From Oluseyi Dasilva Ilorin
The people of Moro Local Government Area of Kwara State who are mainly Yorubas have decried the lopsidedness in the recent grading and upgrading of traditional rulers and chiefs in the Kwara State Government by the government, describing it as unfair and lacking equity.
Speaking on behalf of Concerned Moro Indigenes (CMI), through a press statement, Chief Wole-Oke, a Second Republic House Leader in the Kwara State House of Assembly said the recent exercise by government was “not only one sided but also sounded discriminatory”.
Chief Wole-Oke said though the group commended the government for grading and giving the monarchs staffs of office to the effect as a mark of recognizing the laudable roles the chiefs were playing to ensure peace and security in their respective domains, the exercise should also be equitably done.
He had specifically said: we the concerned indigenes of Moro, particularly would like to call the attention of Kwara State Government to the fact that our Traditional Fathers I Moro Local Government have been sidelined and deied such recognition aqmnd show of appreciation for many years, by some previous administrations in the state.
“We wish to bring to the notice of the general public that two of our traditional Fathers; the Ohoro of Shao and Oba of Jebba were previously recognized and graded appropriately, along with some of the present Traditional rulers and chiefs from Kwara South Senatorial District.
These category of chiefs he said “have now attained First Class status in the state. These were done much earlier by the Colonial Masters as far back as 1903 and also the Adamu Atta administration in 1983.
“It is however very sad to inform the general public that the recognition ad grading of the two Traditional Chiefs were withdrawn for o cogent reason or any just cause, by the previous Military administration in 1985 and the civilian administration in 2003” Chief Oke who is the Ajagungbade of Shao and Balogun of Jebba said a High Court of competent jurisdiction had in 2014 restored the 3rd class status of the Oba of Jebba which Kwara State government had not appealed till date and yet, not implemented.
The leader of the Concerned Moro Indigenes added that traditional chiefs in the local government who are Baales but are referred to as “Magajis and Alanguas have been denied recognition and grading unduly for many years by both the Kwara State government and also the leaders of the Ilorin Emirate Council, where they have been forced to despite their being grouped as part of Kwara North Senatorial District politically.”
He also said these chiefs have “cruelly” denied benefits from the 5% monthly deductions from Moro Local Government’s share of the Federally Allocated Fund which is meant for their welfare and upkeep.
“The money is rather being paid into the bank account of the Ilorin Council where they are not allowed to have any access to it in anyway whatsoever” adding that even monthly stipends meat to be their allowances by the local governments had not been paid for 36 months.
He lamented that for no genuine reason, similar allowances for traditional chiefs in the other four local governments in the Emirate were paid recently by Dr. Bukola Sararki but left out those of them in Moro.
Wole Oke therefore urged the state government to respect the earlier State High Court judgment of January 2014 by recognizing and restoring both the Oba of Jebba and Ohoro of Shaoto their original status of graded chiefs.
He also demanded that they not only be restored to their 3rd Class status but also graded to the 1st Class where their counterpart then in the 3rd had been graded which would make them be at par with their colleagues.
“They should also be provided with all the privileges ad opportunities being accorded other graded Traditional Rulers and Chiefs in Kwara State adding that the same be done to all other deserving Traditional Chiefs in Moro Local Government as being periodically done to them in Kwara South.