The Olugbon of Orile-Igbon and Vice Chairman of the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, Oba Francis Alao, has urged caution regarding the proposed amendment to the Chiefs Law of Oyo State.
In a memorandum submitted to the public hearing by the Oyo State House of Assembly, the monarch expressed concern that the amendment may lead to unnecessary communal clashes and border disputes.
He argued that the proposal did not take into consideration the customs and traditions of the people.
“The amendment seeks to empower the governor of Oyo State to elevate some chiefs to bead-wearing obas if the council of obas and chiefs does not meet to consider their elevation.”
Oba Alao cautioned against giving the governor unrestricted power to elevate traditional rulers and chiefs without recourse to the council of obas. He recommended inserting a provision/clause into the amendment to ensure that elevation under the law shall only be applicable during any period where the council of obas is unable to hold deliberations for any reason whatsoever.
“Another provision should be added to ensure that persons elevated to beaded-crown and coronet-wearing status after the passage of this law shall continue to pay customary obeisance to their prescribed/consenting authority. Additionally, Baales/Minor Chiefs who are initially customary tenants and are promoted under this law should not lay claim to ownership of ancestral lands held in trust for their sovereign”, the Monarch stated.
The review of chieftaincy laws has become a sensitive issue in the state, as demonstrated by the controversy surrounding the elevation of Ibadan high chiefs to obas in 2017 by former governor Abiola Ajimobi.