Sixteen traditional rulers, known as ‘Pelupelu Obas,’ have sued Governor Kayode Fayemi over his recent appointment of Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, as Chairman of the Ekiti State Traditional Council.
The aggrieved monarchs described the action taken by the governor picking someone outside the 16 Obas called ‘Alademerindinlogun’ to occupy the exalted seat as a flagrant violation of the Ekiti State Chieftaincy Law.
Fayemi had last week appointed Oba Alabi as the Council Chairman to serve for a period of two years following the expiration of the tenure of Oloye of Oye-Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju.
Joined in the suit are Governor Kayode Fayemi (first defendant), Attorney-General of Ekiti State, Wale Fapohunda (second defendant) and Oba Adebanji Alabi (third defendant).
An originating summon filed by Dr. B.A.M. Ajibade (SAN) on August 7, 2019, and deposed to by Ajero of Ajero, Oba Joseph Adewole, on behalf of other 15 Obas, sought an interlocutory injunction restraining Fayemi from swearing-in Alawe as the chairman of the council.
The claimants sought the following declarations:
• “Whether the first 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-yearly rotational basis from among the only class of Obas constituted Alademerindinlogun/Pelupelu Obas of Ekiti State.
• “That the claimants are the only valid authentic Obas or traditional rulers under the classification of Alademerindinlogun qualified to be so appointed as chairman.
• “A declaration that the third respondent cannot be appointed as chairman of the council in consonance with the Ekiti State Traditional Council Law.
• “A declaration that the appointment of the third defendant by the first was a flagrant violation of the law, unlawful, null and void, unjustifiable, illegal and unsustainable.
• “An order nullifying the appointment of the third defendant as the chairman of the council of traditional rulers.
• “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the third defendant as chairman of the traditional council and other relevant orders as deem first by the court.
The monarchs insisted that by composition, the Council of Ekiti State Traditional Council has permanent and rotational members.
The aggrieved Obas, with the exception of Oore of Otun, Oba Adedapo Popoola, who travelled abroad, had in a letter to the governor dated August 2, 2019 asked Fayemi to reverse the action, saying a court had earlier struck out a suit filed by five monarchs who were promoted to Pelupelu and seeking recognition of that status.
They said the promotion of Alawe, Olosi, Olojudo (Ido Ile), Arajaka and Oluyin to that Pelupelu rank by the government was an erosion of the tradition, saying all the appointments were done in violation of the tradition and existing laws.
They said they are opposed to the appointment and threatened that they won’t attend the inauguration of Alawe as council chairman and any meeting of the council where he presides.