Ekiti State Government has assured communities who are dissatisfied with the Chieftaincy Review exercise carried out in 2019 of fairness and justice in a bid to address their grievances and ensure the right grading of their traditional rulers.
The Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, gave the assurance yesterday in his office in Ado Ekiti at the inaugural hearing of the panel set up by state government on the upgrading of traditional rulers.
The panel was set up to examine the petitions written by some traditional rulers against the White Paper on Justice Aladejana Chieftaincy Review Commission.
The panel received 62 petitions from the traditional rulers who were not satisfied with the Chieftaincy Review exercise carried out in 2018.
Ten petitions were slated for hearing on the first day of the sitting of the Committee, who took both oral and documentary evidence from the concerned traditional rulers, their lawyers and community spokesmen.
Egbeyemi, the Chairman of the Panel set up to look into the latest petitions speaking when the traditional rulers and the leaders of the communities had defended their memoranda, said that the panel was ready to carry out its assignment objectively and dispassionately.
He added that Gov. Kayode Fayemi had given the nod to the Committee to be empaneled based on his interest in ensuring that justice is done, the volume of complaints received and being a listening leader that wanted peace and equity in all communities.
While describing the panel as a fact-finding one, the deputy governor warned communities and interest groups against involvement in underhand dealings, and attempts to personally approach the panel members with a view to compromising them.
“This Committee is a fact-finding one and it was established because Fayemi is a listening governor, who is giving another opportunity for traditional rulers and communities, who are not happy with the White Paper of the Aladejana Chieftaincy Review Commission.
“There were lots of protests and petitions against the decision of the Aladejana Commission and that is why the governor has given us this assignment to listen to you again so that justice can be done.
“We are supposed to give justice and we are going to look into your papers and other evidence you have forwarded to us. We will recommend appropriately based on the facts before us. I want to assure you that justice shall be done to your cases.
“If anybody says that somebody in the panel sent him to us, there is no truth in that. Nobody can bribe or buy our conscience. Members of this panel are distinguished individuals and we have been handed this assignment based on trust and we will never betray that trust,” he said.
The first petition that was heard by the Committee was the one tabled by the Olohan of Erijiyan-Ekiti in Ekiti West Local Government, Oba Adegoroye Omoseebi who was seeking an upgrade from Grade B to Grade A.
The Olohan, whose case was presented by his counsel, Mr. Ademola Okeya, said he had been on Grade B since 1999, noting that some of his colleagues who were on the same grade had been promoted to Grade A.
While urging the Committee to recommend his promotion to Grade A, the Olohan averred that the Justice Silas Oyewole Commission of 2018 and the Justice Jide Aladejana Commission of 2019 had recommended his promotion to Grade A which was not implemented by the latter’s White Paper.
The Olosin of Osin-Ekiti in Oye Local Government, Oba Philip Oyediran, requested for the upgrade of his stool from Grade C to Grade B traditional ruler, in line with the recommendation of the Oyewole Commission.
Oyediran kicked against the recommendation of the Aladejana Commission that he should maintain his Grade C status, urging the Egbeyemi Panel to implement the recommendation of the Oyewole Commission.
The Aroniro of Iro-Ekiti in Moba Local Government, Oba James Omotoso, urged the Panel to upgrade his stool from Grade C to Grade B on the grounds that other traditional rulers in the same council area had enjoyed promotions from their former status.
The Olusi of Usi-Ekiti in Ido/Osi Local Government, Oba Adedayo Akande, urged the Panel to recommend the upgrade of his stool from Grade B to Grade A, urging the kind consideration of a letter by the Olojudo of Ido-Ekiti which supported his promotion to the next grade.
Other members of the Panel are: the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor, Mr. Sola Ogunmiluyi; Executive Secretary, Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Adegboyega Morakinyo; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Traditional Chiefs’ Matters, Chief Adewumi Olasehinde.
Also, the Director of Administration and Supply, Office of the Deputy Governor, Mr. Emmanuel Ayodele and the Director, Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Adeyeye Adeleye are members of the panel.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the panel was still hearing petitions from some of the other traditional rulers on its list as at the time of filling this report. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)