From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Ekiti State Government has reversed the appointment and installation of a new quarter head for Ulara Quarters in Ilamo Ekiti in Ikole Local Government on grounds that the process neither underwent due process nor received its approval.
The Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, who gave the directive at a peace meeting with stakeholders from Ilamo Ekiti noted that the appointment and installation of an unauthorised individual as Eleeshe of Ulara Quarters by the Alamo, Oba Adebayo Awoseyila, was wrong since the position was not vacant in the eye of the law.
According to a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Odunayo Ogunmola, the Deputy Governor affirmed that the only Eleeshe recognised by the state government is the current occupant of the seat, Chief Ezekiel Olanipekun, condemning the purported appointment and installation of one Olajiire Olayode by Oba Awoseyila which he said violated the provision of the State Chiefs Law.
Otunba Egbeyemi who expressed dismay with the purported appointment of another Eleeshe said the action ran contrary to government’s earlier directive that parties in the chieftaincy crisis should maintain status quo and not resort to self-help pending the resolution of the matter which is before a court of law.
He maintained that the Alamo ought to have followed due process before invoking any sanction against the Eleeshe.
The Deputy Governor, who warned that government would not tolerate any breakdown of law and order in Ilamo Ekiti stressed that the full wrath of the law would be visited on any individual or group who sponsors violence in the community.
Egbeyemi subsequently referred the matter to a committee of the State Council of Traditional Rulers which is expected to make recommendations that would guide government on the issue.
He said: “This chief (Olanipekun) who is before me is the only Eleeshe that is duly recognised by the government and as far as this government is concerned, we don’t know another Eleeshe. Kabiyesi (Alamo) did not follow due process and whatever you did without following due process is illegal, null and void.
“Kabiyesi, I don’t want you to take the law into your hands. It is wrong of you to make an attempt to install another chief when the matter is still in court. Any action you want to take, you must put government on notice through the Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs.”
Responding to an allegation by the Alamo, the Deputy Governor also warned Chief Olanipekun against involvement in and sponsoring violence against his kinsmen in a bid to retain his position as the Eleeshe.
The Deputy Governor advised Chief Olanipekun to go back home and join hands with the Alamo to ensure peace and development of the town since his application for autonomy did not succeed reiterating that he is not an Oba but a chief under the Alamo.
Otunba Egbeyemi also cautioned traditional chiefs demanding autonomy for their quarters to toe the line of peace and not take the law into their hands in the pursuit of their bid.
While noting that the demand for autonomy was not against the law, the Deputy Governor counselled that nobody should hide under the demand to engage in any unlawful activity that can undermine peaceful coexistence.
The Deputy Governor noted that Governor Kayode Fayemi wants peace and tranquility to prevail in all parts of the state to facilitate sustainable development and fulfillment of his administration’s development agenda.
Chief Olanipekun had earlier claimed that the Alamo had installed Olayode as the Eleeshe contrary to the directive of the state government and in defiance of the case in court.
He also claimed that some youths of the community were agitated and spoiling for a showdown but the intervention of security agencies prevented a breakdown of law and order.
Oba Awoseyila, in his submission, accused Chief Olanipekun of perpetrating violence and abandoning his traditional duties which prompted issuance of two queries to him which he refused to answer.
The Alamo denied ever appointing another Eleeshe saying he only had the intention of doing so because Chief Olanipekun has refused to perform his traditional duties despite the Governor’s order that he should maintain peace and attend palace meetings.
The monarch said the decision to appoint another Eleeshe was reached because of the chiefs alleged recalcitrant behaviour and was approved by the Alamo-in-Council.