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Embattled Deji Has Bought His Way Out Of Akure Crisis By Dr. Wumi Akintide.


By Dr. Wumi Akintide

I hope to make this article the last contribution I want to make from this end on the simmering crisis between this Deji and his Council of Chiefs. If it sounds to repetitive and long, it is so because it encapsulates many of the points I have made, time and again, on my serial articles on the Deji as an Institution ever before this crisis broke out. This article represents a comparative analysis of all the issues at stake in this crisis that very many of our chiefs are either too embarrassed or scared to publicly admit. They are all serious problems that should not be swept under the carpet. in the best interest of our city and our people across the board.

If you no longer hear or read any headline news about the Deji’s illegal and premature dethronement by the Akure Council of Chiefs, it is because “power has changed hands” to borrow a cliché from the General Overseer of the Redeemed Church of God, the one and only Enoch Adejare Adeboye. In the Deji’s case, if you are privy to all I know about the scandalous crisis, you can truly conclude as I have, based on empirical research and objective investigation that “money has not only changed hands in Akure.” It has suddenly created an uneasy lull in the raging crisis for now.

While I have serious reservations about how the settlement had been engineered, sealed and delivered by no less a personality than the State Governor himself playing the middle man between the embattled Deji and his chiefs, all in the name of forestalling a crisis that could potentially lead to the declaration of a state of emergency in the State which could possibly give back to the PDP a fraudulent victory they could not get in the tribunal or the Appeal Court. Those who argue there could be violence and civil disobedience if the Deji were removed simply did not appreciate or understand that people could only do that in defense of a popular Deji who is perceived to be on their side. Nobody should be fooled about that.

Very few people are going to stick out their necks in civil disobedience to defend a reckless and oppressive natural ruler whose only appeal and weapon should have been how much he was loved, cherished and admired by his own people. Governor Mimiko must understand that he is Governor today because of his record in public office as commissioner for Health twice in a row. If Mimiko himself, talk less of the Deji, loses that human touch, he would be rejected at the polls at the next election. Lagosians regardless of tribe and religious labels and persuasion are praying and hoping that Governor Fasola of Lagos can run again and for as many times as he wants because he has performed creditably. If the Deji is doing a good job, nobody is going to be rooting for his removal. I will be among the first to stand by him and be counted Buying the chiefs with money will not do the trick. What will save the Deji is dynamic, benevolent and purposeful leadership.

I am very skeptical in this write up about what was done, how it was done by the two sides to the crisis, and what may yet happen down the road, if history is anything to go by. I totally reject and condemn the presumption by the Deji and his chiefs that money alone is enough to buy love. We have our jobs cut out for us as the state capital, and the Deji and his chiefs have a whole lot of things to think about if they truly love our city. They have a whole lot to learn from things happening around them. If this Deji has any master plan beyond taking the laws to his hands and acting like a bully, he would not have any time to commit many of the sins and violations leveled against him. Carrying the Olomoyiye masquerade and dancing round the town or ordering his palace servants to go secure the Market with ritualistic voodoo and fetish, in this modern age should be the least of his worries. Engaging in physical combat and drinking liquor till the early hours of the morning are totally beneath his dignity as the Deji and he should never have done it.

Did he ever hear or see the new Osemawe or the new Olowo engaing in such escapades and notorieties? The present Awujale of Ijebu Ode, Ogbagba the Second, Oba Sikiru Adetona was much younger than this Deji when he was flown out of the UK to come take the title in place of his father. The Awujale has pioneered a new template in leadership in Ijebu Land that has become the envy of his contemporaries everywhere at home. When Awujale and his chiefs and people are having their annual Ojude Oba festival in Ijebu Ode, you will be amazed by the number of traditional rulers in his domain that come to honor and support him as the pre-eminent ruler in Ijebu Land. He recently organized his people to build an extension to the magnificent Palace that replaced the ancient palace in Ijebu Ode during his own tenure.

He is a goal getter and the central glue that binds together his people. That is the kind of Deji we all want to see and cherish. This Deji once approached our Association in New York that he wanted to launch a Scholarship Foundation in Akure to help his people. A lot of our members did not respond because he had earlier on sent emissaries to collect donations from us under false pretences that he was planning to confer chieftaincy titles on our president and a few members to honor our contributions to Akure during his second coronation anniversary in Akure. Once the contributions were sent to him, he never acknowledged getting the money or offer a simple ”Thank you.” The next letter we received from him was a letter asking us to support him again in launching his Scholarship Foundation. Nobody was fooled. If he could pay 7.5 million to silence the opposition to him, we have no business helping him to set up his Scholarship Foundation.

We all know, of course, that money remains the root of all evils all over the world, but more so in Nigeria. I occasionally wonder why Nigeria has not already changed her national logo inscription into “In Money We Trust”. Money is everything in that country. If you have too much of it to throw around, you can get away with murder. Because of that, everything is negotiable in Nigeria and every negotiation has a price attached to it. General IBB has institutionalized that absurdity better than any of our political leaders in Nigeria and our young Governor Mimiko, a quick study in that precept and the new Deli, his new bride, have just demonstrated how to effectively and effortlessly use money to douse the fire of resistance or rebellion in the State Capital. The Governor has used his power of incumbency and money to detonate what he has described as a ticking time bomb in Akure for his own sake. It was nothing but a storm in a teacup. I would only agree that the development was a ticking time bomb if the Deji has turned out to be the caliber of the Deji we all thought he was going to be.

Quite often, when you are attempting to solve a problem, you could be unknowingly creating more serious problems. I knew that the Akure Council of Chiefs has somehow hurt their credibility by mentioning the issue of the”Igbarunjo” kola or kickback of 7.5 million that they said the new Deji has used 419 to sweep under the carpet, once his appointment was confirmed by the Agagu Government which was just too much in a hurry to take credit for finally resolving the Deji’s succession stalemate of 6 years. That was after the Agagu Government has quickly elevated two-quarter chiefs in Akure into crowned Obas in the absence of a substantive Deji. Once that Rubicon was crossed, Agagu and his Deputy Omolade Oluwateru had thought it was time to give Akure a new Deji who will be so beholden and subservient to Government that he could not raise a finger or challenge the Government even when his institutional interest is threatened or compromised.

If I were the Deji, I would not rest till the relationship between the two chiefs and me is properly defined and sealed by law and protocol. The creation of a second Local Government in Akure and his environs was a move designed to elevate the Deji and his people. It was not a move designed to put the Deji in a box as the most preeminent natural ruler in Akure kingdom. Those towns and villages, which make up Akure North Local Government should never have been taken away from the Deji just like that. The Alafin of Oyo, The Alake of Abeokuta and the Ooni of Ife and the Owa Obokun of Ijesha Land and the Awujale of Ijebu Land all face similar creation of Local Governments in their domains. Their State Governments were very sensitive to the needs and history of those kingdoms and they have all reflected such sensitivities in their decision.

Agagu and Oluwateru did not do that, and the Deji has done nothing or even demonstrated his awareness of this problem with his new buddy in the State House at Oke Eda. The protracted feud between Akure and Idanre is another problem yet to be fully tackled and resolved to the satisfaction of the two communities. Akure has lost half of Aponmu village to Idanre as we speak. I am not even sure if this Deji is aware of this problem at all. The late Ambassador Martin Adelusimo Adegbulu was the last Olu of Aponm. Deji Adelegan to his credit, was wise enough to select him as the Olu. But for him and his patriotism, courage and fortitude, Aponmu Lona on Akure Land which is populated mostly by Idanre people would easily have annexed the original Aponmu which belongs to Akure in perpetuity. The same thing with Igbatoro Familugba all the way to Igbo Ofosu and Ugbo Board near Oda area are seriously been encroached by Idanre people as we speak all in the name of the Land Use Decree which has been totally rejected by most communities in Yoruba Land because Obasanjo had forced it down the throat of the South to make it easier for him to acquire the land for his famous Ota Farms near Lagos. Those are problems that are begging for resolution by this Deji and his Council of Chiefs working together. These are problems they cannot afford to sweep under the carpet. But for Chief Olisa and Olu of Igbatoro Familugba, those virgin lands and forest would have been lost by now to Idanre forever.

It is inconceivable that any Deji would not be given a chance to have a say in the balkanization and polarization of his own kingdom. What has just happened at Iremo quarter at Ile Ife and Modakeke are cases in point. How could any rational Governor of Osun State cook up such an “abracadabra of power shift or realignment” at Ile Ife, the cradle of Yoruba civilization without the tacit approval or cooperation of the Arole Oodua himself Ooni Sijuwade Olubuse, the Second? It is just not possible.

The way Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola has handled the Ife/ Modakeke feud and stalemate was so remarkable that at the most recent annual Olojo Festival at Ife, the duo of new Kabiyesi Obalufe of Iremo and Kabiyesi Ogunsua of Modakeke were among the dignitaries and celebrities that were physically present at Enuwa at Ile Ife to accompany Ooni Risa from Ilegbo central shrine at Ile Ife to the Palace, with shouts of Kabiyesi Ooni Risa, Arole Oodua as the Ooni, wearing the unique and famous “Are” the original crown that he alone is allowed to wear, once a year, in Yoruba Land as the spiritual father of all Yorubas and the successor to Oodua in Yoruba Mythology.

Can you imagine new Kabiyesi the Osolo and new Kabiyesi the Iralepo coming to pay allegiance to this new Deji on his outing from his annual “Ilefunta” Festival in Akure? That is never going to happen, because of the way the Agagu Government has handled their elevation to crowned Obas in Akure, was very contemptuous of Deji as an Institution. Don’t get me wrong. I am not asking the Ondo State Government to undo what  has been done with regard to the two Obas. As a matter of fact, Kabiyesi the Osolo is my brother-in-law and life President and Duke of the Ajapada Club to which I belong in Akure. I love him and I have the highest regard for him as a patriot and a highly principled man. I have the same respect for Kabiyesi, the Iralepo of Isinkan. All I am saying is that the new Deji in concert with his Akure Council of Chiefs ought to have seen the red light, and they should all have collectively done something about it to clearly define the relationship between the Deji and these new Obas.

Oba Ataiyese Adesida the IV was going to do something about it  the need to define that relationship and line of authority and span of control, but he did not live long enough to come out with his blue print. I did advise him on the issue while compiling the research for my biography of Deji Afunbiowo. It is to his eternal credit, however, that the Ondo state Government did not attempt to elevate the two chiefs until after his death. “Udeyin agbo no fapon re” meaning you have to first of all slaughter or incapacitate a sacrificial ram before you can peacefully attempt to cut off his testicles. I was actually encouraging Deji Ataiyese to take the position that the Ooni Risa has taken on Pbalufe and Oba Ogunsua of Modakeke, and to seal the agreement with the force of Law and traditional protocol.

The Deji himself and the Akure Council of Chiefs should have been consulted, and their blessings received before elevating the two chiefs. As a matter of fact, the Deji himself should have been given the honor like Oyinlola did in Osun State to make sure that the Ooni was physically present to give his approval and blessings to the two newly created Obas in Ile Ife on the day they received their staff of office. It was a move that should have earned Governor Oyinlola and Ooni Risa Sijuwade himself, a local Nobel Peace award for leadership. It was a masterstroke. There is peace today at Iremo and Modakeke because the new rulers knew their boundaries and who is boss at Ile Ife. Period.

By so doing the Ife Central Local Government and the Modakeke Local Government now recognize the Ooni more or less as the prescribed authority of the two Obas who clearly recognize the Ooni not just as” first among equals” but decidedly as their royal father and the big boss if the push comes to shove. I have it on authority that Ooni Risa is financially supported by the two Local Governments at Ile Ife. The Oloba of Oba in Akure North Local Government is now claiming that some villages the Deji used to control and reign over  like Eleyowo, Ogbese, Ugele and even Ilu Abo are now under his control and Local Government and under no condition would the Deji be allowed to approve the selection of those village heads. It is unheard of.

If the Deji is playing his cards right and getting his priorities right, he and his Chiefs would have focused like a laser beam on getting these issues revisited and properly realigned, and resolved. Instead of doing that, the Deji is going around fishing in troubled waters, going to market places disturbing the peace of tomatoes sellers by kicking their baskets of onions and tomatoes. He has reportedly gone to personally beat up the Ex-Omolare, Josie Abegunde, a very vocal local champion who can single-handedly bring the Deji down by bad-mouthing and blackmailing him every where he goes. The Deji was also said to have personally assaulted Joseph Isijola, thereby undermining and diminishing his dignity and authority. Akure should be embarrassed by such incidents. There are better battles for the Deji to fight than going around town beating up people just because he can.

Agagu had the two new Obas receive their instrument of office in his office just like the new Deji was summoned to receive his own at the same office. Agagu delegated to his Deputy the honor to go present the staff of office to the three Obas, meaning Osolo, Iralepo and the Deji.around the same time. Can Governor Gbenga Daniel ever try that with the Alake or the Awujale? That would never happen. Can any Edo Governor ever try that with any Oba of Benin? Never. Omolade Oluwateru, Akure’s representative in Agagu’s Cabinet was ready and willing to do anything his boss wanted without lifting a finger. If Agagu wanted to kill anybody in Akure, the only question Omolade Oluwateru was going to ask, was whether or not the killing should be carried out by lethal injection or by a firing squad. He would not challenge the Governor and ask why?

I thought Oluwateru should have asked Agagu to find another member of his kitchen cabinet to go present the staff of office to the two chiefs if he has any respect for Akure. That is my take on that. I could be wrong. If I were Oluwateru, I would not let my boss use me like that against my own constituency. That is my grouse with Omolade.

I condemned Agagu, till tomorrow, for disrespecting the Deji’s institution in that way.” Eni ba mo yi wura lanta fun” meaning in Yoruba, that you sell a diamond to only those who know and appreciate the value. As far as I am concerned, this new Deji does not appear to understand the fundamental value of the title he currently holds or its history. If he does, he would have done a few things differently. He would never have gone to the market to settle scores with people by using physical combat.  Deji Ademuagun, in a moment of indiscretion, once hit somebody in his palace with his walking stick, the Akure Council of Chiefs did not take it lightly at all.  Orisabinu Adedipe, Osun Oshogbo was the Elemo of Akure at the time. He let the Deji realize he could not get away with such misconduct. Those were the good old days.

As a prince of the Adesida Dynasty, and as a grand child of Sao Apatapiti in Akure on my father’s side, I resent that insensitivity and lack of appreciation by the current Deji.  Agagu and Oluwateru got away with a lot of nonsense in Akure, by taking undue advantage of the rift between the then Regent of Akure, Princess Adeyinka Adebobajo Adesida  and the Akure Council of Chiefs. In their hurry to take credit, Agagu and Oluwateru rushed the Akure king makers to abandon the age long tradition of having the Deji-elect perform all the ceremonial formalities before he is proclaimed the Deji.

This particular Deji is the first “non-Omo Ori Ite” prince to be crowned a Deji in Akure. He is the first to do away with tradition and protocol by getting his staff of office and Government recognition first before going back to Ipebi or the Asamo Court where the central shrine of Akure supreme deity, Obanifon is situated. He did not even receive the training in Asamo’s court on how to comport himself with dignity as the Deji. When the Deji gives you his word, you can take it to the Bank. That is the way it is supposed to be. Everything was done in reverse for this Deji because Agagu and Oluwateru had thought Akure customs and traditions were irrelevant, and should be ignored. The Deji himself probably thought so as well based on the way he is behaving.

He reportedly broke other protocols or he just had them done in reverse as alleged in one of the 20 charges leveled against him by the Chiefs. The Deji himself, in one of his few press statements on the crisis, had publicly admitted that the chiefs were aggrieved because he had refused to keep his promise to redeem his pledge on the so-called “Igbarunjo” cola. He said the crisis was just a little family problem. He decidedly gave the impression, in that statement, that he would find some ways to redeem that pledge and he did that, presumably with some help from Governor Mimiko probably out of taxpayers money. I really don’t know that for a fact, but the Deji did come up with the money the chiefs had demanded in their indictment. 7.5 million Naira is a lot of money whichever way you slice it. The goal must not be for the king makers to sell the title to the highest bidder, but that is precisely what they have done, if the truth must be told.

This particular development has raised many more questions for me that it has answered on both sides of the isle. I don’t know about you. It has opened a can of worms that I think the public must know about in this article.

First of all, the issue of traditional kola is nothing new in Yoruba tradition, and I am not at all opposed to the concept as somebody with great respect for our tradition and customs, but asking more than 7 million as traditional kola for a position held on public trust and a vacancy which has to be filled by necessity by a candidate with some royal blood running in his veins and with provable connection to a royal lineage, I think it is profoundly absurd and wrong.

The Chiefs by asking for such a ridiculously high amount, to begin with, are only offering the position for sale, and that ought not to be the case at all. If all the Chiefs are looking for is the highest bidder and not a candidate with the right pedigree and the strength of character to lead, I can tell you, here and now, that the chiefs themselves are almost as guilty as the Deji himself in my book.

When uncle, Deji Adelegan Otutubiosun Adesida III was there he had made less than 10,000.00 Naira per month in salary. My other uncle Deji Adebobajo Ataiyese Adesida the IV who took over from Deji Adelegan in 1991 had made less than 20,000.00 Naira, per month as I recall. Our progenitor, and arguably the greatest Deji of all times, Oba Afunbiowo Adesida the First had made only a fraction of this amount in salary and my other uncle, the first educated Deji in Akure History, a legal luminary with an LLM from Middle Temple before his coronation in 1957 had made less than 4,000.00 Naira per month. How, for God’s sake, can the chiefs be asking the new Deji or any candidate for that matter, to pay them as much as 7.5 million as “Igbarunjo” money? How much did any of them spend before getting their own titles? That was damn too much, to say the least, and it is a terrible precedent in my judgment.

By asking for such disproportionate amount, to begin with, I can understand why the new Deji was tempted to unleash or craft a 419 response to their collective greed by issuing them a dud check. Because the new Deji had told them he was an accountant in London or Dublin they thought they could take his words to the Bank. Look what happened. I was personally disappointed that the chiefs would be asking for millions of Naira. Where do they expect the man to find that kind of money when the man is probably making less than 25,000.00 a month which is hardly enough to feed his dogs talk less of his harem of wives and palace servants? The Deji makes much lower salary than a counselor makes in the Akure Local Government.

If you really think about it, the Chairman of Akure Local Government is more or less the person performing most of the duties that traditional rulers used to perform before the British came. The position of traditional rulers today is more or less redundant. Under Deji Afunbiowo and Deji Agunsoye Ademuagun, the Deji’s horse tail otherwise called “Iru Okun” in Akure was sufficient to have someone arrested and brought to the Palace by force. Not any more. If the Deji sends for you to come to his Palace today, you can tell him, you are not coming. If he insists, you can take him to Court. If he orders for thugs to go beat you up, you can arrange your own thugs and fight back or you can take the Deji to court for issuing such an order, and you can defeat him in court, if you have a good lawyer.

Right now, this Deji has no less than 3 or 4 cases of assault pending in court as we speak. That was why he was probably driven by ego or foolhardiness or both to go accompany thugs to go and do a version of what Deji Odundun used to do when he once sent emissaries to Ogiso, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Ukwu Akpolokpolo, the Oba of Benin that Akure under him, was no longer going to play a subservient role to the Oba of Benin for a few years that the Benin Kingdom ruled Akure.” Ado Nekues” meaning Ado Akure are relics of the inter tribal wars and Akue N’Edo, meaning Akures in Benin are the reminders of those tribal wars.

Deji Odundun was rumored to turn himself into a parrot, and he followed the emissaries to Benin to be sure they delivered his message the way he had ordered. If they chickened out on arrival in Benin, Deji Odundun got the emissaries executed in cold blood upon their return. He was a no-nonsense Deji who did not take a “No” for an answer. His reincarnation, Deji “Afesekubiojo” Osupa the Third might just be re-enacting the Odundun stance by personally going to beat people up. Do you really blame him?

Traditional institution is still respected where the holder has what it takes to earn that respect, quite often with the reputation they have earned before their coronation. Ooni Adesoji Aderemi was an “Atobatele” before his coronation and his first private house near the Palace at Enuwa, Ile Ife is a powerful reminder of that. He went on to become the first civilian post Independence Governor of the old Western Region of Nigeria under Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Premier. So is the present Ooni Risa Sijuwade Olubuse the Second and so was Deji Afunbiowo Adesida who vied for the throne three consecutive times spending so much money before he got the nod of the king makers. Above all what Deji Afunbiowo lacked in material wealth, he made up for it by being the most powerful herbalist and Ifs devotee of his era, and he lived for 125 years and his other name in Akure was “ Alujonu Adagba D’Omode”.

He could turn day light into darkness using black power. Part of his cognomen was “Afinju Oloja ko m’ejo so gbadi” meaning that he was a gutsy King that used a live cobra as a belt to tie his pants. He was that powerful. There will never be another Deji like him.  A book on him, titled,” The Lion King and The Cubs” was launched on December 19, 2008 at the Federal University of Technology, Akure and later on at the City University of New York, Queen’s College Branch with Ambassador Prince Agboola Gambari, a crown prince of Ilorin Emirate and the number 2 man at the United Nations as keynote speaker.

This new Deji was to be Chairman of the occasion at the Federal University of Technology, Akure. He promised to be there in person but for some reason, he did not show up even though he wrote the preface to the book. Chief Oluyemi Falae, a former Presidential candidate in Nigeria was the keynote speaker and Senator Bode Olajumoke was the Chief Launcher. Rather than show up at the occasion, the Deji merely sent one of his wives to represent him and he was home in the Palace on a public holiday for the Muslims. It was an embarrassment that this new Deji would disrespect one of his greatest predecessors in that kind of way. He, surely, did not understand the import of History and the importance of that Institution. Period.

Deji Agunsoye Adesida was a well-to-do attorney before he became the Deji. His father-in-law, late multi millionaire Chief Ajao of Lagos had bankrolled him as the Deji. Deji Otutubiosun had vied for the throne two times before he was successful. He died in total penury leaving thousands of Naira in unpaid hospital bills at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos. Deji Ataiyese Adebobabjo Adesida the IV was a rich Assistant Commissioner of Police before his coronation. He had to spend his own money to support his high visibility office until he died. Traditional rulers as a whole don’t make the kind of money that businessman and politicians make today. I just cannot comprehend where the chiefs expect this Deji to get that kind of money, if he is not doing many of the things he has been accused of doing. In a way, I think the chiefs are equally culpable. The Deji is going to find some illegal ways to recoup that money as time goes by.

I am mentioning all this to lend more credence to my thesis that Akure king makers as a group were trying to squeeze water out of a stone by expecting this man from London to, all of a sudden, become an Osun Oshogbo once he was crowned the Deji. The Chiefs were expecting too much and I blame them for driving this Deji to the wall. They have got to deal with the monster they have created by their greed. They have no one but themselves to blame. After all Prince Bankole Aladetoyinbo from Baltimore, Maryland was the one expected by the great majority of the people and the Osupa Family to take the title. His selection was aborted by the majority of the king makers for only one reason.

The Olisa and the Elemo of Akure were at daggers drawn at the time. The Elemo the third in the rank to the Deji was backing Prince Bankole Aladetoyinbo. Rather than back Elemo’s candidate, the Olisa and his faction decided to back the current Deji who was less known than Prince Aladetoyinbo at the time. The current Deji simply grabbed the window of opportunity thrown wide open by the disagreement and the avoidable feud between two factions of the Akure Council of Chiefs led by the Olisa and the Elemo just like the Agagu Government was actively looking for a candidate they could push around at Akure. A Deji who knows his right and is loved by his people cannot be pushed around or victimized by any Government in Ondo State.

Agagu and Oluwateru believed they have found such a man in the current Deji and they went all out for him pushing formality, tradition and protocols aside. That was how Akure ended up getting this Deji, even though they knew very little about him as a man worthy to lead Akure.

It is important that all these points are properly documented for history and posterity without fear or favor. That is what I am attempting to do here. The “Omo Ori Ite” provision in the Deji’s Declaration which has now been expunged for good, and by consensus, is useful to some extent, but the development has created some serious problems for the purity and sanctity of our tradition and customs in Akure. I predicted long ago, and I have repeated it, time and again, that an Okechukwu who has lived long enough in Akure or was born there and speaks Akure dialect fluently with the expertise of Pa Fabuda, could one day be crowned a Deji in Akure. Who is going to bell the cat or tell such a candidate he is not from the royal family? Everybody is Catholic on St. Patrick’s day in New York. Everyone can claim to be a prince in Akure.

All they need do is just claim that their father had reigned in Akure in 1150 AD or 1740 or 1845, which was the last year the Deji named Osupa ever reigned in Akure. The present Deji calling himself Osupa the Third is therefore subject to dispute. He should really have been called Osupa the Second, but because his coronation was mindlessly rushed by Agagu and Oluwateru for obvious reasons, the chiefs just let it go. I do not believe he was given a change of name at Ashamo’s Court like all of his predecessors. Deji Adesida’s new appellation was Afunbiowo. Deji Ademuagun was Agunsoye bi Oyibo. Deji Adelegan was Otutubiosun. Deji Adebobajo was Ataiyese. I will like to know the special name that this new Deji was given at Ashamo’s court and which of the 44 Dejis before him was the direct son of Oba Osupa to qualify him to now call himself Osupa the Third. That in, of itself, is misleading and it should be corrected.

Akure like Lagos or Abuja is fast becoming a no man’s land as the non-natives come to Akure in droves like the Jews have done in New York. Non-natives are busy buying old houses from Akure indigenes and rebuilding them into mansions for themselves and their children yet unborn. Because this Deji is so desperate for money to make a living, he is willing and ready to sell any empty plot of land he can find in Akure to these non-indigenes without thinking, and without remembering that he is not going to be the Deji forever. Nobody owns the world in perpetuity. We are all like actors on a stage. We play our part and leave the stage for someone else to take over. We are only going to be remembered by the record and legacies we leave behind.

This Deji goes to all the villages and hamlets around Akure selling any land he can find in order to raise money to support his life style. He picks and installs village heads without consultation with his Council of Chiefs.

All that must change, if the truce between him and his chiefs is to last.

Cash Hold Petrol Station at Mosalasi market Akure was sold to present Chief Olisa  Folorunso David ever before he became the Olisa and long before this Deji came on board. This Deji came to the throne, and one of the first things he did was to resell the same piece of land for double the amount to his second-in-command. There is a chance this Deji might have sold many more lands like that in Akure in his insatiable lust for money. This Deji wants to extort money from anybody building a new house in Akure quite apart from what the owners might have paid to the Akure Town Planning Office.

He wants to behave like the King of England claiming that all Akure Land belongs to him and he can do what he likes with them. He revokes chieftaincy titles already conferred by his predecessors and he creates new titles, so he can get his own slice of the pie. I am not making up these actions up. The Chiefs unanimously made all the charges they are now so willing and ready to forego as long as the Deji is willing to make peace with them by paying them off. If they are not careful, they are going to have to pay that money back to him when they need him for anything. It is ordinary people that are going to suffer when this Deji begins to wield the powers conferred on him by his title. The chiefs could be smiling all the way to the Bank today; they are going to pay for this, one way or the other when the Deji climbs down on them, one by one.

If this travesty is allowed to endure without challenge, it is an easy road to perdition and destruction for Akure, and we must not allow it. The only way to stop it is to speak up against it before it is too late because all it needs for evil to triumph, is for good people to see evil and turn the other way.

I seize this opportunity to commend the Akure Community Leader Chief Reuben Faseide Fasoranti and Chief Oluyemi Falae and Chief Imam, Alhaji Yayi Akorede Junior who have led the efforts to settle this crisis to please note all the points I have raised here. I am also sending this article to Governor Mimiko who has come to the rescue of the Deji not so much because he loves the Deji more than the rest of us, but because he does not want a state of emergency declared in his State because of the implication of that to his tenure as Governor.

Governor Mimiko is lucky Obasanjo is no more the Head of State. Obasanjo could easily have taken undue advantage of the Deji’s crisis to foment more trouble for Mimiko whom he has never liked. Yar’ Adua was too busy looking for a way to stay alive to do a second term from his sick bed in Saudi Arabia. But there are some rabble-rousers in the PDP who would very gladly go for a state of emergency in Ondo State, if they can find an opening like the Deji’s crisis. But that is not to say that Akure must continue to tolerate the excesses of the new Deji because he has the support of Mimiko. That would be a huge mistake on the part of Governor Mimiko and the Deji himself.

I do not know where this Deji has got the 7.5 million cash to silence the chiefs for now, but I do hope that such money has not come from Ondo State tax payers because that is going to be huge mistake on the part of the Government. If the Mimiko Government has done it for the Deji, the same Government must be prepared to do so for the Olupele of Upele or any where in the state where there is a crisis of that kind and magnitude.

I supported Mimiko for Governor against my own interest as an Akure man because I thought and I strongly believed that Agagu Government rigged the election in 2007 and therefore deserved to be removed from office. Agagu was my junior boy at Ibadan Grammar School and in the old boy spirit, I supported him and Oluwateru when they ran against Adefarati and because I expected they were going to perform better than they did, and I never believed they could rig elections in broad daylight like they did.

I, myself and people like me could also turn against Governor Mimiko if he does not live up to expectation. There is no hide and seek game on that. I supported him and most Akure people supported him because he was cheated and victimized by Obasanjo. If we were going strictly by interest calculation, Akure people should have been rooting for Omolade Oluwateru to have a chance to succeed Agagu as Governor. I, for one, did not go that route because Omolade Oluwateru from Akure was a very weak Deputy Governor in my judgment, and I have said so many times, because he was railroaded into doing things that were not in the best interest of Akure, and he was a willing tool in Agagu’s hands. I did not like that.

Mimiko becoming Governor has made it less likely for another Akure man to succeed him in a zoning formula, which is very rampant in our country. Why? Because Ondo and Akure belong to the same senatorial District. The Governorship is already zoned to another Senatorial District in the next election or after Mimiko has served his two terms which is unlikely, given the history of our state. You have to remember that Ajasin our best civilian Governor, so far, did not complete his second term. Adebayo Adefarati had only one term. Agagu did not win a second term. He rigged the election quite but this nemesis did catch up with him.

I am personally troubled by one of the charges made against the Deji that he was a card-carrying member of the Labor Party. He was accused by the Chiefs as guilty of identifying himself too openly with a political party in our State. I did not make up the story, but the readiness with which Governor Mimiko was ready to stand up for him in this crisis, could be one-yard stick for measuring the validity of that charge. If it is true, the new Deji would be well served to heed the advice to steer clear of open partisan politics.

The history of traditional rulers who have done that in the past has not been that pleasant. This new Deji who does not appear to learn anything from history would be well advised to familiarize himself with Yoruba History, and to learn some useful lessons from that.

The bottom line is that this new Deji has to be more circumspect and careful in what he does from now on. If he goes on victimization rampage and vendetta against people who do not tell him only what he wants to hear, but the truth, the lull or the uneasy peace between him and his Chiefs and the Akure community at large quietly engineered by Governor Mimiko is going to be a Phyric victory for him at best. He can congratulate himself right now for winning the battle, but he could still lose the war, big time, if he does not turn a new leaf.

I rest my case.
Dr. Wumi Akintide.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

South West (Yoruba) cries marginalisation when the tide is about to turn completely in 4 days time.


Yoruba Gov

West GovernorAS the presidency is addressing claims of marginalisation in federal appointments by the South West, the zone may be facing a new form of discrimination, going by the proposed details in some ministries in 2014 budget.A breakdown of new projects proposed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, which was obtained by the Nigerian Tribune, showed the South West largely neglected in the allocation of the projects, compared with other five geopolitical zones.Analysis of capital projects of about N30 billion proposed by the ministry showed the three zones of the North taking the lion share of over 80 per cent, while with three southern zones competed with 20 per cent, of which South-West had less than two per cent.Of over 30 new irrigation projects proposed in the 2014 budget, only two were located in the South West.The two, lower and middle Ogun, however, had only design funding of less than N10 million, in contrast to similar new irrigation projects in Kaduna, Kano and Yobe, to which over N1.2 billion was allocated.Of the 41 new earth dam projects proposed by the ministry, South West had only one at Ile-Ife, Osun State, with about 75 per cent of the dams located in the North, while the old Eastern region had the rest.Further checks showed that while the Ile-Ife dam had only N100 million allocated to it, similar projects located in the Middle Belt and core North had between N250 million to over N500 million allocated to them in the next fiscal year.The South West was not only neglected in the areas of irrigation and new dams, the region was also shortchanged in town/city water projects, as there was no allocation to the region in the over 40 new water works projects in the country. A check showed the North being the major beneficiary of the projects, followed by the South-South and the South East.Northern cities benefitting from the water works projects included Talata Marafa,

Takum, Gombe, Biu, Zungeru, Langtang, Damaturu, Uguru, Bulkashuwa, among others. While the reasons for the lopsidedness was not clear, the proposal is, however, subject to review by the relevant committees of the two chambers of the National Assembly.Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, it will be recalled, is from Plateau State, while the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Baba Ahmed, is a royal prince from Bauchi State. Nigeriatribune.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Teacher Slashed With Machete In Osun State As Fighting Breaks Out Over Educational Reforms.


 

Fakunle High School
By Saharareporters, New York

Osun State parents and students are protesting the new educational reforms as fighting are breaking out.

As earlier revealed by SaharaReporters,  the new education reforms policy not only merged schools with different missions and faiths but re-classified grades which is causing students to fight each other over seniority.

The re-classifying policy brought students at one higher class together with those in a junior class with senior students exercising their authority over the junior ones.

Fighting has been breaking out all over the state.

A fight broke out among students at Oshogbo Grammar School which resulted in bloodshed not only among students but a teacher, Mr. Thompson Olamoyegun, was cut with a machete by some of the students.

A parent said the State PTA meeting was going on in the school when the fighting broke out which caused the meeting to end abruptly.

“We thought Mr. Thompson was dead because he has stopped breathing.”

Another source at Oshogbo said the teacher only fainted.  Thompson was taken to hospital and returned from hospital with parts of his body bandaged due to the severe injuries he had sustained from the machete attack.

Protests broke out over the closing down of Fukunle Comprehensive High School in Oshogbo.  The space will be used for a Shoprite Mall or a parking lot, a development project of APC chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.  Fakunle students are now attending other schools in the area.

“That is just one of the scams by the State Governor Aregbesola. You’ll be shocked at the billions of Naira he is enriching his son with through the Opon-Imo project he initiated,” a source familiar with the Governor’s programs told SaharaReporters. He added the Governor is also enriching cronies by giving them monopoly to manufacture school uniform throughout the State.

‘Sam and Sara’ ventures has been identified in the ‘Omoluabi’ uniform making scheme.

Another riot is reported to have broken out among students at St. Mark Grammar School.  Sources claim one student died.

At Baptist High School, students are fighting each weekly and policeman have been brought in to keep the peace.  Students and management are protesting their merger with students and management from other schools with different religious backgrounds.

“Our fear has grown more for our children with the brawls,” a parent said, adding that she had advised her children to change their routes to and from schools, and also to take off their school uniforms due to possible ambushes by angry students.

Osun State Government has been trying to limit media exposure to the crisis.

The Denial Of Constitutional Rights Of “Freedom Of Religion” In Christian-Named Government School In Osun State: A Total Call For Condemnation By Ismael Taiwo A.


It is ludicrous and sardonic that some disgruntled elements under the disguise of religious bigotry are calling for disunity and intolerance in this nation.

Reading through the headline of today’s dailies tagged: School principal and teachers sent a child home for using an Hijab and the show of grievances by aggrieved youth make me to be pondering on where we are heading to in this nation as a result of our inability to see any good in our diversity as human beings living together under one Nation.

It is very wrong for anybody to singlehandedly send any child out of school as a result of unconstitutional claim that such child uses Hijab. I see this act as a breach of Nigerian constitution “Freedom of Religion” (1999 as ammended).

If care is not taken, we are heading to a place where ANARCHY will be looming as a result of our inability to tolerate each other. Sometime ago, a protest was led by a group under the aegies of Osun Baptist Conference when the State government introduced the policy of mixing Muslims and Christians together in public schools so as to pave way for unity in our diversity as human beings living together under the nomenclature called NIGERIA.

Later on, the government called all the religious bodies into a meeting and explained the reason for its policy and that they should embrace the policy by giving peace chance to reign. This made the Baptist Conference and the State Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) to apologize publicly that they were mis-informed by media propaganda. Since then things have been moving freely in the State without hindrance but the recent denial of constitutional right of “freedom of religion” as a result of sending children homes for using Hijabs heated up the polity.

The religious sentiment is affecting the mentality of Nigerians as we always lure any government policy with our beliefs as Muslims or Christians and this religious bigot is part of barriers disrupting the progress of this nation.

Despite the fact that the schools were founded by missionaries; since the schools had been taken over by the government for a long period of time ago and the schools are being funded by the government it is abnormal and illogical to singlehandedly send children out of the school by the Principal and teachers who are being paid salaries and wages by the State government just because the children used Hijabs. In as much as the schools are being funded by government, it is very unreasonable to have a contrary view on the policy based on religious sentiment.

If the unconstitutional excuse made by the Principal and teachers of the said school replicates itself in some Muslims named public schools there will always be a cause for alarm everyday and this may be a total call for ANARCHY.

What should perturb a sensible mind is how can the policy be of immense contribution to the development of the State. According to the Nigerian constitution; it is ridiculous, pathetic and a total disregard of the fundamental human right of the 1999 constitution (as amended) for any Christian group to deny a Muslim child the constitutional right of “freedom of religion” to attend a Christian named public school simply because such child uses Hijab. On the other hand, it is a total breach of law for a Muslim group also to deny a Christian child an opportunity to attend a Muslim named Government school just because such child refuses to wear Hijab.

I went to Muslim named school – Ansar-Ud-Deen High School and there was nothing like sending students to their homes just because of unconstitutional excuse that they didn’t wear Hijab and this is supposed to be in all government schools whether named by Muslims or Christians nomenclatures.

We need to call a spade a spade; the unconstitutional act embarked by the said government school’s Principal and teachers should be properly looked into in order to prevent total ANARCHY in the State.

By:
Ismael Taiwo A.
PRO, NANS-Joint Campus Committee, Oyo State.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Osun School Reclassification And The Other Sins Of Aregbesola By Johnson Amusan.


By Johnson Amusan

The State of Osun is once again embroiled in another turbulent controversy reverberating across the country, as the State is known to be in the recent past. The Christians, spearheaded by Osun Baptist Convention, are protesting the government’s reclassification of school system in the State. This is to be the new educational policy in Osun.

As widely reported in the media, the protesters were armed with holy bibles and hymnbooks of various sizes like spiritual warriors on a warpath with Satan. They also held banners and placards to advertise the reasons for their mission to wrestle with the government: they do not want the ‘merger’ of schools in Osun. Their denominational excuse is the fear of “obliterating the Baptist heritage” and “granting right to muslim students to wear hijab at a school founded by the Christian missionaries”. The presence of security operatives, on hand to maintain law and order, at the scene were defied by the protesters.

This is not the first time the Christian community would protest the policy of government in the State of Osun. What makes the difference now is the confrontational approach that attracts front-page coverage of a newspaper. The fervour and vigour with which the recent protest was executed calls for real concern. What then could have gone wrong? What could have turned the gentle doves to the wild, belligerent birds? At least the lacklustre, preceding administration never experienced this kind of Christian protest. Why Aregbesola’s government is painted with the brush of a regime that likes winning and dinning with controversy?

These pertinent questions and many more propelled my interest in the investigation of this whole affair. After consultation with many naive and uninformed colleagues within my immediate community, an inquisitive trip was made to the State capital. Ahead of the journey, I put a call to a friend in the government. And in a long chat, I was made to realise what the school reclassification is all about and its essence.

The policy was explained as an innovative way of implementing the country’s educational system of 6-3-3-4, with a sustainable concept of empowering the children beyond literacy to the level of practice in global education standard and self-empowerment. The process is to automatically lead to changing of the known nomenclatures of Primary school, JSS 1-3, and SSS 1-3 to create Elementary, Middle and High schools without affecting 6-3-3-4 Nigerian educational system. The elementary school will take primary 1-4; the middle school will absorb primary 5-6 and JSS 1-3; while high school will have SSS 1-3. The elementary school absorbs the pupils in the age category of 6-10 years and they are now being fed free by the government. The structures that are built for this grade are cited within the neighbourhood and they are not only provided with the state of the art facilities but have each the capacity of 900 pupils at ago. Middle school which has the capacity of 900 to 1000 will have the age range of 10-14 years and it is cited within the maximum of 2-3 kilometres radius. This also will be supplied with standard facilities, far and above those in the elementary schools. The high school, however, is for those in the age range of 15-17 years and will have capacity of 3000 because it will be a large complex containing three schools, meaning each school will have capacity for 1000. The high school will have staff quarters, school managers, boarding and modern sporting facilities etc. The pupils of this level are those being given free computer tablets known as Opon Imo. Nevertheless, all these schools will be provided with medical centres, standby power generating sets, instructional materials and customised exercised books.

At the conclusion of this discussion with my friend, I was tongue-tied but left more confused than I was prior to the conversation. Why would any person or institution then protest against such a laudable, innovative and commendable initiative?

In my bewilderment, I consulted with ordinary people on the street and some civil society activists in the State. I was made to understand that the government did not just wake up in a day dream and launched into this new educational policy. It was a product of a well thought out process from the Educational Summit initiated by the government in 2011. The summit was presided over by the foremost educational expert and literary giant, Prof. Wole Soyinka; and a host of other eminent personalities also participated in it. A committee tagged OSCHOOL, comprising all stakeholders in the State’s education system as members, refined and approved the system.

However, the simple and major aims of the policy are to group together, in classes, the pupils of same age bracket with each class containing as fewer as possible for easy learning. The proliferation of mushroom schools will be a thing of the past with standard and well-equipped schools for all ages. As a result, the scarce resources of the government will not be over-stretched in an attempt at providing necessary teaching tools and aids for different categories of pupils. More importantly, the government will uplift the standard of public schools to an elegant standard fit for learning and teaching. These and many more are what the reclassification portends for the people of Osun.

It must be noted at this junction that Muslim communities are also protesting against the policy. Going by the media reports, they have protested in Iwo, Imesi-Ile and some other places. They are only not as loud as their Christian counterparts. Even before now, they have gone a step further by instituting an action in a court of law against the government.

With the revealed positive and progressive tendencies of the reform, why the hue and cry? A discerning look at the grievances of Baptist Convention is in two parts. One part is laying claim to the ownership of the schools while the other is resisting hijab-wearing Muslims as pupils at the Christian schools. Where in these two claims is Baptist Convention correct? The ownership of the missionary schools has been taken over by the government and all the entitlements paid to the owners since 1975. Thus, these schools are no more missions but public schools, and by inference, secular schools. It is just by sheer grace that their missionary names are still retained till date. This is a tenacious revelation, with facts and documents. Is the Baptist Convention ignorant of this fact or just consciously playing politics with education?

The second part which is about the hijab-wearing pupils is a very grievous offence as it breaches the position of the constitution on it. It espouses the discrimination against a fellow being on the basis of religion. And the constitution frowns at this. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), under Chapter 4, Section 38, Subsections (1) and (2), provides that “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief… No person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or take part in any religious ceremony…other than his own, or religion not approved by his parent or guardian.”

How can it be explained that the church that should be at the forefront of agitating against the violation of human rights is preaching prejudice? Or was it not for the same struggle that Martin Luther King Jr., as a Baptist Reverend, fought tenaciously and lost his life? Something has definitely gone amiss.

Contrary to misinformation spewed in the public domain, the missionaries do not own, manage or fund the only girls’ schools in the State. Since the 1975 take-over of the schools by the government, over 100 schools were built by the Baptist Convention without any as a single sex school.

Perhaps, there is the need to pierce the religious mask given to the agitation. In essence, there is an urgent need to appraise the past. What was the state of education as directed by the predecessor of Aregbesola? A cursory check shows that most public schools then were P.T.A-run. It was the parents’ body that employed teachers for the schools, most of whom were secondary school graduates. They were paid seven thousand naira as salaries and classically called P.T.A-teachers. Parents provided chairs and tables for their children to use at schools.

Most often, for the lack of security, the pupils carried the chairs on their heads in the morning to their respective schools and to their homes after closing hours in the afternoon. The parents also had certain amounts they contributed to the schools as development fees. The contributions of the then government were one or two blocks of buildings of low standard in each schools and the payment of salaries to a handful of regular staff. Since there was no provision for toilets or latrines, the pupils eased themselves around the school compounds. By the time the government was packing its bag and baggage in 2010, after seven and half years in the saddle, most of the buildings had become dilapidated and the school surroundings were in total shambles.

But the odor of the putrid degeneracy in the education then was probably not strong enough to spring the Christian and Muslim communities into the kind of actions they have engaged in recently. Notwithstanding, it is a common knowledge that during that time, while public schools were festering like a sore thumb, the private schools, though very expensive, were blossoming like the fertilized flowers. Thus, the proprietors of these schools then smiled to the banks with their windfalls. Sadly enough, there was no agency or body to supervise and monitor their low quality and poorly paid secondary graduate ‘teachers’ that they exploit to teach the innocent pupils. Therefore, it was a ding dong case of ‘you rub my back and I rub yours’ between the government and the private school owners.

I am sensing, possibly, that the sin of Aregbesola is that he has come with the determination, never seen in any previous government in the state, to salvage the educational system of the State. Initially, it was dismissed as a joke of the political soapbox. But when they started seeing buildings rising up with modern facilities, they became jittery of what would become of the fate of their own private schools. The governor is now seen as a man possessed with a strange spirit that has to be exorcised.

But there are other sins of the governor. He is not just a Muslim but a devoted one in look and nature. His government was the first (and the only one so far) to have declared Hijra as a public holiday for the Muslims. This earned him all sorts of names from a Muslim fundamentalist to a Taliban and Boko Haram. And the Christians declared that he came with the agenda to turn Osun into an Islamic State. The governor, however, had not finished yet. He further declared a public holiday known as Isese day for the traditional religious practitioners. The Muslims, who had earlier commended him for recognising their “New Year day” pitched an uncommon tent with their Christian counterparts and labelled him a babaalawo (herbalist) and an occultist. In a similar vein, school uniforms distributed freely to students has ELLA (Education and Learning Leading to Accomplishment) as the label of the school uniform; the cry was that the children wearing the clothes would become victims of money rituals.

Equally, Aregbesola remains the only governor to have accorded traditional religion practitioners an equal leverage to operate. (That is understandable in a State that can be rightly described as the cradle of Yoruba race and traditional beliefs.) Today they have more courage to be proud of their chosen faith. Despite the high level of disenchantment and no love lost between the Christians and Muslims, they have always found a common, hypocritical ground when it comes to condemning traditional religion. Meanwhile, the sermon of the governor is that religious tolerance is when a thousand flowers of religions can blossom together. And that the sky is wide enough for the millions of birds to fly together without any clash. No wonder, there has never been a reported case of a religious clash in the State of Osun.

Life can be so ironical when one looks at what a genuine leader has to pass through in bringing a progressive change to his society. As a leader, who is committed to education, Aregbesola sent about 98 medical students to Ukraine to continue their medical programme. These students became victims of the Osun State University, established without any provision for their clinical training. No university was prepared to accept them for the requisite training. Hence, their fate was left hanging until Aregbesola assumed office in 2010. He could have ignored them and denied ever been the cause of their predicament.

Aregbesola, who is called an Islamic fundamentalist, donated millions of naira to Baptist Convention during its 2013 convention in the State of Osun; gave N10 million to Osun CAN and provided N35 million for the burial of late Prophet Abraham Obadare, the former General Overseer of WOSEM. All spent from the taxes of the hardworking payers.

Each time I reflect on all this, what comes to my mind is the song of the musical maestro, Ebenezer Obey, in his record titled the ‘The Horse, The Man And His Son’. He opines in this record that no matter how wise you are, you can never satisfy human beings. But what is important is that you are serving the good of the generality of your people to the best of your conscientious ability.

What Aregbesola has brought to Osun is a revolution without bloodshed. But what has been realised is that, revolution, whether bloody or non-violent, must have its resisters. The only thing that does not resist itself is change itself.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Politics, Interfaith Pluralism, And Osun State Chapter Of CAN By Adebayo Aregbesola.


By Adebayo Aregbesola

Yoruba people of the South Western part of Nigeria are unique in many ways. They are considered to be very enterprising and accommodating people. In fact, many observers would not dispute Yoruba people’s claim to sophistication when it comes to religious tolerance and accommodation of other ethnic groups that live in their midst. Yoruba people are known to tolerate each other’s religious beliefs and views. In Yoruba land it would not be unusual to find Christians, Muslims and traditional Yoruba worshippers of Ogun, Obatala and Osun, etc, living in the same nuclear family. This, among other factors, attests to the civility and sophistication of Yoruba people. Further, as predominantly educated, and until lately, Yoruba people would ordinarily question the rationale of any politicians or religious leaders that try to incite or plant seeds of discord among them. The above background not only provides enough justification to condemn in strong terms the recent utterances of leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Osun state Chapter, but also calls for deeper reflections by every Yoruba stakeholder.

The ongoing school reclassifications in Osun state, which require merger of some schools, are certainly generating some heated debates in the state of Osun. Like every innovative policy that challenges the status quo, this policy surely jolted and unsettled many people, including me. Personally, I do not appreciate the decision to reclassify my alma mater St Charles Grammar School Osogbo from all-boys school to a mix gender school. This will certainly rob all OBA (as we call ourselves) of our “gender identify”. I am assuming that many of my friends who graduated from all-girls Baptist Girls High School Oshogbo would feel the same way, too. It would appear we are losing the identity we so much cherish. But unlike many people, knowing the governor closely gave me the opportunity to know he has good intentions in the implementation of this policy. In fact, I know the governor is passionate about the development and advancement of Yoruba as a whole. Additionally, I know he is not a religious fanatic as he is often unfairly labelled.  Of course governor Aregbesola is very passionate about his religion, Islam, as his younger sister is equally passionate about her religion, Christianity.

With reference to the reclassification of schools in the State of Osun, while I think that citizens of a democratic state should have the constitutional rights to question government policies and demand explanations and accountability at all times, I believe these rights should be exercised within the context of the law. Thus, what one finds curious and troubling is the ultimatum given to the governor of Osun state by the leadership of the Osun State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).  The CAN leader, Rev Elisha O. Ogundiya, in a manner reminiscent of the military era, demanded an immediate halt to the government policy.   He threatened to proceed on “other actions” if the governor fails to yield to his demands. Rev Ogundiya’s action and ultimatum remind me of the Tea party in the USA.  CAN, it appears, is doing to governor Aregbesola what the Tea Party is doing to Barack Obama in the USA: blackmail.  Putting religious coloration to public policy that affects Christians, Muslims and traditional religion worshippers is simply disingenuous and utterly reprehensible. CAN needs to be reminded that much as one may dislike the policy, schools that are being reclassified are all public schools, funded by the state government, and are not faith based private schools. While one may debate the rationale with the government, the state reserves the right to make changes as it deems fit. Ordinarily, I would have been constrained not to dabble into this issue for various reasons; chiefly being that my position might be misconstrued as bias in favour of the governor. Upon deeper reflections, I felt it would be unfair not to exercise my civic rights because of fears of criticisms from others. In fact, it would be immoral of me not to jump at the debate, not only because I know the governor very well, but because my late Dad was a former CAN leader in Osun state, when CAN leaders led exemplary examples in pursuit of public peace. Thus, I felt that perhaps sharing my personal experience would help others to reflect deeper about how we got to this sorry state in Yoruba land, so we may beat a quick retreat.

Like many Yoruba families, some of my family members are practising Muslims.  But I am a Christian. My late Dad was a Pastor and a missionary for over 50 years. My life and Christian upbringing exemplify religious tolerance.  With harrowing introspection, I recall celebrating Christmas holiday, Easter holiday, Eid El Fitri and Eid El-Kabir with equal enthusiasms while growing up in Oshogbo. Eid El-Kabir holiday and Christmas holiday were and are still my favourite festive periods. With nostalgia, I remember how as a kid, I often commenced my day on Id El-Kabir day by doing justice to the ram meat at the Adegoke’s house, the Olaiya’s house, the Yussuf’s house and the Igbalaye’s house, all in the Alekuwodo area of Oshogbo; always to end my feast at the Lawyer Ajibola’s house in Ogo-Oluwa area. I intentionally mentioned the names of my friends so no one thinks my claim is non-verifiable.  Interestingly, my late Dad was an active member of the Christian Association in Oshogbo in the 80’s. He not only preached the gospel of Christ about peace and tolerance as noted in the Holy Bible, but encouraged interfaith pluralism through his actions.    He often prayed for the Muslims during their festive periods. Our Muslim neighbours usually sent us well prepared meals during Muslim festive periods, gestures we always reciprocated at Christmas.

While my story or the dynamics of my family might not have direct correlation to the public school reclassification policy, it surely relates to religious tolerance and serves as a lesson on how to avoid religious discord that may precipitate bloodbath in Yoruba land.  I strongly believe that stories like mine need to be amplified to overpower voices of those who sow the wind of religious hatred and subsequently benefit from the whirlwind of ensuing chaos and confusion. These intolerant people must be told that human experience is largely a shared experience, and regardless of our differences, the bond that unites us is stronger than what divides us. Although I am not a fan of the public school reclassification policy, if reclassification of my alma mater, St Charles Grammar school, Oshogbo, from all boys school to a mix gender school will bring quality education closer to a female child that lives closer to St Charles but farther to other schools, I would embrace the policy; it would be selfish of me to do otherwise. I would rather be profoundly troubled about lack of access to quality education by any child, and least worried about losing the gender identity of my alma mater.

CAN’s leaders in Osun state should recognise that the common bond and decency that we share together as a Yoruba people are stronger than our religious differences, or any attributes that separate us. Most importantly, they must know that while fighting for your convictions is important, knowing when to fight and when to seek peace requires God’s wisdom.  Continuous engagement of the government based on superior argument strikes me as a wiser option for CAN to embrace than planting seed of discord and threatening a state government that is enforcing its educational policy.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Religious Crisis Brewing In Osun State Over Gov. Aregbesola’s Merger Of Schools.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

While the storm arising from the planned demolition of Fakunle High School in Oshogbo to make room for the setting up of a Shop Rite Mall has yet not settled, a policy of school reclassification by the Aregbesola administration may be instigating another crisis in Osun State.

In the scheme of school reclassifications announced by the Osun State Government, there are now three schools: the elementary, middle school and high schools.

The purported reclassification formula however, despite informing the demolition of a high school, introduces the merger of most of schools in the State.

Some of the merged schools are faith-based, and their proprietors have publicly declared their disagreement with the merger plan.

One of the Christian denominated Schools, Baptist High School, recently shut its gates against the new students distributed to them upon resumption as a way of expressing its indignation.  The closure was followed by a mild protest with banners and placards, which bore messages of disapproval of the merger policy.

Some of the Christian-denominated schools were basically for same-gender students, but the schools’ say of the merger policy displaces the sanctity of their moral preserves.

In addition to the resistance of the schools to the idea, the Osun State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on October 7 wrote to the State Government that it totally rejects the plan.

In a letter to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, CAN stressed that the foundation of the Christian faith is threatened by the policy and that its members in the State would not compromise on resisting it.

The correspondence, signed by the Osun State Chairman of CAN, Rev Elisha O. Ogundiya, demanded an immediate stop to the implementation of the merger policy, a reversal of the mixture of both genders in the same-sex schools, and the return of all mission schools to their founders.

The Association gave seven-day ultimatum to the Governor to work on their demands, following which they threatened other actions.

SaharaReporters learned that Fakunle High School, which is to give way for a Shop Rite Mall, although not operated as a Christians-only school, was founded by a Christian missionary, Reverend Pa. Ade Fakunle in 1956, before it was taken over by the Osun State Government in 1975.

The demand by the Osun State CAN that the government return missionary schools to their founders may be informed by the demolition of Fakunle High School, a trend some members who spoke with Saharareporters allege to be imminent for the schools being merged.

“We suspect the merger will neutralize the missionary essence of our schools and the Government will subsequently demolish them. We won’t allow this at all,” said a member of the Baptist Conference in Osun State.

Meanwhile, SaharaReporters has also gathered that alumni of the Fakunle High School have hatched a plan to host a massive protest against the planned demolition of the school in Oshogbo, and that proprietors of the merged faith-based schools as well as the State Chapter of CAN may be buying into their demonstration upon the expiration of their ultimatum to the governor.

Nationwide security alert over Boko Haram.


boko-haram-4

We ‘re ready for any eventuality –Army

FOUR days to the celebration of the Eid-el-Kabir festival, the Federal Government has put all security forces on nationwide security alert.

A top security source told Saturday Tribune last night that the charge from the Federal Government was for an inter-agency surveillance and combat readiness for a hitch-free Sallah celebrations.

Specifically, it was gathered that security operatives were asked to pay particular attention to prayer grounds, shopping malls, public parks and other relaxation centres across the country during the celebrations. Members of the public were also warned to be careful of wrapped gifts, the sources of which are not known.

The order, it was gathered, followed fears in government and security circles that the extremist Boko Haram sect might be plotting to strike during the festive period.

All security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were on Friday put on red alert to forestall any breach of security.

Troops of the Guard Brigade are also complementing the efforts of the police in stop-and-search operations.

Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, told the Saturday Tribune that the Army was always on the alert everyday of the week and that there was no cause for alarm.

He said, “The Nigerian Army has put its strategies in place for any eventuality and so, there is nothing to worry about.”

Informed security sources told Saturday Tribune that all the security agencies’ heads had been directed to be at their duty posts during the celebrations.

According to the sources, all troops in the states where state of emergency is in force have been directed not to travel out of their stations.

Also, the security agencies were said to have been directed to intensify their stop-and-search operations as terrorists might want to infiltrate innocent citizens.

In Abuja, police have rolled out their armored personnel carriers in strategic positions while surveillance has also been intensified.

Lagos
No fewer than 28,000 conventional and mobile policemen have been drafted to different parts of Lagos State to ensure a hitch-free Sallah celebration in the state.

Police authorities said they had also deployed an unspecified number of personnel to shopping malls, cinemas and other public places during the celebrations.

This was on Friday evening confirmed to the Saturday Tribune by the acting Public Relations Officer in charge of the command, Mr. Damasus Ozoani, who expressed the readiness of the police for the celebrations.

“The highways, economic places of interest and other public places will experience high presence of police personnel during the period,” he said.

He also enjoined residents of the state to report any breach of the peace to the nearest police station in their area.

Saturday Tribune investigations revealed that men of the anti-bomb squad and the state security outfit, Rapid Response Squad, would also be drafted to major prayer grounds in the state.

Osun
AS Muslim faithful prepare for the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, the Osun State command of the Nigeria police says it has put effective security network in place to guarantee peaceful and crime-free celebrations.

In a statement on Friday, signed by the state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mrs. Folasade Odoro, the Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Dorothy Gimba, assured residents of the state of adequate security and urged them to go about their businesses without fear, adding that policemen would step up patrol to ensure peace and tranquility.

While imploring residents to volunteer prompt and useful information in case of any noticeable breach of peace, Mrs. Gimba said security operatives had been put in strategic locations to maintain law and order.

Jigawa
Also, the Jigawa State police command says it has enough police to handle all challenges during this year’s Muslim Eid festival.

The acting Police Commissioner in the state, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohammed K. Mohammed, told Saturday Tribune in a telephone interview that the command had mapped out strategies to secure lives and properties during the period.

He said the police would work with other security agencies to provide effective security “during the days of the celebration and even after.

“Our men and officers will be stationed at strategic areas while enough vehicles and other policemen in mufti will be put on surveillance,” he said.

Edo
On his own part, the Public Relations Officer of the Edo State command, Moses Eguavoen, said “We know that Sallah period is a special one for Muslim faithful, so we are prepared to make Muslims enjoy it without fear.

“Right now, I can’t tell you the number of officers that has been deployed or will be deployed, but I can tell you that the operation order is out. By Monday, assignments will be handed out to everyone on what to do and where to go.”

He added that the command would not want to be caught off-guard and that finishing touches on how to tackle possible security breaches during the celebration would be completed by Monday.

Ogun
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ogun State command, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the command, in collaboration with other security agencies in the state, had put security measures in place to ensure a hitch-free Sallah celebration.

Adejobi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said there would be operational patrol within the major cities across the state, and that security personnel would be deployed to all prayer grounds.

He told Saturday Tribune that security meetings with all relevant stakeholders had been held to make the celebration a worthwhile one.

Rivers
Spokesman for the Rivers State police command, Ahmed Muhammad (DSP), said the command had taken all necessary precautions to ensure a hitch-free Sallah celebration in the state.

“The command is up and doing to ensure a hitch-free Sallah. An operation has been mapped out. Our men – both overt and covert – will be deployed to all vulnerable spots to proactively contain any unwarranted event,” he said.

Kwara
Security agencies in Kwara State have expressed their preparedness to ensure crime-free and hitch-free Eid-el-Kabir celebrations in all parts of the state.

The Police Public Relations Officer of the state command, Mr. Femi Fabode, told Saturday Tribune on Friday that the command had drawn up strategies to arrest any security problem, adding that all men and officers would be involved.

He said that every member of the command would be on duty on the day of Sallah celebration.

Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Kadiri Olanrewaju Ibrahim, said the command had deployed 5,000 of its officers and men to all Eid praying grounds in all the 16 councils in the state.

He said the officers of the agency would move around during and after the celebration to ensure crime-free festival.

In her own contribution, the sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission in the state, Mrs. Mary Wakawa, appealed to motorists to drive carefully and avoid excessive-speeding, over-loading, dangerous overtaking and obstruction, as well as avoid night travels during the period.

Sokoto
Sokoto State police command has also assured residents of the state of its commitment to secure lives and properties during the celebration.

The PPRO, DSP Almustapha Sanni, said on Friday that officers and men of the command would embark on a ‘Show of Force’ as part of the command’s preparedness to ensure security during the period.

Sanni said the command would deploy enough manpower in all parts of the state to ensure a hitch-free celebration.

He called on residents of the state to support officers and men of the command during and after the celebrations.

Niger
As part of the comprehensive plan by the Niger State police command to ensure a hitch-free celebration, the Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Desire D. Nsirim, has placed officers and men as well as other special operatives on red alert across the state.

In a statement on Friday by the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Richard A. Oguche, the police boss in the state specifically directed Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers, including the Marine Unit, to ensure adequate and effective deployment of operational tools and manpower within their divisions and to pay special attention to the prayer grounds, public parks, water falls, highways and other sensitive areas in order to guarantee the safety and well being of the citizenry before, during and after the festive period.

Oyo
Oyo State police command said it had put in place an “impregnable security arrangement” for the Ed-el-Kabir celebrations, urging members of the public to go about their lawful businesses and celebration without fear as both plain-clothed and uniformed policemen have been deployed across the state to provide security before, during and after the celebrations.

According to a statement signed by the Police Relations Officer of the command, DSP. Olabisi Okuwobi-Ilobanafor, part of the security measures include prohibition of display of wares around prayer grounds or mosques.

Okuwobi-Ilobanafor urged members of the public to be careful when opening gifts, especially when the sources of such gifts are not known. She also urged members of the public to promptly report any suspicious movements or objects to the police via the following numbers.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigeria’s Gathering Storms By Seyi Olu Awofeso.


 

Columnist:

Guest Columnist

Nigeria is not so much frail and fragile as fraught and dire. And now, no one can tell what time it is for Nigerians, as their country braces to dance and fight at the same time.

The dance though seems more like a notion in the minds of government officials – set to start in 83 days’ time – in frolic remembrance of the 100th-year declaration of Nigeria as legal entity by British colonizers.

The fight, however, is the bogey in the minds of the populace – now scared by the horrors of living in a state of nature; stalked by violent deaths – as cracking gunshots and improvised explosives continually shatter the silence of the night, as fired by spooky gunmen running amok inside Nigeria.

Already, two separately un-covered caches of arms and armaments in Kano city, up north Nigeria, this year alone, suggest the fight is the predominant impulse, rather than the dance.

The quantity of cached munitions so far un-covered”, according to a military source, “is so huge and sufficient to wreck an entire state; comprising artillery pieces and anti-aircraft guns to even ward off aerial counter-attack whilst the invasion of the militias’ intended targets lasts”.

Those covertly paying cash to import and freight these munitions are unlikely planning to also frolic in Nigeria’s 100th year remembrance, less for the time for doing both, but for the single-mindedness which un-erringly follows armaments’ importation for a civil war in Nigeria.

At current prices, these munitions could otherwise have paid for dancing shoes for nearly all communities in Kano were the importers dance-minded.

It was mid-year though, when both the Department of State Security and the Nigerian Army valiantly detected a secret arms’ base in Kano, this July, when Nigerians realized that far fewer people were considering dancing in 83 days’ time.

Not even a clutch of some legal residents from Lebanon; operating in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, as foreign national businessmen, were in any such 100th year anniversary funk.

Rather, they were linked by hearsay to Hezbollah, and were all along in liaison with Ukraine and Iran, whence they’d imported those arms and armaments and freighted it disguisedly into Nigeria via Kano international airport, successfully offloaded it on the tarmac, and saw it past the airport’s customs checkpoint, after a tip and a handshake.

Three months after this interception, Nigerians are yet to be officially told of the intended targets the Lebanese meant to destroy inside Nigeria or at whose request the import was made.

But given that Nigerians comprise Boko Haram militia movement that’s been dug in pitched battles against the Nigerian Army in Nigeria’s north eastern region till now, a spectre of international support for Islamic Jihad in Nigeria arose in the minds of Nigeria’s terrified populace.

Especially later this September when a statement from the Nigerian Army’s Public Relations Office said certain light-skinned Arabs were noticed amongst those fighting on the side of Boko Haram.

Nervously, the Christian community in southern Nigeria has since reacted, believing itself to be in the crosshairs of a well-planned jihad by northern Nigerian Muslims. As Nigeria’s southern Christians become fretful they may covertly arm in self-defence, thus further taking their own attention away from the planned 100th anniversary dance in 83 days’ time.

Indeed, for the first time in modern history, Yoruba Christians have begun staging shrilly public protests in both Lagos and Osun states, south-western Nigeria, where they railed against perceived Islamization of their states.

In Osun State, the Christians’ protested the Muslim State Governor’s merger of Baptist High School in Iwo – a Christian missionary school – with one or two other Muslim schools, to create a common law for the wearing of Hijab veil by the Muslim students in that Christian missionary school.

Whereas, in Lagos State, the Christian protest is much broader. All resident Christian churches met at an emergency conference a fortnight ago and issued an ultimatum to the ruling ACN/APC political party in Lagos demanding a Christian Governorship candidate for Lagos state in 2015, because “Lagos Muslims have monopolized the governorship seat in Lagos since 1999 and because the ACN never once fielded a Christian for the post of Governor in Yorubaland since 1999”.

Meanwhile, on 3rd August this year, the Nigerian army’s General Officer Commanding (G.O.C) of the Army’s 2nd division in Ibadan, Major-General Ahmed Tijani Jibrin, released an intelligence report, saying Yorubaland is surrounded by armed Boko Haram Muslim militias from northern Nigeria who’ve laid siege; forming an arc from Benin City to Yorubaland’s northernmost towns in Oyo state.

Nigerian Tribune later corroborated this heightened threat last week, reporting that traditional medicine men in Igboho and in the hinterland of Yorubaland have themselves noticed a recent spike in clientele, as northern Nigerians patronize in droves, but only wanting to buy bullet-proof charms.

With the Nigerian army’s earlier warning and its corroboration by Yoruba traditional medicine men, southern Christians in Yorubaland are keen to sense imminent armed invasion of Yorubaland.

Moreso, that no similar infiltration is reported in the south-south or the south-east of Nigeria, both of which areas are doubly secured by the Military Joint Task Force and by fully armed militias boasting nuclear-trigged missiles.

Whereas, so far, no fewer than 600 suspected Boko Haram Muslim militias have been arrested in Lagos this year. Although in a surprising counter-attack on 30th June, “unknown gunmen numbering 50 broke into the medium security Olokuta prison along Ondo road in Akure, Ondo state and set 175 inmates free in a daring attack that took place around 12.00 midnight”.  The gunmen used improvised explosives to tear through the Ondo state prison walls.

The gun-men were later said to be Boko Haram militias, according to the Army G.O.C in Ibadan, who also said the inmates freed were suspected Boko Haram members previously arrested.

This successful jail-break was signal enough of Yorubaland’s vulnerability, moreso that on even date, ten (10) other Yoruba traders from Ibadan, almost wholly Muslims, were murdered in Mugunu area of Borno State by suspected Boko Haram members, where they’d gone to buy cows. “The attackers stopped us along the way and asked us to come down from our vehicle and lie down. They started shooting us one by one,” said Taoheed Adewuyi, 32, who was shot likewise but survived.

Nigerians’ furrowed brows in this threatening ethno-religious war, as pathos, contrast with the cheer etched on the faces of Nigeria’s government officials – all wreathed in smiles in their colonnaded private villas, cracking up in laughs; like raiders of the treasures of a lost ark, after spending tax-payers at will for their personal luxuries, even as Nigeria direly enters a war situation.

With Nigerians robbed in trillions of Naira by their government officials into beggary – and with no financial account rendered to those governed; making official thefts in Nigeria anecdotal rather than statistical, and with government officials doing so with derring-do, and daring the people to do their worst, Nigeria’s hottish space gets dangerously humid for an uprising.

Nigerian leaders lack shame and carry on as if not minding to be publicly called thieves,” said a British journal, with dripping scorn, but the truth of this honest to goodness depiction of Nigeria’s officials, also bears a silent contradiction of terms.

For openers, nobody can be a “country’s leader” and a “thief” at the same time since the latter is a refutation of the former; because leadership means clarity of thought plus honesty of purpose – both of which negativize thievery.

If thieves thus strut the State Houses in Nigeria, they don’t become “leaders” simply by strutting it.

Rather, the benighted system of government in Nigeria, ensconcing thieves in the state houses, has a completely different name in political science, excluding the word “leaders”, because in a “kakistocracy” – which is the shambolic governmental system in Nigeria – there are no “leaders” but vagabonds living by plunder.

In effect, due official thefts, Nigeria is now more or less a leaderless country, adrift and lost at sea.

The whole Nigerian society has failed,” President Jonathan himself intoned on June 15th this year, but more recently, at the 53rd Independence Day anniversary of Nigeria last week, he’d expatiated that “corruption is actually not the number one problem with Nigeria”, but rather number three or four on the scale of the country’s emergency, according to him.

Irksomely, President Jonathan also sought to play a careful hand by defining corruption discreetly from stealing, and holding both as separate, but not a few intellectuals hissed at his pettifogging, since corruption is the main artifice for treasury theft.

Likely that President Goodluck Jonathan has not grasped the depths of Nigerian society’s emergency, still less understood it. For he’d last year pleaded the alibi of not having inherited a good country which went bad under his watch.

But such sophistry does not attenuate public anger at the current mind-boggling official thefts, including the wholesale stealing of one-quarter of Nigeria’s annual budget through oil subsidy reimbursement scheme under President Jonathan last year – an offence carrying death penalty were it to occur in China, indicating the severity of Nigeria’s oil subsidy fraud in the laws of sane climes, despite it being underplayed in a court roulette of perpetual adjournments by contrast in Nigeria.

And now, as Nigeria slips into a war situation, the present horror is not just of a failed society, as President Jonathan minimises it, but of a complete erasure of the line that should exist between right and wrong in government circles.

As the idea of government in Nigeria then falls into disrepute, without any helm or radar to steady or steer the country, the slender reed left holding Nigeria together is the troika of the Police, the State Security and the Nigerian Military – whose uniformed men lay down their lives for a grateful nation by doing a yeoman’s task of hugging the country at the precipice from falling into the abyss where Nigeria is looking straight at the moment.

Seyi Olu Awofeso is a Legal Practitioner in Abuja

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Parents Panic As Osun State Government Redistributes Students To Make Way For Bola Tinubu’s Mall.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

Parents of school-age pupils in Osun State were today gripped by panic as the government told students that they would be reassigned to different schools upon resumption of classes. Earlier, the state government had postponed the resumption of schools by two weeks, stating that it was reforming education. The postponement expired today.
Students showed up at their old schools today and were greeted with new lists of their assignment to different schools. The government ordered the students to begin moving their personal effects to their new schools. Numerous parents said they were distraught that their children poured into the streets, trying to locate their new schools. Some of them carried their chairs and desks.

“This is a crazy policy,” one parent said. He added that the so-called education reform was part of the state education board’s efforts to cover up Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s disastrous decision to convert Fakunle High School into a site for a Shop Rite mall. Several critics of the government’s policy accused the governor of acting in the interest of his political benefactor, former Governor Bola Tinubu, who is reported to be the owner of the proposed mall.

One source stated that the “reform” idea came up after alumni of the Fakunle High School as well as other stakeholders criticized the decision to demolish the school for either a Shop Rite mall or a parking space.

“The reform is an after-thought. Alhaji Aregbesola called it reform, and began reshuffling students after his plan met wide condemnation,” said the source. Students of the school had protested in February against the state government’s plan to demolish their school and convert it to a mall.

SaharaReporters had earlier reported that alumni and other donors had begun removing various items they had donated to the school after it became clear that the government would go ahead with its plan to transform the school into a business site. Earlier, the government had taken to television and radio stations in the state to deny that it had any plans to convert the school to a mall.

SaharaReporters learned that some missionary schools in the state had threatened to shut their gates against new students displaced by the government’s redistribution plan. Our correspondent said some schools actually shut their gates today, even though the government had postponed resumption by two weeks to address the school heads and other stakeholders.

“If [Governor Aregbesola] meant to do education reform, why is Fakunle not mentioned at all in the entire list of schools so reformed in the state?” asked one of the critics of the government’s controversial moves. He added: “The state government has completely removed the school from existence at all,” alleged an alumnus of Fakunle High School.

Some parents alleged that the government’s unannounced redistribution of students caused them great anxiety. They said they panicked when their children were late to return home at their usual time.

One of the parents, who is a retired soldier, said he was infuriated and could have acted dangerously when he did not see his children at their usual school premises. He said the principal had intervened and explained that his children had been redistributed to other schools. “They now need additional thirty to forty-five minutes to reach their school and the same amount of time to return home,” said the parent.

Several sources told SaharaReporters that no students were assigned to Fakunle High School. The school’s former students were told that they no longer belonged there. “That confirms Aregbesola’s plan to use Fakunle High School for servicing the interest of his political godfather,” said an alumnus of the school.

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