Monday, March 19, 2018 4:41 pm
• Fayose: Demolition has just started, I will pay house owners pittance
By Ademola Adegbamigbe
Watch video below: https://www.facebook.com/obabafemi/videos/10157218862729689/?t=9
The verbal warfare between Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe Aladesanmi III, the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti and the Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, has been generating heat. In fact, the video, containing the dialogue of the duo in Yoruba has gone viral on social media.
The bone of contention is the urban renewal embarked upon by Fayose which necessitates demolition of buildings. The only trouble is that people are complaining that the exercise lacks human face. Those affected have been inundating the Ewi with complaints: some buildings were demolished in the owners’ absence, lack of adequate compensation and serious engagements with the people.
These formed the agenda of the meeting between the two men at the Ewi’s palace, where Fayose blew his top. Below is the translation of the dialogue:
Ewi of Ado Ekiti: “We all know how important is urban renewal. The issue is a serious one. We foresaw that this would happen. You once came around and we wrote to you, saying your excellency, if you must demolish houses, let us know where we are going. We should sit down and dilogue so that those who will be affected will know and see how government will compensate them. It is the Ijoka one that is critical. We cannot say you should not do your work, so that it will not seem Ado people are blocking you. Twenty years from now, the issue of urban renewal will be well understood by everyone. But there have been reports of people whose houses were demolished in their absence, before they returned from work.”
Fayose who had sat pensively, resting his chin on his right palm, sprang to his feet, fuming like a shaggy bear. He fired back at the Ewi:
“Kabiyesi, do not even mention that we should not demolish! Do not raise it at all! We should tell ourselves the truth. I will demolish. The houses you are talking about are ancient and dilapidated lean-to sharks. Children of the owners are in the US and GRA. Such houses, the families will erect shops in the front and they will start collecting rent. I will demolish! At a point, I wanted to demolish up to Atikainkain, you, the Ewi, stopped me.
“Excuse sir, let me tell you, awon ti mo wo yen, comma ni oh! (I have not stopped demolishing, the exercise is still on full blast). Tell people in the affected areas who care to listen, any house phone and bag snatchers run into for sanctuary, that property is gone. I will demolish it same day. This is because we need relative peace in this city. We cannot remain in this condition forever. Is this the way your palace was in the days of your forefathers? If we had left your palace in the ancient form, will it be this deluxe as to accommodate us comfortably for this meeting?
“The dual carriage way will pass through Oke Ila and cross like this ( he bent his hand to the left). Tell the people in those areas, this is the panadol they have to swallow. I want to tidy up the front of the palace before I leave office in July. There is no way we will not fight. What needs to be done must be done. I should not be threatened with votes. It is God who makes things possible. I should not be threatened at all.
“Those who have not been compensated, owo die die wa fun won (we have small money for them).
“Kabiyesi, there is no palace that could invite me like this and I will scurry down. No. You invited me to the palace from my busy schedule. I will no longer want to be so treated less than the office of the governor that I represent.
“I want to ensure everyone here that I will work till the morning when I will be greeted: ‘Fayose good bye.’ It is not for the sake of people but my name, future and life. It is not a matter of quarrel…”
End of translation.
This shouting match has been generations heated debates.
Ayo Akinfe asked that was there any public consultation before this process began? Funmilayo Fanda also asked rhetorically: “Does he need to sound as if he’s fighting the people and the king? There are civil ways and manners to communicate with people without being aggressive. Ekiti kete needs to vote wisely and get it right this time.
Gbenga Alaketu, an Ado Ekiti indigine based in London argued: “Is there something wrong with modernization? I think that’s one of the paths towards improved standard of living. Individuals are selling their family houses in town centers to make way for modern homes and shopping centers. Such development is not peculiar to Ado.
To get the famous Ikorodu Rd in Lagos, hundreds of living and commercial structures had to go in the 70s.
The same thing is currently happening in Akure’s Arakale and Agege/ Pen Cinema of Lagos. These are are few examples around us.
He added: “All over the world world, old structures that can’t be realistically maintained are giving way to new. Queen Elizabeth Olympics Park remains today one of the most picturesque environments in the world . If you feel like meeting the political juggernauts of Nigeria, one on one, Come to that place in the summer months of June and July .To get the place ready for the last London Olympics, many old habitats had to go, including our famous Hackney Wick Market for affordable goods and Pastor Ashimolowo’s massive church. If we must fight our current government on demolition issue, we should ask the Kabiyesi to insist that the government pays the necessary compensation without the usual dragging of feet. As I was saying on another forum , let’s continue to criticize our government people. It serves as a tonic, a motivational force to get more for the collective good.
But, one important thing we must do is to desist from playing politics with our collective welfare. We must always remember that political association has so many things in common with fraternity.
“Sociopolitical-wise, our world is made up two groups. That’s, the politicians and the people. Politicians are fraternally responsible for each other. Individuals in this group always put first the interests of the group. They do have disagreements among themselves once in a while. They’re ultimately indebted to mutually watch their individual backs. Check our country’s history and see instances of this fraternity.
“Mohammadu Buhari, the military politician, put some civilian politicians in jail. Babangida, another military politician released the jailed politicians. Pro democracy politicians forced the military in power out of office. The defeated military in power passed the power baton to ex military politicians. Today, after what immortal Fela would have described as Army Arrangement, another military politician is running our affairs from Aso Rock.
“We must for God’s sake always strive to protect our collective interests. Very few politicians care about us. They only pretend to care when their political interests are threatened. These are the interests we must continue to threaten by insisting on our rights to freedom and basic things of life. It doesn’t matter the branding of the individuals occupying the government house at any point in time.
Another writer reacted: “The issue with Fayose here is the human face of the exercise. There is lack of adequate engagement with the people concerned, demolishing people’s homes before their return from farm or other places of work and lack of adequate compensation. Fayose said he would pay “owo die die” (pittance).
Although Alaketu responded to the above that these are the issues we must address, ” We must, however, endeavor that the issues are not confused by efforts to derive political advantage. I think its very sad that Ewi’s name is being dragged into this matter.” Another analysts was of the opinion, however that as the leader of his people, the Oba must act since complaints were taken to his palace in truck loads by victims of demolition.
Sylvester Olusesan Adesina, on his own part, argued: “There cannot be omelette without breaking eggs, however the eggs must be bought or collected as gifts. Let’s get it right. There is no government that will take or demolish any property on public interest without compensation. Fayose cannot do it! And no government will do it unless that property is confiscated. Like people have observed, majority of the houses along areas being given face lift are decrepit, some converted into shops, some you will not even dare enter due to filth……No responsible government will allow that to continue. Ado Ekiti the state capital must be cleaned, but with dialogue, adequate and commensurate compensation, to say otherwise is playing politics!
Femi Fatoyinbo asked for the Ado Ekiti Master Plan. In his words: “We should be able to see it, criticise it before a government can arrive at a decision. We are not operating in a jungle. A situation where a governor instead of addressing security challenge of state but resorts to demolition of houses where a criminal resides with other innocent citizens is a like a mob action and not acceptable in modern community and should be condemned in its entirety. My heart bled when I watched the video in which Fayose was shouting on Ewi as if he was his house boy. However, I am happy on the other hand that Ewi didn’t respond to the governor’s ranting.
Talking as a Development Practitioner, Fatoyinbo argued that no reasonable Government will demolish people’s houses without carrying out the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIP).
He went further: “The study will detail out the number of household which will be displaced, publish the public notice for a period of not less than 90 days during which people will have opportunity to come forward, protest etc. Thereafter, the Resettlement Plans, including decent compensation will be drawn, agreed and implemented before any demolition will take place. I am sure, these processes must have been followed by the UK Government before building the Olympic City. I am sure, Nigeria is a signatory to all these International Treaties and I am sure Ekiti State has a Department of Environment which should work the with the Town Planning on these issues. Therefore, it is the height of insanity and insensitivity for any governor to render the people who voted him into office homeless in the name of modernisation. If you listen to the video of the meeting; Fayose said that if a thief snatches a bag and runs into a house in Ado – Ekiti, such a house will be demolished. Have you heard such a thing before? So if a crowd is pursuing a petty thief whose parents have have not received eight months salaries runs into my father’s house at Ojumose; then Fayose will bring in a bulldozer to demolish our house?
“ Is this part of the modernisation that was done to pave way for the Olympic City in London? Please let’s be serious and call a spade a spade. We should belong to comity of civilised nations.”
Ayo Akinfe, another contributor, took the points one after the other:
“(1) No one has any objections to urban renewal but how it is done is key
(2) First of all, there must be a transparent public consultation on the programme
(3) Anyone whose house is affected must be paid the value of their land and house upfront
(4) Their should be a task force set up to ensure all the affected person are re-housed say within three months
(5) At least a one year notice must be given before any demolition takes place
(6) Before any demolition takes place, the affected buildings must be vacated
(7) As per demolishing houses where bag and phone snatchers run into, who gave any governor the right to find a building “guilty.” Convicting criminals is for the courts, not Fayose
(8) It is actually easy to oppose these plans. Just occupy the buildings. Let us see if Fayose will demolish them with people still in them
(9) Does Fayose actually have an Ado-Ekiti masterplan or is he doing this on a haphazard basis? If he has one, can he publish it please
(10) An independent accessor needs to be appointed to ensure everyone is duly compensated