Ekiti State Government has directed the Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area of the State to immediately release the N6.5 million four-year salary arrears to chiefs in Awo-Ekiti as part of the efforts to resolve the raging kingship tussle in the community.
The Deputy Governor, Mrs Monisade Afuye, on Wednesday, said that Biodun Oyebanji cherishes traditional institutions and caters to the welfare of our Obas.
With the directive, the government had succeeded in brokering a truce over the salary crisis between Alawo of Awo Ekiti, Oba Abdulazeez Olaleye and some chiefs, who accused the monarch of sidelining them in the salary payment since 2019.
The chiefs had in a petition to Ekiti State Ministry of Chieftaincy and Home Affairs, accused the monarch of depriving them of their statutory salaries on account of their opposition to his ascension to the throne.
Afuye, who spoke at a peace parley in her office, said that the complaint led to the seizure of all the salaries of chiefs in the town since 2019 by the Local Government.
The deputy governor, in a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Victor Ogunje, ordered the local government to instantly release the fund for onward distribution to all chiefs across the board.
She also mandated the council to investigate the issue surrounding the relocation of some markets as alleged by Oba Abdulazeez and come up with recommendations on the matter.
She said, “I know that some of these chiefs have not been attending palace meetings due to their opposition to the emergence of the present monarch, but let them be paid pending the time the Supreme Court will adjudicate on this matter.
“I appeal to Kabiyesi to allow this directive to stand, because you are the one presiding over Awo Ekiti now, try and seek peace. Have the spirit of oneness and unity. Do whatever is within your capacity to bring all your chiefs together.
“Though I agree that those opposing Kabiyesi and who had refused to attend palace meetings are not supposed to be paid, Kabiyesi must pay them in the interest of peace. They are in court and we should allow them to enjoy that right. But whether they like it or not, they can’t remove Kabiyesi, only the court or government can do that.
“Governor Oyebanji doesn’t want problem in any part of the state and whoever foments trouble in that town after this resolution that all chiefs must be paid will have himself to blame.”
Reacting, Oba Olaleye, who said he would comply with whatever the government fashions out to resolve this crisis, said he had always been extending an olive branch to his opponents in the town, particularly the chiefs, lamenting that all his entreaties were being rebuffed.
The monarch expressed regret how some chiefs were running a parallel government and stalling development in the town, despite emerging through a fair and transparent contest among all contenders.
“I have always been looking for ways to foster peace, but they have always been shunning all entreaties. They didn’t allow me access to the palace, the place is now bushy. The markets that are not supposed to be opened or patronised when an Oba is on the throne are being patronised, which was a taboo,” he said.