•Baale’s appointment of minor chiefs may be quashed
By Olaolu Bilau
A chieftaincy row has pitched the Eleruwa of Eruwa, His Royal Majesty Oba Samuel Adegbola against the Baale of Anko, Eruwa, His Royal Highness, Chief (Major) T.L.O. Laoye (Rtd) over the latter’s conferment of minor chieftaincy titles on some individuals, an authority said to be vested in the Eleruwa
Series of correspondence between lawyers to the two traditional rulers, the Oyo State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters and Office of the Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, indicated that, Baale Anko, Eruwa, Chief Laoye had in April last year appointed some minor chiefs in the town.
Following the Baale’s action, the Eleruwa had written a protest letter to the ministry in charge of chieftancy matters, maintaining that the Baale’s action was an affront on constituted authority. The Baale had through his lawyer responded to Oba Adegbola’s protest letter, saying Eleruwa’s letter was an attempt to mislead the government on the matter.
According to Chief Laoye, Eleruwa’s authority to appoint minor chiefs in Eruwa and environs as contained in section 22 (2) of Oyo State’s Chiefs Law was no longer valid as it had allegedly been set aside in 2004 through an official gazette of the state.
But in a swift reaction, the Eleruwa countered that the said gazette lost its validity, following a judgement delivered by Hon. Justice M.A.A. Abas of the Oyo state High Court in a suit in 2005 between the Onisanbo of Ogboora and Oyo State Government, which declared that only the Oyo State House of Assembly possess the constitutional powers to review or alter any part of the State’s Chiefs Law.
However, following the disagreement between the two parties on who holds constitutional authority over the appointment of minor chiefs in Eruwa and environs, the State Government waded into the matter.
A legal advice signed by the Acting Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Oyo State Ministry of Justice, Adetunji Wasiu Gbadegesin however, revealed that, “the extant law on chieftaincies in Oyo State empowers the Governor to appoint a prescribed authority for an area of any Local Government, to exercise the powers conferred by the Law in respect of any minor chief”.
As a result, the Eleruwa is said to hold the delegated authority over Eruwa and environs.
The justice ministry also noted that section 22 (2) of the Chiefs Law which empowers the Eleruwa to appoint minor chiefs was not set aside or abrogated through the gazette, as claimed by the Baale, adding that only the State’s House of Assembly has the authority to amend the law.
The State Government therefore concluded that only the Eleruwa has the authority over the disputed matter, saying “whatever any appointment made by Baale Anko, Eruwa was done in flagrant disrespect and dissident to the Chiefs Law and as such same is null and void and of no effect whatsoever” the statement read.
By law, the Eleruwa of Eruwa, HRM Oba Samuel Adegbola is the Chairman, Ibarapa East Local Government Traditional Council. Other members of the Council are the Baale of Anko, Baale of Lanlate, Onitabo of Itabo, Baale of Aborerin among others.