His Excellency agreed. But they have not made any overtures to the government for out of court settlement.
“So, the Government has now rejected it since it has been uncovered that the aggrieved monarchs are just using out-of court settlement plea as delay tactics to frustrate the two years tenure of Oba Alabi, which has spent 8 months.
“So, in view of that the government is not ready for dilly-dally anymore. And the Government can no longer fold its hands when this people keep desecrating the administration of Chieftaincy matters in the state.
“The governor has been quite tolerant and amiable. How many Governors can accept that for six months?
‘’Former Emir, Lamido Sanusi didn’t do up to that before he was deposed. And one of the accusations levied against Sanusi was that he shunned official state functions.
“And it was learnt from good authority that Ewi of Ado-Ekiti has provided sanctuary for them.
‘’Ewi is holding illegal meeting of dissident Obas in his place and plotting against the government. The governor has been very tolerant for their actions and inactions.”
The Government, through the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, has queried the aggrieved monarchs to give explanations for their absence from the statutory council monthly meetings and Government functions for the past six months.
The Bureau, in a letter dated March 11, 2020 and signed by its Permanent Secretary, Mr. A.O Adeoye, said their deliberate actions and inactions without any justification flagrantly negate the administration of chieftaincy institution in the state.
A copy of the paragraph letter marked P&E/CH/118/Vol.VII and entitled “Re: Absence from State functions and Council of Traditional Rulers’ monthly meeting” and sighted by our correspondent, indicated that the Governor Fayemi has given the aggrieved monarchs 72hrs to respond to the query issued them.
The letter reads in part: “It has come to the notice of Mr Governor that your royal majesty has not be attending the monthly statutory meeting of the state council of traditional rulers and state official functions since August 2019.
“Your conspicuous absence at the council meetings and state official function without any excuse or justification is considered inimical to the proper administration of the chieftaincy institution you represent.
“Therefore, Mr. Governor has directed that your royal majesty should forward your representation for this inaction through his Office within 78 hours of the receipt of this letter”.
In lieu of this development, a source close to one of the affected monarchs, told The Nation that the affected traditional rulers held an emergency meeting on Wednesday, where they all resolved not to respond to the query.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Yinka Oyebode, confirmed 11 affected monarchs were queried but denied the government was planning to dethrone any monarchs.
He described the allegations as mere conjectural statements and malicious misrepresentation of the true situation.
He declared the rumour was attempt by the opposition to incite the people against the government.
“It is a truism that the Attorney General of the state, Mr Olawale Fapohunda wrote to the Bureau on Mr Governor’s directives. Consequently, the Bureau (through a senior official) wrote to the affected traditional rulers seeking for reasons for their prolonged absence at council meetings.
“The formal nature of the letter is what is being misconstrued to be a query.
“Contrary to insinuations, this is merely an administrative matter which is neither contentious nor confrontational.
“It is definitely not a ploy or plan to remove any Oba from office. As public officers, our traditional rulers act as the direct link between government and their domains; they have expected duties and functions, and as an administrative head, Mr Governor should be aware of reasons why such duties are not being carried out.
“It is on record that some of the Obas had earlier written Mr Governor to give legitimate reasons for their absence which have been accepted.
“The letter in focus was written to only about 11 Obas whose absence could not be explained and not to the 16 Pelupelu as erroneously reported.
“The Governor holds all our traditional rulers in high esteem and reverence as expected of an Omoluabi.
“No arm of government discussed nor considered dethroning any Kabiyesi at any time because there is no basis for such.
“Any rumour claiming that Governor Fayemi is planning to dethrone any Oba in Ekiti State is a deliberate and malicious misrepresentation of the true situation.