Top Ikere-Ekiti chiefs, under the auspices of Ogoga-in-Council, have rejected the 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 in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.
The council, chaired by the Sapetu of Oke-Ikere, Olufemi Babatola, said the government’s action on the matter was unacceptable.
They opposed the autonomy granted to Odo-Oja, a section of Ikere-Ekiti, in the 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 state government’s actions were “sacrilegious and wicked.”
The Jide Aladejana-led Chieftaincy Review Commission instituted by Governor Kayode Fayemi had a few days ago recognised Mr Obasoyin as a king, designating the Odo Oja axis of the town as his territory.
The chiefs further claimed that the governor was vindictive because he lost 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.
“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,” said the chiefs. “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.”
The council also alleged that Mr Fayemi’s action was contemptuous, pointing out that “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.”
They argued that the Odo-Oja area that Mr Fayemi granted autonomy to be presided over by the Olukere had been headed by Ologotun for ages, saying it was “sacrilege, aberration and absurdity” for it 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,” they further explained. “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 chiefs further claimed that the Ekiti State Traditional Rulers Council rejected a similar request in 2014, saying Olukere was a priest.