By Demola Atobaba, Ado-Ekiti
The people of Iyemero, a community in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State, have called on Governor Ayo Fayose to remove their traditional ruler, the Olu of Iyemero-Ekiti, HRM Oba Ebenezer Agboola Ogungbemi, for what they called “acts unbecoming of his revered position”.
Members of the community staged a public protest before and after a peace meeting chaired by the Attah of Ayede-Ekiti, Oba Mumuni Adebayo Orisagbemi, who came to reconcile the Iyemero monarch with his subjects.
They accused Oba Ogungbemi of embezzlement of allowances due to his chiefs, illegal arrest and detention of his subjects and illegal sale of some parcel of community’s ancestral land to the tune of N5 million without their consent.
The royal father’s subjects also accused him of illegal felling and sale of community’s economic trees, use of divide and rule tactics, high handedness, dictatorial tendencies and lack of interest in the development of the town.
The Iyemero people, who carried various placards, protested round the community calling on Fayose to initiate steps to depose Oba Ogungbemi before the already-tense situation get out of hand.
Some of the placards read: “Governor Fayose; We Don’t Want Ebenezer Agboola as Olu of Iyemero Again”, “We Are Tired of Our Oba; He Must Go”, “Iyemero Youths Reject Ebenezer Agboola as King”, “EFCC; Come and Probe Olu of Iyemero”, “We Reject to Die in Prison; Agboola Must Leave”, “Agboola Is Not Fit to Be Our Oba Again”, among others.
Various interest groups including traditional chiefs, town union leaders, women leaders, youths, students some of whom were arrested and detained for challenging Oba Ogungbemi’s alleged excesses who spoke at the parley said they could no longer guarantee peace in the community if he still remains king.
The peace meeting, which was also witnessed by the Olu of Itapaji, HRM Oba Abdulkareem Adebanjo, collapsed as the Attah was making his closing remarks when the youths who had sat quietly throughout the proceeding brought out their placards and chanted war songs against their monarch.
Oba Ogungbemi’s subjects insisted that they were tired of his ‘oppressive’ reign and heckled their monarch as he was seeing off Oba Orisagbemi who was leaving to attend another function in his domain (Ayede).
There was drama at the end of the meeting when Oba Ogungbemi threatened to slap reporters who sought to hear his own side of the story since he did not utter a word throughout the meeting.
Oba Ogungbemi, who was obviously angry, retorted: “What do you want to interview me for? You better go away or I will slap you”.
The Attah who sued for peace said Iyemero remains his second home since it was from there the people of Ayede located in Oye Local Government Area moved to where they are at present.
Oba Orisagbemi urged his brother monarch to listen to his subjects, reconcile with them and pay the chiefs whose allowances are being withheld for peace to reign.
President of Iyemero Progressive Union (IPU), Chief Lawrence Fatoyinbo, said the people of Iyemero no longer want Oba Ogungbemi as their ruler and they had forwarded a petition to the Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose, to effect his dethronement for peace to return to the beleaguered community.
Fatoyinbo said: “The Olu of Iyemero is running a one-man show, he doesn’t take advice and he is not ready to work with the umbrella body of the town (IPU). Even though he was not the rightful person to occupy the throne, we still accepted him and gave him the benefit of doubt but he has failed to justify our trust.
“He has not been paying the chiefs under him their allowances for the past ten years despite collecting the money from the government. We want him to know that we have a way we can report him to EFCC and it is unfortunate that many of the chiefs had died without collecting what is due to them.
“He sold Iyemero landed property to the tune of N5 million without the consent of the community claiming that the whole land belongs to his family.
“We don’t want him any longer, we have written petitions to Governor Ayo Fayose because the governor is the only answer to this issue.
“We have asked him to set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into the matter, we have also taken the matter to the Elekole of Ikole before the latest intervention of the Attah of Ayede.
“You heard what the representatives of various interest groups in Iyemero said at the meeting. We have lost confidence in our Oba because he cannot change again,” Fatoyinbo said.