Ahead of the Friday’s end of tenure of the incumbent local government chairmen and councilors in Osun State, hundreds of youths who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have staged a peaceful protest against what they described as possible imposition caretaker chairmen by Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
The protesters, who are from Irepodun Local Government Area of the state, carried placards and danced round the town of Ilobu, headquarters of the local government.
They advised the governor and other leaders of the party in the state against the return of the outgoing chairman, Abayomi Oyedeji, and any of the outgoing councilors, saying their tenure has neither been beneficial to the people nor the party.
The inscriptions on their placards include; “No Second Coming for Abayomi,” “No More Baba Said So,” “Return Abayomi Oyedeji and See Trouble,” among others.
They also accused a former Secretary to the State Government, Sola Akinwunmi, of orchestrating the return of Mr. Oyedeji, saying the party leader has been a sole beneficiary of the administration of the outgoing chairman.
Speaking with journalists during the protest, the youth leader of Ward 2A, the outgoing chairman’s ward, Kareem Yekinni, said the protesters have visited the Olobu’s palace, the party secretariat in the town and the home of Mr. Akinwunmi, “to send clear messages to them.”
He said; “Abayomi Oyedeji is not returning to our local government as the chairman. The people have spoken and God has answered us. We have received our royal father’s blessing and we have gone to warn his godfathers.
“At the house of the former SSG, only the house of assembly member representing our constituency, Honourable Nasiru Olateju, came out to talk to us. The SSG said we should send in two representatives to meet him inside but we said no. He wanted two persons he could lie to again. Never! But we have given our words.”
They accused Mr. Oyedeji, who was once the party’s chairman in the local government of not being responsive to the needs of the local government, especially in the areas of provision of basic amenities and security.
According to Mr. Yekinni, the protesters would on Tuesday move to Osogbo, the state capital to warn the party leaders in the state and the governor.
“Tomorrow, we will visit the house of the party chairman, Prince Gboyega Famodun, the party secretariat and the governor’s office at Abeere, to tell them our position. The era of imposition of bad candidates is gone in Osun State. This governor is different and we don’t want the bad leaders to give him wrong advice,” he added.
When contacted, the incumbent chairman of the local government Mr Oyedeji said the youths agitation is baseless.
“We woke up this morning to see youths protesting and shouting that they don’t want me. This is a transition period. The party is in the process of selecting another caretaker chairmen. I don’t know where they got their information from that I will be part but protest is normal. It is not true that I want to be imposed on them. The party leaders have not come out to say they want to use me. Their allegations are unfounded.”
Asked why he failed to represent his people well as alleged, he simply said “everybody cannot by satisfied with you but the larger population of the people I govern are satisfied with what I am doing. If 80 per cent to 90 per cent are satisfied, then that is fine. I have make use of the little of the resources I have to do my best but they have the constitutional right to protest”
More so, the former SSG, Mr Akiwunmi denied involvement in the selection process of new caretaker chairmen and councillors.
“We don’t impose in our party. People like us who have been there know that we don’t impose. I’m beyond making imposition”, he simply said.
When contacted, the secretary of the rulling party, APC in Osun, Rasaq Salinsile told PREMIUM TIMES that the plan to return the incumbent chairman of the local government is a mere rumour.
“I don’t know where they got that from. The governor and the chairman are meeting and they have not even come up until today to say the people they settled for. The point is that immediately one person share rumour, he pass it to others without verifying. They are making unsubstantial claim and baseless.”
Meanwhile, Ismail Omipidan, the spokesperson of the Governor Oyetola, said he is not interested in the matter.
“I don’t want to speculate. Let the party deal with that at their own level.
It would be recalled that during the massive looting that accompanied the #EndSARS protest in October, 2020, the private houses of the chairman was ransacked with his properties stolen and others vandalised.
According to sources, items including mattresses, chairs, air conditioners, electronics and curtains were removed from his newly built house and that of his late brother, and former aide to former Governor Abiola Ajimobi of OYO State, Mr. Sola Oyedeji.
The local government secretariat located along council road in the town was also not spared by the protesters and looters at the time.
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