Indigenes of Esa Oke in Osun State on Monday staged a peaceful protest against an alleged plan to relocate some departments in the College of Technology located in the community to Ibokun.

During the protest, commercial motorcyclists did not operate in the community, as commuters had to trek to their different destinations.

The protesters also had with them masquerades, who moved round the town, amidst drumming and dancing, saying the chairman of the Governing Council, Mr Diran Odeyemi, should be removed by the governor, Ademola Adeleke.

Carrying placards with inscriptions such as, “No more Diran Odeyemi in OSCOTECH again,”, “A vote of thanks to the governor,” “Diran Odeyemi must go,’ ‘Esa Oke no gree for Diran Odeyemi,’ among others, the protesters blocked entrance to the community, preventing vehicular movement in and out of the town.

Addressing journalists, the spokesperson for the community, Prof Abiodun Oni, commended Adeleke for dissociating himself from the plan to relocate a part of the college to another location.

He also demanded the removal of Odeyemi as the institution’s Governing Council Chairman, adding that an indigene of the town should be appointed into the council.

He said, “We thank the governor for dissociating himself from the plan of the Governing Council. We demand the removal of the Governing Council Chairman, Diran Odeyemi. We are also demanding the appointment of an indigene of Esa Oke into the Governing Council of the college.

“I am a university lecturer, and we run Mass Communication in my school, you don’t need a radio station to run Mass Communication programme. It is a lie that you need a radio station to run a Mass Communication programme. It is the studio that you need. Don’t let anybody deceive Esa Oke people that it is a new programme. Will the new programme be approved for Ibokun or Esa Oke?”, he queried.

Responding, Odeyemi, in a statement obtained in Osogbo, denied the allegations that he planned to move some departments from the college to another town, noting that the plan was to mount a new academic programme in Mass Communication and site it in Ibokun, where facilities for training were readily available.

The statement further read, “The new Mass Communication programme being proposed against the next academic session will require the setting up of necessary facilities for teaching and practicals that will eventually facilitate or enhance easy approval by the NBTE, who, by operational methods, will come to inspect the college’s preparations for the proposed courses.

“In Ibokun, the headquarters of Obokun Local Government, there exists a broadcasting station, “New Dawn Radio and Television”, owned by the Osun State Government that can be used for the training of students, after accreditation has been secured. This was considered to be of great advantage and opportunity for the students.

“It is important to state that if and when we can secure approval for the six new courses, only the Mass Communication which is yet not an established course in OSCOTECH is intended for Ibokun as a satellite campus. It is to be named ‘Osun State College of Technology, Esa Oke, Satellite Campus.’ This automatically will shore up our student population, and we shall be able to provide the best training for the students, which will thereby enhance national and international recognition and acceptance of our alumni.”