Residents of Ikere Ekiti trooped out in their large numbers on Wednesday to stage a peaceful protest and demanded the unconditional release of the Olukere Ekiti, Oba Ganiyu Obasoyin.
The residents described the murder case against the king as politically-motivated by the state government to dent his image.
The Olukere, Oba Ganiu Obasoyin, was in December remanded in custody for the alleged murder of one Femi Kolade in a reprisal on Christmas Day.
A few hours after the protest, the Ogoga of Ikere Ekiti, Oba Adu Adejimi Alagbado, and the Ogoga-in-Council announced the proscription of the title of Olukere.
Obasoyin has been demanding his staff of office from the state government and recognition as a full-fledged king and founder of Ikere, a situation which had pitted him against the Ogoga and some prominent sons of Ikere.
It was gathered that Obasoyin led a team of his loyalists and some men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad to a place in Ado Ekiti for a reprisal against some suspected thugs who allegedly attacked his new hotel and destroyed some facilities there.
The residents marched round the sacred tree at the heart of the town where one of the high chiefs, Folusho Olowolafe, addressed them.
Olowolafe urged the residents to exercise patience, noting that efforts were in top gear to ensure the release of the monarch.
The protesters, who were mostly traditional chiefs, community leaders , aged men and women, sang solidarity songs, and carried placards with various inscriptions including “We demand the release of our King,” “Government should allow peace to reign in Ikere,” and “We demand Fayose to release our kabiyesi to us now.”
The Eselemo of Ikere-Ekiti, Chief Adeyemi Afolayan, said, “The protest is in respect of our Oba, the Olukere of Ikere, Oba Ganiyu Obasoyin, Okomolese, who is currently in custody in Ado-Ekiti over trump up charges against him. The people are not happy about it. They want him released with immediate effect.”
The protesters appealed to the Federal Government to wade into the crisis pervading the town before it escalated.
But announcing the proscription of the Olukere chieftaincy title, the Secretary to the Ogoga in Council and the Odofin of Ikere Ekiti, Chief James Alonge, who read Ogoga’s address to newsmen at the palace on Wednesday, said Olukere was never a title in Ikere land.