The people of Itele community in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun on Wednesday besieged the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, demanding the appointment and installation of a new traditional ruler in the town.
The residents, led in protest by their Baales (village heads) and other community leaders, said that the absence of a monarch for nearly two decades had impacted negatively on the development of the community.
According to the protesters, the ancient town has been without a monarch after the late traditional ruler passed on over 15 years ago.
Some of the inscriptions on their placards are: “Itele people are peace loving”; “No Ademola, No King” and “A town without a king is a ghost town”.
Others are, “Itele people deserve a king” and “Please, approve our king as nominated by all the kingmakers and family”.
Speaking on behalf of the community, one of the Baales in Itele-Ota, Chief Oluyemi Onifade, told newsmen that the kingmakers recently elected Prince Ademola Asorota as the new king.
He, however, said that government had been foot-dragging on his ratification and subsequent installation.
He alleged that some groups of land grabbers, allegedly positioning one of them as the new king, had plotted to thwart the process.
Onifade urged the government to speed up the process, warning that any manipulation against the people’s wish would plunge the town into crisis.
“Ademola Asorota is an indigene of Itele from Iliwo in Itele. He is never an outsider. He is never an outcast.
“What we are asking the government to do is to hasten the process.
“Already, the process is ongoing, but please, let us fasten the process so that we can have an Oba in Itele; because it has drawn the town backwards to the extent that no meaningful development is taking place in Itele.
“We don’t want chaos; we don’t want crisis in Itele,” he submitted.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the protesters were addressed on behalf of the state government by Adesoji Adewuyi, Director of Chieftaincy Affairs at the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
He admitted that the selection process, which had started on Itele stool, had been stalled by litigation.
According to Adewuyi, the ministry has transferred the matter to the Ministry of Justice for legal advice before the government can take a final decision.
He, however, assured the protesters of government’s transparent process to avoid crisis in the community.