By Kunle Adedoyin
Sixteen most prominent traditional rulers in Ekiti State, the Pelupelu Obas, have sued Governor Kayode Fayemi, challenging his appointment of the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, as chairman of the State Traditional Council.
The obas, in the suit with registration number HAD/76/2019, filed before an Ado Ekiti High Court, are seeking nullification of the appointment, saying the governor’s action of picking someone outside the 16 obas as chairman was “a violation of the Ekiti State Chieftaincy Law.”
In an originating summon filed by Dr. B.A.M. Ajibade (SAN) on August 7, 2019 and deposed to by Ajero of Ijero, Oba Joseph Adewole, on behalf of other 15 obas, the monarchs are seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining Fayemi from swearing-in Alawe as the chairman of the council.
Respondents in the suit are: Governor Fayemi (1st), the Attorney General of Ekiti State, Wale Fapohunda (2nd) and Oba Alabi (3rd).
Fayemi had, a fortnight ago, appointed Oba Alabi as the Traditional Council chairman to serve for a period of two years, following the expiration of the tenure of Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju.
The 16 traditional rulers are, among others, seeking declaration of the court “that the 3rd respondent can’t be appointed as chairman of the council in consonance to the Ekiti State Traditional Council Law.
“A declaration that the appointment of the 3rd defendant by the 1st was a flagrant violation of the law, unlawful, null and void, unjustifiable, illegal and unsustainable.
“An order nullifying the appointment of the 3rd defendant as the chairman of the council of traditional rulers.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendant from swearing in the 3rd defendant as chairman of the traditional council and other relevant orders as deemed fit by the court.
“Whether the 1st defendant is empowered under Council of Traditional Rulers Law, Cap 15, Laws of Ekiti State 2012, to appoint the chairman of Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers on a bi- annual rotational basis from among only class of Obas constituted Alademerindinlogun/Pelupelu Obas of Ekiti State.
“Declaration that the claimants are the only valid authentic Obas or traditional rulers under the classification of Alademerindinlogun qualified to be so appointed as chairman,” they prayed the court.
The 16 monarchs had, in a letter written to the governor on August 2 and signed by 15 Pelupelu Obas with the exception of the Oore of Otun, Oba Adedapo Popoola, who was abroad, urged Fayemi to reverse the action.
The traditional rulers said that a court had earlier struck out a suit filed by five monarchs who were promoted to Pelupelu and seeking recognition of that status.
The 16 traditional rulers, in the letter, stated that “the promotion of Alawe, Olosi, Olojudo (Ido Ile), Arajaka and Oluyin to that Pelupelu rank by government was an “erosion of tradition.”
“All the appointments were done in violation of the tradition and existing laws,” they argued.
They stated that they were opposed to the appointment and threatened that they would not attend the inauguration of Alawe as Council Chairman and any meeting of the council he would preside over.
“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,” the monarchs stated.