Governor Ademola Adeleke, at the inception of his administration in Osun State, on November 27, 2022, through an Executive Order, ordered that monarchs installed by his predecessor vacate their palaces.
Adeleke also ordered a review of the process that led to their installation, saying it did not conform with due process and gave a panel six weeks to submit its report.
Of the 26 affected monarchs, the five prominent ones are the Akinrun of Ikirun, Aree of Iree, Owa of Igbajo, Olupo of Oluponna and Alabere of Abere.
The Akirun, Oba Yinusa Akadiri, was installed by the Oyetola administration after he was elected by six out of the seven kingmakers in the town. The Aree, Oba Ponle Ademola, was elected after the state government appointed warrant chiefs as Iree kingmakers allegedly abdicated their duty by declaring leave of absence for themselves.
The Owa of Igbajo, Oba Gboyega Famoodun, was elected after a case before a state High Court in Ikirun was dispensed with and he was installed and given staff of office in November last year.
After suspending the monarchs, a committee led by Bunmi Jenyo received memorandum from stakeholders in affected communities and sat for more than six weeks before submitting its report.
The committee received over 1,000 petitions and submitted its report in January. At the inauguration of the panel, the governor said the review was not to witch-hunt anyone but to fair to everybody. “My team and I will take a look at the (report). I am sure the recommendations you put there will be implemented.
”We are not here to witch-hunt anybody. We simply want to ensure that Osun stands out from the crowd. We will ensure the rule of law and due process under my leadership”, Adeleke had said.
However, eight months after the submission of the report, the white paper is yet to be made public neither has any official statement been made with regards to the fate of the suspended monarchs.
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dosu Babatunde, while reacting to the prolonged delay to release the report’s white paper, said the state government had not forgotten the monarchs, but taking its time to ensure due process.
“The government has not forgotten or forsake them, the review committee has submitted it report and a white paper will be out soon. What we are doing is to ensure that due process is followed and who ought to be installed are properly installed. The previous government intent was politically motivated. We wanted to correct that, we are not witch hunting anyone”, Banatunde told Sunday Vanguard.
Suspension political – stakeholders
But a civil society organisations, Transparency Monitoring Group, while speaking on the issue through its Coordinator, Ayo Ologun, said the suspension of the monarchs, apart from being unnecessary was also political.
According to him, affected monarchs had already been installed and their issues should have been left to the court of law to decide.
“The processes that led to the selection and installation of these monarchs have been completed, hence, the dissatisfied persons ought to have approach the court for redress. In Osun state today, over 70 percent of traditional rulers have cases in court and were still in their respective palaces. Government should not politicised the traditional institution.
“It has a law governing it and there is also a system in place for those that feel aggrieved to seek redress”, he said.
A lawyer, Mr Charles Adeola, on his part, said the state government ought to have allowed the law to take its course rather than intervening in the process and giving it political colouration.
“Now, government seems to be at crossroads, it refused to issue a white paper months after receiving the review committee report. The monarchs should not be made to wait forever, they emerged through a process”, he added.
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