The Ekiti State government has warned the head of a quarter in Odo Owa-Ekiti in Ijero Local Government Area of the state, Ayodeji Ajayi, against parading himself as traditional ruler.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, gave the warning at a meeting held with interested parties in his office on Friday in Ado-Ekiti.
Mr Egbeyemi affirmed the Olowa of Odo Owa Ekiti, Ayorinde Oyedeji, as the only recognised traditional ruler in the town.
The deputy governor explained that since the request for autonomy by Idogun quarters, led by Mr Ajayi had been turned down, it remained part of Odo Owa-Ekiti.
He also directed Mr Ajayi, who is the Obadogun and 10 other chiefs, to return to the palace they had boycotted and continue to perform their functions under the Olowa.
Mr Egbeyemi frowned on the alleged refusal of Idogun quarters to pay taxes to government coffers, describing it as “lawlessness that will not be tolerated by the state government.”
He also requested the Olowa to forward the names of the 10 other chiefs, who had reportedly boycotted the palace, to government for necessary action.
While advising the Obadogun to respect the law, the deputy governor stressed that any attempt to claim and exercise an authority not bestowed on him by the law could lead to his arrest and possible prosecution.
Mr Egbeyemi said the quarters in question had yet to become an autonomous community, hence it could not be deemed to have a crowned Oba.
He advised Mr Ajayi and his supporters to be patient and legitimately pursue their autonomy.
According to the deputy governor, since they had yet to secure autonomy for their quarters, they remained part of Odo Owa-Ekiti and should, therefore, continue to participate in all the legitimate activities of the town.
“You applied for autonomy but it was not granted and since the bid has not been successful, you remain part of Odo Owa-Ekiti.
“Know that you are a chief under the traditional ruler, the Olowa, and I am saying it with the government authority that you are not an Oba.
“Government will apply appropriate sanctions in accordance with the law, if you continue in your illegality. You don’t claim the rights and privileges the law has not given you,” Mr Egbeyemi said.
NAN reports that Mr Ajayi had earlier claimed that history and tradition supported his claim to being an Oba and not second-in-command to the Olowa.
But the Olowa said Mr Ajayi had been engaging himself in activities that could spark crisis in the town, adding, however, that he had been toeing the line of peace.
Mr Oyedeji further stated that Mr Ajayi had been invited several times but turned down the invitations until he was summoned by the government.
He said that Idogun quarters had ceased paying taxes since 2004 and refused to contribute to the development of the town.