Ikere youths protest state destruction of monarch’s billboards

By Sunday Aloba, Ado-Ekiti

 

Youths in the sleepy town of Ikere Ekiti have gone on rampage by protesting the destruction of a billboard bearing the picture of the Olukere of Ikere Ekiti, Oba Ganiyu Ayodele Obasoyin, by agents of the State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.

 

The violence, which commenced at about 6.00 pm when Fayose was passing through the town on his way from Uyo where he attended the thanksgiving service to mark the victory of his Akwa Ibom counterpart Udom Emmanuel, continued on Thursday.

 

The Ikere who youths blocked all the major roads leading to the town condemned Fayose who “descending too low” to destroy the billboard of the monarch.

 

They vowed to spill their blood to defend the Olukere.

 

They destroyed some billboards in the town which had the pictures of the paramount ruler of the town, the Ogoga of Ikere, Oba Samuel Adejimi Adu, who is enjoying the backing of the governor.

 

Commuters passing through the town from Akure,  Ita Ogbolu, Iju, Ise, Emure, Ado Ekiti and other communities were prevented from passing through Ikere as the irate youths barricaded the highway with logs of woods, irons and other dangerous objects.

 

Bonfires were lit on the roads as the Police mobilized more men to the community to prevent the mayhem from escalating. Economic and social activities were paralyzed by the crisis and sent many residents to their early beds.

 

The contentious billboard was installed at the centre of the town by the Olukere’s subjects to mark the celebration of last year’s Olosunta Festival.

 

The Olukere is locked in a rivalry battle with the Ogoga who has since been recognized by Fayose as the “only authentic paramount ruler in the community.”

 

According to the Ekiti State website, Ikere Ekiti has two Obas-the Olukere and the Ogoga-who had existed side-by-side for ages but government had stopped the Olukere’s stipends as a king since 1989.

 

Tension between the two monarchs heightened on January 23 during the inauguration of the new Ogoga’s Palace when Fayose who was represented by his deputy, Kolapo Olusola, an indigene of the town, declared that the only traditional ruler recognized by the government is the Ogoga.

 

The contentious billboard was installed at the Odo Oja area, which is the centre of the town

 

Addressing a briefing in Ado Ekiti on Thursday where he displayed the pictures of Fayose and his security aides destroying his billboard, the Olukere, Oba Obasoyin called on the Federal Government to intervene because his life is under threat from the governor.

 

Obasoyin recalled that he had about three weeks ago drawn the attention of the world to an alleged plan by the governor “to set the town on fire” saying the destruction of his billboards was the fulfilment of Fayose’s earlier threat to him.

 

According to him, when he got wind of plans by Fayose to instigate violence in the community, he informed the two Divisional Police Officers (DPOs), the Commissioner of Police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

 

 

He promised to do everything possible to calm down his subjects to ensure that peace returns to the troubled community

 

The monarch went on: “Fayose came to Ikere in the evening in a convoy and parked his car by the roundabout and started tearing my billboard. I couldn’t go to my palace since yesterday.

 

“I want to appeal to the governor not to burn Ikere, he should not set my town on fire. My life is at stake because if a governor can personally tear my billboard himself, you can imagine what he would do if he sees me face-to-face.

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