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Commission Begins Treatment Of Chieftaincy Anomalies

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FOLLOWING petitions and requests by individuals, groups and communities on cases of chieftaincy abnormalities in communities in Ondo State, the state government has set up a commission of inquiry to look into the cases.

The seven-man committee instituted recently by Governor Olusegun Mimiko, had made it known that their main mandate was to review the present grades and status of recognised chiefs and Obas in the state.

Investigation reveals that over 400 deserving cases, which range from issues of recognition, adjustment, upgrading and elevation of chieftaincy stools, have been threatening the peace of communities across the 18 local government areas, with a view to making appropriate recommendations.

According to the chairman of the commission, Honourable Justice Chris Ajama, the ungraded and unrecognised chiefs of various towns and communities shall also be put into consideration with a view to making appropriate recommendations, recognition and elevation as applicable.

“The status of minor chiefs associated with local communities, their grade or class and structure of the state council of chiefs; based on evidence in respect of history, customs, rules and development in any local community, are enclosed within the mandate of the commission,’ he said.

According to Ajama, the inquiry would “take evidence on the customs, traditions, influence and authority of prescribed authorities under the chiefs’ law and make recommendations on the areas of jurisdiction or power of such prescribed authorities in Ondo State.”

He assured that it would also carry out an in-depth investigation into disputed chieftaincy declarations referred to it and make appropriate recommendation, so as to achieve its aims and objectives.

Unlike many commissions of inquiry whose aims and objectives were defeated due to external interference and undue influence, members of the commission emphasised the independence of the commission and pledged justice, equity and fairness as their watchword.

The Chairman said scope of its inquiry would be in four broad parts to ensure effective operation. He listed them as; “Recognition and upgrading of deserving minor chieftaincies referred to the commission; elevation of existing (recognised) chieftaincies referred to it; review of the structure and composition of the Ondo State Council of Obas and the issue of paramountcy; and investigation into disputed chieftaincy declarations.”

Ajama declared that the over 400 memoranda submitted would be addressed during the public hearing that would soon commence, as stipulated in the timetable.
“The first tranche of the public hearing that will last two weeks is strictly for those seeking recognition. Others will follow later as we also roll out their schedule of appearance for public hearing, which will also be published,” he noted.


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