Image caption: Dapo Abiodun, Ogun state governor (left) and Wale Adedayo
The trial of Wale Adedayo, Ijebu East council boss
Nigeria is a paradox. Things we suppose to fight for we oftentime neglect while we bear the cudgel passionately over insignificant things. Before our very eyes local government administration is comatose. Gone are the days when councils were pivotal in grassroots developments. A place like Ogbomoso in Oyo state will never forget the golden era of local government as the metropolis enjoyed roads constructions especially. Things have however really gone bad today with the successful castration of the councils by state governors through manipulated local government elections and diversion of their funds that construction of ordinary culverts can no longer be undertaken by council administrators. Federal government allocates funds to councils monthly but the funds no longer get to the local governments as state governors mindlessly corner the funds leaving councils to languish in paucity and destroying politics, economies and developments at the grassroots.
We all see it but we refuse to mount strong opposition to challenge the malady. However, Mr. Adewale Adedayo, the chairman of Ijebu East local government in Ogun state audaciously voiced out recently noting that since 2021 when council chairmen were inaugurated in the state it has been “zero allocation” implying though federal government release funds to the councils the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, has been diverting the monies. His allegation was contained in a letter he wrote to a former governor in the state Chief Segun Osoba. His action has however turned into his nemesis. Persecution has been his lot since his “impudence” and “imprudence.”
Hell has been let loose on him. First, he was picked up by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), and for days was held in their facility. After he regained freedom, his councilors impeached him. And only yesterday, September 25, the Ogun state police command headquartered at Eleweran, Abeokuta, arrested him on the ground that it received a petition against him from the state government. Ten police officers according to his wife, Kafayat Adedayo, stormed their home in Ijebu Ife, to whisk him away.
There has been no respite for the impeached chairman who in 2021 won the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) Ogun state chapter’s award of Most Outstanding Chairman. The amusing thing is that he has been alone. Everybody knows he spoke the truth but he is left to suffer alone. Youths are filing out in solidarity with late Mohbad holding candlelight procession, but something as germane that is a national malaise stunting grassroots development, no one feels concerned enough to speak out against, that’s the trial of Brother Adewale.
It is one of the reasons Nigeria continues to be in a sprawling situation, our priorities are misplaced. We often times fight wrong battles. We look at governors as untouchable, whom cannot be challenged, we see all of their actions as best. Even presidents are called out but governors enjoy immunity from public scrutiny. Only when a governor’s actions are in the extreme that the public murmur.
Perhaps Chairman Adewale is seen as biting the finger that fed him for daring to speak out against an anomaly. But it is what the governor foisted. It’s the governor that did not allow proper electioneering process, he imposed candidates, he manipulated elections, so what finger actually fed whom?
In the meantime, I only like to challenge Nigerians to rise against evils generally, not against selected evils. The way the matter of Mohbad is trending in social media if the issue of diversion of local government funds and abrogation of local government autonomy leveraging on the outburst of Chairman Adewale Adedayo has caught on too and the heat brought on the governors we could have fought a malaise and reset the country in that aspect. But we all see Adedayo’s trial in the light of dog eat dog.
The fact nonetheless remains that local government administration has been rendered useless and only the people can change the narrative, not even the president. That is why Wale Adedayo needs everyone’s rallying.