Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi on Monday presented the instrument of appointment and staff of office to the new Onimesi of Imesi Ekiti in Gbonyin Local Government, Oba Festus Olatunji Olatunde.
Fayemi, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, performed the assignment at the Conference Hall, Governor’s Office, in line with COVID-19 protocol which permitted a limited number of attendees under strict physical distancing rules.
Oba Olatunde, who is a former Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure in the state, succeeds the last Onimesi, the late Oba Dare Adeyeye Oladimeji, who died on December 22, 2018.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, the appointment of Oba Olatunde was approved by the State Executive Council at its virtual meeting on June 11 after satisfying all requirements stipulated by the Ekiti State Chiefs Law 2012.
Oba Olatunde, who was joined by his wife, Olori Adebimpe Foluke, to receive the certificate and sceptre of authority, commended the state government for upgrading the Onimesi throne to first-class status.
Some Imesi indigenes who came to witness the presentation stayed at the parking lot of the Governor’s Office complex in a bid to ensure that no more than twenty individuals were inside the hall in line with COVID-19 social distancing protocols.
Governor Fayemi said the process for filling the hitherto vacant stool commenced with the letter of approval from the Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs through Gbonyin Local Government.
The governor disclosed that the warrant chiefs on May 20, in line with the provisions of Section 8A(i) Cap C5 of the Ekiti State Chiefs Law 2012, declared the then Prince Olatunji Olatunde appointed as the Onimesi.
Fayemi explained that he had studied the processes involved in the selection and was satisfied that the steps taken were in consonance with the Ekiti State Chiefs Law (2012).
Congratulating the former commissioner on his ascension to the throne, the governor urged him to work harmoniously with his subjects to further the development of the community.
The governor, who admonished the Oba to carry his people along when making decisions that will affect their welfare, also called on him to be a father of all.
‘It gladdens my heart that the expected spirited struggle for the occupation of the exalted stool of Onimesi did not degenerate into uncontrollable controversies
‘A tree can never make a forest. There is a need for collective responsibility if we all desire to have a society of our dreams.
“I also appeal to the good people of Imesi Ekiti to allow the spirit of oneness and sincerity of purpose in your support and cooperation with the Kabiyesi.’
The Chairman, Gbonyin Local Government, Mr Ayodele Fadumiye, explained that Oba Olatunde was unanimously selected by kingmakers, adding that the process was transparent.
The council boss said the ascension to the throne has placed a daunting challenge on Oba Olatunde to ensure the realisation of the hope and aspirations of his people.
Speaking after receiving the staff, Oba Olatunde expressed gratitude to Governor Fayemi for appointing indigenes of the town to key positions in government and the provision of improved infrastructure in his domain.
He promised to bring his experience, exposure, knowledge and wisdom to bear in administering the town and to make it a model in Ekiti.
The monarch, describing his kingdom as a cosmopolitan community’ which hosts diverse ethnic groups, pledged to pursue peaceful coexistence.
He promised to use the diversity in his domain as a launchpad for socio-economic development and sustainable growth in all facets of life.
Oba Olatunde called on the princes who contested the throne with him to join him in the process of taking the town to greater heights, noting that the peaceful selection process would assist in the task.
The traditional rulers further pledged to utilise the vast population of Imesi indigenes in the diaspora to be part of its development, promising to do this through data gathering and the launch of an active website.