By Victor Akinkuolie
In what looks like a melodrama in the ancient town of Erijiyan-Ekiti, Ekiti West local government area of Ekiti State, the traditional ruler of the community, Oba Adegoroye Omoseebi, engaged one of his chiefs, Boluwaji Adewumi in a fisticuff.
Oba Omoseebi had accused the chief who is Oba Odo of Erijiyan-Ekiti, a quarter within the community of parading himself as an Oba by moving round the town in full regalia with beaded walking stick and crown, the development which later resulted into physical combat between the duo.
Erinjiyan-Ekiti is in the Central Senatorial District of Ekiti State, the community is about 40 kilometers away to Ado-Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State. The traditional ruler of the town, usually goes by the title “Olohan” of Ẹrijiyan-Ekiti, a grade-A class according to the Ekiti State Chieftaincy grade.
Drama however broke out on the fateful day when Adewumi allegedly dressed in a full regalia of an Oba with a beaded walking stick and crown and drove himself in a motorcade round the town.
The development was said to have prompted Oba Omoseebi to accost the Chief and engaged him in a physical combat apparently to collect the beaded walking stick and remove the crown from his head.
The matter later degenerated into a fight and break down of law and order in the sleepy town but was later brought under control through the intervention of a detachment of police stationed in the ancient community.
The argument took another dimension when Oba Omoseebi wrote a petition to Ekiti State Government and also copied Director of the State Security Service (DSS) and the Ekiti State Commissioner of Police.
In the petition, Oba Omoseebi accused Chief Adewumi of allegedly sponsoring violence and using thugs to cause chaos in the town, he was also acussed of wearing crown and used beaded walking stick in full regalia and thereby parading himself as an Oba in the town.
Other allegations in the petition are the refusal of the Chief to appear in the palace and other traditional meeting places in the town. The monarch equally alleged in the petition that Adewumi has constituted himself to be a threat to his palace and the entire residents of the town among other allegations.
Reacting to the petition, Ekiti State Government through the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, hurriedly issued a ban that any chief or honourary Chief who parades himself in the regalia of an Oba in the State will be arrested and prosecuted by the state government, saying the move was aimed at preserving the sanctity of the traditional institution.
The state government also went further to broker a peace meeting between the Chief and the monarch, which was also attended by some youths and some security operatives in the area.
During the meeting, the photographs of Adewumi with a crown were as presented to the Deputy Governor.
Otunba Egbeyemi said Adewumi’s action was a clear violation of the State Chiefs Law by using the paraphernalia of a monarch which attracts a sentence of six months imprisonment upon conviction.
Otunba Egbeyemi said if the situation is not well handled, it could be hijacked by hoodlums to unleash terror and throw Erijiyan Ekiti into chaos. He called on parties to the crisis to bury their differences in the interest of peace.
He urged the community to effect the arrest of Adewumi through the help of security agencies anywhere he is seen wearing a crown or using a beaded walking stick preparatory to his prosecution in court.
He said: “No chief that is under an Oba in our state has the right to wear crown or use beaded sticks. It is only an Obas that are entitled to wear crowns and use beaded sticks. The chiefs can use ordinary walking sticks and not the beaded traditional one.
“Beaded walking sticks are for Obas only, crowns are meant for Obas only. You don’t have two or more Obas in a town. No chief should parade himself as an Oba no matter how rich or influential he may be. He must respect the Oba under whom he is serving.
“If all of us are using crowns and beaded sticks, there will be confusion in our towns and that amounts to disrespect of our Obas and our government will not tolerate that. If anybody shows contempt to Obas, such an individual is playing with trouble.
“I am by this order putting chiefs in our communities under notice to desist from usurping the authorities of Obas in Ekiti State. Any chief who uses the paraphernalia of Obas is playing with six months imprisonment.
“I want you (Adewumi) to go back to the palace and beg your Kabiyesi and henceforth cooperate with him for the development of your town. You are a chief under him and don’t do anything that can diminish the throne of the Olohan.”
Speaking earlier, Oba Omoseebi had accused Adewumi of sponsoring confusion and violence in the town which necessitated the petition to the police and the state government.
But in his reaction, shortly after the news of the ban was broken in the State, the embattled Chief cleared the air on what transpired at a peace meeting the state government recently held with stakeholders of the town.
Chief Adewumi clarified that he was not banned by the state government from wearing his crown once in a year during a traditional festival of which he is the custodian in accordance with the culture and traditions of the community.
He said the Deputy Governor, after listening to his defence said he was permitted to wear a crown during the celebration of Oro Apa festival which is held annually in Erijiyan Ekiti.
Chief Adewumi said the Deputy Governor cleared him to wear his insignia of office as the Oba Odo to perform his traditional duties during a meeting attended by the Olohan of Erijiyan Ekiti, Oba Adegoroye Omoseebi, members of the Olohan-in-Council and other interest groups in the town.
The Oba Odo said the clarification became necessary to douse tension in Erijiyan Ekiti following what he called misrepresentation of what transpired at the meeting presided by the Deputy Governor to the effect that he had been banned from wearing his traditional crown once in a year during the festival as allowed by the tradition of the town.
Chief Adewumi also disclosed that he had written a rejoinder to the Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs to debunk all allegations of instigating violence, instability and disrespect to the palace levelled against him by the Olohan of Erijiyan Ekiti, Oba Omoseebi.
He described himself as a responsible, God fearing and respected community leader who is committed to peace, progress and development of Erijiyan Ekiti and would never be involved in any act that could cause chaos in the town.
Chief Adewumi said: “There is need to put the records straight on what transpired during a meeting we held with the Deputy Governor on 26th May, 2022 in which I was given an opportunity to defend myself against the petition written against me by the Olohan.
“I was never banned by the state government from wearing crown. The Deputy Governor after listening to my own side said I am permitted to wear the crown during my annual festival, the Oro Apa which is a traditional assignment held once in a year.
“This clarification is necessary to correct the impression being created in Erijiyan Ekiti that I have been banned from wearing the crown again. The culture and traditions of the town allows me to wear the crown during the Oro Apa Festival which the Deputy Governor agreed with me.
“I am responsible, God fearing and respected community leader. I am committed to peace, progress and development of Erijiyan Ekiti. I will never be involved in orchestrating chaos and violence in my hometown.
“The allegation that I am impersonating the Olohan is not true. I am the Oba Odo, I cannot perform the functions of Kabiyesi and Kabiyesi cannot perform my duties. I am for peace and progress of Erijiyan”.