The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III has justified the recent appointment of the children of some traditional rulers into the Oyo State cabinet by Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
He said this while leading other traditional rulers from different zones of the state on a courtesy visit to Governor Ajimobi in his office in Ibadan.
He noted the reverence and exemplary deference to the institution of traditional rulership in the then Western Region of Nigeria by Chief Awolowo, which he said led to the setting up of the first Council of Obas and Chiefs in 1956.
He also recalled that the late Chief Awolowo established the first bi-camera legislature in Black Africa when he inaugurated the House of Chiefs to run contemporaneously with the House of Assembly in the then Western Region in 1959.
He said that the idea of ministerial appointment to Obas as a means of creating rapport between the executive arm of government and traditional rulership up to cabinet level, initiated by Chief Awolowo was also borrowed by the Second Republic Governor of Oyo State, the late Chief Bola Ige with the appointment of the then Ataoja of Osogbo and Eleruwa of Eruwa into his cabinet as commissioners without portfolio.
“I am of the strong opinion that the factors that made the experience succeed before will also be around to ensure its success during your own time too,’’ he said.
With the appointments, the king said Governor Ajimobi has demonstrated that he attaches more importance to the traditional institution as the closest to the grassroots.
Responding, Governor Ajimobi claimed full responsibility for the appointment of the children of some traditional rulers as commissioners in the state, saying that none of their fathers solicited for their appointment. Rather, he said that he picked them out of his own volition based on based on their individual competence, qualification and pedigree which qualified them for their appointment.
“I am aware of what some people have been saying about the appointment of the children of some traditional rulers as commissioners. The question is: who among them was not qualified for the appointment?
“Besides, I want to state here that I appointed them by myself. None of their fathers contacted me or requested for appointment for any of the commissioners. I perused their papers thoroughly and I discovered that they all had their track records. They all did very well and we are proud of them.
“Let me also state that the appointment was to show our respect to the traditional rulers, support for the traditional institution and to recognize the contributions of their respective families to the development of the state,’’ he said.