The political leadership in Nigeria and entire Africa used to be populated by men of integrity and the best brains with public spirited orientations in the beginning. Imperialism was defeated by the first generation of Nigeria leaders who fought for independence because they were highly educated and profitably employed in their professional callings.
From Albert Macaulay to pre-independence fathers like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Nnamidi Azikiwe, Pa Micheal Ajasin, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Alhaji Amadu Bello, Chief Bode Thomas, Chief Adisa Akinloye, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Alhaji Aminu Kano, Chief Richard Akinjide and the rest were tested and well known professionals like lawyers, medical practitioners, economists, journalists, educationists, traders who were driven to the political arena by patriotic zeal. The early post independence fathers like Chief Bola Ige, Dr.Joseph Wayas, Pa Lateef Jakande, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, Alh. Ibrahim Waziri, Alh. Balarabe Musa, Govr Ambrose Alli, Alh. Abubakar Rimi, Govr Clement Isong, Joseph Tarka and a host of others were not less credible in letters, uprightness and credentials.
As the time scheduled for the commencement of party primaries by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) tickles in, the social media has been abashed with write ups and uncomplimentary comments on those representing Ibarapa Central / Ibarapa North in the State House of Assembly as well as the Federal House of Representatives. If the comments on the social media are anything to go by, votes of no confidence have been passed on Hon Rafiu Akintunde (AKA Akingbade) of Oyo State House of Assembly and Hon Olugbenga Ojuawo (AKA Iloko) of Federal House of Representatives Abuja by the constituents. Surprisingly, the duo are in the race to retain their seats in order to continue to misrepresent, present jaundiced and incompetent representation to the constituency in the parliaments.
The appointments (don’t say elections) to the local governments and the Local Government Development Areas (LCDAs) in Ibarapa are not any better.
Except for Hon. Lanre Olaosegba, a Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria who had a dazzling engagement in the Lagos State Public Service (LAGBUS), none of the imposed local government chairmen in Ibarapa land can be considered to be close to the forefathers of Nigeria politics mentioned above in terms of education, integrity and preparedness for the job. The serving chairman of Ibarapa North East LCDA is an exemption just like Hon. Sunday Adepoju (Omoyin), the second term parliamentarian from Iddo/ Ibarapa East Federal constituency. He is also an accountant and former Special Assistant to the governor of Lagos state on budget. He has been a vibrant and reliable representative since his first day in the green chamber like he was at Asiwaju Tinubu and ex Governor Fashola’s cabinets.
It is however pathetic that Ibarapa Central/ North Federal Constituency that was once represented at the Federal level at different times by the likes of Hon. (Late) Adepegba Adegbenjo ( an Estate Valuer and University Lecturer) of blessed memory and Hon Ajibola Muraina a doctor of law is now parading a set of junks at the local, state and federal positions. At the time of their representations, both were visible in every discussion at the plenary, vocal on national television and seen in every community development projects. Their sound debates on the floor of the house and national discourse earned them headship of juicy committees in the house including the high profile House Committee on Downstream Oil headed by Dr. Saubana Ajibola Muraina.
Nothing exposes the worthlessness of our current representatives more than the lobby and intrigues to fill the vacancy left behind by the painful and untimely death of my friend and brother, Rt. Hon. Micheal Adeyemo, immediate past Speaker of Oyo state House of Assembly. As enumerated in one of my earlier write ups, providence and government’s unexpected circumstance had compelled the zoning of the number three position in Oyo state to Ibarapa zone. After his death, Hon. Rafiu Akintunde being the only remaining state parliamentarian from Ibarapa should have emerged speaker naturally. He lobbied for it and he was told in clear terms that he is grossly incompetent to step into his brother’s shoes thereby paving way for the incumbent Speaker, Hon Olagunju Ojo from Ogbomosho zone who was not even a member of the ruling APC. His incompetence did not just trade off the post from Ibarapa; he also gave it to Labour Party, a minority party in Oyo state.
I may not be sufficiently equipped to assess the competence and or ability of Iloko to deliver but I am sufficiently knowledgeable and kitted to talk about Akingbade. I didn’t know Iloko until a few weeks to his election in March 2015. This is because i had hibernated my political activities in APC during the primaries of November 2014 that produced both of them. My hibernation was as a result of my removal from office in March 2012 and my subsequent isolation by the state government and its political appendage called Oyo APC. By the time my services were required for election duty, I was reappointed as the Chairman Caretaker Committee of Ibarapa Central Local Government in late December 2014, both of them visited me on two occasions at my official quarters to beg and solicit my support for their ambitions. A request i had no alternative to in the spirit of party loyalty and forgiveness.
At the first meeting with the duo, Iloko who is a graduate of Geography from the University of Lagos had introduced himself to me as a friend of Hon. Iliasu Shittu of Ibarapa North Local Government. He indicated that he had visited my private house many times in company of Iliasu to solicit my support for Iliasu’s ambition to the House of Representatives. This is the same Iliasu he betrayed and backbitten to emerge as the APC candidate. Both of them contested the primary and Iloko eventually won.
Honestly speaking, I watch NTA parliament regularly and listen to all forms Nigeria National News. I have never seen or heard of any information about my supposed friend in the national assembly. In fact, i have never seen him sitting in the house (even if he will not talk). My constituency cannot afford to continue with this type of porous and lame duck representation beyond 2019.
I have all the tools and required information to assess the “competence” of Akingbade to hold the position for two reasons. The first is that when I was contesting for the local government Chairmanship of Ibarapa Central in December 2007, he was contesting to be the Councillor for ward 10 in the same council. We worked together before, during and after the election. Like the other 9 councillorship candidates, I led him and paid the legal fees to file our cases in the Oyo State Election Petition Tribunal in an attempt to claim our violently rigged mandate. His lack of communication skills and shallow knowledge of government was so bad and irritating that our lawyer, Barrister Bayo Lawal (former Attorney General of Oyo State under Governor Lam Adesina) had to withdraw from his case in the open tribunal presided over by Hon Justice Peter Ige (now of Court of Appeal).
According to Bayo Lawal, Akingbade was spoiling his own case under cross examination. That was how we lost a good case. I am sure if not for his docility; I would have claimed his mandate just as we won that of Hon. Katheer Azeez of ward 6 in the tribunal and the Appeal Tribunal. The only councillor the then Action Congress (AC) was able to retrieve from the stolen kit of Oyo State PDP.
If not for Ibarapa North Local Government, Akingbade couldn’t have been a member of Oyo State House of Assembly today. He did not have a single vote among the ward delegates from his ward 10 in the party primary of November 2014. As a follow up to that, he lost Ibarapa Central woefully in the party primary and the general election. He has been lucky to be rescued on two occasions by Ibarapa North Local Government. His own charity didn’t start at home because he is well known at home.
In the beginning of Governor Ajimobi’s first term, Hon. Rafiu Akintunde (now a grade 2 certificate holder and a 200 level student of National Open University) was a member of Caretaker Committee under my headship and I assigned him the portfolio of Agriculture and Natural Resources. A day after their swearing in, all supervisors were told to submit a five page proposal on their plans for the assigned portfolios. He is one of the three who had nothing to submit throughout our stay in office. Apart from this, I cannot recollect him made any positive contribution to discussions on his assigned portfolio or any other issues. His perceptions are always parochial, jaundiced, sectional bigotry and ethnocentric.
Unfortunately, Nigerians are so poverty stricken that performances of their legislators are now assessed and evaluated for re-election based on the so called “Poverty Alleviation or Empowerment” conducted by them and not by the level of life changing bills and motions sponsored by them. Items as cheap and useless like stoves, cooler, umbrella, gas cooker, Day Old Chicks and barber’s clippers were considered sufficient from their legislators as four years benefits. The duo have not been able to give economic empowerment to their immediate family members because they don’t even know what economic independence and financial self sufficiency mean. I wonder what constituents should expect from a member of House whose daughter is a trained hairdresser without a shop or a lawmaker whose son is a barber without a clipper. If a parliamentarian’s wife continues to hawk bread in Lagos after over three years in office, the shame is not just for him but extends to his brain-touched supporters.
My article of last week catalogued some of the marginalization suffered by Ibarapa under the APC administration of Governor Ajimobi. How can we escape such marginalisation with the junks we sent to the parliaments? I am highly impressed with the credentials of aspirants coming up in all the political parties in Ibarapa. We cannot have a better deal with bad representatives. A popular saying is that “As you lay your bed, you will lie on it”
Akinyemi Akinlabi, a Former Chairman Caretaker Committee Ibarapa Central Local Government, Igboora can be reached via Yemak01@aol.com.