traditional rulers in Ekiti state over an alleged insubordination, less
than 48 hours after the emir of Kano, Mallam, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was
dethroned by the Kano State Government shows clearly the level at which
the politics of bitterness has eaten deep the fabric of culture, values,
and raises questions on the role of traditional institutions in Nigerian
Governor Fayemi had through the Bureau on Chieftaincy Affairs on March
11, 2020, issued query to 11 prominent rulers, members of the 16
Pelupelu Obas’ commonly known as Alade Merindinlogun with a 72 hours
ultimatum to provide reasons for absconding monthly statutory meeting of
the State Council of Traditional Rulers and State official functions
since August 2019.
Prior to the query, the prominent rulers had filed a suit before an Ado
Ekiti High Court seeking the nullification of the appointment of the
Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Ajibade Alabi, as the chairman of the
traditional council, alleging that the appointment of someone, outside
the 16 obas as the chairman of the traditional council is “a violation
of the Ekiti State Chieftaincy Law.”
Probably, this appointment was the reason the Obas have decided to
continue to boycott state functions and meetings where Oba Alabi will
preside or represented as the Chairman since August 2019 which finally
culminated to the query in March 2020.
Disturbed by this face-off and the likely effect on Ekiti State and
entire country, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi wrote a letter to
the Governor, highlighting the importance of the Pelupelu Obas in Ekiti
and why the Choice of the State Traditional Could Chairman should not be
all-comers affairs while at the same time urging the governor to
exercise refrain because of the sacredness of the position of monarchs
in Yoruba Land.
Infact, the displeasure of Alafin with the query issued by Governor
Fayemi to the eleven (11) crowned traditional rulers for not bowing
their heads to their subordinate by absconding from the council meeting
under their subordinate was clearly detailed in the letter without
In order to dose this tension, the Oni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Oba
Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, and Professor Bolaji Akintoye, a renowned
historian paid a visit to the Governor in Ekiti, held a closed door
meeting with him, and later held a general meeting with the aggrieved
Obas and the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Alabi, where they assured the
public that the storm would soon be over. Though, the details of the
meeting with the governor was not disclosed.
However, based on the function of the historian in the society, it is
obvious that the meeting held behind the closed door cannot be
unconnected with the insensitivity of the Governor to the hierarchy of
the monarch in appointing the chairman of the State traditional council.
In spite of these calls and efforts, the situation seems to remain the
same as the Alawe of Ilawe, Oba Alabi continues to preside over the
State traditional council’s affairs.
Though, the Governor had since the second day of the letter sent to him
by the Alafin of Oyo on 14th March, visited the Alafin at his Palace,
prostrated for him and held a closed door meeting with him just as an
average politicians will do even when his choice of action is clearly
different from the position of the monarch.
As a matter of fact, the thought to give the chairmanship of a State
Traditional Council to a junior Oba which ought not to “smell the
position” based on the tradition and long term practice can not be an
error. It is an action well thought, planned and implemented which could
either be a compensation on the side of the receiver(s) for a job well
done or an attempt to give the rightful owner trauma due to something
done or not done but ought to have done.
In Nigeria, it is a common knowledge that during the election the
politicians move from palace to palace shopping for votes. In some cases
they give money and gifts to the obas to help them influence people in
their domain to cast votes for them just like it played out few months
to the Governorship Election in Kogi when Governor Yahaya Bello gave
Attah Igala a white Rolls Royce Phantom worth hundreds of millions Naira
in 2019 as a gift.
The same thing might be the reason behind the appointment of the Alawe
of Ilawe as the Chairman of the Ekiti State Traditional Council and the
refusal of the governor to do the needful despites the calls from royal
fathers telling him to observe the hierarchy of the monarchs in his
Though, man by nature is a political animal and most times love to
favour those that favoured them in time of trouble, but at the same time
the politicians should try and trend with care so that they will not use
their four years in office to spoiled the customs and traditions laid
down thousands years ago.
Femi Oluwasanmi, a Public Affairs Analyst,