Fayemi acted legally in appointing Ekiti traditional ruler

Governor Kayode Fayemi took the right and legal step in the process leading to the appointment of Prince Olatunji Olatunde as the oba-elect of Imesi Ekiti in Gboyin Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

One of the warrant chiefs appointed by the Ekiti State government to commence the process of the appointment, Mr Oluwole Oluyemi, said this in a statement made available to Tribune Online to clear the air on the circumstances of the appointment.

It would be recalled that the government had, at its virtual State Executive Council (SEC) meeting on May 13, 2020, appointed seven warrant chiefs to carry out the process of filling the vacant traditional stool of the community, following the death of the last occupant, Oba Oladimeji, on December 22, 2018.

However, the head of the Agunsoye Ruling House, Chief Adu Fasunlade, in a newspaper publication, described the action of the government as an “act of illegality and flagrant desecration of tradition” and called on it to retrace its steps.
The ruling house also claimed that none of its members was involved in the approved final selection process of the oba-elect and therefore called on the governor not to be dictatorial in appointing an oba for the Imesi community.

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Reacting, however, Oluyemi said the Fayemi-led administration did not err in appointing the seven warrant chiefs to facilitate the process of selecting and installing an oba for the community.

He said Gboyin Local Government Bureau of Chieftaincy promptly communicated approval for the commencement of the selection process, following the death of Oba Oladimeji last December.

According to him, the Agunsoye Ruling House sent 14 eligible names to be considered for the appointment, but trouble started immediately as regards the kingmakers.

“There are seven kingmakers in Imesi, including Kolaye, Odofin Balogbo, Emilia, Osigun, Ofoji and Oore. However, three of the prominent and critical kingmakers, Kolaye, Odofin and Osigun, are late.

“The quarter represented by the deceased kingmakers clamoured, through their lawyer, to be represented, using warrant chiefs as statutorily provided for in Chiefs Law

“Out of the four living kingmakers, two claimed that since four out of seven formed a quorum, the deceased quarters need not be represented. The other two opted for adequate representation of the deceased sections using warrant chiefs.

“Balogbo, the most senior kingmaker, referred the conflict to the state government for interpretation. The government, through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, summoned all the seven quarters for a meeting on July 16, 2020.

“At the meeting, all the seven quarters unanimously opted for the representation of deceased quarters using warrant chiefs.

However, in a dramatic move, the Agunsoye Ruling House went to court, apparently to destabilise and delay the selection process than to seek justice,” he said.

The warrant chief said that, in line with the tradition, the role of the ruling house in the selection process came to an end, having submitted the names of eligible contestants.

He further alleged that it was discovered that the most senior chief, Chief Dare Adeyemo (Balogbo), was working towards ensuring the emergence of the candidate of his wife (Mrs Monisola Adeyemo) as the next traditional ruler of the community.

“The posture of Chief Adeyemo triggered several reactions from the community. One was that the kingmaker representing Oke Ode was pressured by his quarter to resign and withdraw his participation in the selection process.

“His resignation also implied that the remaining three chiefs do not form a quorum and so the agitation for a non-inclusive all quarter voting crumbled.” “Faced with this dilemma, Chief Adeyemo, with elements in the Agunsoye Ruling House, resorted to series of actions targeted at delaying till infinity or outrightly killing the selection process.

“As part of the delay strategy, Chief Dare Adeyemo left for the USA, his business base, in late February. Another Chief N A Ajayi (Oore), also left Nigeria for Botswana, supposedly to relax with his son.

“If you do the arithmetic, it means out of seven kingmakers, three are dead, one withdrew participation, two left Nigeria since February. That leaves only one kingmaker, Chief Ademuagun Ofoji, in the community.

“Faced with this situation, the community bombarded the state government for intervention. The Regent who acts in the absence of her late father has a two-year tenure which is due to expire in the next six months.

“The govt, therefore, acted accordingly by suspending the four living kingmakers and appointed seven warrant chiefs to represent all quarters and complete the selection process as stoutly agitated by the community,” he added.

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