New Telegraph

Osun: Controversy Over Appointments

AYOBAMI AGBOOLA reports on the furore over the list of commissioner nominees sent to the Osun State House of Assembly by Governor Ademola Adeleke

On July 6, Osun State governor, Ademola Adeleke, forwarded names of nominees for the positions of commissioners in the state to the state House of Assembly. However, the speaker of the House, Hon. Adewale Egbedun, read the governor’s letter during plenary on July 7.

Since the pronouncement of the names, New Telegraph gathered the kudos and knocks greeted the nominations. Among the names that generated controversy are the nomination of political allies of the immediate past Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, Hon. Biyi Odunlade and wife of Governor Adeleke’s brother, Mrs. Folasade Adenike Adeleke.

Also on the list are Adeleke’s personal assistant, Rev. Bunmi Jenyo and Kolapo Alimi, who served as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters under Aregbesola. Alimi worked against the reelection of the immediate past governor Gboyega Oyetola under the auspices of The Osun Progressive (TOP) within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) before he left the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he was made the deputy director-general of the Adeleke Campaign Organisation.

The rest of the nominees are Oladosu Babatunde, Bayo Ogung- bangbe, Sesan Epharaim Oyedele, Soji Ajeigbe, Moshood Olalekan Olagunju, Hon. George Alabi, Hon. Sunday Olufemi Oroniyi, Abiodun Bankole Ojo, Basiru Tokunbo Sa- lami, Morufu Ayofe, Sola Ogung- bile, Ayo Awolowo, Wole Jimi Bada, Dipo Eluwole, Rasheed Aderibigbe, Morufu Ademola Adeleke, Adeyemo Festus Ademola, Olabiyi Anthony Odunlade, Jola Akintola, Mayowa Adejorin, Tola Faseru and Ganiyu Ayobami Olaoluwa.

Knocks over nominees’ list

The commissioners’ nominees list was greeted by mixed feelings by members of the party in some local government areas, who claimed to have been jettisoned in the distribution of power by the governor.

New Telegraph gathered that PDP supporters in Ifedolun and Orolu as well as other local government, are protesting their exclusion from the list. When asked why these local governments were not taken into consideration, some party chieftains, who spoke with New Telegraph said that they were not aware that any council was not factored in as some had more than two nominees.

According to a party member, who simply identified himself as Soji, Governor Adeleke, from inception had abandoned Ikirun, the headquarters of Ifelodun Local Government Area for reasons best known to him. Soji further said that for the governor to endorse Adewale Egbedun from Odo-Otin Local Government in the race for speaker, shows that he worked against their son, Tajudeen Adeyemi who is not a first-timer in state Assembly.

“By endorsing Egbedun from Odo-Otin LGA in the race for speaker, the governor worked against our son. Once more, he replaced Soji Ajeigbe from Odo-Otin LGA on the list in place of our son, Hashim Abioye. This definitely demonstrates the governor’s hatred for Ikirun,” he said. Orolu, a PDP stronghold, was completely ignored in the nominees list, according to Lanre, a party member who also happens to be an Orolu resident.

Lanre added that he is still perplexed by this. “Orolu people, in my opinion, merit inclusion. Orolu received House of Representatives and House of Assembly tickets from the APC. At the polls, they disregarded them and cast their ballots in favour of PDP candidates. Orolu’s appall- ing defeat is regrettable,” he noted.

Meanwhile, a resident of the Orolu, Basit Olatunji and Orolu People in Diaspora have written letters to the governor appealing to him to put the people of the local government, especially Ifon into consideration in his nomination of cabinet members.

According to the two different letters made available to New Telegraph, they made the governor to understand the fact that the people of the town have been supporting the party even before it became a ruling party.

Claims of religious dominance

Apart from being gender insensitive, the list of according to residents and stakeholders seems to pro- mote favoritism and nepotism, and tends to increase debate regarding religious dominance. According to findings, the 25 nominees consist of 17 Christians, seven Muslims and one traditionalist.

A party chieftain who pleaded anonymity said he was astounded by the religious disparity in the Adeleke’s list of commissioner nominees. The Muslim Rights Concern, which faulted the composition of the nominees said the list has proved the governor to be a secret agent of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), with a license to oppress Muslims in the state.

The group in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, said: “We condemn this wanton blockage of privileges that should go to Muslims and their diversion to over- pampered and over-fed Christians in Osun State.

“By deceiving Muslims in the state and engaging in spiritual hide and seek, Governor Adeleke has exhibited qualities odoriferously short in honour and dignity but egregiously long in infamy and bohemianism. “The goal of Adeleke’s deception is for the perpetuation of the marginalisation, shortchanging, and oppression of Muslims in Osun State.” Quoting Qur’an 2:41, Akintola said time will tell when the few “selfish Muslims” Adeleke is us- ing will soon see that honesty and openness are what make enduring leadership.

Traditional worshippers kick

The Concerned Traditional Right (CONTRAR), in its reaction warned Governor Adeleke against what it termed “christianizing” of his cabinet. The group in a statement signed by its Director, Chief Mayowa Fakorede (Ojugbona Awo), charged the governor to ensure that he forms a balanced cabinet to reflect the spirit of participatory democracy by ensuring that all religions are not only consulted but fully involved.

The statement read in part: “The Concerned Traditional Rights (CONTRAR) has called for the immediate reversal of Governor Ademola Adeleke proposed cabinet and we demand for immediate formation of balanced cabinets from Osun State government. “We are watching some of Governor Adeleke’s policies with keen interest. Traditionalists in the Osun state are aware that Governor Adeleke is a Christian.

Governor Adeleke should not make the same mistakes made by Ayodele Fayose and his successor, Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State. “Fayose ensured that Traditional worshipers were politically strangulated during his tenure. The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), the Chief of Staff (COS), all fourteen commissioners, all permanent secretaries and all board chairmen except one were Christians.

In spite of our exhortations, Fayemi sidelined Traditional worshippers in all his fourteen commissioners. This kind of attitude cannot pro- mote peaceful coexistence neither does it represent good governance. “Osun State is not a place where any governor can dare the population of the Traditional worshippers.

We are waiting to see where the positions of Commissioner for Culture and Tourism and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs will go. The number of seats allocated to Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in the cabinet and board appointments will determine Adeleke’s political sagacity.”

Uneven distribution

A close examination of the nominees’ list revealed that despite having nominated twenty-five (25) people, only twenty (20) of the thirty (30) local governments were given consideration. Olaoluwa, Ayedire, Isokan, Orolu, Ifedayo, Ifelodun, Atakunmosa East, Ilesa West, Ife South, and Ife North are the 10 local governments that Adeleke left off of the nominees list.

New Telegraph findings show that Adeleke nominated three people for positions in some local governments, while abandoning others, a strategy that many have described as “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” There are four nominees from Ede North, Ede South and Egbedore federal constituency among the 25 nominees. Sola Ogungbinle, the prejected commissioner for Finance, is also from Ede, the governor’s home town.

Two people were proposed by Adeleke for commissionership positions in Ila Local Government. Despite the fact that they are from Ila Orangun, Ademola Clement Akanni is a member of the House of Representatives and Ajagunla Olubiyi is the sitting senator for Osun Central Senatorial District.

In Ife Central LGA, the governor put forward three candidates for commissionership positions. In addition to Sesan Oyedele from Ife East, the same LGA as the deputy governor, Prince Adewusi, Dipo Eluwole, Wole Jimi-Bada and Biyi Odunlade were also put forward.

They hail from the same local government with Hon. Ajilesoro, the lawmaker representing the Ife Federal Constituency, as well as Dipo Eluwole and Wole Jimi-Bada, who was slated to be the state’s Attorney General.

Gender bias

A policy called the “National Gender Policy” was developed by the Federal Government in 2006 to encourage women’s involvement in governance. The policy mandates that women participate in all governance activities at a rate of 35 percent. However, only two women – Mrs. Ayo Awolowo (proposed Commissioner for Women Affairs) and Mrs. Adenike Folashade Adeleke (wife of the governor’s late brother) who is proposed to be the Commissioner for Federal Matters – made the 25-man list.

APC to citizens: Don’t expect anything good

In its reaction on the list, the Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), described the nominees list as the worst assemblage of the government actors that would ever be witnessed in the history of the 32-year-old state.

Insisting that the list has further exposed another failed promise of the Adeleke-led administration, the state Chairman of the APC, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, in a statement issued by the state party’s Director of Media and Information, Chief Kola Olabisi, stated that there is nothing to celebrate about the galaxy of Hallelujah men and women who will be annoyingly entrusted with the governance of the state through their various ministries.

Lawal, however, stated that it would not be proper to be collective in his excoriation and castigation of the Adeleke administration cluster as there are few ones on the list, who have distinguished themselves in their callings either in private endeavours or public offices. He clinically observed that the literarily pieces of bent firewood among the batch could not, in any way, be an asset to the administration of the Adeleke’s government, which he described as rudderless.

Our nominees are competent

Responding to APC’s assertion, the leadership of the PDP in the state said it is unfortunate that opposition condemned the commissioners’ list without perusing the robust profile of the nominees. The state chairman of the PDP, Hon. Sunday Bisi, said: “Covering up its ignorance in questionable big words and phrases, the APC state chairman and his stone age publicist shamelessly attempted to cast aspersions on credible professionals and administrators nominated to serve the state.

“How do you judge nominees without at least gaining access to their profiles? How do you condemn a list with almost two third professionals, technocrats and administrators? The nominees are great patriots with enviable antecedents in private and public sectors. We have a list made up of experts in finance, education, economy, social sector, agriculture, sciences, law and engineering among others.

“The PDP government in putting up the list applied such principles as spread across federal constituencies, interest groups, professional considerations among others. A serious opposition party will engage in thorough research to add value to its image.

Unfortunately, the Osun APC is too be wildered by its post-election trauma to dig deeper to see the great team the PDP administration is putting in place. “Our answer to APC as a party is that before the unveiling of the nominees, Osun is already enjoying the dividends of democracy. With the new cabinet coming on board, the state is billed for further growth and development under Governor Ademola Adeleke.”

No one can divide Osun

Chiding MURIC for its failed bid to foment religious crisis in the state, the Osun State government maintained that his appointments of commissioners and permanent secretaries were based on merit and competence. In a statement signed by governor’s spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, the state government noted that ever since assuming office, Governor Adeleke has premised his governance decisions on competence and commitment given his avowed commitment to deliver good governance.

“His first appointees occupy- ing commanding heights of the government were appointed not by religion but merit, competence and conformation with his style of leadership. “The same principle of meritocracy which produced the nominated commissioners was applied in the appointments of permanent secretaries who are accounting officers of the ministries. This policy of equity, fairness and competency also guided the many landmark decisions of Mr. Governor.

“With just eight months in office, the governor has formed the habit of scouting for the best among indigenes, who can support the concerted efforts to rescue the state from the many challenges of under-development, infrastructural deficit and poverty.”

Nomination of ex-APC members A former chairman of the APC in the state, Revd. Lowo Adebiyi, who dismissed report ascribing the nomination of former members of the defunct The Osun Progressives (TOP), who are former Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s aides, described it as a mere blackmail. Adebiyi said the nomination of Barr. Kolapo Alimi and Dr. Biyi Odunlade is not connected with the defunct TOP or Aregbesola, saying that Alimi is a member of the PDP. while it had also been speculated that Odunlade joined the party some months ago.

Adebiyi noted that the reports of “compensation” as being circulated are baseless and untrue, describing it as a plot by the IleriOluwa group to further paint the former Minister of Interior and his loyalists black before rational members of the APC.

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