24th August, 2011
As the tussle over the obaship stool of Iworo in the Olorunda Local Council Development Area of Lagos State ranges on, the Secretary, Elders Forum of the community, Mr. Olusegun Okoya, has faulted the composition of the selection committee put in place by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The committee which was inaugurated on Monday, 22 August, 2011 at the council secretariat comprise 12 members of the community including seven king makers.
Speaking after the inauguration, Mr. Okoya said Obas and Chiefs Law of Lagos State only conferred the authority to select a person to fill the vacancy on the king makers.
Okoya noted that the composition which included non- kingmakers like the Market Woman Leader(Iya Loja), Youths president of the community, the Regent and the Eletu including another community leader as specified by the memo to the chairman of Olorunda Local Council signed by the Director, Chieftaincy of the Ministry , Mr. M.A. Taiwo, was improper.
He said the custom and tradition of Iworo and Awori land and Yoruba in general did not permit the inclusion of others outside the king makers to select the traditional rulers, adding that the Regent has no voting right but to act as an observer during the election.
He described the development as a bad precedent which might have fuelled the acrimony presently rocking the community over the selection an Oba.
Quoting from the Obas and Chiefs Law of Lagos State, Mr. Okoya said: â€œWithin not more than seven days after the submission of the name of a candidate or candidates, the king makers shall proceed to select a person to fill the vacancy in accordance with the provision of paragraph ‘e’ of the procedure to fill vacancies in a ruling house chieftaincy.”
He added that paragraph ‘e’ ii states that if the names of more than one qualified candidate are submitted in accordance with section 16, the names of those candidates shall be subjected to the votes of the kingmakers and the candidate who obtains the majority of the votes shall be declared and appointed.
He said there was no where the law permits non king makers especially the Regent to be part of the selection team.
Mr. Okoya noted that those with the rights to vote also by tradition have the rights to be voted for as obaship candidates adding, “that is why the voting right is restricted to the king makers and not extended to those that are not qualified to contest for the obaship stool of Iworo Kingdom.”
He, therefore, urged the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to have a rethink especially as the Local Council Development Area has inaugurated the committee so as not to set a bad precedent in Awori land and Iworo in particular.