Kemi Olorunda, Ekiti
WHAT promised to be a long drawn battle between the Governor Kayode Fayemi led administration in Ekiti State and the Council of Traditional Rulers has been ignited with the suspension of the Orin Ekiti Kingamkers.
The suspended kingmakers of Orin Ekiti, Ido/Osi local government area of Ekiti State have threatened to take legal action against Governor Kayode Fayemi, if their suspension is not reversed.
The axed Kingmakers rejected their suspension by the Ekiti State Government and their replacement with warrant chiefs.
They tagged their suspension and subsequent appointment of warrant chiefs by government for the task of selecting a new Olorin, as an “act of illegality and flagrant desecration of tradition in the town,”they called on it to retrace its steps.
The selection of a new Olorin has been dogged with crisis caused by insistence of a section of the town and chiefs that the town has only two ruling houses, Olubunmo and Famokiti and rejected the third one called Ajibewa, saying the Ajibewa family was created by government with the aim of imposing a candidate on them.
The suspended chiefs passed a vote of no confidence in the appointment of warrant chiefs, describing them as political tools coming to destabilise the town.
The Olorin position became vacant following the demise of Oba Oluwole Olubunmo, in 2015.
Addressing newsmen in Ado-Ekiti on Monday, the Onikare of Orin Ekiti, Chief Bamidele Fasuyi and Eletin, Chief Francis Falua, alleged that they only heard about their suspension on radio, which they described as illegal, null and void in the face of the law.
Chief Fasuyi, who spoke on behalf of the chiefs, accused the government of acting like a “mafia” in the handling of the Obaship tussle in the town, by allegedly sidelining those that matter and pivotal to the selction of Oba.
He alleged that the government and Ajibewa family are bribing the townspeople to be on their side.
He said it was not true that the Kingmakers neglected their duty on selecting a new Olorin since 2015 when the late monarch, Oba Oluwole Olubunmo, passed on. But that government’s insistence on foisting a family not recognised by the town’s obaship history, had delayed the process.
Demanding that government allow the people of the town choose their next monarch, Chief Fasuyi said:
“Soldiers and policemen just invaded our town, particularly the palace and Apelua hall where we revered as sacred places. They forcefully went there and took away some of the paraphernalia relating to installation of Oba in Orin.
“In fact, just take a look at the calibre of warrant chiefs they brought, they were riffraffs and nonentities.
“At the demise of Olorin in 2015, the local government wrote to us and requested that we select someone from Ajibewa ruling house basing it on a gazette generated in 1998 under Navy Capt Atanda Yusuf.
“But we replied on behalf of the town that the town only knew of Olubunmo and Famokiti royal dynasties and that Ajibewa was a product of illegality. The gazette they relied on to us was a fake.
“The government should leave Orin alone. The Morgan commission of enquiry of 1978 established two ruling houses, so we didn’t know where they got the 1998 gazette that overrode the Morgan report.
“We want our suspension reversed with immediate effect and if they fail to act accordingly, we will have no option than to go to court to seek redress”, he said.
Fasuyi urged the government to make public, the recommendations of the Justice Jide Aladejana Judicial Commission of enquiry on chieftaincy issues that warranted the present action and stop being partisan by releasing to only Ajibewa group.
Chief Fasuyi on behalf of the Orin people described the concocted white paper generated in 1998 as a product of illegality.
But the Commissioner For Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prof Adio Folayan justified the action taken by government, saying the chiefs were suspended upon realising that they were not passionate about the selection process.
“The government had no vested interest in who becomes the Oba. But we have to act in public interest because there must not be any vacuum in the Obaship stool after five years.
“The Chieftaincy law permits us and gives the powers to government to appoint warrant chiefs and we acted within that powers”, he said