Posted by News Express | 22 April 2013 | 5,357 times
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) gubernatorial aspirant in Ekiti State, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, has spoken at length on the recent physical attack launched against him at the instance of perceived political opponents. Bamidele, who represents Ado Ekiti/Irepodun-Ifelodun Federal Constituency in the Nigerian House of Representatives, gave a detailed account of how he was targeted during a visit home and also gave an insight into why some prominent political figures in the South-West state want him dead. Below is the text of his statement issued this morning and entitled “The Truth Shall Prevail”:
Much as I would have preferred to ignore attempts by the sponsors of the unprovoked violent attacks on me and my associates in Igede Ekiti on Friday, 12th April, 2013, I feel compelled to clarify a few issues for the proper understanding of the innocent and genuinely concerned members of public as well as for posterity. One Major Tajudeen Olufemi Awe, who was retired from the Nigerian Army and recently appointed by His Excellency, Governor Kayode Fayemi as the Caretaker Committee Chairman in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government area of Ekiti State, had addressed a press conference a few days ago claiming to be speaking for the government and party in Ekiti State.
Mr. Tajudeen Awe had alleged that I was attacked by the youths of Igede Ekiti because he said were angry that I had failed to fulfill my electoral promises. He specifically accused me of mismanaging a sum of N187 Million “released” to the Local Government for me to implement constituency projects, just like he alleged that I was attacked by ACN members because the man I went to visit in Igede Ekiti was “a PDP man.” On the other hand, and in a most contradictory manner, I had also been criticized to have embarrassed my party by “alleging that ACN members attacked” me.
To begin with, let me place on record the fact that I did not at any time allege that I was attacked by ACN members in Igede Ekiti. As a founding member and loyal member of ACN, I continue to hold the party in high esteem and I know I have not done anything that would make either the leadership or any of the well meaning members of the party take any step to hurt me. However, it is common knowledge that I, on principle and based on my own understanding of participatory democracy, have reacted to certain developments within the party in Ekiti State in a manner that appears to have incurred the wrath of certain political principality and power as well as individuals within the State who feel they are bigger than the party and who have vowed to run me out of the party and, if possible, out of Ekiti, using all manners of discredited political aides, chief among whom are Tajudeen Awe, the appointed council boss and Deji Adesokan, the garrulous Special Assistant to the Governor on Internal Security and a serial persecutor of perceived opponents and critics of the administration.
That I identified these hatchet fellows as agents of those who masterminded the violent attack on me should not and cannot be used as a reason to want to pitch me against the leadership and members of the party as my detractors have always wanted to do. The whole world knows those who are after my life. Ekiti people know their pedigrees, which is violence. So I don’t need to finger all the members of my party in this show of shame and political rascality. No well meaning leader or member of ACN in Ekiti State would hold it against me that I opposed the illegal dissolution of Ward and Local Government Excos of the party and recomposition of same by State Government appointees without Ward and Local Government congresses in accordance with the party’s constitution and which has led to the factionalisation of the party. No well meaning leader or member of the party would begrudge me for insisting on my right and the right of other members of the party who so desire to aspire within the party in spite of blatant attempts at coercing everyone to a skewed and stage managed endorsement that could only have decisively decimated the party in Ekiti State.
And as to the allegation of mismanaging constituency projects fund, considering the fact that I am not the only elected member of the National Assembly from Ekiti State, which is represented by 3 Senators and 6 House of Representatives members and in further view of the fact that it is verifiable public record that neither myself nor any of my other elected colleagues was given any money (not one Naira) to implement constituency projects, I simply could have dismissed Tajudeen Awe’s tantrums as not deserving of my time and attention in responding. Moreso, when I would have expected that anyone who could be saddled with the responsibility of managing the affairs of a Local Government would, at least, have some basic understanding of the workings of Government. But in the event that this is genuine ignorance on the part of Tajudeen Awe, I will like to state for the record that I, like other elected legislators, was not given any money in respect of constituency projects and so could not have mismanaged a “released sum of N187Million” as maliciously alleged by Tajudeen Awe.
Constituency projects are intervention projects influenced by elected legislators at the federal and State levels to be cited in their various constituencies to ensure balanced distribution of infrastructural development projects across the country. They are usually provided for in the annual budget of the federal or State Government as the case may be (depending on whether it is the National Assembly or State House of Assembly) and implemented by the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government where they are domiciled.
The only responsibility of the elected Hon. Member is to ensure its implementation by the relevant agencies. Ado Ekiti/Irepodun-Ifelodun Federal Constituency cannot be an exception to this general rule which applies to all the 360 Federal Constituencies in the country.
Political office holders are meant to be light to the people, but this show of ignorance had confirmed that many appointees (like Awe) lack the requisite integrity and intellectual acumen to govern in a sophisticated State like Ekiti if he lacks the basic understanding of the operations of the National or State House of Assembly and the philosophy behind Constituency Projects as a Council boss. I advise Tajudeen Awe to ask Governor Kayode Fayemi (on whose behalf he claimed to be acting) if His Excellency “released” money to members of Ekiti State House of Assembly in respect of constituency projects rather than have the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the State Government execute the projects in the various constituencies as provided for by law.
To the glory of God, within the first year of my membership of the House of Representatives, I attracted 33 different infrastructural development projects to my constituency as can be verified in the Year 2012 annual budget of the Federal Government. In the same vein, I am attracting 27 additional projects to my constituency this year as contained in the Year 2013 annual budget of the Federal Government. These include 11 Primary Health Centres, 2 Blocks of Classrooms, 4 ICT Centres, 14 Motorized Boreholes, Library, Electricity Transformers and Street Lights in different towns of Ado Ekiti and Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government areas, many of which are in different stages of construction with some already completed. Specifically, a kilometer of Street Lights, and a Motorized borehole have been completed in Igede Ekiti while work is ongoing on the construction of a Primary Health Centre.
To the well meaning people of my constituency, this is simply unprecedented and it is for this reason plus my robust representation of the people on the floor of the House as well as my several social welfare and empowerment programmes that make the people of Ekiti State treat me as a hero every where I go. It is also for this reason, among others, that Ekiti people are willing to entrust me with greater responsibility in accordance with the will of almighty God. It is equally on record, that, again in a most unprecedented manner, I have constantly rendered an account of my stewardship as an elected representative of the people.
It, therefore, goes without saying that the violent attack of Friday, April 12 could not have been by my constituents or, as alleged by Tajudeen Awe and his sponsors, “Igede Ekiti youths over unfulfilled electoral promises”. This allegation by Tajudeen Awe and those who will forever be vicariously liable for his misdeeds can only be seen in the same light that the whole world saw their printing and pasting of Labour Party posters with my pictures on December 29, 2012, being the very day some of them later gathered at an “end of the year party” to announce that they had endorsed Governor Fayemi for a second term ticket of ACN! The same philosophy behind this attack on me must have been the same philosophy that was behind the vandalisation in December 2011 and December 2012 of the seasonal greeting billboards I erected to convey yuletide messages to my constituents.
It is on record that the day I was attacked, I had paid a condolence visit on the Governor at about 1pm; I had paid similar condolence visits also on the State leaders of ACN at the party secretariat; His Royal Majesty, the Ewi of Ado Ekiti as well as the Famuagun family (parents of late Mrs. Funmi Olayinka) at 2.45pm, 4.25pm and 5.15pm respectively, all within my constituency without anyone attacking me or members of my entourage. But when I visited Igede Ekiti at 8.30pm, some people hid under the darkness of the night to attack my convoy and Major Awe (who said he was in Akure attending an Airforce recruitment interview with some youths (at 8.30pm!) claimed the attack was by angry members of my constituency because I was “visiting a PDP man.”
The fact is that I was visiting a community leader to negotiate the rental terms of my proposed campaign office. And the truth (also known to Tajudeen Awe) is that this is the same man (Chief Adu) whose son was appointed as Caretaker Committee Secretary for Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government by the same Governor Kayode Fayemi who appointed Tajudeen Awe as Chairman. They could entrust his son with a Local Government secretariat, but when I had my own interaction with the same man, the serial liar accused me of visiting a “PDP man” just to pitch me against the leadership of ACN and mislead the public into believing that I was attacked for engaging in anti-party activities.
As if the violent attack at Igede Ekiti and the reactions it generated were not enough, the same Tajudeen Awe and Deji Adesokan have been going round in the last two days threatening to further attack me at the funeral programme of the late Deputy Governor, Her Excellency, Mrs. Funmi Olayinka. Again, much as I would like to disregard this as a silly talk, I have considered the implications of any such attempt and the vehemence with which Ekiti people who sympathise with my cause would, most expectedly, react. I am also convinced that the law enforcement agents will sufficiently resist these hatchet men and their cohorts. But to allow any chance of a slightest disruption or undue politicization at a time we are all supposed to be paying our last respect to this departed soul would amount to monumental disservice to her family, the ACN and well meaning Ekiti people who are genuinely mourning her death. I have, therefore, chosen to excuse those who would prefer that their perceived opponents do not share the space with them and continue to identify with the immediate and extended families of the deceased in my own way as led by God who knows and sees all of us within and out.
God sees my heart that the only reason I am involved in Ekiti politics is to serve and help the people. And if this is my primary objective, then I do not have any reason to be desperate. As a child of God, never will I seek power like those who have sold their soul to the devil as I continue to pray that I will never step on blood to rule. After this response, I probably might not consider it necessary to react or join issues with anyone again. I will, however, remain resolute in the pursuit of my political aspiration driven by an irrevocable commitment to good cause and global best practice standard by which the glory and integrity for which Ekiti had been known can be brought back from sabbatical. Those who insist that the only way they can attain or retain their hold on political power is through violence and intimidation of real and perceived opponents may continue, only that they be not deceived that God could be mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap. From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of God. And if anyone chooses to so trouble me or seek my hurt for wanting the best for Ekiti people, may the good Lord fight my battle so I can hold my peace.
•Photo shows Hon. Bamidele.
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