Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State on Monday in Ibadan, the state capital presented new cars to 36 traditional rulers across the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 35 traditional rulers, apart from the Olu of Igboora, received their cars at the Governor’s Office car park.
The Olu of Igboora stool was still vacant after the former occupant, late Oba Oyewole Oyerogba, died.
Prominent among the beneficiaries of the cars were Sunday Oladapo, Onipetu of Ijeru; Abdulazeez Oyemonla, Sabiganna of Iganna; Lekan Balogun, Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland; and Owolabi Olakulehin, Balogun of Ibadanland.
Others include Biodun Kola-Daisi, Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadanland; Eddy Oyewola, Ashipa Olubadan of Ibadanland; and Amidu Ajibade, Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland.
Mr Ajimobi said his administration would continue to promote the traditional institution by enhancing the status of monarchs in the state as in other Yoruba-speaking states
“We have decided to procure these vehicles because record confirms that there are logistic, safety and security challenges facing our royal fathers.
“Our effort to intervene in these areas should not be misinterpreted or misunderstood,’’ he said.
The governor stated that there was need to lay a solid foundation for the traditional institution in the state.
“You will recall that our administration responded to the yearning and aspiration of our people by elevating the status of some royal fathers to crown and coronet-wearing Obas.
“As agent of change, we refused to be intimidated or perturbed in our desire to further promote and modernise the institution because we believe posterity will judge us right,” he said.
He stated that the administration had received an avalanche of applications for elevation.
Mr Ajimobi urged the traditional rulers to see the gesture of government as a charge for them to further contribute to the development of the state.
The Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi, stated that the gesture brings to the fore the struggle for the recognition and honour of traditional institution as an integral part of governance.
Mr Adeyemi frowned at the reluctance of Ibadan indigenes to support the cause of elevating traditional rulers to crown-wearing monarchs after the Olubadan of Ibadan was installed in 1976.
“This failure came after the Olubadan of Ibadan was crowned on December 7, 1976, to which I was instrumental,” he said.
Bimbo Kolade, the State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, said the gesture was another landmark achievement for the Ajimobi-led administration.
The event was attended by the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Francis Alao; Eleruwa of Eruwa, Samuel Adegbola, and members of the State Executive Council.