From TUNDE RAHEEM Akure
Angry natives of Igburowo community in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State yesterday chased away their paramount ruler, Oba Pius Akinfesola Adewole, from his palace over alleged gross corruption and indiscipline.
The action was witnessed by a large number of kinsmen, who trooped out to show their disapproval for Adewole’s alleged sins.
The protest, which began at about 6am, involved chiefs and prominent citizens of the community, who expressed their feelings in songs over the alleged misrule of the traditional ruler, which they claimed had brought shame and disrespect to the community.
The villagers had earlier written a protest letter, dated August 3, 2012, which was signed by about 21 of their representatives, representing various interest groups, including high chiefs, female chiefs, otherwise called Opoji in local parlance, as well as male and female natives, members of Igburowo Development Committee (IDC), youth association and the secretary of the Akinbumiti Ruling House.
The letter was addressed to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs as well as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
They demanded that the oba vacates the throne over some atrocities allegedly perpetrated in the community.
According to the letter, the monarch, who is known as the Akamuja of Igburowoland, was accused of forceful acquisition of land belonging to his subjects, frivolous litigation over subjects’ property, non-performance of traditional rites and assault on his chiefs and subjects.
He was also alleged to have connived with an indigene to defraud the community of N3.6 million meant for the payment of electricity bill to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Plc.
The indigene, who was allegedly nominated by the monarch as a representative of the community, was accused of diverting the money to his personal use.
He is facing prosecution at a Magistrate Court over the allegation.
Similarly, the monarch was also accused of running an autocratic regime by refusing to constitute the Oba-in-Council, several years after the death of some other high chiefs, called Iwarefas, who traditionally are required to run the township administration with him.
Besides, Adewole was also accused of refusing to convene traditional meeting places where people would gather to discuss communal matters.
The monarch was also accused of shortchanging traditional chiefs by refusing to pay them their full entitlements after he had allegedly collected same from the local government.
The community also accused him of fighting with his chiefs, illegal conversion of the community’s resources to personal use and writing of fictitious petitions and institution of several court cases against his subjects.
The protesters, who barricaded the major roads leading to the community, carried placards bearing inscriptions such as “Enough is Enough, 16 years of no development, no action,” “no, to backwardness,” “Igburowo says no to Akinfesola” “Go, Akinfesola, Go, Igburowo community rejects you Pius Adewole.”
The protesters, who marched from the main market to all the streets, later stormed the palace and ordered him out.
He was manhandled.
However, the quick intervention of Ore Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and his men saved the life of the monarch.
The police had hectic time rescuing the traditional ruler.
He was taken to the Ore Police Station.
Confirming the incident, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Adeniran Aremu, said the traditional ruler was in police custody after he was rescued from his subjects who forced him out of the palace.
Aremu said policemen had been drafted to the town to maintain law and order, adding that investigation was ongoing.