By Dipo Olowookere
Traditional rulers in Ekiti State have been slammed by a group known as Integrity Leadership Organisation over their demand for the zoning of the governorship seat to the south senatorial district of the state.
In a statement issued by the State Coordinator of the group, Mr Lekan Oyediran, the Integrity Leadership Organisation said it wrong for the monarch to demand for such when they held a meeting with the state governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose.
During the meeting last weekend at the Government House in Ado Ekiti, the traditional rulers said political parties must zone the governorship position in the July poll to the zone
But reacting to this, Mr Oyediran said the request by the obas was “stage-managed [and] instigated by Governor Fayose,” claiming they were coerced into the meeting to help the Governor push a ravaging and consuming personal agenda that he started more than two years ago.
“We understand the condition under which the Obas live in Ekiti State under Fayose where the governor had on many occasions resorted to making them his messengers in matters that are clearly beyond their powers just because Fayose wants to paint a picture of participatory governance.
“The Obas cannot be messengers for Fayose in political matters that should better be left to Ekiti people and political parties to decide, and so it is curious that after a meeting with the governor, the traditional rulers read out a statement given to them as if that prepared statement by Fayose represented their general position,” Mr Oyediran said in the statement.
The group reminded the Obas that their constitutional roles do not include deciding the zoning of political offices, regretting that acceding to Fayose’s request to push a personal political agenda is unconstitutional and abuse of power.
“We want to let our Obas know that they are not politicians. Political parties are constitutionally required to field candidates in elections and not Obas.
“We know that Fayose corralled the Obas into this political matter of office zoning, but we want to point the attention of the Obas to the fact that they are not politicians to decide such matter; therefore, their call at the behest of the governor is unconstitutional, offending both the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the constitutions of the various political parties,” the group explained.
Urging the monarchs to operate within the confines of the law, the group also counselled them against being used as tools of disunity in a homogeneous Ekiti State that shares same values, language and culture.
“From Otun-Ekiti to Omuo-Ekiti, Ikere-Ekiti to Igogo-Ekiti and Oye-Ekiti to Ogotun-Ekiti, we speak one language and share the same culture and values unlike other states of the federation with a multiplicity of cultures and languages.
“We have been living with this unique opportunity for ages and it has helped us in shaping our destiny for good, hence it will be a gross disservice to our people for one man to rankle that great peaceful co-existence for a self-serving agenda at the detriment of Ekiti unity with our traditional rulers being used as tools.
“We sympathise with our Obas that are being coerced into this self-serving agenda, but then we expect our revered obas to also exercise discretion in kowtowing to the whims of the governor who believes that his preferences represent the collective will of Ekiti people,” Mr Oyediran said.
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