Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has presented a staff of office and instrument of appointment to the first Owa Ateju of Iro Ayeteju-Ekiti in Gbonyin Local Government, Oba Gabriel Oluwole Ajayi.
The governor said the official installation of the monarch signified the final phase of the formal recognition of Iro Ayeteju as an autonomous community after many years of agitation.
Represented by the state deputy governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, Fayemi enjoined the indigenes and other residents of Iro Ayeteju to cooperate with the new traditional ruler for the development of the town.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, Iro Ayeteju was among the five communities recommended for autonomy and recognition by the state government on 19th December, 2019, after presenting their requests before the Justice Babajide Aladejana-led Chieftaincy Review Commission.
The recommendation was subjected to further scrutiny by a White Paper Committee following which the State Executive Council at its sitting of 12th February, 2020 gave final approval.
The governor commended the people of Iro Ayeteju for eschewing violence throughout the process and living in peaceful coexistence with Iro Ekiti from where they got the autonomy.
Fayemi who said he was aware of myriads of challenges and agitations for self-determination from several communities, said government cannot attend to all requests at once to the satisfaction of all, urging those whose applications had not succeeded not to lose hope yet.
He described respect for the traditional institution as one of the cherished values in Ekiti, promising to always hold Obas in high esteem and prioritise their welfare within the limit of the available resources.
Speaking after receiving his staff of office, Oba Ajayi urged government to assist the community to post more staff to schools and give them perimeter fencing.
He also advocated restoration of electricity which had been disconnected since 2012, urgent rehabilitation of Iro Ayeteju-Irun- Akoko Road, Iro Ayeteju-Omuo Road and political appointments to the indigenes of the town.
The monarch pledged to ensure that peace reigns in his domain, work together with neighbouring towns and settlements to cooperate with the state government and rally his subjects for the development of their hometown.
Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Adeniyi Familoni, said the autonomy granted Iro Ayeteju was in line with Section 6 A (1) and (2) of the Chiefs Law of Ekiti State CAP C5 of 2012 while the new king was selected in consonance with the provision of Section 8 of Ekiti State Chief Law and customary law.
Familoni advised the Owa Ateju to exercise his power with utmost restraint, noting that it is no longer fashionable to compel obedience by force but to always adopt dialogue in solving problems that may emanate in the course of ruling his subjects.
The Chairman of Gbonyin Local Government, Mr. Ayodele Fadumiye, urged the monarch to see his appointment and installation as a challenging responsibility to ensure that the hope and aspirations of his subjects for meaningful development are realised.
The local government boss also appealed to the people of Iro Ayeteju to perform their civic responsibilities of paying their taxes regularly, be law-abiding and security conscious.
The coronation ceremony was witnessed by the chairman of the State Council of Traditional Rulers and the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi; Chairman of Gbonyin Traditional Council and the Olode of Ode Ekiti, Oba Adara Aderiye; monarchs from other communities and Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Mr. Bamidele Faparusi.