The Palace was declared a Historical Monument by President Ibrahim Babangida in 1986 and maintained annually by Government subvention as I recall.
The Brooklyn Bridge in New York the first suspended Bridge in the History of America was declared a Historical landmark which now flies the American Flag all year round because of that recognition.
The Brooklyn Bridge is therefore maintained all year round and 24 hours a day because of that recognition because it has become part of the proud History of America great nation and the leader of the Free World whose value system is first class and totally superior to ours
But Nigeria does not have any such traditional value system. If it does the Ondo State Governor of the so-called Sunshine State will not arrogantly block the narrow and discrepit Access Road to the Deji’s Palace which is always the first port of call to all important visitors including the Head of State on official visit to the State Capital since 1948 when Akure became the Provincial Headquarters and from 1976 when Akure became the Capital of Ondo State.
Before writing this article, I took a trip to Kano, Sokoto and. Maiduguri and Ile Ife, Benin City and Okene in Kogi State to compare the Access Road or shall I say the Appian Way leading to the Palaces of the powerful monarchs and traditional rulers of those cities most of which are in their various State Capitals
The only exception is the Access Road to the Deji’s Place and I put the blame first and foremost at the door step of Arakunrin the Miracle Child who is today by the special grace of God the Governor of Ondo State whose highly respected mother is to be given a state burial pretty soon and deservedly so because his son is the distinguished Governor of Ondo State.
If any of the Nigerian celebrities paying him a condolence visit were to decide to pay a courtesy visit to the Deji of Akure, they would be ashamed to drive on the current narrow and rickety Access Road leading to the Deji’s Palace from the popular Oba Adesida Road in the State Capital.
The alternative Access Road to the Palace passes thru the Erekesan Market in the State Capital.
What I am describing is simply atrocious and unbelievable but it is the truth.
You all have to wonder why is that? It is so because some crazy dude in the Federal Government had chosen to build the one and only General Post Office next door to the Deji’s massive Palace which was refurbished in 1904 during the reign of my grandfather Oba Afunbiowo Adesida the First who had ascended the throne in 1897 and who had led the Community to rebuild and roof the Palace with corrugated iron sheets in 1904.
The Post Office was built around 1934 and the Ministry of Communication Building building in the same Premises many years later on a plot of land that where the Access Road to the Palace should have been built if the Federal Government has shown as much respect to the Deji like it has shown to the Sultan of Sokoto or the Emir of Kano or the Shehu of Bornu talk less of the other royal fathers I have listed above
First of all can you imagine a Post Office being built inside or close enough to the Erekesan Market and the Deji’s Palace to make a mockery of the Post Office.
It was a complete outrage that is only possible in the Animal Farm kind of scenario we have found ourselves, but the Federal Government has done it nonetheless with levity.
The Post Office and the Ministry of Communication are not only built on a sacred land they are built in that location out of total ignorance and disrespect to the Deji-in-Council and the sensitivities of the whole of Akure Kingdom writ large.
But the insult was even more egregious when you know that the Post Office was built on a plot which is the moral equivalent of the Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC where American Presidents like JFK and American Heroes are buried.
The Post Office is built next door to Chief Omolaare the Palace Servant whose official Court is located near the Obas Cemetery popularly called “Oke Ile” in Akure tradition because it is where the remains of all Dejis are buried after their transition, because the Deji never dies. He only makes his transition to the Realm of Spirits.
“Oke Ile” is therefore a sacred Sanctuary and not the right place to build a Post Office or the Ministry of Communication in a State Capital with so much land outside the Palace Premises to accommodate such Government Buildings
Can you imagine any British Government citing a General Post Office on the grounds of Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle or the Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
That was how crazy we were in Nigeria. Governor Akeredolu the son of an Anglican Reverend from Owo our neighbor had given orders to block the only access to the Deji’s Palace from the popular Oba Adesida Road in the State Capital.
It was the most outlandish and stupid order ever to come from any Governor in Nigeria
To add insult to an injury the location in Akure is now today the Capital of the Foreign Exchange Black Market which is dominated by Hausa/Fulani Black Market traders and the Omolaare has turned most of the rooms in his official Quarters into shops for rent which is an absolute sacrilege to cut a long story short.
As a matter of fact shops to let are now being built round the Palace Fence because we all love money more than we love to preserve our sacred traditions and Customs.
I am terribly embarrassed and ashamed about what I am reporting here as I was born and raised in the Palace.
I am totally devastated and traumatized by the development.
That is why I am writing this article to put my searchlight on the development and to challenge Governor Akeredolu and the Federal Government for doing something so patently wrong and demeaning to a first class natural ruler who is the current Chairman of the Ondo State Council of Obas and the Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology in Minna.
I suggest that Akure South Local Government must take the Governor and the Federal Government to task or seek a redress in Court to have the Post Office and the Ministry of Communication Buildings moved to a new location while the current buildings on the premises are demolished to give room and create a befitting Access Road to the Palace and facilitate the restoration of the “Okiti Omolore” in front of the Palace which has now been reduced to a molten Hill much to the eternal embarrassment or shame of the incumbent Deji and his Council of Chiefs and the whole ofAkure Community at large who are being insulted and intimidated by Governor Akeredolu just because he can.
If this suggestion is ignored by the Chairman of the Akure South Local Government, I would personally and ultimately file a motion in the Akure High Court against Governor Akeredolu and your President Buhari
The matter is that important to me and few Akure sons and daughters I have spoken to.
I rest my case.
Dr. Wumi Akintide