By Jacob Akintunde, Akure
Following the protest by some irate youths of Ilara-Mokin in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State which led to the attack on the traditional ruler of the community and his wife, Oba Aderemi Adefehinti, for allegedly not participating in the ‘yam festival’ celebration, the monarch has appealed to the concerned youths to caution themselves against a repeat of the incident.
It would be recalled that the youths in the community last week Friday laid siege on their monarch’s palace, accusing the traditional ruler of the community, Oba Aderemi Adefehinti of allegedly refused to partake in this year’s new yam festival as the whole community thrown into commotion.
During the protest, the youths who were infuriated by the decision of Oba Adefehinti shirking in his royal role, following his alleged ‘born again’ stance also attacked his wife, Olori Adefehinti.
Oba Adefehinti while addressing a press conference at the weekend at his palace, said the ijesu festival was the most important annual celebration to the sons and daughters in the community but the changes in celebrating it became inevitable for obvious reasons.
Oba Adefehinti said he has had several meetings with his chiefs, youths and other leaders of the community earlier this year on the possible changes before the incident.
He said, “As I am advancing in age, I informed my people that I may not be able to lead them through the marathon dance round the town as the festival demands, which I have faithfully done over the past 21 years.
“Secondly, we had to change the location of the spot for the idasu (yam harvesting), the reason for this is that the location we used to perform the ritual belongs to an individual who would want to use his land for building purpose, the land had been in the bush before but physical development has caught up with it.
“Now that we have got a new palace of ours, I advised we can be doing the ‘idasu’ within the palace premises, which serves as permanent site till the world ends”.
According to him, all the chiefs agreed to the new obvious development changes saying that they called a town hall meeting of the community on the September 11th, 2019, two days before the yam festival to inform all of the new development.
“In fact, after listening to the reasons for the changes, they all applauded them and even danced away from the venue. We had thought the proposed changes had gone down well with all, but some youths were raving with anger on the festival day as they came to the new palace.
“The celebration started well from the temporary palace but was hijacked by the irate youths when they realized that I was not in the crowd leading the dancing aspect.
“Meanwhile I went to the new palace ahead awaiting the dancing and celebrating crowd led by my able chiefs. Unfortunately, some youths embarked on mayhem to my consternation, Olori and some innocent individuals including chiefs were hit by the stones throw by the irate youths, part of the palace was torched, while several windows and the main entrance glass door were broken”, he said.
The traditional ruler said the policemen were invited but he asked them to keep a distance and that no arrest should be made.
He posited that he had to go to a private hospital at Akure to treat himself and his wife, who was bleeding profusely on the forehead hit by the stone saying that he returned to the town a few days ago.
He therefore said he didn’t want to confine anyone into detention as a result of the crisis and that was why he didn’t order policemen to arrest anyone.
“We have decided to keep the peace by not asking for police investigations into the incident, we are very conscious of the fact that the miscreants are still our children, we are all witnesses to the peace, development and progress in Ilara-Mokin to date and we shall not allow anything evil to disrupt them.
“We want peace in our community and that is why we didn’t order for arrest of any youths, we preferred to advise them in a Godly manner as we usually advised them”, Oba Adefehinti said.