The Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe and Ekiti State governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, are at loggerheads over the latest demolition of houses in the state capital.
While the monarch is advising that demolition of structures in Ado-Ekiti must have “a human face”, the governor is insisting that any structure his administration considers as unbefitting must be pulled down.
On Sunday, the governor and the monarch had a confrontation where the first-class traditional ruler bared his mind about the feelings of residents whose houses had been pulled down for the on-going beautification of the state capital.
The monarch protested to the governor that his subjects had been trooping to his palace to register their displeasure over how their properties were demolished without any notice.
According to the monarch, house owners claimed that the recent demolition was not done with “any human face,” with many of the houses brought down with residents’ belongings inside.
The frontline traditional ruler invited Fayose to his palace to convey to him the feelings of his subject, but the governor got angry at the meeting and vowed to continue demolishing houses as part of his urban renewal policy.
The video of the encounter, which has since gone viral on the social media platforms, is generating interest within and outside the state.
In the video, the Ewi said, “The issue of urban renewal is sensitive, we had anticipated that this will happen and that was why we wrote a letter. You were at the glass shop over there when we said it is likely that houses will be demolished. But we said we should all be carried along before such houses are demolished.
“We know that you are doing your work and we cannot say you should not do it. But my subjects have been coming to the palace to complain that their structures were being demolished without prior notice. One of them complained that he went to work and before returning, the house was demolished with all his belongings inside.
“That of Ijoka was the most serious, and that is why I said it is compulsory that I see you (Fayose) that we should both discuss together. We cannot say you should not do your work because we will understand the matter on ground better in another 20 years.
“I don’t want you to say that ‘when I wanted to do my job, the Ado-Ekiti people said I should not do it.’ What we are saying is that all of us will sit down together, whatever work you want to do, those to be affected will know ahead of time. Imagine a situation in which somebody goes to work and when he returns, he meets his house demolished.”
Responding, Fayose declared, “Kabiyesi, your position that we should not demolish houses, don’t say that at all, don’t say that again.
Please don’t bring that matter out again! Excuse sir, let us ask the truth from ourselves, go out there, we have houses that have been there since 19…something.
“Those houses are there but the owners are no longer there. Many of them are living in GRA, others are residing in America. What they do is that they will create shops out of those dilapidated buildings and will be collecting rents on them at the end of the month.
“I want you to know today that I will continue to demolish houses.
Let me make it clear to you today. I wanted to extend the demolition to Atikankan, you were the one that prevented me. At the spot where the demolition stopped, that one is a comma. Invite those house owners and tell them that those houses that serve as hide-outs for phone starters and bag snatchers will be demolished.
“We need relative peace; can we remain in this condition forever? If this palace had remained in the same condition you inherited it from your forefathers who had reigned before you, are we going to have the opportunity of staying in this place? I just came here to honour you today; that is why I am here.
“That dual carriageway is going through Oke-Ila, across like this and anybody that has structures along that way will have to endure. That is the Panadol everybody will have to take in times like this. It is God that stands by somebody, nobody should use the forthcoming election to intimidate me.
“That Baba said the market is not part of it, who tells you that it is inside the market that demolition takes place? Those structures in front of the palace, I will demolish them. This palace should not be here and all those rubbish are allowed to be there. I want to complete that market first week of July by God’s grace.
“Everybody that is holed up in those structures should go inside the market so that I can tidy up the frontage of the palace and that will be in honour of my name forever. There is no time we will not fight, but wherever somebody has to go, he will go there.
“Those that are yet to be compensated will be compensated. I am already processing their compensation. We have done the enumeration and whatever those affected are supposed to get a few amount money, they will get it. That I will not demolish houses, I cannot guarantee that.
“I also want to tell Kabiyesi that I will not answer this kind of invitation again because I am busy working. I don’t want to be treated any less that the office of the governor that I represent. I don’t want to be so treated.”
“Excuse sir, you may not like what I want to tell you. Till the morning of the day that I will leave office in this Ado when you will be saying ‘Fayose bye bye’, I will work till that day. It is not because of you but because of me and my life. Kabiyesi, this is not a matter to be angry about it.”