The Ekiti State Government has warned any traditional chief or honorary chief who parades himself in the regalia of an Oba in Ekiti State will be arrested and prosecuted by the state government.
Government said the step would preserve the sanctity of the traditional institution.
The Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, gave the warning on Saturday, during a peace meeting with the Olohan of Erinjiyan-Ekiti, Oba Adegoroye Omoseebi, and some interest groups in the community in Ado-Ekiti.
Egbeyemi said the warning became necessary to curb unauthorised use of crowns and beaded walking sticks by palace chiefs in some communities in the state.
He said the government summoned the peace meeting following a petition from the traditional ruler that one of his chiefs, the Oba Odo of Erijiyan, Chief Boluwaji Adewumi, has been parading himself with the paraphernalia of a traditional ruler.
His actions allegedly include the use of crown and beaded walking stick within and outside the state.
Speaking after he was provided photographs of Adewumi with a crown on his head and holding a beaded walking stick, the Deputy Governor said he would have ordered the immediate arrest of the chief but had to give him a last warning and an opportunity to reconcile with the Olohan.
Egbeyemi said Adewumi’s action was a clear violation of the State Chiefs Law by using the paraphernalia of a traditional ruler which attracted a sentence of six months imprisonment upon conviction.
The Deputy Governor said cases of unauthorised use of crowns and beaded walking sticks had been reported to the state government in recent past, adding such acts were capable of causing chaos in the state.
He said the state government was working very hard to ensure that the state enjoyed peace before, during and after the forthcoming governorship election, saying the latest stand-off between the Olohan and the Oba Odo should not be allowed to fester.
He said if the situation was not well handled, it could be hijacked by hoodlums to unleash terror and throw Erinjiyan-Ekiti into chaos.
He called on parties to the crisis to bury their differences in the interest of peace.
Egbeyemi urged the community to effect the arrest of Adewumi through the help of security agencies anywhere he is seen wearing a crown or using a beaded walking stick.
The Deputy Governor, however, used the opportunity to warn chiefs in communities across the state to desist from wearing such regalia.
He said only Obas had the right to use such paraphernalia of office.
“No chief that is under an Oba in our state has the right to wear crown or use beaded sticks. It is only Obas that are entitled to wear crowns and use beaded sticks.
” The chiefs can use ordinary walking sticks and not the beaded traditional one.
“Beaded walking sticks are for Obas only, crowns are meant for Obas only. You don’t have two or more Obas in a town.
” No Chief should parade himself as an Oba, no matter how rich or influential he may be. He must respect the Oba under whom he is serving.
“If all of us are using crowns and beaded sticks, there will be confusion in our towns and that amounts to disrespect of our Obas and our government will not tolerate that. If anybody shows contempt to Obas, such an individual is playing with trouble.
“I am by this order putting chiefs in our communities under notice to desist from usurping the authorities of Obas in Ekiti State. Any chief who uses the paraphernalia of Obas is playing with six months imprisonment.
“I want Adewumi to go back to the palace and beg your traditional ruler and henceforth cooperate with him for the development of your town.
“You are a chief under him and don’t do anything that can diminish the throne of the Olohan,” Egbeyemi said.
Earlier, Oba Omoseebi had accused Adewumi of sponsoring confusion and violence in the town which necessitated petitions to the police and the state government.
Omoseebi alleged that Adewumi had constituted himself to a threat to residents of Erijiyan-Ekiti, noting that the palace had to report the incident to the government to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
Adewumi also accused the traditional ruler of making attempts on his life. He added that he only wears crown once in a year during a worship of a river deity in the town.
He assured the Deputy Governor of his readiness to comply with the order and reconcile with the Oba and other chiefs in the community in the interest of peace.