Some residents of Iloro- Ekiti in Ijero local government area of Ekiti State, on Monday trooped to the streets to protest against the newly installed monarch of the community, Oba Femi Olugbesoye, over alleged high-handedness and despotism towards perceived opponents in the community.
Oba Olugbesoye had in December 2019 succeeded the last occupant of the Oluloro throne, the late Oba Michael Ayoola Arowolo, who joined his ancestors in September 2015.
The protesters, comprising chiefs, youths and women, accused the monarch of sponsoring thugs to beat up and harass those that were opposed to his installation as the king.
They appealed to Governor Kayode Fayemi to depose him and replace with the preferred choice of the town, who would respect tradition and other subjects.
The aggrieved protesters matched round the town with a traditional stick called ‘Apasa’ which was regarded as a taboo and signalled ominous sign for any Oba to witness such a parade.
Addressing journalists during the protest, the Aro of Iloro kingdom, Chief Samuel Agbaje, accused the government of imposing Olugbesoye on the community despite being rejected by Ifa divination and the entire town.
He said since the Obaship tussle begun, the embattled king had been bearing his fang on those that resisted his installation on the basis that it was an act of imposition and against the community’s tradition.
Agbaje alleged that some gun-wielding thugs had last week attacked his house and the homes of Chief Adelerin Abioye, Chief Ayo Joseph Osasoke, Chief Michael Ogundele and the head of women wing, Chief Alice Eegunjobi, with the intention to banish them from the town.
According to him, “Oba Olugbesoye was not the choice of the town, he was imposed on us from outside which was alien to our tradition and we won’t accept it.
“When the late Oba Arowolo was installed 50 years ago when there was no modernity and democracy, the process was democratic. People made their own choice. The whole town was involved. If that could happen at that time, why should this happen now? Few people came from outside to install him.
”There must be a review of his kingship. It has not reached the stage when we will go to court because we believe the government will address the issue properly, but if it fails, we will go to court.
“Last Friday, the house of Are Oluwo worldwide, Chief Michael Ogundele was attacked. His house was riddled with bullets around 12 midnight. It was because of his opposition to the installation and this must stop.
“We are being oppressed and attacked here. Thugs attacked us on February 2, Ayo Joseph Osasoke and myself were beaten up by thugs. We reported to the police but nobody was arrested.”
Relaying how Oba Olugbesoye was installed, the Sajowa of the town, Chief Olusegun Ogundele, said: “We were here on September 9, 2019, when some soldiers and police bombarded the town. They teleguided our kingmakers to come with one Ifa divinator. Despite that they brought the Ifa priest, Olugbesoye had the worst Ifa ranking among the three candidates presented.
“Since he became the king, no traditional rite has been done and this could bring calamity. We wrote a series of petitions to the government, the council of traditional rulers, but nothing was done.”
Reacting to the protest, Oba Olugbesoye from Arojojoye ruling house, said the protesters were only engaging in senseless blackmail, dispelling the allegation that he was imposed by interlopers.
He said it was the turn of his dynasty to fill the vacant stool left by the departed Oba Arowolo, adding that it was the opponents that were heating up the polity by shunning every meeting convened by the police and government to resolve the issue.
Appealing to his opponents to embrace peace and cooperate with him, Oba Olugbesoye said:”They were the ones causing trouble. They cut the trees in the town just to put me at risk of death because that can only be done for a dead king. It is the turn of my house to produce the king. Mr Olu Aje that they presented belongs to another dynasty.”
“All those who contested against me had embraced my kingship. They have been doing all manners of abominable things and I appeal to them to work for the peace of the town because I will be the last person to sponsor thugs to attack any of my subjects,” he added.