Integrity Leadership Organisation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has faulted the demand by traditional rulers in Ekiti State that political parties must zone the governorship position in the July gubernatorial election to the South senatorial district of the state.
Governor Ayodele Fayose had at the weekend called the traditional rulers to a meeting in the Government House where they demanded that the governorship seat in the July election be zoned to the South senatorial district of the state.
But the group in a statement in Ado-Ekiti by its State Coordinator, Lekan Oyediran, faulted what he called “a stage-managed request instigated by Governor Fayose”, to force the traditional rulers to make themselves available for the governor’s personal agenda “dressed in altruistic, collective initiative of the people represented by the obas”.
“We sympathise with the Obas that were coerced into yesterday meeting to help Fayose 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,” he said.
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,” Oyediran said.