Woke Balogun, Ado Ekiti
No fewer than 16 traditional rulers known as ‘Pelupelu Obas’ have dragged Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi to court over his recent appointment of the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, as the chairman of the state’s Council of Obas.
The aggrieved monarchs complained that the Alawe does not belong to the league of 16 outstanding Yoruba rulers who have traditional rights to the position in the southwestern state.
They described the action taken by the governor in appointing someone outside of the circle of 16 Obas called ‘Alademerindinlogin’ to occupy the exalted seat as a violation of the Ekiti State Chieftaincy Law.
Fayemi had last week appointed Oba Alabi as the council chairman to serve for a period of two years following the expiration of the tenure of Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju.
Joined in the suit are Governor Kayode Fayemi (1st defendant), Attorney General of Ekiti State, Wale Fapohunda (2nd) and Oba Adebanji Alabi (3rd).
An originating summons filed on August 7 by Dr B A M Ajibade, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and deposed to by Ajero of Ajero, Oba Joseph Adewole, on behalf of the 16 Obas, sought an interlocutory injunction restraining Governor Fayemi from swearing in the Alawe as the chairman of the council.
The claimants sought the following declarations:
- Whether the 1st defendant is empowered under Council of Traditional Rulers Law, Cap 15, Laws of Ekiti State 2012, to appoint the chairman of Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers on a biannual rotational basis from amongst only class of Obas constituted Alademerindinlogun/Pelupelu Obas of Ekiti State.
- That the claimants are the only valid authentic Obas or traditional rulers under the classification of ‘Alademerindinlogun’ qualified to be so appointed as Chairman.
Also requested was a declaration “that the 3rd respondent can’t be appointed as chairman of the council in consonance to the Ekiti State Traditional Council Law.
“A declaration that the appointment of the 3rd defendant by the 1st was a flagrant violation of the law, unlawful, null and void, unjustifiable, illegal and unsustainable.
“An order nullifying the appointment of the 3rd defendant as the chairman of the council of traditional rulers.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendant as chairman of the traditional council and other relevant orders as deem first by the court.”
By composition, the Council of Ekiti State Traditional Council has permanent and rotational members.
The statute stipulated that: “The permanent and rotational members shall be appointed by the governor from among the recognised traditional rulers In Ekiti State.
“There shall be a chairman for the council who shall be appointed by the governor on bi -annual rotation among the Pelupelu Obas in the state.”
In a letter earlier written to the Governor on August 2, and signed by 15 Pelupelu Obas with the exception of Oore of Otun, Oba Adedapo Popoola, who traveled abroad, the monarchs told Fayemi to reverse the action, saying that a court had earlier struck out a suit filed by five traditional monarchs who had been promoted to Pelupelu and were seeking recognition of that status.
They said that the promotion of Alawe, Olosi, Olojudo (Ido Ile), Arajaka and Oluyin to the Pelupelu rank by the government was an erosion of tradition, saying all the appointments were done in violation of the tradition and existing laws.
They said they were opposed to the appointment and threatened that they won’t attend the inauguration of the Alawe as council chairman and any meeting of the council over which he presides.
“We respectfully state that we would be creating a bad precedent to accept to sit under a chairmanship of Alawe as it would amount to a disregard for the tradition on earth and a sin against our forefathers,” they said.