EXCLUSIVE: How Ex-Osun Gov, Oyetola, Famodun’s Greed Pushed Many Osun APC Members In Penury

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When Otunba Segun Oladitan, erstwhile Chairman of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) announced that council poll will hold on October 15, 2022, the expectation among members of the then ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, was that of a rosy future ahead, NewsBreakNaija recently learnt.

It was barely four weeks after the party lost a fiercely contested gubernatorial election and many sources in the party told this newspaper that the announcement triggered anticipation of members of the APC to retain power through the third tier of government raised hopes.

“It was seen as a lifeline, and almost everyone in the party consider it as an opportunity,” Shakirat who identified herself as a grassroot mobilizer for the APC told our reporter, recalling how this feeling fueled the number of members that struggled to ensure they emerge as candidate of the party for the local councils election.

While that was ongoing, members of the opposition at that time, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) protested against conducting local councils election, arguing that the law was not followed by the state’s electoral umpire in announcing the notice for the election.

But their protest on the conduct of local did not resonate with the state’s electoral umpire as the OSSIEC maintained stand on going ahead with the election. Otunba Oladitan, according to media reports at that time, retorted that the 365 days notice argued by the opposition was read out of context and that it was well in line with the constitutional provisions on the conduct of the councils election.

The confusion that the legal debate however ensued struck deep with politicians on the either sides and the larger public patiently wait to see who will be right in the end.

HOW OYETOLA TRICKED APC MEMBERS’ TO AVOIDABLE LOSES

Jamiu (not his real name) have been a progressive all his life, following the footstep of his late father who was a ward chairman in Egbedore local government under the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). He told this newspaper that he had sought the councillorship seat of his ward on two occasions but was not successful.

When OSSIEC announced date for the conduct of a council poll for October 15, 2022, he saw an opportunity to fulfill his longtime aspiration to serve as councillor. But there was a silent concern, Jamiu recalled, telling this paper that the question on whether the election will stand or not was a major headache and slowdown his pursuit of his aspiration.

“The PDP had just won the governorship election, and they were openly against the conduct of the local governments poll, stirring doubts on the future of the officials that the exercise will produce,” he noted, adding that his concerns was however allayed by Gboyega Oyetola, the governor at that time, at a meeting of stakeholders of the APC few days after.

The meeting, he recalled, held at the Ileri-Oluwa House in Ogo-Oluwa area of Osogbo, and Oyetola assured those at the meeting of the legality of the exercise and will stand irrespective of the grandstanding of the PDP.

“Almost everyone at the meeting was curious about what will be the fate of people who are produced by the councils poll but Oyetola cleared doubts by asserting that anyone who emerges from the poll will be immune to any attack from the incoming PDP administration,” Jamiu recalled.

This was the turning point for every intending aspirants for the available positions, including Jamiu, because he went back home to push hard to pick the APC ticket and actualize his aspiration.

“I left the meeting energized because what has been my fear had been addressed. Unknown to me and many others, it will be the point that wrecked us, because participating in the election pushed us into more misery as it was a huge waste,” he noted with a tearful tone.

FAMODUN’S ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH AT THE EXPENSE OF ASPIRANTS

Another candidate in the APC from Ife Central local government who choose to be anonymous, detailed how the former chairman of the APC, Prince Famodun capitalized on their aspiration to rake up wealth.

The councillorship candidate who said his investment in the court nullified councils poll worsen his economic condition, said the party under Famodun deliberately extort them and left them in ruins.

“He (Famodun) cannot say he does not know that the election will not stand, yet, he set up machinery of the party to extort us and wretched us,” he noted, pointing out that Famodun used their genuine interest to serve as a money making venture without any consideration for their situation.

He noted that each aspirants for the office of councillor paid the sum of N70,000 for expression of interest to the APC and were forced to partway with extra N15,000 through bureaucracy set up by the party.

“For the expression of interest for the position of councillor, we paid N70,000,” he narrated, adding that “What many may not know was that we are made to pay extra N5,000 each at three separate point at the party secretariat under the guise of changing receipt of expression of interest for form among others.”

“Some people sat in one corner and craft a scheme just to swindle us of our hard earned money because that was it looked like as I don’t want to believe they are not aware that the election will not stand,” he said.

He said the scheme earned Famodun and cohorts several millions of naira from the sale of forms in the election and did not bother what happened to members afterwards, saying it was an experience too horrible to forget as “our sweat and blood was corned by few people lost to greed.”

THE REALITY AND OYETOLA’S ‘FAILED’ PROMISE

Few days to the end of his term in office, Gboyega Oyetola hosted the elected chairmen and councillors of the contested poll and informed them that contrary to the widely held perception among members, he will be stepping aside for the newly elected Governor, Ademola Adeleke, to assume office, one of the affected councillor told this reporter.

The disclosure, she noted, unsettled everyone at the meeting, but Oyetola dissuaded their fears by informing them that Adeleke stay in office will be for a short while as he will be returning to office through the court.

She however said Oyetola informed them of making effort to disburse certain amount to their accounts, enjoining them to ensure that their banking details are in order because there may be no much time to correct any error that may arise.

“Though, a lot of us were worried, but the assurance that we will get some money before Oyetola leaves was comforting and we followed up on everything we were asked to do to get paid. But nothing came, and we were left exposed due to the resources we had committed to the exercise,” she shared with this paper.

What they got in the near two-month in office was one month imprest, which she said was nothing to make up for what they expended on the court nullified councils poll.

THE PAINS AND ANGUISH THAT FOLLOWED

For Adetunji (not his real name), the experience after the election that produced him as councillor was nullified by the court was painful as well as devastating.

He recalled how the news of their sack by the court, which was subsequently implemented by Governor Adeleke, rattled him and nearly result in paralysis for him as he was unsure on how to pay back the huge debt incurred in the process of funding his election that was nullified by the court.

At least, two among the councillors in Ila and Ilesa local governments have suffered untimely death, he lamented, sharing details of tales of pains and anguish that affected members shaee in a WhatsApp group they shared.

“It is hard to quantify the amount of pains that the greed of few selfish leaders caused for us,” he said, adding that “Many of us have been ruined and struggling to survive the financial trouble that we were led into.”

“Some of us have to resort to selling out properties to pay up debt incurred in the course of the election, and the most troubling thing is that, no one cares about our situation.”

THE UNEXPECTED REVOLT

In the build up to the House of Assembly election in March, the affected chairmen and councillors were invited to a meeting with Oyetola at the Ileri-Oluwa House in Ogo-Oluwa, this paper learnt.

The invitation, according to a party source that choose to be anonymous, angered the chairmen and councillors who held that Oyetola did not show enough concern about their situation.

But they agreed to attend at a virtual meeting and use the meeting as an avenue to protest the cold attitude of Oyetola and party leadership to their situation and press for support, the source noted.

“The meeting was well attended and when it was the turn of Oyetola to address them and charge them to mobilize for the party’s House of Assembly candidates, sound of jeers and owo (money) recurrently disrupted his speech,” the source noted.

“At a point, some members tried to force their way out of the meeting as it was obvious that Oyetola was not prepared to address their grievances, but the police orderly with him (Oyetola) had to lock the doors to the hall to stop people from going out.”

He said that many of them are aggrieved and patiently waiting for election time to pay back the “bad treatment that they party we laboured for meted unto us. We were ruined and not only us will suffer such fate.”

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