The seven-man Committee set up by the Ekiti State Government, on Monday paid a fact-finding visit to Iye and Eda Oniyo Ekiti, urging the people to give peace a chance in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict.
The panel chaired by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, had an interface with the people of the two communities to look into the apex court decision on the relocation of Ilejemeje Local Government headquarters.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant (Media) to the deputy governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, said the panel visited the two communities to see what is on ground having received documents from both parties.
The visit according to Egbeyemi was part of the assignment of the panel which would turn in its report to Governor Kayode Fayemi.
The deputy governor stressed that government was interested in ensuring that peace reigns in all communities in the state appealing to indigenes of Iye and Eda Oniyo not to engage in any act that could lead to breakdown of law and order.
The Supreme Court in a judgment delivered by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour on 14th December, 2018 ordered the relocation of Ilejemeje council headquarters from Iye to Eda Oniyo ending a 19-year battle which began at the State High Court.
The apex court held that the establishment of the headquarters of the Local Government in Eda Oniyo was backed by statute and could not be relocated elsewhere without the promulgation of a new law.
At Iye, the deputy governor led other members of the panel to visit the present local government secretariat and the palace of the Oniye, where he met with the monarch, Oba Jonathan Adeleye-Oni and community leaders including Afenifere leader, Senator Ayo Fasanmi.
At Eda Oniyo, the panel visited a building that has been designated as the temporary local government secretariat and the permanent site of the council secretariat.
The deputy governor and his team made up of panel members and officials of Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs were received by the Eleda of Eda Oniyo, Oba Julius Awolola.
He said: “The Supreme Court judgment is already with us and we have seen copies sent to us. We are not judges but we are members of a committee to report back to the governor.
“There is nothing we can say here but we will do justice and uphold the truth. Let us maintain peace because this government is for peace and development.”
The Oniye, Oba Adeleye-Oni, described the Supreme Court verdict as a rude shock saying, “Iye Ekiti has always been functioning as capital of Ilejemeje since time immemorial and even before and during the colonial era.”
The Eleda, Oba Awolola, who said the people of his town were anxiously waiting for the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment regretted that his community had been cheated for so long.”
Panel members who accompanied the deputy governor on the visit include former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Owoseni Ajayi; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Babatope Ojo; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government, Mr. Ayo Owolabi; Executive Secretary, Bureau of Chieftaincy, Mr. Remi Obaparusi; Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ado-Ekiti Branch, Mr. Olakanmi Falade and ministry officials.