‘You are biased!’: Ogun Dep. Gov. calls out Tunde Fagbenle

by ‘Segun Adesegun

The very fact that I do not talk to the press is born out of the fact that by our training and upbringing, when the leader talks everybody follows suit. This does not in any way connote that we lack political understanding and scholarship.

READ: Governor Amosun and his estranged deputy [HERE]

My dear brother,

My attention has been drawn to your regular column “Tunde Fagbenle saying it the way it is” on the back page of Sunday Punch of November 9, 2014 titled “Gov Amosun and his estranged deputy”, which I find amusing.

You gave the impression that you came to Abeokuta to hear the other side of the story, and somehow became the Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy. Interestingly, in your desire to hear the other side, you met with the governor and never bothered to cross check the fact presented to you from me, considering the fact that the Deputy Governors’ Lodge is just about one kilometre away from the Governor’s Residence, but went to press with false assertions and innuendoes to muddle issues.

You wrote that my banal story became banner because I am on Osoba’s side. This suggests that you do not know me, and accordingly I present myself. I became actively involved in partisan politics in 1976, when I followed my late father, Sir Honourable Osinmi Adesegun to campaign for councillors in Ago-Iwoye. One of them, Mr. Olu Adebanjo, is still alive. By 1976/1977, I was the Vice-President of University of Ife Students Union. Our Speaker, shortly before we were sworn in, was Governor Segun Mimiko of Ondo State. I took over from Rotimi Akeredolu a.k.a Aketi, as the Vice President of the University of Ife Students Union 1976/1977, and in the Students Representatives Council then was former Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti State. Senator Olorunmbe Mamora was then the Financial Secretary to mention a few.

I later moved to the University of Ibadan, where I became the Speaker, Students Union in 1979/1980. Hon. Tunji Bello, Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, was then the Students Union Publicity Secretary. I worked in Pyramid Paper Products Ltd, and retired in 1988 as the General Manager in charge of Eastern Zone, starting from Old Bendel State, and went into private business.

When the ban on party politics was lifted in 1989, I became Ogun State Assistant Welfare Officer of the People Solidarity Party. In 1992, I was appointed Ogun State Commissioner for Works and Housing. I was again re-appointed as the State Commissioner for Works and Housing in 1999 and served till 2003. I also served during Baba(Adekunle) Ajasin’s period in the Afenifere Executive Committee led by Late Chief Bola Ige. In the Committee were Late Chief Adebayo Adefarati, former Governor of Ondo State; late Dr. Aina of Ekiti State, late Alhaji Lam Adesina, former Governor of Oyo State; Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor of Osun State; and Interim Chairman, APC, Engr. Akinwunmi, Alhaji Rafiu Jafojo, Mrs. Kofoworola Akerele Bucknor, Chief Duro Aikulola, and my humble self.

I was nominated to represent Alliance for Democracy at the National Political Reform Conference held in 2006 during the Presidency of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. We were only two that represented AD. The second member, Alhaji Hassan, former Minister from Gombe State is now dead. I also served as the National Youth Leader of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria under Chief Bisi Akande. I became the National Deputy Treasurer of the party in December, 2010. A position I held before becoming the Deputy Governor of Ogun State in May, 2011. I am also an Ijebu man from Ago-Iwoye in Ijebu North Local Government Area.

The very fact that I do not talk to the press is born out of the fact that by our training and upbringing, when the leader talks everybody follows suit. This does not in any way connote that we lack political understanding and scholarship. For you to assert that my travails became topical because I am on the side of Chief Olusegun Osoba, our leader, is most unfortunate.

You stated that 12 vehicles were allocated to my office since inception of this administration, out of which nine were brand new. Dear Tunde, you are very wrong. I thought you would have asked Mr. Governor why my official car got knocked and for nine months it was not replaced, until a Good Samaritan provided me with a Tundra Jeep. A thing that was clearly visible in Abeokuta. Mentioning 12 vehicles is deliberate mischief. By standard practice, vehicles attached to newly elected governors and deputy governors are brand new and these vehicles are changed every two years. I don’t know whether you saw the vehicles parked on the premises of the governor both in the front, at the right hand side and the vast area at the back? Did you ask the governor the number of vehicles in his convoy and that of his wife? Are they not all brand new? And I wonder why you did not come to validate from me and use that opportunity to compare and contrast. If you read my letter, did you ask him to confirm if he did give people customised bullet-proof vehicles? You should have asked these questions and published same in your article to make your story balanced and complete.

You also claimed that you saw records to prove that diesel and petrol were supplied to my office. Does this answer the question of electricity being disconnected from the Deputy Governor’s Lodge? You did not even think of the security implication of the Deputy Governor’s Lodge being in darkness for months? Neither, did you deem if fit to confirm, if electricity to the lodge had been disconnected as stated in my letter. Even, if you didn’t want to meet with me, you could have visited the office of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company to confirm. Is it the ‘receipts and records” that interest you? If that is what you want, we will provide you with such in abundance.

You wrote, and I quote “On portfolio, I was informed that the Deputy Governor has been saddled with a lot of responsibility; he is the Chairman of the State Boundary Committee in charge of various special projects; not infrequently representing the Governor at meetings of the National Economic Council, Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Council of State, more than any other Deputy Governor in the country, I am told”. Forget about “I am told”, the very fact that you wrote this in your column shows that you believe this position. I wonder how anyone could make a false assertion of this magnitude. Mere watching television stations will reveal to you that the Deputy Governors of Lagos, Osun, Ondo Ekiti and Oyo states attend these meetings regularly. I am sure these people will be amused by your assertion.

Aside, my governor had no choice but to send me to attend these meetings, because anybody below the rank of a Deputy Governor, by protocol cannot attend such meetings. Dear Tunde, if you had sought my side of the story, I would have told you that the governor had once sent his Special Adviser on Economic Development to one of these meetings, but he was not allowed in, before he grudgingly requested me to attend.

On the issue of the chairmanship of the Ogun State Boundary Committee, kindly note that the chairmanship post of the committee is a “statutory responsibility of the Deputy Governor of the state as stated under the Ogun State Boundary Committee Law”. Pages 0-311 to 0-315, Volume 3 of the Law of Ogun State, will further enlighten you on this issue.

It has become very common these days to find a lot of social commentators in the country giving different meanings to the concepts of politics and performance. In the universities, a student cannot become a graduate, unless he/she is found to be worthy both in learning and character. Without character, even if you make a First Class, you will not graduate. Everybody seems to emphasise the issue of learning, while in actual fact learning is geared towards character. In the same way, it is bunkum to say politics is only about performance. Politics is about performance and humanity, and performance itself is relative. Under performance are desirability of project, prioritisation of project and cost of completion to wit competitiveness. Performance without humanity is nonsense. The so-called performance on meaningless projects is in itself corruption. Accordingly, those who are heavily corrupt do more grandiose projects to obfuscate their thievery. This is what today is decorated as performance.

Let me use this opportunity to thank all those that have contributed, including you, both for and against my letter, but I am amazed when someone like you suggests that the letter is about me, and as such trivial. Democracy remains government of, for and by the people. Is it not the aggregate of individuals that make people? As Commissioner for Works and Housing in Ogun State many years ago, I asked and sought to know the welfare of my staff. In fact, before I bought a second car for myself in the ministry, I had already bought one for my Permanent Secretary. This is how we were taught.

That is what politics was and still should be. Politics starts with individuals to the family, and families towards community.

In conclusion, I remember a story we normally cracked when we were young. In the story, there was a town in which the kingmakers wanted to select their king. Naturally, the five kingmakers sought the assistance of an Ifa diviner to consult the gods, and tell them who would be appointed as king among the three contenders. Unknown to the kingmakers, one of the contenders knew the diviner and had given him huge sum of money and two cars. On the appointed day, the diviner, threw his cowries on the floor but rather than see who the next king was, all he saw was money and cars, and started chanting Ejiogbe, Ejiogbe and Ejiogbe. Dear Tunde, I hope your column in “Tunde Fagbenle, saying it the way it is” on Sunday November 9, 2014 is not an Ejiogbe!

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Prince ’Segun Adesegun is the Deputy Governor of Ogun State.

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