By: Comrade Adegbeyeni Oluwafemi (BARRYFEM)
Idanre local government is unarguably one of the most popular and richest place when it comes to natural and human resources. But over time the developmental pace in the town has been so low.
If a place will develop or not, the leadership structure/cadre should be checked and thoroughly accessed. The Leadership cadres in Idanre has been very poor and unfruitful. I’m going to be focusing on three cadres and the shameful dealings happening there.
Starting from the younger level, the students and the youth are very disorganized and disoriented. The Youth/students are barely taken into consideration by those in power and they only use them as political thugs during elections.
Though these happen in many places, but it is rampant here in Idanre, that most of the male folks engage in holiganism, thuggery and fraudulent dealings. I am not going to shy away from stating the obvious fact that many female folks have embraced prostitution and other lascivious dealings.
The youth/students are gradually making the same mistakes the elderly ones made. The decay among the elders are being inculcated into the younger ones.
Using the students Unionism of Idanre, otherwise referred to as The National Association of Idanre students, as a case study. Over the years, the association (NAIS) has always been hijacked by political Lords, with the help of ‘educated illiterates’ even amidst the students.
A cursory look at the NAIS elections, has revealed lot of corrupt and fraudulent practices being perpetrated to make sure a candidate wins. We have heard an instance, where , with the help of a godfather, someone who was never a student was rigged in to become NAIS PRESIDENT.
Some years ago, the election that I observed closely was that of a particular Presidential Candidate who already graduated and at that ineligible to contest the election. But because of the corrupt practices, he was allowed to contest and with their abnormal fraudulent acts, he won the election and became the NAIS PRESIDENT.
Fortunately for the second runner-up in the election, the evidence of his opponent (the elected graduate) graduation was leaked and he took it up. It caused lot of raucus and at last the law was followed, the same graduate that was illegally elected was declared ineligible.
The second runner-up was declared winner and he presided the affairs of the association for months.
The worst election of the National Association of Idanre students was the one that happened on the 7th of January,2021.
The two Presidential aspirants were; Comrade Akinuli Iremide and Comrade Adebayo Femi.
During the electioneering campaign, due process was ignored and the NAIS constitution was utterly raped.
Starting from the kangaroo congress that was held; thugs and lot of non-students were mobilised to the venue by one of the aspirants. It was a time to choose the electoral body for the next NAIS election.
As stated in NAIS constitution and explained by one of the people that amended it, the executive members of the association (only) are entitled to nominate the electoral committee members but the games of the jungle was played and the unexpected happened.
One Mr All Is Well was given the floor to speak and he mandated the crowd at the congress to set constitution aside and follow the archaic way of nominating the independent students electoral commission (ISEC). He said the executive members would nominate the congressmen to nominate other congressmen as electoral members. So ridiculous!
As expected, a crowd without the required knowledge about a matter would only nod in acceptance of an offer.
Set of biased people were chosed by the partial executive members supporting Adebayo Femi(Kepler) who was one of the Presidential aspirant of NAIS.
These biased people chosen by the partial executive members have been one time supporters/campagners of Kepler.
In a democratic Society, the electoral body is always expected to be neutral and impartial but what do you expect from the set of people having interest in one of the candidates.
Myself and few conscious Comrades fought so hard in the Congress against the illegal steps being taken by them but without any decision by the Congress, with noise and pandemonium, the biased electoral members, numbering 7 members were chosen by the partial executive members.
In a ridiculous calculation, Mr. Kepler had six out of the seven ISEC members and Mr. Ire had one, which in a normal setting, Electoral members are expected to be totally neutral and non-partisan.
The fight for Justice continued till the first election was postponed for the right things to be done.
As we expected Justice, the local government chairman in person of Prince Aroloye, called us into a meeting for possible solutions to the uprising.
We tabled our matter and I vehemently highlited the legal processes expected to be followed for the election to go smoothly, and to be a free and fair election at that.
Among what we discussed there was the illegal registeration by the electoral members, whereby many voters cards were printed and given to Mr. Kepler to be distributed by him to his supporters who are not even students. We also discussed the partiality of the electoral members and the chairman of the body(ISEC) admitted in the meeting that he was a die-hard fan of Mr Kepler. What a shame!
The Local government chairman, together with the D.P.O and the other security personnel, told us to allow peace. I stood up and made them to understand that Peace can not be gotten at the face of cheer injustice.
We suggested that the biased electoral members be dissolved and impartial set of people be appointed. The chairman however accepted most of the desires of Mr. Kepler and his team, against the tenet of Justice.
We couldn’t have accepted the offer to allow these biased electoral men to conduct the election, but the chairman said he was going to provide a set of impartial observers to oversee the election and that the election would be cancelled if any irregularity is recorded.
I wasn’t pleased with it because I’ve seen the likelihood of the electoral body rigging the election. Starting from the registeration, unidentified students with fake admission letters were registered by the body in favour of Mr. Kepler. We also heard of a ‘sixty slots’ (votes) kept in favour of Mr. Kepler ahead of the election.
On the day of election,many shameful acts were masterminded by the aspirants and the electoral body. Up till 10am of that day, the electoral body never announced the time of the election, which made many people suspected foul play ahead.
Immediately the time was announced, thugs hijacked ballot box in Alade, secondary school students and unidentified people were hired to vote.
The impersonation was so glaring and the biased electoral members allowed it. I caught a girl and asked her where she schooled. She mentioned RUGIPO and I jokingly asked her if it’s the one in Owo, and she said ‘no’.
Instantly, I alerted the security personnel and she was called upon. Upon investigation, she confesed that a supporter of Mr. Kepler came to give her the card to vote, that she hasn’t gained admission into any tertiary institution.
The Chairman acted contrary to his promise of choosing impartial observers. He went ahead to choose two of Mr. Kepler’s supporters and one of Mr. Ire’s supporter to act as observers on election day!
That was the beginning of the breach of our agreement by the local government chairman.
One of the observers at Yaba voting centre, caught another impersonator who confided in him that Mr. Kepler came to give him the voting card to come and cast a vote for him at the voting centre.
The impersonator was not a student and many people like him were caught.
NAIS constitution stated that only active members(tertiary institution students can vote) but the green Bible suffered a big blow on that day.
Thugs and unknown men were present at the voting centres and there was crisis on the day.
At the end of the whole sham, Mr. Kepler together with his team was rigged in by the biased electoral body and announced to be the elected President.
How do we congratulate or celebrate the sets of executive members that were rigged in?
We all expected the chairman to act up to expectations and make findings about the election but the next action he took was shocking.
Without making any findings about the election, the chairman ordered the inauguration of the newly rigged in executive members and they were inaugurated shortly afterwards.
Many wondered why the chairman acted that way but some concluded that he only wielded his power against Mr. Ire who happens to be a family member of Mr. Adetimehin (a popular Politician from Idanre) and news has it that the current chairman and Mr. Adetimehin are never in good terms, perhaps, that was why the chairman dealt like that with Ire,having known him to be a family member of Mr. Adetimehin. So the need to prove superiority in the affairs of Idanre.
Such impunity played key roles in bringing Idanre to stagnancy.
The last but not the least, the students/youth wings has been bastardized with corrupt practices and shameful acts. I will continue some other time on the bastardized political and traditional cadres of Idanre local government.
©️Comrade Adegbeyeni Oluwafemi
A unionist and an astute activist.