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Afenifere cautions Kwara govt over Yoruba rulers

The Afenifere Renewal Group has protested an alleged disrespect for Yoruba traditional institutions by the Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed-led Kwara State government.

The Kwara State chapter of the group, in a petition to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Abdullahi Shaaba Umar, and the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Razak Atunwa, said the government’s recent grading of traditional rulers reeked of ethnic marginalisation.

The petition was signed by Messrs Joe Olarogun, Agboola Raji and Baba Ba’ako.

According to the petition, all the 70 chieftaincy stools graded by the government were in Kwara-South senatorial district.

It said, “Other memoranda from Yoruba rulers in Central and North districts were allegedly ignored because the two districts comprised the Ilorin Emirate.

“Six monarchs from Asa, Moro and Ilorin-East Local Government Areas – Ohoro of Shao, Oba of Jebba, Alapado of Apado, Baale of Afon, Dado of Okeso, and Magaji Aare of Ilorin submitted memoranda for the exercise but none was deemed qualified even though “they all met the criteria set out in the advertisement.”

The ARG said government’s action also negated historical and legal accounts in Kwara State.

It said, “Historically, both the Oba of Jebba and Ohoro of Shao were graded as third class chiefs in 1983 along with Elese of Igbaja (in Kwara-South), who today is a first class chief.

“Both rankings were inexplicably withdrawn in 1984 during the military regime. In 2003, late Gov. Muhammed Lawal restored the rankings but Gov. Bukola Saraki withdrew them again.

The group said the law clearly proved the government was insensitive in allowing the emirate to “use state apparatus to lord it over Yoruba communities.”

It said the Yoruba communities would employ all democratic means to achieve justice if the Ahmed administration fail to address the issue.

The group also warned that the “situation in Kwara State should not be allowed to degenerate into violence” as was the case in Kaduna, where peace remained elusive until the then Governor Ahmed Makarfi created a chiefdom for the Zango Kataf.

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