An Open Letter to Honourable Opeyemi Bamidele by Citizen Alofe Sunday.
In January, 2013 when your 2014 gubernatorial election posters with Labour Party logo flooded Ekiti State, in spite of your membership of defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the time, you denied vehemently and categorically stated in ThisDay newspaper edition of January 2, 2013 that: “Like other well meaning sons and daughters of Ekiti State, I have my own dreams and vision for a new and united Ekiti and when it is time to aspire in furtherance of that vision, I will do so, most courageously, within the party and without any apology to pseudo democrats who are trying to give the ACN a bad image through their acts of intimidation and intolerance informed by leadership complex.”
You went further to say: “And when it is time to aspire, God will give me the grace to do so as a responsible member without minding whose ox is gored. This faith, I will keep; come rain or sunshine and under the banner of almighty God.”
Sir, almost all believed you then that you had nothing to do with those Labour Party posters. They believed, as you stated then, that even if you would contest, it would be in ACN. The way you always use God’s name convinced some to no end that you were like an angel who daily worship at God’s feet. But on Sunday, December 1, you ditched the party that gave you the ticket to the House of Representatives for Labour Party.
Not a few Ekiti indigenes wondered why you had deceived them all along, claiming that you were not hobnobbing with Labour Party and Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko. That you even swore by God’s name to remain and contest in ACN as a responsible member, vowing to the people that: “This faith, I will keep; come rain or sunshine and under the banner of almighty God.”
All this while, sir, it was apparent that you were lying in God’s name and deceiving the people that you represent and whose votes you want to now solicit for your governorship bid in a most heartless manner. Why would anyone lie in God’s name?
I was shocked to no end, sir, on 20 January, 2014 when I saw your SDP posters. As expected, and as you did in January 2013 when our sensibilities were assaulted and insulted with your LP posters, you and your newfound party (LP) denied it again, blaming it on the Fayemi administration. But since you have lied to us once on a similar issue, how can we take you serious on this one? Do you know what you’re being called around town now, sir? A liar. In fact, a motorcyclist wondered out loud that if you could lie this much when you have not become the governor, only heaven knows what lies you would tell if you ever become governor. As it is, you have created a lie pattern that gives a strong impression that your campaign is not going to be issue-based, but lies-based.
Five (5) months to the governorship election, you are still not clear about what you want to do differently than the incumbent. Rather, you inundate us with stories about introducing Fayemi to Tinubu and how you were muscled out of government. From what I have seen so far (and it is not just me, sir), it seems your only manifesto is what Governor Kayode Fayemi is not doing right and not what you can do better. It is true that you keep saying you can do better, but please, show us proof. Let’s see your manifesto! We are tired of lies! Even in condemning Fayemi, because that’s what you do, sir (not criticism, but only condemnation), you are not doing a good job. You are sounding more like a broken record and I say this , sir, because you say the same thing every time that it has now become very clear that your whole ambition is driven by envy, hatred, bad blood, and not necessarily in the interest of Ekiti.
If what Senator Babafemi Ojudu wrote in his press statement in which he claimed that you started criticising Governor Fayemi right from the podium on the day of his inauguration is anything to go by, then I’d say you set yourself from day one as an agent of distraction for the administration and it appears now that you have become an agent of retrogression, planning to drag Ekiti back to the dark days. At least, that is clear with your alleged collaboration with the PDP-led Jonathan government to foment trouble and wreak havoc in Ekiti State during the forthcoming election. What we have heard is that you were given the job of a spoiler by the presidency to pave the way for the re-introduction and re-enactment of the dark days of PDP’s seven and a half (7 1/2) years of locusts in Ekiti State.
The name ‘Bamidele’ belongs to your father and as a good parent, you must wish that your children take up the name. Should you ruin everything good about the name, what does your children grow up to lay claim to?
Should you flunk your children’s future political chances even if you must flunk yours?
Tell me, sir, how easy would it be for an ‘Omoboriowo’ to win election in Ekiti? Is this the pattern you want to follow, so that your children would not be able to raise their heads with pride in future? Ponder seriously about this, sir.
I do not hold brief for Fayemi. I voted for Asiwaju Segun Oni, but as fate would have it, the judgement went the way of Dr. Kayode Fayemi. I am one of those who never believed in the rosy promises of Fayemi. They sounded too easy to be real, but in the second year of his administration, I started changing my opinion about him and his government, and today, I am shocked beyond words at what he has achieved in three years and three months. Even Asiwaju Segun Oni couldn’t measure up in the three years and six months that he occupied the seat.
Honourable Bamidele, sir, you have a right to contest the seat with Dr. Fayemi, no doubt, but must you lie about what everyone can see in the state? Permit me to quote you in one of your recent interview in The Punch (28 December, 2013):
“They say senior citizens, 65 years and above are being given N5,000 a month, ask your correspondent in Ekiti to do a survey among the senior citizens in Ekiti to see what percentage of them benefit and how many of them? And how were these people selected? And go and ask the senior citizens themselves what they would prefer. They would tell you their pains, that there are no jobs for their children. Many of them would say to you, ‘don’t give us this N5,000, give my child a job so that he can take care of me.”
Honourable Bamidele, 25, 000 elderly people are collecting the N5, 000 stipend. Five (5) of them are in my neighbourhood and two (2) from my family. I saw these women when the governor hosted them to a get-together. All they kept saying was that the scheme should not be stopped. It is true that some of them wanted jobs for their kids, but none asked that it be stopped. Heaven knows how many rich people who do not take care of their parents, so, these old people know that their children being employed is not a guarantee that they’d be taken care of. Many people in your inner circles have said it is your plan to scrap the social security scheme for the elderly should you be elected. With this utterance from you, sir, you are sure laying the ground for the scrapping of the N5, 000 being given to elderly citizens by the Fayemi administration if you were elected. I wonder why you would want to do this great injustice to the aged people, after all, you have an old father who you can conveniently take care of. But what about those whose kids are poor? Honourable Bamidele, are you saying they should die – because they are poor?
How can you then consciencelessly say that the social security scheme is your idea when in fact you never subscribed to it. According to you, it was at your empowerment programme in February, 2012 that it was cloned by the Fayemi administration, but, sir, facts abound that the administration launch ed the programme on October 25, 2011 and started paying in November of same year. In fact, the governor signed the Senior Citizens Welfare Bill into Law in March, 2012. Sir, was it possible for the government to have launched the programme and started paying the stipend before stealing the idea from you? What do you call that – pre-stealing or post-stealing?
In his inaugural address on 16 October, 2010, Governor Kayode Fayemi declared thus: “Women would never suffer discrimination as they would become vital indices in our development calculation. Child and maternal mortality rates shall be reduced and eventually stamped out. Agriculture, our mainstay would come alive while tourism would add value to Ekiti, a state of aesthetic splendor. Your health will be my wealth as we set about fulfilling our promise of an affordable, accessible healthcare for every Ekiti citizen. Education, our heritage and weapon against ignorance shall receive a religious attention. For the good of our people and to the Greater Glory of humanity, I declare Education free for all primary and secondary school pupils. Children at birth up to five years of age, pregnant women and senior citizens are exempted from paying medical bills in all government hospitals. In addition, we shall introduce a social security scheme for all our senior citizens that are 65 and above within the shortest possible time.”
How was it possible to steal from you in 2012 what he promised the people in 2010?
As regards job creation, sir, I think the Fayemi administration has tried. It has just absorbed 1, 600 teachers and has conducted interviews to fill vacant positions in the Civil Service. It created the legally backed Traffic Management Agency (EKSTMA) and Peace Corps to create employment. Peace Corps alone has 800 people on its payroll and planning to take on another 800, totalling 1, 600. The Fayemi administration also just employed paramedics, fire-fighters and many more (all these enjoy same salary structure with the Civil Service). This is not to mention youths engaged in the Youths in Commercial Agriculture Development (YCAD) programme. Sir, no administration in the history of Ekiti State has been this creative about job creation.
If I may ask, what more magic do you hope to perform should you be elected, moreso that you have no manifesto five months to the election? We just pray and hope that you’re not planning to make the Civil Service over-bloated, thereby spending all our allocation on servicing salaries.
I read your recent letter to the governor in which you accused him of saying you needed psychiatric help because you advised him about local government administration. Let me quote you, sir: “In criticising you, I had also openly pledged that I would organize a credible Local Government election within six months of my assumption of office, come October 2014, following which I would embark on comprehensive Local Government reforms with the input of elected Chairmen and Councilors as well as career Local Government administrators and relevant traditional and civil society institutions, including the holding of popular referendum to enable our people determine whether or not they want more Local Governments created in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution…Mr. Governor, your initial response to these valid observations was for you to first grant a media interview to say I needed a psychiatrist help…”
The above statement from you, sir, is another of the numerous lies you have been feeding the public. The only instance the governor ever said you needed psychiatric help was in an interview he granted The Punch on 7 December, 2013. The interviewer had asked if truly your claim that you brought him (Fayemi) from abroad and PDP were right. Permit me to quote that section of the interview:
Interviewer: He said he practically brought you from abroad and another party to where you are today but that you are probably going back on that.
Fayemi: Does that make sense to you? Do you know my antecedent? He practically brought me from where? Which overseas? Did he even know me overseas? I try as much as possible not to be drawn to this sort of exchanges because I don’t think it dignifies the office I hold and the party I represent. But facts are sacred, as opinion is free. Let it be stated on record that Opeyemi did not know me outside this country, so he couldn’t have brought me back to this country. The person he claimed he took me to when he brought me back from PDP (I understand), Asiwaju Tinubu; I think he is suffering from a delusion of grandeur. Anybody who knows the history of our struggle will know that Senator Ahmed Tinubu and I were in exile and we worked together in exile. Those who were in the leadership of NADECO, you can go and verify independently from them; Gen. Akinrinade is still alive; Prof. Akinyemi is still living; Commodore Dan Suleiman is still out there; Chief John Oyegun is there, Hon Wale Osun is there; so if my brother chooses to manufacture things from figment of imagination, then you can begin to see that he is probably in need of psychiatric help because he cannot even remember, in his attempt to distort and manufacture crisis as I said earlier, he cannot even remember who he introduced to whom. Why would anyone even say that I have ever been a member of the PDP in this country? At the risk of sounding immodest, my antecedents are so well known and public; everything I have done in this country, you can find out on the Internet, so why does anyone want to lie about it? Why would I enter into any deal? Deal for what? Running for office as governor was not an ambition for me. I was asked to run; I was literally begged to run and Opeyemi knew about that.
End of quote.
It is truism that Local Government polls would have been conducted in Ekiti State had PDP not gone to court. It behoved the State Government to appoint caretaker committees pending the final determination of the case. Attempting to play politics with that not only makes you look bad, but it sets you up as an opaquely intelligent person who sees only his side and not other sides.
In Ondo State where your party, a supposed Labour Party which has sacked over 12, 000 local government workers holds the rein, has local government election been conducted by Mimiko? Is there a court case preventing such as we have in Ekiti? No!!! But your slave-master (Mimiko) has heartlessly continued to hold the local councils by the jugular and you have never for once condemned this.
I told some people last year that security agencies must really beam their searchlight on you, sir, as I have it on good authority from some people in your inner circles that you’re prepared to do all it takes, even if it means setting up your followers to be killed during inter-party fracas to make Governor Fayemi look bad. This was what you did in Emure-Ekiti, instigating your supporters to hold a meeting in a place clearly known as APC members’ meeting venue. You, of course, knew it could result in violence, but, sir, you helped nurture it to fruition and was the first person to rush down to Emure with cameras to spit on Foluso Ogundare’s grave. While his relations were still grieving, under the pretence of going to condole them, you conveniently rented a hall in the town to host your defection to Labour Party and the declaration of your governorship ambition, attempting in the most heinous manner to profit from the death of a fellow human being. Foluso Ogundare must be weeping at your endless treachery in his grave.
I advise you, sir, to halt your plans to continue to perpetrate violence in Ekiti. Before your PDP-sponsored ambition, there had been no report of violence.
In your declaration in Emure-Ekiti, you said: “I, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, in conjunction with many notable leaders and members of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ekiti State, have resolved to seek membership of another progressive party…”
Who are these notable leaders, sir? Just as everyone, no one saw such leaders during your Labour Party launch or any other event. In fact, there is no notable ACN (APC) leader on your side. If you refer to serial betrayers like Akin Olayisade who jump from party to party in search of crumbs as ‘notable’ ACN leaders, then electoral doom is upon you faster than you know. Ask former Governor Ayo Fayose about Olayisade.
It is now clear, sir, that your only campaign strategy is lying shamelessly as one with no conscience. This is the same manner you lie to your constituents about your projects. Sir, I challenge you to come up with contrary facts to my position:
1. In Igede-Ekiti, you claim to have built a health centre, but findings revealed that nothing other than bushes exist at the site.
2. You also claim to have constructed a borehole in the palace of Iropora-Ekiti monarch. On the contrary, the kabiyesi and his people are said to be raining curses on you now as such does not exist.
3. The borehole you constructed in Igbemo-Ekiti has never been operated for once as it is not functional.
4. The same situation persists in Iworoko-Ekiti where the hand-pump you constructed in front of the monarch’s palace is a curse instead of blessing. It also has never been functional.
5. Finally, in your hometown where no one could have thought you were capable of deceit, you claim to have built an ICT vocational centre, but what exists there is an uncompleted building overgrown by thick bushes.
Honourable Bamidele, how could you be this deceitful, sir, especially with the ‘Honourable’ now attached to your name? How could you lay claim to non-existent and uncompleted projects as completed ones? I keep asking myself that if you could betray Bola Tinubu who would probably take up close to 95% of your autobiography if and when you decide to write it, then the masses of Ekiti whom you have no personal relationship with are in for real trouble should you be elected governor.
If you set Ekiti on fire, posterity will never judge you right just as it never judged Akin Omoboriowo right, same way it will never judge you right if you re-drag Ekiti back to the days of locusts as you’re presently doing.
Alofe Sunday a public affairs commentator, writes in from, Ikere-Ekiti, Nigeria.
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