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Akin Omoboriowo: The man, the myth Akin Omoboriowo: The man, the myth

By Deji Fasuan

Chief Akin Omoboriowo, one of the most colourful and discussed politicians in the last three to four decades has passed on.  But his reputation – in whatever form you view it, lingers.  By far the most demonised of Southwest politicians (apart Garrison Commander Adedibu),  Omoboriowo bowed out, still a controversial figure.  Beside the label of betrayal which his trauducers have stubbornly attached to him, Omoboriowo was a bundle of humanity.  His trait as a party loyalist (indeed fanatics), was the sources of his seeming double personality, hence odious perception.  Infact Omoboriowo was a decent, forthright and considerate human specie.  His fault, if it was, lay in his origins and beliefs.

Let me start with some fundamentals.  The man grew up in an environment and among associates who elevated loyalty to a course or a boss to the level of religion.  See through the list.   Oga Sam  (Aluko), Agunbiade Bamise, Prof David Oke, Prof Banji Akintoye, Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Joel Babatola, Chief Falodun, Ade Akilaya.  All these great faithful are of Ekiti Origin.  In the discipleships (not hierarchy) of the Action Group – and its successor political organisations, only Wunmi   Adegbonmire (Omo Ekun) from Akure can match the level of religions devotion and commitment these Ekiti men had for Chief Obafemi Awolowo.  These eight men and of course Akin Omoboriowo are miles ahead of the Ajayis, the Adebanjos, the Onabanjos, the Otebanjos of this world in relation of their followership or discipleship, but not necessarily in hierarchy as has been noted above.  Let us admit one fact.  Omoboriowo did not earn public opprobrium until the events of 1980-83 in Ondo State.  When the UPN big wigs in their wisdom gave the impression that Ajasin would run one term as governor to be succeeded by Omoboriowo for the second stanze, it was an unfair treatment for Ajasin who was being denied his right.  Curiously, nobody in the UPN hierarchy believed in this concoction – except Awolowo and Omoboriowo.  As Wole  Soyinka would say, this was ‘pathetic naivety’.

As from the second year of the Ajasin administration, the ‘Omoboriowo Group’ began to emerge – both in the Assembly and the state as a whole.  This was an unnecessary distraction to the government, but it was doubtful whether Awolowo or Omoboriowo perceived it that way.

The situation was almost balanced between the Awolowo/Omoboriwo forces and the Ajasin forces in terms of numbers and level of commitments.   Indeed it was doubtful whether Chief Awolowo saw any imminent turmoil.  He was free with and confident of his long life associate Governor Ajasin, while he was always reassured of the followership/discipleship of his Ondo State ‘Baba Kekere’ .  As it   turned out, the two perceptions were not ad idem.

Slowly the centrifugal forces were giving way.  In Ondo State, the two camps became distinct and apparent in all legislative and political matters.  Omoboriowo garnered his support from Ekiti and Ilaje – Eseodo mainly, with sprinkles from Akoko.  Of course Ajasin’s foot soldiers were strong,  determined, intellectually based and would give no quarters.  Remember Adegbonmire, Adegoke, Adedipe, Akintoye, David Oke et al?

Then the UPN primary.  Some primaries! The most charitable thing one could say is that it was inconclusive.  In today’s political lexicon, it was manipulated – and Omoboriowo was declared the looser. – And hell  broke.  Not the physical combat yet.  That was still months off.  Tragically, Akin Omoboriowo got paid back at the primaries when his trusted agent took his pound of flesh as a reprisal for an earlier political maneuvering between the two.

Then suddenly Omoboriowo became the beautiful bride who many political organisations courted.  He finally succumbed to the NPN – the arch – enemy of the ‘progressives’ of the West.  The subsequent election and the declaration of the results by FEDECO signaled the beginning of what the Ekitis in old Ondo State called the ‘Holocaust’.  Some Ekiti and Akure indigenes were killed, houses belonging to Ekiti public and private persons destroyed and most known  Ekitis chased out.  For us in Ekiti it was the beginning of the beginning.    First some people have not yet outlived the trauma, second, the job of convincing some doubting Ekiti indigenes of the need for a separate  political entity became easier.

Looking back  still baffles the imagination why Chief Awolowo deserted Omoboriowo and opted for his grand ally Chief Ajasin.  Also one wonders why Omoboriwo and his close political associates could not wait for Ajasin to complete two terms as chief executive of the state  after which he most probably would have been presented the prize on a platter.  In a haze of madness the Ekitis, Akures, and Akokos who are culturally connected took on themselves and almost succeeded in destroying centuries – old affinity.

Akin Omoboriowo in his twilight made his peace with men and his God.  He said often that he had forgiven his detractors – and I believed him. He had a stout heart.  He was affable to his friends and  preached peace, peace most of his later life.   May he rest in peace.


• Fasuan JP, Chairman Committee for the creation of Ekiti State.

Source: The Nation

#Nigeria Fayemi: My worries about the Nigerian polity

• Fayemi
• Fayemi

Governor Kayode Fayemi is not just a politician, but also a scholar. In this interaction with journalists in Lagos, the Ekiti State governor addressed controversies surrounding the West’s attempt to integrate the region, the security report on Osun State and the Ondo State political imbroglio. Group Political Editor BOLADE OMONIJO was there.


Is regional integration possible with the altercation between ACN and Labour Party in Ondo?

What is wrong, if Aregbesola one of the leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria wants his party to produce the governor of Ondo State? I have already told you about style and language. Is there anything fundamental about Aregbesola’s involvement in politics? Will he be promoting other parties? If we go as far as Adamawa, we sent people to Kogi, we sent people to work with our party in all the states we have potentials to win, what is wrong with that. The people you say people are not harassing, Adams in BRACED, don’t they come to campaign in Edo for PDP, do they get harassed? Has their rally been disrupted? Let us be fair about it. If we have a problem with Aregbesola language or style there is nothing wrong in advising him to moderate his style. I still insist that Ondo believes in regional integration. In regional integration everywhere it happens, you will have leaders who are uncomfortable with one another. Take the European Union, at the beginning, Britain stood out, they said they didn’t want to be part of it, Germany and France pushed on for some time till it became economically unwise for Britain to stay out of it as they realised that the market, that big European market, is there for them. This is an economic and development issue, it is not a political issue. It is not about the governors, it is about the economic necessity. Can we survive on our own? Can we remain in our silo? What happens to us when this handout from Abuja, that we call allocation stops? How do we want to organise our society? It is a futuristic agenda, it is not even an agenda for now.

What is your view on recent development in Osun State and its effect on the image of your party?

Our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, has a manifesto. Our manifesto is not apologetic in any way about how we see the Nigeria state today. We believe in the promotion of equity. We have offered what we consider to be the mechanism for re-ordering state, federal and local government relations. That is properly documented. Whether it is called in some sectors devolution of power or it is called by another decentralisation or it is called true federalism. There are all sorts of names that are used for what we believe in. We all have our styles of governance. It may be easy for me because of my nature to relate with an Ayo Fayose who is my brother, regardless of whatever his political position is or Oni or any of the other people in my state in a manner that Governor Aregbesola may find difficult, if not impossible, to relate with Iyiola Omisore or even his predecessor; Governor Oyinlola. That is personal style but we must not elevate that personal style to the level of fiction because that is exactly what is happening with the so called security report. I come from a security background as many of you know. I know how security reports are put together and when you put together a report that is mishmash of discussion, I don’t want to say beer parlour or pepper soup joint discussion, with no head no tail, I have my worries. Governor Aregbesola is seen as fiery and fearsome, but he is quite soft at heart. It may be difficult for some to believe that is really what he is. Because he is a shy person, his own mental defence mechanism may be to put a wall between himself and those who he doesn’t want to relate to but when you really subject it to logic what is in that report that is worthy of a second look from any serious minded person. As I said in my statement, we had a flag before Osun had a flag. Lagos had a flag 20 years ago. It was the only state that remained when the other states were balkanized. We have an anthem. If you come to Ekiti, we don’t sing just the national anthem, we sing our own Ekiti anthem and if you come across any document from Ekiti State, you will see that it is not the federal government coat of arms that we have in the state. We don’t even have the Federal Government’s coat of arms on our document. That is not to say that we are not a constituent part of the federal state called Nigeria, and we are proud to be, but we believe that we need an identity that speaks to the core value of our state, that our people can relate to and when you see the Ekiti crest, if no name is written on it, if you have 10 crests put together and you see the Ekiti crest you will not be in any doubt. You will actually say this must be Ekiti without being told. I think that is what Governor Aregbesola has done.

What about Omisore’s threat to stop and search the convoy of Aregbesola?

How is it going to be done? Some of the people fighting him, where were they in the politics in their state. You have my brother who claimed to be the South West Chairman of their party.

It will not be news to you that he has no place at home. He couldn’t even go home. He is settling quarrel all over the South West, he could not go home to his party to resolve the conflagration that is there.

Is it feasible for a state to champion secession?

Is Osun State championing secession? One, it is not feasible. We have our own design, our own grand dream about what we want to achieve for our state. I have just come from the opening ceremony of the Lagos Economic Summit. Lagos is still a sub nation in Nigeria but it is the fourth largest economy in Africa. It is not a sovereign state, but many of the things that Lagos wants to do, many sovereign states in Africa cannot do. It is a matter of choice. If Osun has a vision of building a state that is self sufficient, that has food security, that can respond to the needs of the people and you then find that difficult, then it is not secession that you are worried about. You are worried about what the performance level will do to the fortune of your own party, if he was to achieve all of those elements. It is the same old age battle between the reactionaries and the progressives. That is what is happening. Don’t let us kid ourselves. I dare say it has some level of Abuja connection in it. We are not worried. We have no issue with the Federal Government. The issue that we have with the Federal Government, we have put them on the table, the lopsidedness of the relation between the centre and the state. That is open; people know our position on that. We want our regional bloc to serve the people of this region. We are unapologetic about that and nobody can accuse us of going into our siloh because that is a model that is being represented everywhere. As we speak some people are gathered in Asaba called BRACED meeting on South South agenda and working on the South South development. Let us not mix development with politics. They are not meeting on South South sharing of money, they are meeting on how to bring development to the region. Peter Obi, my brother and his colleagues gather time to time to organise in response to the economic challenges in the South East and unless we do that how am I going to access the N3 billion food market in Lagos, if I don’t work within the regional hub and discourage Lagos from even venturing into Agriculture so that I can bring the food here? That, for us, is the issue. The time for governance is for governance. It seems to be in their own views which are being parroted by the media, Aregbesola is the most recalcitrant of the lot. If you can crush him, Fayemi is easy, Amosun used to be with us we can get him back, Ajimobi is a nice man, Fashola is a technocrat. That is their own estimation and that is what is driving what they are doing. Unfortunately for them they are on the wrong track. 

How will you describe what happened at the venue of the botched Adebayo Adefarati Memorial lecture in Ondo?

It is a worrisome development. I hope, it is not yet an ugly event. If it is an ugly event, I hope it is not going to become a process; that it will remain an event. I was surprised by what happened. I want to be as frank as possible. I found it strange because I regard the governor of Ondo State as my brother and I have said this to many of you on many occasions that in my party, I am seen as the closest link to him, even when some of the leaders in my party are not necessarily very cordial in their relationship with the governor. I have always maintained that the relationship that I have with him goes beyond the personal. We have very strong personal bond. We were in the trenches together. We fought together, even though, he was on the other side, (the Labour Party) but were both the underdogs when we went into our elections and necessarily, we exchanged notes. We did many things together, even now, particularly developmentally. He was one of the first people that I spoke to when the Adefarati family came to me that I should come and give a lecture. I told the family when they came that since this was not a partisan matter; it was a memorial of somebody who had been governor of a state, who had been a leader of the progressive movement. I don’t think it should be partisan, and I asked the family pertinent questions: who are the people that are coming? Have you told the governor of the state? What role will it play at the event? The family members made it clear to me that they had informed the governor, even though they had difficulty in seeing him but they handed over the letter to his Chief of Staff.

About two days to the event, I called him and confirmed to him that I would be coming to deliver Baba Adefarati’s 5th Memorial lecture. He said that he didn’t like the way the lecture was being handled, that he felt that there was a political undertone and all that, which is natural. Any of us could come with any impression of this matter and I said to him, well as far as I am concerned, this is an important thing to do. It is the 5th anniversary of a man in whose administration he himself was very much involved as a commissioner, even more than someone like me. I told him that I would come over to him and we would go together to the event which. But, before I left Ado-Ekiti, I received the first warning shot because my advance team was already there, and, they informed me that there was problem, altercation between the Labour Party supporters and those of the Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) at the venue of the event, but at that time they had not attacked Dr. Olaiya Oni. It was the early period of the day.

Did you at that point get in touch with him again?

Again, I called my brother and said this is what I was hearing about the place and I hoped it was proper for me to come and he said that he too had heard that there were problems, they were not allowing members of the Labour Party to come in. that was his own perspective. By the time I got to Akure, I discovered that it was really pointless going to the place because the feedback I was getting was not palatable. I went to the house of our party leader; the former Secretary to the State Government under Chief Adefarati; Omo Ekun, Chief Wunmi Adegbonmire. I was there with our National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande and some other chieftains, watching the development whether things would calm down or not. We eventually got a message that the situation was yet to abate. My own security team actually wanted to go, but I felt that it wasn’t proper. If I had gone, those who had been shooting and throwing all sort of things, my own security team would have found it necessary to respond and that would have escalated the entire thing beyond what later transpired. So, I decided that I was leaving town. Again I called my brother that given what had transpired, I couldn’t go to the event, I was returning to Ado-Ekiti and he said that he was in Ile Oluji at the time. We agreed to see subsequently.

Do you think this could foretell what to expect during the campaign?

What I found surprising was that an event of this nature could be turned into a redress rehearsal for the shape of things to come in Ondo State. I really do hope it is not the shape of things. It was also more shocking to me, naturally, when matters like this happen, security people will do their investigation and Ondo and Ekiti are like Siamese twins, there is very little you can do in one angle that will not filter to the other. I was surprised when I discovered from evidence shown to me later that elements close to the party and government in Ondo State were central to everything that happened. I don’t know if my brother was aware of the role they played because it is also possible as governors often find themselves in a situation where their supporters and their key actors may do things that they are not privy to. It is not impossible that he may not even know the activities of some of his men but I have it on very good authority that at least three of the drivers of the fracas are key officials in his party. It was not spontaneous. It was not accidental. It was organised and they had been there since 7am. In fact, some of the people they used had effrontery to go to an event where the governor was presented an award same evening to lodge a complaint that the money they gave to them was not enough and I don’t think that is something I really want to associate with the governor of Ondo State. I feel very strongly as earlier said that I am almost regarded as umbilical cord between my party and himself because we have close relationship. I respect him, I discuss a lot of things with him, particularly in relation to our states because hardly can one do anything without the other.

Beyond the Fayemi/Mimiko personal relationship, what about the two states?

We are closely tied, not just because of our shared history, but also because of the practicality. There are many of my people who live in Akure and come to Ado-Ekiti, including senior functionaries of my government. I wouldn’t want a situation in which Ondo State citizens in Ekiti and Ekiti citizens in Ondo will find themselves in the line of fire which they had not caused which is driven by political machination rather than any objective animosity on the part of both states, particularly, the two of us really have nothing but I also know that in politics, friends easily becomes enemies and I will hate a situation in which that will be the case. I have seen a lot of reports in newspapers, attributing what happened to all sorts of funny things like ACN aspirants fighting among themselves, Labour people not being allowed to come into the venue.

Do you agree with those expressing fear that we may be sowing the seed that could consume the Republic?

What is much more fundamental and which I think should worry us collectively and, as leaders in the media and society I will like all of us to reflect on it together, is the potential that this holds even for the survival of our democracy. The West has a history in this country, and more often than not, the West is always the trigger of crisis. There are those, particularly conservative elements in this country who always find it necessary to arrest development in the West without considering the full implications of that on the country and more often than not when that thrives, it ends up destroying the very fabric of this fragile democracy called Nigeria and I hope we are not going down that route again with Ondo State becoming Achilles heel in our country.

There are those who will even see some of the things that I have jokingly talk about with you on development in Osun. I am an unapologetic advocate of regionalism and many of you have read my interview or comment that I do not necessarily believe that we all must belong to the same political party for regionalism to take root. I used to give example that in our lifetime Chief Kehinde Sofola came from the same community as Chief Obafemi Awolowo and he was Attorney General of the NPN, the party in government in the Second Republic. There is nothing that says that we cannot even belong to the opposing side. Let us market ourselves to the people. Let us sell our idea to the people and it is on the basis of that that we should ask for their votes and for legitimacy. None of us should be indulged in any attempt to force ourselves on our people. Once there is a legitimate product of legitimate process, the ownership comes automatically In my state I make bold to say that some may say Fayemi is a passivist. Governor Ayo Fayose was with me to greet me on my mother’s passage. When former Governor Oni’s mother died, I was one of the first people that went there, in spite of our political differences and I was at her funeral. Politically, many of you may know that Chief Afe Babalola is not exactly on my side of the divide, but at every opportunity because I recognise that he is an icon, we have a state calendar, he is one of the first people on the Ekiti state calendar as a brand ambassador for my state. That is me. I don’t see why I cannot disagree with you politically and still share bread with you. Call it naivety, lack of readiness to play politics the way it is meant to be played in our setting. I think this is an intellectual process and we can have an intellectual approach to disagreement which does not impair my personal relationship with you. That is why I am saddened by what happened in Ondo State. The lecture did not make a single reference to the impending election in Ondo State, neither did it talk about the relationship between my party and the Labour Party. It focused on how we could rebuild this society on the basis of equity, fairness and justice.

Source : The Nation

Robbers set banks ablaze, kill five in Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State

01/05/2012 19:40:00 NAN

Robbers incapacitate the police in Ondo and raid three banks

Armed robbers besieged the sleepy town of Ikare-Akoko in Ondo State on Monday night and used dynamites to blow open the security gates of three banks.

According to the Police Public Relations officer in the state, Adeniran Aremu, who confirmed the incident, the affected banks are the Ecobank Plc, Wema Bank Plc and the First Bank Plc.

Fear gripped the residents who scampered out to establish what had gone amiss as the robbers followed each dynamite explosion with sporadic gun fires.

In the melee, five persons were killed by stray bullets but the Police authorities in the state confirmed the death of only two persons.
Those who died were a pastor, two commercial motorcyclists, a security guard and a teenager simply identified as Oniwu.
Investigations showed that the robbers on their arrival in the town went straight to the police station and dislodged the security personnel by shooting sporadically at them.

The station was immediately deserted as the policemen on duty took to their heels following their inability to confront the superior fire power of the rampaging robbers.

NAN further learnt that the officers fled to request for reinforcement at both Owo, also in Ondo State and at Akure, a distance of about 50 kilometers and 100 kilometers from Ikare, respectively.

The robbers had moved to the premises of the affected banks before the arrival of more security personnel and they blew-off the security gates.

It was gathered that they carried out the operations simultaneously at the three banks while the Armoured Personnel Carrier stationed at Ikare to control robbery attacks was badly damaged and de-mobilised.

The driver of the APC, and a policeman, who were hit by bullets were said to be on danger list at a hospital along with several others who sustained injuries as a result of the sporadic shootings.

NAN further learnt that a group of armed robbers had earlier on Monday evening laid siege on Akure/Owo highway and dispossessed travelers of their valuables.

They were said to have been dislodged by policemen who engaged them in a gun battle during which two of the robbers were killed.

The PPRO explained that those who died came out of their homes when they heard the sounds of the guns and were killed by the stray bullets of the robbers who shot sporadically into the air.

The police spokesman said that more policemen had been deployed to the town while the police had started efforts to track down the fleeing robbers.

“The DPO of Ikare, Aliyu Lukman, made a distress call to the headquarters and reinforcement was sent to Ikare immediately.

“The timely intervention of the police did not allow the robbers to gain access into the banks’ vaults.

“Our men also on Monday evening, killed one armed robber and arrested another four who blocked the Owo-Akure Road to raid travelers and dispossess them of their valuables,” Mr. Aremu said.

Mimiko has failed the people, says Boroffice By Joseph Jibueze, Ayodeji Olaosun and Damisi Ojo


•’Agagu’ll work for ACN’


A governorship aspirant of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ondo State, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, yesterday delivered a damning verdict on the  Olusegun Mimiko administration. It is a failure, he said.

He said the Mimiko administration is wasting public funds on projects that should be executed by local governments, such as the building of markets and town halls.

Boroffice spoke at the Lagos headquarters of The Nation during a visit to commiserate with the company on the fire, which razed its photo and cartoon sections.

He was received by the company’s management.

Boroffice said the Mimiko administration has spent over N3 billion on an events centre called “the Dome” and it is still uncompleted, adding that “the dome has become a doom”.

Boroffice faulted an alleged plan by the government to have its Sunshine Football Club partner Arsenal Football Club of England, saying the government is confused and does not know the right thing to do.

He said the government ought to concentrate on building viable industries and institutions that will create jobs for thousands of youths.

“Our people lack potable water and the government is busy building a fountain in the middle of a road. We have had enough; our people are tired,” he added.

The senator representing Ondo North District said he has a vision to transform Ondo into an industrialised and socially secure state, where people can fully exploit their potentials.

Boroffice said he would focus on the development of infrastructure; ensure good governance, justice and equity; ensure transparency in institutions and harness other natural resources in the state, such as coal, by building an industrial cluster around its location and generating energy from it.

He said: “If we are talking of Vision 20:20, we must begin to work towards it. The ceramic industry established by the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin, the cocoa and glass industries are foundations that should be built on.”

The senator said he would move the state away from being an agrarian economy to an industrialised one and would provide affordable housing.

Boroffice said the integration of the Southwest will speed up development in the region. He said: “A good transportation system is one of the ways to facilitate economic development. Southwest states can collaborate, as well as partner investors to develop a rail system and other shared infrastructure. That way, rich states can help the poor ones. States will not lose their autonomy and they will all gain a lot.”

On his transition from science to politics, Boroffice said it is a continuation of his service to the nation and a way of giving back to the society and humanity.

He said he dumped the Labour Party (LP) on December 28, 2011, for the ACN when he discovered that LP’s machinery had become personalised.  The senator said: “With many chieftains resigning and many factions emerging in the LP, I needed to join a truly progressive party. I found it difficult to operate as a senator in a party divided against itself.”

He said his conscience could not allow him remain in a party where the leaders have been accused of looting the treasury and cited the example of the chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), who has been accused of mismanaging the commission’s funds.

Boroffice said the Nigerian Constitution allows him to switch parties.

He said: “It is a matter of conscience for me, not a moral one. After due consultation, I feel satisfied that I have taken the right step. People are defecting from the LP in their thousands. LP is gradually going into a coma and it will soon go into extinction.”

Boroffice said contesting against an incumbent governor is not a problem for him, nor is he fazed by the high number of ACN aspirants.

According to him, historically, no governor has ever won a second term in the state.

He said: “There is a pattern already, so I am so confident we are going to win, because the LP has not performed very well. No governor has gone two terms in Ondo State. If it is warfare, we will fight it.

“Ondo is not the first state where a party has many aspirants. All aspirants will rally round him whoever gets the party’s ticket.”

Boroffice said he has spent over 15 years in public service and understands the bureaucracy involved in governance.

He said his qualifications and experience as a university lecturer, acting vice-chancellor, head of the national space agency and member of various international organisations give him an edge over other aspirants.

Boroffice said he has no personal problems with Mimiko, except ideological differences.

He said: “We are friends and Christian brothers, but I think Mimiko has been avoiding me cleverly. We have not met in a while, but I will love to meet him and register my disappointment on some issues. One of them is the presence of LP thugs at the Fifth Adebayo Adefarati Memorial Lecture.”

At the weekend, when former OSOPADEC Chairman Chief Adewale Omojuwa defected to the ACN at Igbokoda, Ilaje Local Government Area, Boroffice said former Governor Olusegun Agagu would align with the party to unseat Mimiko in the October election.

He said Omojuwa’s entry into the ACN would compel Agagu to support the party to rescue his administration’s legacies.

-The Nation

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