Group, called Coalition of Traders in Oyo State, has kicked against the alleged imposition of one Mr Yekini Abass as Babaloja of Oyo State.
The group alleged in a statement jointly issued in Ibadan by some of its zonal leaders on Wednesday that Abass was imposed on the traders by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji.
The signatories included Alhaji Ayobami Ajala (Ibadan), Mr Abel Abioye (Ogbomoso), Mrs Adebukola Oyewo (Saki), Mrs Adesola Ojedookun (Ibarapa) and Alhaji Nureni Adesola (Oyo).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the zonal market leaders had elected Sumaila Jimoh as Babaloja on August 24 at the House of Chiefs’ Secretariat in Ibadan.
However, on August 28, Adetunji installed Abass contrary to the nomination of Jimoh, who was the choice of the zonal leaders.
They described olubadan’s action as illegal, adding that only the process that produced Jimoh complied with the provisions of the association’s constitution.
They decried the poise by some individuals in the area to foment crisis in the association with the installation of Abass, promising to defend the constitution of the association.
“It is an embarrassment and very disgraceful that some individuals are promoting the imposition of a leader on over two million market men and women in the state.
“This is disgraceful at this trying period when everyone is praying to God to completely drive COVID-19 away for normalcy to return,” it said.
The group stated that the association was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
It stated: “That over two million market men and women from the 33 Local Government Areas in the state agreed and nominated the Chairman of Babaloja and Iyaloja of 11 Local Government Areas, Jimoh, as Babaloja.
“That all Babalojas and Iyalojas from all the zones of the state, namely Ibadan, Oke-Ogun, Ogbomoso, Oyo and Ibarapa, were present at the House of Chiefs, Agodi Secretariat, Ibadan, where Jimoh was elected.
“That the process that produced Jimoh as the Babaloja, followed due process and was conducted in line with the Constitution of our association.
“This was the reason there was no objection or rancour throughout the process.”
The group vowed to resist any attempt by anybody to “singlehandedly impose” a leader on the association.
“We have a Constitution and it must be adhered to in order to avoid crisis. We know and believe Gov. Seyi Makinde is a lover of peace and a respecter of the rule of law.
“He will not want to go against the rule of law which he has also benefited from. Neither would the governor be interested in any issue capable of truncating the peace currently enjoyed in the state.
The coalition warned any other person parading himself as Babaloja to desist from the act.
“We hereby warn whoever is parading himself as Babaloja to stop doing so immediately because we won’t compromise our stand on the choice of Jimoh.
“We are ready to defend the mandate of over two million people without fear of intimidation or harassment.
“As law-abiding citizens, we hereby appeal to the state governor, the Commissioner of Police, security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders and the organised labour to intervene and prevent the looming crisis,” it stated. (NAN)