The people of Orin Odo-Ekiti in Ikole Local Government Area have been told to seek redress in court over an alleged imposition of a monarch on them by the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose.
The deputy governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, gave the advice on Tuesday in Ado Ekiti, after members of the community, led by its Regent, Oluwakemi Ogundana-Ajifase, called on the state government not to recognise Adebisi Ogunjobi as the traditional ruler of the community
They accused Mr Fayose of unilaterally imposing Mr Ogunjobi as the Olorin without traditional rites performed on him and without following due process.
They also requested that the state government stop Mr Ogunjobi from parading himself as the Olorin, for peace to reign.
Ms Ogundana-Ajisafe said the manner in which the former governor imposed his preferred candidate on the community was “bizarre, unconventional and strange to tradition,” noting that the kingmakers and other stakeholders were not carried along.
She alleged that Mr Fayose ordered that the two candidates contesting for the royal stool be blindfolded and also ordered chiefs to line up behind their choice as king.
The regent said the former governor allegedly used soldiers and other security agents to harass chiefs and community leaders in a bid to impose his preferred candidate as monarch.
She told the deputy governor that the official Ford car used by her father and immediate past Olorin of Orin Odo, William Ajisafe, was taken away from her at gunpoint by agents of the former governor.
She also explained that she duly sought Mr Fayose’s permission before travelling to the United States in 2015 after succeeding her father, after which the community was invaded on the alleged order of former governor, with many of the chiefs arrested.
“Fayose wanted to use my father’s staff of office to install his preferred person as the Olorin but it is the name of my father that is inscribed on the staff of office,” she said.
“No traditional rite was performed on Ogunjobi by those charged with the responsibility, hence he cannot claim to be the Olorin. We want the state government to help us to stop him from parading himself as the Olorin because there is a process to be fulfilled before somebody can become a king and we want peace in our town.”
But the deputy governor urged the aggrieved people of Orin Odo to give peace a chance and advised them to go to court to challenge the process that threw up Mr Ogunjobi as monarch.
“I am a lawyer of almost forty years in practice. The best thing you can do is to go to court because I don’t want to deceive you on the matter on ground,” said Mr Egbeyemi.
“My office cannot depose any Oba, the only place you can go to resolve the matter is the court of law.”
Responding to the allegation, Lere Olayinka, the media aide to Mr Fayose, told PREMIUM TIMES that the former governor was not a kingmaker and whoever emerged as the Oba of Orin Odo-Ekiti had no economic or political value to him.
He described the allegation of imposition of the monarch against Mr Fayose as false, saying the local government councils were in charge of coordinating such events.
He, however, admitted that when there were issues and the people could not agree on a choice of a traditional ruler, Mr Fayose would sometimes call the candidates openly and ask the kingmakers to queue behind the one they chose.
“I have witnessed some situations, about four times, when there are issues, the governor called the kingmakers and ask them to queue behind the candidate of their choice, and that is done openly, before the cameras,” Mr Olayinka said.
He added that the action of Mr Fayose then, was to ensure there were no controversies over who was supported by the kingmakers or not.
He wondered why the Orin community had waited for Mr Fayose to leave office before raising the allegations of imposition of a monarch.
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