Ahead of the 2023 general elections, concerned youths in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State have protested against the imposition of a non-indegene in their constituency and their marginalization by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu led adminstration.
In an open letter issued on Tuesday after the protest, signed by the Chairman, Concerned Odigbo Local Government Youths-In-Council, Comrade Ogunboyewa Dami, it alleged that an Igbomina born Kwara State indigene who served as the Special Adviser (SA) to Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu during his Governor first term has been parading himself as the Governor’s anointed candidate for MHA Odigbo Constituency 1.
It recalled that the former deputy speaker of the state Assembly, Hon. Iroju Ogundeji, an indigene of Igodan Lisa of Okitipupa Local Government was allegedly imposed on them in Odigbo Constituency 1 by the immediate past Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, an act many indigenes of the constituency considered outrageous and displeasing.
It noted that youth in the constituency will never allow such incidence to repeat itself.
The statement reads: “We crave the indulgence of our Talk and Do Governor, APC Party Chairman, well meaning citizens and good people of Odigbo Local Government both home and abroad to help salvage this ugly incident as we do not want war or breakdown of law and order. Let it be on record that our friendly and accommodating nature is gradually being threatened by some quarters and authorities. We have peacefully demonstrated and also written letters expressing our grievances to the right quarters.
“It would be recalled that Rt. Hon. Iroju Ogundeji, an indigene of Igodan Lisa of Okitipupa Local Government was imposed on us in Odigbo Constituency 1 by the immediate past Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; this act which many indigenes of the Constituency considered outrageous and displeasing.
It noted that many of its well meaning sons and daughters who protested against the bizarre imposition during the election were lost and thus would never forget the pains and agonies.
“As 2023 electioneering process draws near, we wish to register this that an Igbomina born Kwara State indigene who served as the Special Adviser (SA) to Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu during the Governor’s first term has been parading himself as the Governor’s anointed candidate for MHA Odigbo Constituency 1, citing this as the reason he was not given appointment.
“In many fora, he boasted he has the firm support of APC Party Chairman, Engr Ade Adetimehin and Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinterinwa Wale. The public is on notice that the good people of Odigbo Constituency 1 were not against his appointment as the SA to Mr. Governor on Political Mobilization and Strategy and later as SA on Commerce & Industry. It must be known that those opportunities were merely presented to him on the ground of appointments and not in an elective position such as MHA.
According to the youth, he was the only beneficiary of this administration in Odigbo Constituency 1 since 2017. We are not against his person and progress as a member of our great party. A Non-indigene is already completing 8 years, we need our loyal sons and daughters to represent us too. This frequent marginalization is becoming unbearable. We worked for this party, APC; paid our dues and ensured the victory of Mr. Governor at the guber polls”.
It also alleged that bonafide sons and daughters of Odigbo Constituency 1 have been sidelined and marginalized in the administration of the State.
“Below are the various positions occupied by non-indigenes in Odigbo Local Government; Current House of Assembly Member (2 terms), Rt. Hon. Iroju Ogundeji; Immediate Past SA to Mr Governor, Hon. Tunji Samuel Fabiyi; Present Executive Vice Chairman of Odigbo LGA, Baba Gbadeyan; Present Local Government Secretary, Mr Tosin Obamoyegun.
Others are: APC Chairman, Odigbo LGA; 7 out of 11 Ward Chairmen; 7 out of 11 Councillors; Immediate Past Member, Boundary Commission, Alhaji Akeem Osho and still counting”.
It noted that It’s quite disheartening and embarrassing as there is no single representative at the state level selected or appointed from Odigbo Constituency 1 since the inception of AKeredolu’s administration, despite voting massively for the governor during his second term bid.
“It is an open truth and known fact that the immediate past SA to Mr. Governor, Hon. Tunji Fabiyi was not fair to Odigbo Local Government despite our accommodating spirit and friendliness.
“For instance, he sold out the Trader Moni slots given to Odigbo to his people far away Kwara State as alleged. The unaccounted millions of naira Fabiyi Tunji collected from Ore Sabo Market traders while he was SA on Commerce and Industry is still a fresh wound. We challenge him to point to anything good in his favour in Odigbo Constituency 1in the last 4years as SA to Mr Governor”.
According to the Youths, “Moreover, we need no one to inform us that Rt. Hon. Iroju Ogundeji only represented his people in Ikale where he goes ahead to empower them from time to time using the Odigbo Constituency resources and allocation. Presently, he has transferred his voters registration to his home town Igodan Lisa under Okitipupa Local Government with his Senatorial ambition. What becomes of the indigenous aspirants and future of the indigenes? Can this happen in Owo, Idanre, Ibadan, Kwara or Okitipupa without a fight? What exactly is our offence in Odigbo Constituency 1?
“To our royal fathers, stakeholders and patriots in Odigbo Constituency 1, we do not want to loose any of our youths and this is the basis upon which we are making this call to crave your indulgence and involvement in this pressing matter in order to avert an impending incident which remains a timing bomb. This is the essence of this peaceful protest. Before now, we wrote SOS letter to critical stakeholders and leaders of our Party, APC without feedback. We are reminded that Mr. Governor openly apologised for the choice of Iroju in 2019 after warnings from our Royal fathers in Odigbo 1 and Mr Governor promised not to repeat the same mistake”.