The Ekiti State Government has directed the authorities of Moba Local Government to stop the monthly salaries of the Obasaoye of Isaoye Ekiti, Gabriel Olajide, for abandoning his royal duties and refusal to appear or live in the town for over three years.
The Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, gave the directive on Thursday in Ado Ekiti, during a meeting he held with traditional rulers and other stakeholders from the community.
Members of Isaoye Ekiti community had written a petition to the state government, where they had accused Mr Olajide of abdicating his throne, as well as other acts of misconduct.
The state government was said to have received a security report from the State Security Services(SSS), stating that there was the likelihood of violence over conflict between the monarch and his chiefs who accused him of highhandedness and disrespect for the town’s tradition.
The report, it was gathered, informed the meeting where the aggrieved chiefs brought their grievances.
Speaking on behalf of the chiefs, the Obaisa of Isaoye, Joseph Ogidi, said that Mr Olajide, who ascended the throne in 2017, had abandoned the community and had failed to yield to government’s directive issued at a meeting presided over by the Deputy Governor on November 17, 2018 that he should resume his official duties.
The community in its petition to the state government demanded the dethronement of Mr Olajide for allegedly sponsoring attacks on his subjects, “abandonment of his throne, violation of the town’s cultural heritage, destruction of the shrines and artefacts, using the police to harass his subjects, refusal to participate in cultural and traditional practices which he claimed are against his faith and refusal to appear in the town for over three years.”
The petition also accused Mr Olajide of using his connection as a police officer to cause the arrest and detention of his subjects by the men of the Nigerian Police.
Mr Ogidi had earlier told the Deputy Governor that Mr Olajide’s latest refusal to allow Abiola Adeyeye, the Eyebasa of Isaoye, to hold a feast in honour of the chiefs had threatened the peace of the community and could snowball into crisis if there was no prompt government intervention.
He explained that every appeal to the monarch to heed the government’s directive last issued in November 2018 to return home and perform his royal duties and provide day-to-day leadership to the community had fallen on deaf ears.
Mr Ogidi disclosed that the Moba Traditional Council presided over by the immediate past Oore of Otun Ekiti, Adedapo Popoola, failed to convince Mr Olajide to back down from his hard line stance against his subjects which compelled them to officially request for his dethronement by the state government.
Responding to the allegations, Mr Olajide admitted that he had abandoned his domain for the “fear of the unknown” and maintained that he would would not change his position.
He claimed that the people of the town had denied him access to the palace.
The Deputy Governor, Mr Egbeyemi, wondered why Mr Olajide refused to perform his official duties as a traditional ruler for over three years despite government’s intervention in the conflict with his subjects.
He said the monarch lacked the moral justification to be collecting salaries for duties not rendered.
Mr Egbeyemi subsequently directed Moba Local Government to stop the monthly salaries of the Obasaoye with immediate effect.
He also directed that Mrs Adeyeye should go ahead with her “Iwuye” ceremony as the Eyebasa having been appointed since 2010 and in line with the wishes of the community.
The Deputy Governor, however, declined the community’s request for Mr Olajide’s dethronement, saying the application to that effect is already before the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers which is expected to make appropriate recommendations to the state government.
“You were enthroned as the king of your town and you have not stayed in that town for the past three years and you are using the police to arrest the people you are supposed to be leading as an Oba ” Mr Egbeyemi noted.
“You know I told you since 2018 that if you prefer your police duty to the throne, the choice is yours and you can leave it and face your police duty but your functions as an Oba must not suffer because your community needs you.
“You said you can’t perform sacrifices and participate in rituals. If you can’t do it, you will have problems with your people. This government does want your town to dethrone you. How can you be made an Oba and you run away from the throne?
“You stay outside and you unleash the police on your people. The person that wants to hold a feast for the chiefs (Eyebasa) to mark her chieftaincy you stopped her from doing so.
“Chiefs, let the woman hold her “Iwuye” ceremony because the government has spoken. But I don’t want your Oba to be dethroned, but his salary must be stopped because he should not collect money for the work he has not done.”