COUNT US OUT OF THE THANKSGIVING RECEPTION FOR HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO
By Trek Africa Newspaper
In December 2014 when it was clear that a father, uncle, and brother, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo had been nominated as the party’s Vice Presidential candidate, two groups were birthed on the same day in Ikenne: One, Ikenne People’s Forum; two, a youth group, Trust Buhari/Osinbajo Idea Group. These two groups came by providence and God’s timing because neither group knew that the other had just been formed same day, and each was having its meeting for the first time, same day, same hour as the other. While IPF was holding their first meeting at the Ikenne town hall, the latter, mostly Ikenne young professionals and some non indigenes, met at Aya Mase’s house, almost opposite the town hall. Their mission was the same: to help their brother achieve his electoral victory in every capacity possible.
When His Excellency came to Ikenne to familiarise himself with his people on the 29th of December 2014 after his nomination, it was without the glamour that should herald and accompany a Vice Presidential candidate. At best, it was like a Councillor touring his ward. The youth group, seeing the deficiencies, quickly brought out cars, microphones, megaphones, dancers, singers, cameramen, DJ, and mobilised a crowd. The youth group took His Excellency round the town as he made use of the provided public address systems, souvenirs, materials and equipments that had been hurriedly prepared. He was so glad such arrangements were on ground for him that he whispered his appreciation and asked in a gratifying manner, ‘would you people be kind to follow me to Akarigbo’s and Awujale’s palaces today’. He’d love the same pomp and grandiour there too.
The group was very happy to oblige His Excellency. As his convoy sped on the way to Ijebu Ode, while trying to meet up with their break-neck speed, the youth, numbering 85 in hired cabsters and their private cars, bumped into potholes and narrowly escaped death. But one of them, a young man from Itunmoro had a very serious injury that has left him limping till date. Apart from this particular incident and other road mishaps, there was no count to the number of times that the group suffered – during campaigns – humiliation, harrassment, ambushes, kidnaps by touts in some towns in the hinterlands of Ijebu and Abeokuta until the group started engaging security personnel.
In addition to their vehicles, they hired buses during campaigns in remote parts of Ogun State where the likes of Rev. Sesan Adebajo, Engr Mota Odumusi, Elder Ariyo Adebayo, Mr Ope Awobajo, Hon. Erinfolami, Rev. Remi Onajole and Mrs Adubifa, both of blessed memory and others rode along with the group. While other groups were being funded to do what they did, Trust Buhari/Osinbajo Idea Group donated resources among themselves and made sure they didn’t seek financial help from any quarter. It was amazing how the Ikenne youth group was able to achieve so much in 2015 and 2019 without the financial and moral backups that any support group would enjoy.
When the results of the elections came in, the Ikenne youth group paid for congratulatory adverts in national newspapers. (Pls see Nigerian Tribune of May 29, 2015 and others of same date). Thereafter, they went all over the state to thank traditional rulers, party bigwigs, youth leaders, market women, etc for honouring their request to support and vote for PMB/PYO.
THE SIN QUO NON
A few months into His Excellency’s first term, in a joint meeting of Ikenne People Forum and Trust Buhari/Osinbajo Idea Group at Asiwaju Adeleke Adesina’s house, it was agreed that the team of Rev. Onajole, Alhaji Famoti, Aare Sola Sodiyan and Mr Bayo Solesi be mandated to compile two lists of indigenes who qualify for one, appointment; and two, employment. At the aftermath of a three week consultation and collation task, the likes of Gen. Soboiki, Otunba Allen, Barr Adeniyi, Barr Ladi Opanubi, Canon Odunlami, Bola Adebayo, Rev Kayode Odubela and 25 other distinguished and illustrious men and women featured in the former list, while the latter contained 183 Ikenne sons and daughters who had HND, B.Sc and Masters. The four men that compiled this list knew they had sacrificed so much to arrive at this blood and sweat consuming result because they made sure all families in Ikenne needed to have one or two members associated to it as beneficiaries. The view point of everyone was that at least 5 persons could be taken for appointment and 30 for employment over a period of His Excellency’s 8 years in office.
Around September 2015, five elderly fathers volunteered to take the list to Abuja and, promptly, they submitted it to His Excellency. At the next meeting of the IPF and the youth group, a feedback was given to the general house, thus: the list was submitted, while the elders waited, anticipating a positive reaction, the VP looked through it, smiled and told the bearer(s), ‘For Ikenne? How am I going to take in Ikenne people alone? My constituency right now is not Ikenne, but the entire country. I’m sorry, please take the list.” (Although this was not the exact sentences His Excellency used but it was the exact message conveyed). The list was returned to Ikenne and, at present, (8 years later) it’s with one of the four men who compiled it on behalf of IPF.
It can be concluded that this proposed Thanksgiving Reception should not be attended by the people of Ikenne but by the people of Nigeria, His Excellency’s constituency. However, otherwise, let the reception go on without the youth. And of course, it can.
THE TRUST GROUP