By Akanimo Sampson
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State in South West, Nigeria, has sparked off a seeming bitter revolt of the top traditional rulers of the state with his unacceptable appointment of a Chairman for the Council of Traditional Rulers in the state.
In a letter to Fayemi on August 2, signed by 15 Pelupelu Obas with the exception of Oore of Otun, Oba Adedapo Popoola, who traveled abroad, the monarchs requested the All Progressives Congress (APC) governor to reverse the action, pointing out that a court had earlier struck out a suit filed by five monarchs who were promoted to Pelupelu and seeking recognition of that status.
They argued that the promotion of Alawe, Olosi , Olojudo (Ido Ile) , Arajaka and Oluyin to that Pelupelu rank by the Fayemi administration, was an erosion of the tradition, insisting that all the appointments were done in violation of the tradition and existing laws.
The aggrieved pelupelu monarchs said they are opposed to the appointment and have accordingly vowed that they will not attend the inauguration of the Alawe as their council chairman and any meeting of the council where 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.
The grouse of the 16 first class is that Governor Fayemi appointed the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, as the Chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers in Ekiti.
They have filed a suit challenging the appointment on the ground that the Alawe is not among the 16 culturally recognised first class traditional rulers that are entitled to be appointed the chairman of the council.
They are, therefore, praying an Ado-Ekiti High Court to nullify the appointment of Alabi, claiming that the appointment of someone outside the stipulated 16 monarchs called Alademerindinlogin by Governor Fayemi to occupy the prestigious seat, is a flagrant disregard of the Ekiti State Chieftaincy Law.
The governor had on July 31, appointed Alabi as the council chairman to serve for a period of two years following the expiration of the tenure of the Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju.
Joined in the suit with number, HAD/76/2019, are Governor Fayemi (1st defendant), Attorney General of the state, Wale Fapohunda (2nd) and Oba Adebanji Alabi (3rd).
An originating summon filed by Dr. B.A.M. Ajibade((SAN) on August 7, and deposed to by Ajero of Ajero, Oba Joseph Adewole, on behalf of other 15 monarchs, sought an interlocutory injunction restraining Fayemi from swearing-in 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 2012, to appoint the chairman of Ekiti Council of Traditional Rulers on a bi-annual rotational basis from amongst only class of Obas constituted Alademerindinlogun/Pelupelu Obas of Ekiti.
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 third respondent can’t be appointed as Chairman of the council in consonance to the Ekiti Traditional Council Law.
“A declaration that the appointment of the third defendant by the first was a flagrant violation of the law, unlawful, null and void, unjustifiable, illegal and unsustainable. An order nullifying the appointment of the third 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.’’
While the composition of the council has permanent and rotational members, its statute stipulates that the permanent and rotational members shall be appointed by the governor from among the recognised traditional rulers in Ekiti, adding that 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.