• Rumble in Ekiti communities over chairmanship of traditional council
From Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
What can be described as a royal rumble is brewing in three major towns of Ogotun, Ilawe and Igbara-Odo, in Ekiti Southwest Local Government Area of Ekiti State. The Ologotun of Ogotun, Oba Samuel Oyebade, is accused of sit-tight for allegedly monopolising the chairmanship of traditional council in the local government.
The three communities had co-existed peacefully since the creation of the council in 1976 until the battle over rotational chairmanship of the traditional council recently strained their relationship and threatening to tear them apart.
The Alawe of Ilawe, Oba Adebanji Alabi and the Arajaka of Igbara-Odo, Oba Edward Jayeola are protesting the alleged monopoly of Ologotun who has been the chairman since 1997 against the extant rule that gives room for rotation among the three monarchs.
This action led to a protest at the council headquarters in Ilawe-Ekiti on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, by selected chiefs from Ilawe and Igbara-Odo, clad in “aso ebi” accusing Oba Oyebade of perpetuating himself as the chairman of traditional council. A letter delivered to the council chairman, Mr. Lanre Omolase, jointly read by Chief Gbenga Agbona, the Elemo of Oke Emo, Ilawe-Ekiti, and Chief Banji Olowofela, the Asamo of Igbara-Odo, stated:
“The instrument creating the council allowed for rotation among the Obas. It is on record that both the Arajaka and Alawe had at one time ruled as the chairman of traditional council and the two monarchs are now calling on Ologotun to step aside but he has remained adamant since December 2016 when his tenure expired.
“That we support the demand of our Obas that the chairmanship position should be rotated. We also support that the two monarchs should not attend any meeting where Ologotun will preside as chairman and that we support the panel set up by the governor to address the issue and we pass a vote of confidence in the leadership of Governor Ayodele Fayose.”
The council chairman assured them that the matter would be handled by the governor, adding that a panel headed by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kolapo Olusola, had been constituted to handle the matter:
“I will not want this protest to be hijacked, we belong to the same family. Nothing can be more logical that the steps taken by Governor Fayose. Let us await the outcome of the report and refrain from taking laws into our hands.”
But Ologotun accused his two colleagues of insulting Fayose over the matter. He said he remains the chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers in Ekiti State and the authentic Chairman of the Council in Ekiti South West Local Government as guaranteed by law and the State Chieftaincy Declaration.
Oba Oyebade said the protest was unfortunate, describing it as an insult on Fayose, who had set up a five-member panel to look into the crisis. He said he remains the only member of the highest traditional council named “Pelupelu” in the council as contained in the Chieftaincy Law 3 of 2000 enacted under Niyi Adebayo’s administration.
He urged his colleague-monarchs to get acquainted with the report of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers Committee Resolution of June 19, 2001, when a similar case reared its ugly head and stop making infantile demands:
“In 2001 under Adebayo’s government, the Ilawe Improvement Union wrote a petition to the government raising similar protest. But the resolution was that the Ologotun is a frontline Oba in Yoruba land and in Ekiti State and by the simple fact that historical document does not record the Ologotun got independence from any government.
“Ologotun, being a “pelupelu” Oba should be the permanent Chairman of Ekiti South West Traditional Council as it is the case in Moba, Ijero, Ikole and Ido/Osi.
“Before 1997, sole administrators were used at the local government level and the local government’s traditional council came into being as a result of the controversy over five per cent allocation to traditional rulers.
“Part of the resolution at that time was that the chieftaincy edict allowed only the 16 “Pelupelu” Obas to rotate the traditional Council at the State level and at the local government level and that is what is in operation in all the 16 local government areas of the state.”
Oba Oyebade flaunted a document dated July 20, 2004, and signed by one Wole Faleye of the Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs on behalf of the Permanent Secretary where the issue of elevation of some monarchs was approved:
“Despite the approval, another letter signed by Faleye and dated August 13, 2004, warned that such approval must not affect the supremacy of the “Pelupelu” Obas. Another letter signed by Chief Aderemi Ajayi, Special Adviser to Governor Kayode Fayemi on September 17, 2014, upgraded Olosi, Alawe, Arajaka and Olojudo of Ido Ile to be part of “Pelupelu” and I protested the inclusion of Alawe and walked out of the meeting.
“But Governor Fayose upon assumption of office in 2014 reinstated me to the chairmanship position. So, let them not pre-empt the outcome of the panel set up by the governor because doing so could be counterproductive.”