The Oyo Royal title holders and the entire Alaafin of the Oyo ruling family have described the proposed chieftaincy amendment law by the state House of Assembly as dictatorial and usurping in modern society.
The ruling houses, in their memo tagged, “Memorandum On Chiefs Amendment Law 2023 Section 28, addressed to the Chairman, House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, a copy of which was obtained by The PUNCH, on Saturday, strongly objected to the abrogation of the powers of the Council of Obas and Chiefs on all matters relating to chieftaincies in the state.
They questioned how they will pass the dictatorial and usurpative law as a dictate of modern society.
The memo was jointly signed by Babayaji of Oyo; Onasokun of Oyo; Olusami of Oyo; AroleOba of Oyo and Agunpopo of Oyo, on behalf of themselves as traditional royal title holders/chiefs and the entire Alaafin of Oyo ruling family.
It read in parts, “We strongly object to the abrogation of the powers of the council on all matters relating to chieftaincies in the state. The council is better dissolved than publicly ridiculed and rendered toothless and irrelevant.
“We consider any attempt to clip the wings of the council as a dangerous trend that will bastardise the age-long traditional and customary administrative system that had sustained our civilization and heritage at the grassroots level of governance.
“The passage of this proposed law or amendment will, no doubt, turn our traditional rulers into puns in the hands of politicians, thereby enthroning a new era of nepotism, favouritism, and influence peddling. Conferment of beaded crowns may thereby be turned into trophies for political servitude and awards to the highest bidders or the best connected.
“The law is supposed “to regulate chieftaincies in line with the dictates of modern society. “How can we pass this dictatorial and usurpative law as a dictate of modern society?
“Even in Great Britain, it is public knowledge that the Prime Minister does not Interfere (both in Ancient and Modern Times) and up to this week, in the selection process and the coronation of the Queen and the King. Are we more modern than those who brought civilization to our doorsteps from 1842 and before?
“The law empowers the governor to specify, that is, to name or state explicitly or in detail, the chieftaincy holders and those entitled to wear beaded crowns.”
They said their understanding of the clause of the law was that the governor is the nominator, the specifier, the approving officer and the donor of the beaded crown to whomever the governor decided to favour.
They insisted that royal fathers in Yoruba land are fathers of all their subjects including those in governance, saying by this new law, “The tail will be wagging the dog.
“This innovation and modernity is strange to our custom and culture since most recognized chieftaincies provide for their family nomination, kingmakers’ recommendation (which also includes Community acceptance and support) and government scrutiny, approval and pronouncement,” they stated.
They, therefore, pleaded with the House and the governor to avoid giving room to the popular suspicion of seeking to donate compensatory crowns and chieftaincy titles to some well-known title holders who recently lost their well-publicised crowns to the ascension of a prominent traditional ruler.
They also appealed to them not to create strange and alien chieftaincies that may tend to polarise rather than unite their peaceful communities.