The Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayinwola Adeyemi III, the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II and five other most prominent traditional rulers in Yoruba land have written a letter to the Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi over to downgrade 16 Ekiti monarchs popularly called “Pelupelu Obas”.
The letter was dated March 12, 2020 and signed by seven prominent traditional rulers in Yoruba land.
Recall that, governor Kayode Fayemi was allegedly making moves to dethrone the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe; Ogoga of Ikere-Ekiti, Oba Samuel Adejimi; Ajero of Ijero, Oba Joseph Adewole; and 8 other prominent traditional rulers in the state otherwise called ‘Pelupelu Obas’.
There has been an intractable crisis between the governor Fayemi and the most prominent traditional rulers over the rejection of Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, as the new chairman of Ekiti traditional Council.
The prominent monarchs had on August 9, 2019 instituted litigation with registration number HAD/76/2019 before an Ado-Ekiti High Court, challenging the appointment of Oba Alabi by Governor Fayemi.
Fayemi had send a query was issued to the 11 Ekiti Monarchs, giving them 72 hours to explain why they should not be removed for shunning government functions since August 2019.
The query dated March 11, 2020, was signed on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs by Mr. A. O. Adeoye.
The affected Obas include Ewi of Ado-Ekiti Oba Rufus Adejugbe; Oloye of Oye Oba Oluwole Ademolaju; Elekole of Ikole Oba Adewumi Fasiku; Elemure of Emure Oba Emmanuel Ogunleye; Ajero of Ijero Oba Joseph Adewole; Alara of Aramoko, Oba Adegoke Adeyemi.
Others are: Ogoga of Ikere-Ekiti Oba Samuel Adejimi; Olomuo of Omuo Oba Noah Omonigbehin; Alaaye of Efon Oba Emmanuel Aladejare; Ologotun of Oguntun Oba Samuel Oyebade and Olujudo of Ido-Faboro, Oba Ayorinde Ilori-Faboro.
In a writ of summons file, the 17 Obas urged the court to reverse Fayemi’s action on the premise that Alawe was not recognised by statute to chair the council.
They claimed they had the exclusive rights to head the council, among the 22 members, in line with the extant tradition and the State Chieftaincy Laws.
The aggrieved 17 monarchs said they were opposed to the appointment and threatened they won’t attend the inauguration of Alawe as Council Chairman and any meeting of the council where he presides.
However, five out of the 17 aggrieved prominent monarchs- Onisan of Isan Ekiti Oba Gabriel Adejuwon; Attah of Ayede-Ekiti, Oba Abdulmumin Orisagbemi; Onitaji of Itaji-Ekiti Oba Idowu Babalola; Owa of Oke-Imesi, Oba Gbadebo Adedeji and Arinjale of Ise-Ekiti, Oba Ajayi Adetunji back-pedaled and have been attending the council meeting presided over by Oba Alabi.
But, since the appointment was made on July 31, the other 11 aggrieved Obas, shunned the council meeting and government function owing to the impression that Alawe was politicallypromoted to that rank and that he was not qualified to occupy the exalted seat.
The source noted the monarchs might be dethroned soon for allegedly desecrating the proper administration of chieftaincy matters and taking dissident actions and inactions against the Fayemi-led administration.
“I think Mr. Governor has directed the ministry of local government and chieftaincy matters to issue a query to them demanding explanation on their absence at the statutory Council meeting and government function they were invited to.
“As things stand now, the affected 11 prominent traditional rulers might be dethroned if they failed to respond to the query issued them.
Meanwhile, The Alaafin of Oyo, the Ooni of Ife and other five prominent traditional rulers of Yoruba land have advised the governor Fayemi to respect the composition of the council of Obas and the Chiefs in the state.
The Prominent Yoruba Traditional rulers said the sacrosanct of Pelupelu that grades the 16 crowned Obas in Ekiti land is not in doubt.
“Suffice to say, Your Excellency that in any human society and more so in Yoruba Land, order of hierarchy and seniority are of vital consideration in position placement.”
“The traditional rulers said from Immemorial Obaship leadership in Ekiti land had been within the 16 Obas without any dispute or quarrel among them and indeed to the admiration of other Yoruba Kingdoms.
“It was therefore with total displeasure and real discomfort that we learnt of Your Excellency’s neglect if the hierarchical order by appointing a subordinate Oba ad the Chairman of the Council of Obas and Chiefs in the State over and above the recognized order.
“In a free society like ours, nobody should expect those injured by that assault to keep quiet. As civilised people, rather than confronting or engaging the government, they chose the court option.
“Since the case is still in court, we will not want to comment further on it as law abiding citizens. I however would have expected Your Excellency waits till the end of the court process before acting on the matter.
“It is in this note that I, along with fellow Traditional Rulers across Yoruba Land feel very sad that Your Excellency issued query to the sixteen Ekiti Crowned respected Traditional Rulers of high esteem in Yoruba Land for not bowing their heads to their subordinate by not attending the council meeting under their subordinate. That exercise and without mincing words is to say the least subjudice.
“We consider it important to go Memory Lane with you on the rile of Pelupelu Obas in Ekiti Land in the development of Yoruba Nation. This is particular with Ekitiparapo War which is very famous in Yoruba War History as Kiriji War (1870 – 1886).
“Suffice to say that in the course of the sixteen year-old war, the battle became so internecine and threatening that the Alaafin as the head of the Yoruba Nation had to write to the British Authority to mediate in bringing the war ti an end. This led to the Treaty of Peace of 1886 between the British and Yiruba leaders under Alaafin’s leadership.
“We go into this history to let Your Excellency know that Yoruba had far reaching history than many races in the country. Unlike some other races, Traditional Rulership in not banded by religion but by Tradition and Culture. That explains the difference between us and some other cultures. Whereas, some races see deposition and installation of Traditional Rulers as mere administrative routine with executive fiat all in open glare, that is not so in Yoruba Land.
“To some races, nothing outside the mundane is attached to their Traditional Institution. Whereas, that of Yoruba is beyond the mundane as it is also ancestral and spiritual. The Yoruba Oba is the representative of the ancestors, the real owners of the land or ground.
“It is on this basis that we will advise against any attempt to treat traditional institution in Yoruba Land with levity and to avoid any attempt of importing any subculture of traditional degradation into Yoruba Land.
“It is ironic that while the processors In-office and ancestors of these sixteen Crown Obas (Pelupelu) famous Ekiti Kings and their subjects displayed uncommon patriotism, courage and commitment to confront the intimidating military powers of Ibadan Army for sixteen years, 1870 – 1886 that, Your Excellency as one of the beneficiaries of the legacy bequeathed by these Kings of Yoruba History is now embarking on an exercise that will rubbish the contributions of your ancestors.
“Finally, as fathers we should like to advise Your Excellency to tread softly any relationship with Traditional Institution in the name of Oduduwa and our other ancestors in Yoruba Land. Let us employ diplomacy to settle this issue. We have the mechanism of conflict resolution in ways of our ancestors.”