Fayose, Ewi row over demolition in Ado-Ekiti

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Residents of Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, led by their monarch, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, are angry with Governor Ayodele Fayose for demolishing houses in the city.

The residents have been trooping to the palace of the monarch to register their displeasure about how their properties were demolished without any prior notice.

Home owners claimed that the recent demolition was not done with a human face.

They said many of the houses were brought down with their belongings inside.

The Ewi invited Fayose to his palace at the weekend and expressed the disapproval of his subjects with the latest demolition.

The governor reportedly got angry at the meeting and vowed to continue demolishing houses as part of his administration’s urban renewal policy.

Oba Adejugbe was quoted to have said that Ado-Ekiti residents were not happy that the government did not inform them about the demolition before their homes were brought down for a market extension and a road project.

Areas affected include Okeyinmi, Oke Ila, Ijoka and residential areas within the market vicinity.

The Hausa in the Sabo area had been displaced.

But the Ewi, his chiefs and subjects got more than what they bargained for when Fayose said nobody could stop him from the demolition.

The governor said it would be continuous.

Fayose reportedly promised to demolish the shops in the front of the palace and more houses in the city to pave way for his urban renewal project.

The governor vowed not to honour any royal summons on the demolition saga.

The footage of the encounter has since gone viral on various social media platforms and has been generating interest within and outside the state.

In the video, Fayose does not hide his anger towards Oba Adejugbe’s remarks on public outrage on the demolition.

The Ewi says: “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 was likely that houses would be demolished. But we said we should all sit down and be carried along before such houses would be demolished.

“We know that you are doing your work and we cannot say you should not do your work. 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 the house was demolished with all his belongings inside before he returned. That is the issue.

“People have been coming here and they have not allowed us to rest. That of Ijoka was the most serious. That is why I said it is compulsory I see you (Fayose), that we should discuss together. We cannot say you should not do your work because we will understand the matter on the 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 my work’. 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 his house is demolished before he returns.”

But an irate Fayose, who looks agitated while the Ewi is making his remark, fires back: “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 me, sir! Let us ask for 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 the GRA, others are residing in America. What they do is that they will create shops out of those dilapidated buildings and they 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. I wanted it demolished up to Atikankan.

“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 hideouts for phone snatchers and bag snatchers will be demolished.

“We need relative peace. Can we remain in this condition forever? If this palace had remained 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. Anybody who has structures along that way will have to endure. That is the Panadol everybody will have to take in a time like this. It is God Who stands by somebody; nobody should use the forthcoming election to intimidate me.

“That Baba said the market is not part of it. Who told 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 that rubbish is allowed to be there. I want to complete that market in the first week of July, by God’s grace.

“Everybody who is holed up in those structures should go inside the market so that I can tidy up the frontage of the palace. 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 who 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 an amount of 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 than the office of the governor that I represent. I don’t want to be so treated.

“Excuse me, 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.”

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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