The Traditional Council of Obas in Ekiti State has appealed to the Oyo State governor, Seyi Maklnde, to tell Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi, to desist from meddling in the internal affairs of Ekiti monarchs.
The council conveyed its grouse in a letter dated March 14 and signed by its chairman, Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Adebanji Alabi.
Mr Alabi accused the Alaafin of distorting facts and meddlesomeness.
This latest rebuttal came on the heel of Alaafin’s memo to the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, over a recent query sent to 16 monarchs in the state.
The Alaafin in his letter dated March 12, which he said he was writing on behalf of seven paramount royal fathers in Yoruba land, had urged the state government to desist from meddling into the affairs of the traditional rulers.
“From time immemorial, Obaship Leadership in Ekiti Land had been within the sixteen Obas without any dispute or quarrel among them and indeed to the admiration of other Yoruba Kingdoms,” he wrote, advising the governor not to degrade the traditional institution in Yoruba land.
But the Ekiti State Traditional Council has advised Governor Fayemi to disregard Mr Adeyemi’s letter “because it was clearly ill-motivated and in bad faith.”
In the hard-worded response titled “Request to stop undue interference of His Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, in the internal affairs of Ekiti Obas,” Mr Alabi also said Alaafin goofed.
He said the Oyo monarch’s letter was “borne out of ignorance” and asked to know why the other six traditional rulers mentioned in the letter did not sign to ensure concurrence.
He added that the Alaafin’s interference in the matter was “absolutely unwarranted” as he “cannot superintend over the monarchy in Ekiti State” because “Ekiti was never and can never be part of Oyo empire.”
“We say with all sense of authority and responsibility that Alaafin’s letter is borne out of ignorance. Let him remove the log in his eyes before seeking to remove the speck from others.
“Moreover, the little disagreement amongst Ekiti Obas has not affected the functionality of our Traditional Council. We hold our meetings statutorily unlike the Traditional Council under Alaafin that has long been grounded,” the letter read.
“Alaafin is no doubt an Oba that enjoys stirring controversies and (crises) where there are none,” Mr Alabi further wrote. “He is without doubt a meddlesome interloper who is bent on exporting the crisis he engineered during the old Oyo Empire during which the Traditional Council was unable to hold a single meeting as a result of leadership tussle between him and Ooni of Ife until Osun was carved out of old Oyo State.”
Eight months ago, the relationship between some traditional rulers and the Ekiti State government was severed after Mr Fayemi appointed the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Adebanji Alabi, as the Chairman of the State Council of Traditional Rulers.
They considered the appointee junior to them and not deserving of the office.
Not satisfied with Mr Alabi’s appointment, the aggrieved traditional rulers headed to the court and also vowed not to cooperate or attend any meeting or function where the appointee is present or presides.
Recently, Governor Kayode Fayemi issued “administrative letters” to no fewer than eleven first-class traditional rulers over alleged non-cooperation with government and leadership of the state traditional council.
“Your conspicuous absence at the council meetings and state official functions, without any excuse or justification is considered inimical to the proper administration of the chieftaincy institution you represent,” Mr Fayemi wrote, asking them to reply within 72 hours.
But the governor has since denied having plans to dethrone any of the traditional rulers served with the letters. He said it was a mere “administrative letter”, and not a query.
Read the full letter by the Ekiti monarch below.
Engr. Seyi Makinde,
The Governor of Oyo State,
REQUEST TO STOP UNDUE INTERFERENCE OF HIS MAJESTY, OBA LAMIDI ADEYEMI IN THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF EKITI OBAS.
The attention of Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers has been drawn to an undue interference of His Majesty Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, The Alaafin of Oyo in the internal affairs of Ekiti Obas through a letter written to Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, dated 12th March 2020 and well circulated in the social media the following day with respect to the administration of chieftancy matters in Ekiti State. This is to say the least unbecoming of one of your monarchs in Oyo State. Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers takes strong exception to the whole content of Alaafin’s letter which is absolutely unwarranted as Alaafin cannot superintend over the monarchy in Ekiti State. Ekiti was never and can never be part of Oyo empire. It is on this note that Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers is respectfully requesting your Excellency to stop the Alaafin from his meddlesomeness in the internal affairs of Ekiti Obas.
(2) The letter of Oba Adeyemi contained a lot of misrepresentation of facts and inaccurate accounts of events between the State Government and the Traditional Institution in Ekiti State which CANNOT be in consultation with, and concurrence of the highly revered and venerable Traditional Rulers mentioned in the letter but who did not sign same.
(3) It is a matter of fact and law that Grading, Classification and Composition of Council of Obas in Ekiti State and perhaps anywhere in Nigeria is governed by Law through Government Gazettes even from the Colonial era. From his letter, Alaafin is unable to define what qualifies an Oba to be a PeluPelu Oba. He is not aware of the fact that among the first group of Obas that formed the Association in 1900 were Deji of Akure (Ondo State) and Owalobo of Obo Ayegunle (Kwara State) who have since left the Association. He is also not aware of the fact that some Obas joined the Group in 1909 – Atta Ayede, 1929 (Elemure), 1947 (Alawe, Arajaka, Olujido Ido Ile and Olosi) (Minutes of the Pelupelu meetings for those periods are available) In 1971 Olomuo was admitted to the Pelupelu status by the then Governor of Western State, the Late Gen Adeyinka Adebayo.
(4) It should be noted that, seventeen (17) Obas are presently laying claim to PeluPelu Obaship in Ekiti State. And by Government Gazette of October 2018, Government recognized twenty two (22) Obas as PeluPelu in Ekiti and no one raised an eyebrow when Governor Ayo Fayose added the 22nd member, the Oluyin of Iyin – Ekiti in August, 2018. What is therefore sacrosanct about the number of pelupelu Obas which Alaafin put at sixteen.
(5) We therefore say with all sense of authority and responsibility that Alaafin goofed to say that from time immemorial, Obaship Leadership had been within the sixteen (16) Obas who he could neither name nor mention. He only pretends not to know that the number of Pelupelu Obas has never be static.
(6) Unfortunately and appallingly, Alaafin stated that his source of information was by “Hearsay” Yet he refused to verify his erroneous fact before falsely accusing Governor Fayemi of neglect. He refused to say those he considers as subordinate Obas. Subordinate to who?
(7) Alaafin is no doubt an Oba who enjoys stirring controversies and crisis where there are none. He is without doubt a meddlesome interloper who is bent on exporting the crisis he engineered in old Oyo State during which the Traditional Council was unable to hold a single meeting as a result of leadership tussle between him and the OONI of Ife until OSUN was carved out of old Oyo State.
(8) Worse still and under him, the Oyo State Council of Traditional Rulers has not held a meeting once in four (4) years under his Chairmanship as a result of his inability to foster peace, unity and cohesion among the Obas. How does he give what he does not have. Ekiti Monarchs are not Alaafin’s AJELES hence his current voyage into an internal affairs of Ekiti Obas is highly unwarranted.
(9) Ekiti State Council of obas is highly offended by the vituperation poured on our Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi through Alaafin’s unsolicited intervention in a purely domestic affairs of our Council. Alaafin has no moral right nor justification to interfere in the matter of Traditional Rulers administration in Ekiti State.
(10) The Traditional Council of Obas in Ekiti State is therefore passionately appealing to His Excellency Engr. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State to call Alaafin to order and to desist forthwith from meddling in the internal affairs of Ekiti Obas, especially as the matter is pending before a Court of competent jurisdiction. Moreover, the little disagreement amongst Ekiti Obas has not affected the functionality of our Traditional Council. We hold our meetings statutorily unlike the Traditional Council under Alaafin that has long been grounded.
(11) It is pertinent to put on record that, Governor Kayode Fayemi met the present classification of Obas on ground in Ekiti State and has not added one Oba to the class of PeluPelu Obas. The various classifications had been done by previous Administrations through the 1947 Gazette, 1948 Gazette, 1959 Gazette, 2004 Gazette and 2018 Gazette. The present Chairman of Ekiti Traditional Council is listed and classified among the PeluPelu Obas in the Gazette.
(12) It is not out of place if in a Council of over Seventy (70) members, only eleven (11) Obas are aggrieved, and have gone to Court. More so that the aggrieved Obas have informed the Court that they are in an “advance stage” of settlement out of Court even though unknown to Government and their Chairman. Why Should Alaafin judge a case without seeking the views of the other party. why did Alaafin not exercise restraint and caution before writing a letter based on misinformation. The letter of Alaafin to Governor Fayemi is clearly subjudice to the matter in court.
(13) We say with all sense of authority and responsibility that Alaafin’s letter is borne out of ignorance. Let him remove the log in his eyes before seeking to remove the speck from others.
(14) Finally, the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers has therefore advised our Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi NOT to dignify Alaafin’s letter with any response because it is clearly ill-motivated and in bad faith.
(15) Please accept the assurances of the Highest regards of Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers.
HRM OBA ADEBANJI AJIBADE ALABI, AFUNTADE I,
ALAWE OF ILAWE – EKITI AND CHAIRMAN, EKITI STATE COUNCIL OF TRADITIONAL RULERS.