Ekiti chiefs reject government’s recognition of ‘Olukere’

Top chiefs in the Ikere-Ekiti community under the auspices of Ogoga-In-Council have rejected the recent recognition of “Olukere”, Ganiyu Obasoyin, as an autonomous traditional ruler in the same community.

This is contained in a statement signed by 16 members of the council and made available to journalists in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.

The Council chaired by the “Sapetu” of Oke-Ikere, Olufemi Babatola, said the actions of the government on the matter were unacceptable.

They opposed the autonomy granted to “Odo-Oja,” a section of Ikere-Ekiti, in Ikere Local Government Area as delineated territory to be presided over by the newly recognised traditional ruler.

The chiefs described the development as a deliberate “Balkanisation” of the town, saying the actions of the state government were “sacrilegious and wicked.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Justice Jide Aladejana-led Chieftaincy Review Commission instituted by Governor Kayode Fayemi had, a few days ago, recognised Mr Obasoyin as a king and designated the Odo-Oja axis of the town as his territory.

The chiefs further claimed that the governor was allegedly vindictive for losing the 2018 governorship election in the Ikere area, being the second largest town in the state to an indigene of the town and the PDP candidate, Kolapo Eleka.

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“We know that Governor Fayemi has been viciously vindictive against the unity of our kingdom as a reprisal for the defeat he suffered in Ikere to our son, Prof. Kolapo Eleka, the immediate past Deputy Governor, in the said 2018 governorship election.

“It has been an open secret that Governor Fayemi nurses the perception that the over 11,000 votes garnered by him from Ikere in that election were made possible by the Olukere, hence his sense of obligation to pay back his electoral benefactor,” they said.

The council also alleged that Mr Fayemi’s action was contemptuous, saying “we have long instituted a case at the Ekiti State High Court to challenge the legitimacy of the claim of the Olukere of being made a king.

“The Governor and the Attorney-General (AG) were made defendants in the suit for purposes of making them bound by the decision of the court on the subject matter.

“As a matter of respect to a court of law, once a subject matter is brought before the court, no party is expected to do anything that could have the effect of rendering the decision of the court on the subject matter,” they said.

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They stated that the alleged machinations by the governor to ruin Ikere’s traditions, culture and customs, as bequeathed to them by their forefathers would not endure.

They argued that the Odo-Oja, where Fayemi granted autonomy to be presided over by Olukere, had been headed by Chief Ologotun for ages, saying it was sacrilege, aberration and absurdity for that axis to be constituted into a town within a town.

“It was in 1987, before the Augustus Adebayo Chieftaincy Commission, set up by the then Ondo State Government while Ekiti was still part of Ondo State, that the family of Olukere first made a case for Obaship recognition.

”The verdict of the commission was that Olukere is just a priest of Olosunta and that he was not the founder of Ikere, the authentic founder and first settler at Odo Oja being Aladeselu,” the state added.

The chiefs said the Ekiti State Traditional Rulers Council had allegedly rejected a similar request in 2014, saying Olukere’s position was that of a priest.

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