In a recent development, the Ondo State Government has taken a decisive step to reverse the directive issued by the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, regarding the closure of markets during the upcoming traditional Aheregbe Festival. The monarch’s initial order had mandated the closure of markets in observance of the annual event scheduled for Friday.
However, this decision faced criticism from the government, which asserted that the fundamental rights of the community’s residents were being violated. The disagreement stemmed from the fact that the Deji of Akure did not obtain the necessary approval from the acting governor before issuing the market closure order.
The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, disclosed in a statement released on Thursday evening that the decision to reverse the market closure order was made during the state Executive Council meeting.
The controversy sheds light on the delicate balance between traditional practices and governmental authority, prompting a reevaluation of the processes through which such decisions are made in order to ensure the protection of citizens’ rights.
As per the statement, the commissioner revealed that the monarch issued the order to close markets without obtaining prior approval from the acting governor.
The statement read, “On August 24, 2022, one of the decisions made by the Executive Council was that; there shall be no closure of markets in any part of the state without the approval of the acting governor.
The statement credited to Mr. Michael Adeyeye, the Press Secretary of His Majesty, the Deji of Akure constitutes a clear violation of an existing order of the government, and an abridgement the right of Akure residents to the pursuance of their livelihood.
“The public should note that even if an approval was sought, such closure would have been limited to Ọjà Ọba (Oba’s Market) in Akure.
“We urge our respected Royal father, His Majesty, the Deji of Akure to respect the government decision and refrain from any action that can inconvenience, and, or inflict economic pain to Akure inhabitants. We also ask that the cordial relationship between the revered stool of the Deji not be drawn into open confrontation with the government.”
The released statement encouraged the inhabitants of Akure to carry on with their regular activities on Friday and in the days ahead, emphasizing the importance of upholding their individual freedoms.
“No market or shop shall be closed by anyone either by coercion or threat of force before, during or after Aheregbe Festival. Whoever flies in the face of this directive will draw the ire of the government. The Government of Ondo State asks that; everyone should be law abiding and move about freely in the pursuit of happiness,” the statement warned.
In a noteworthy development, the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, had previously issued a directive through his Chiefs Press Secretary, Mr. Michael Adeyeye, on Thursday, calling for the closure of the local market. The closure was intended to facilitate the observance of the forthcoming annual Aheregbe Festival scheduled for Friday.
The statement read , “The Palace of the Deji and Paramount Ruler of Akure Kingdom wishes to notify the residents of Akure and its environ that all Markets and Shops in Akure will be shut on Friday 25th August, 2023
“The closure became necessary as part of the requirement in observing the age long tradition of the annual Aheregbe Festival. It is important to emphasize that there shall be no trading or opening of shops under any guise during the festival.
“Residents, market women and shop owners are kindly enjoined to comply with this directive.”
While the closure of shops was mandated for the festival, an exemption was granted to pharmacy shops and patent medicine stores. These establishments will remain open for business during the festival period, ensuring that essential healthcare services remain accessible to the community.
However, this decision has now been revoked amidst recent developments.