As the Segun Oni group members were nursing the wound they sustained from the Supreme Court (SC) judgment, their leader was being invited to defend an allegation of anti-party activity in a letter signed by one Sina Akintoye and Taiwo Ogunyemi who claimed to be the chairman and Secretary of Ifaki Ward II which is Chief Segun Oni’s ward. The letter, dated 24/05/2019, seven days after the Supreme Court judgment, was never delivered to Oni in person.
It indicated that Oni had a week to appear before his ward executive to answer queries on the alleged anti-party activities. At the end of the seven days, he was purported to have been suspended indefinitely from APC by a letter signed by the aforementioned chairman and secretary of the ward.
Would APC have been able to win Ekiti State in the governorship and presidential/National Assembly elections as well as House of Assembly elections without the cooperation of Oni and other stakeholders? The answer is No!
Oni, as Deputy National Chairman, held five different meetings at the headquarters of the party in Abuja by inviting and bringing together all the warring factions of the party in Ekiti to dialogue and reason together on how to reposition the party in such a way as to enable APC win election in Ekiti State and that it was after a series of such meetings that all factional groups decided to sheathe their swords and began to work for the progress of the party.
The Segun Oni group also claims that the party was in comatose under Dr Fayemi from 2014 but Oni helped to re-build it while he was the Deputy National Chairman; without the effort Oni, APC would not have been able to face PDP/Fayose in any election in Ekiti State.
But as far as the Government of Ekiti is concerned, it is anti-party on the part of Oni for daring to challenge the eligibility of Fayemi to contest that primary election.
They also said they have been labouring for the party since inception and that no gain had ever come their way hitherto, either from the Federal level or the state level. That of the 38 federal appointments allocated to Ekiti not a single one was ceded to the Oni group and no single Muslim was considered suitable for such appointment.
They attributed what is happening in the party to Fayemi’s style of bitter politics which is always to undermine leaders in their territory.
They specifically referred to the treatment meted out to Hon Michael Opeyemi Bamidele’s late father who was ridiculed and humiliated by getting him removed as ward chairman in Iyin Ekiti as a way of hitting his son, MOB below the belt. MOB was physically harassed and had his billboards destroyed throughout the state. And because the humiliation was too unbearable for MOB and his BIBIRE vanguard, they had to leave the party for MOB to contest as governor on the platform of Labour Party notwithstanding the love they had for APC.
It may interest readers to note that it was the singular effort of Oni that made MOB to be accepted back to APC since both Fayemi and Otunba Niyi Adebayo were vehemently reluctant to accept him back and were prepared to attack MOB physically at the presidential campaign rally of president Buhari in 2015 if not for the intervention of Oni that saved the situation.
Thank God for the life of MOB and for his uplift to the position of a senator. Fayemi began to romance MOB when he (Fayemi) needed his support again for his governorship ambition which led MOB to join Fayemi at a political rally where he narrowly escaped death through accidental discharge from the rifle of a policeman. Perhaps that narrow escape was the only reason Fayemi ceded the senate ticket to him, otherwise MOB would have been jilted like it was done to the DG of his 2014 governorship election, Congressman Bimbo Daramola.
The group agreed that it was true that PDP rigged the election of 2014 but that it was not the sole reason Fayemi and APC lost 16-0 to the PDP in all the 16 local government areas . The group said that it was the same larger-than-life attitude of Fayemi that led to the abysmal performance of the party in that 2014 election. And that it was Oni and his people that rebuilt the party in readiness for the 2018 general election
They insist that the attack on Oni from his cultural base had been planned right from the outset, drawing attention to what happened during the ward congress in Ward II, Ifaki. That during the ward congress, as expected of Oni, he directed members in his ward to conduct free, fair and credible congress which was done and the ward came up with the best of men and women to pilot the affairs of the ward. The list of the new ward officers, signed by leaders of the ward was submitted to Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, the then deputy governor-elect who was in charge of collating the list from all local governments. But surprisingly, a completely different list emerged and two supposed ‘immigrant’ members of APC in the ward, Sina Akinloye, from EJIGBO, Osun State and Taiwo Ogunyemi from Ikole Local Government Area in Ekiti State were appointed ward chairman and secretary respectively to the embarrassment of the Ifaki people of Ido-Osi local government. Samuel Oni and Sunday Adebisi were the choice of the people as chairman and secretary respectively of the ward during the congress. Both Samuel Oni and Sunday Adebisi are indigenes of Ifaki but they were replaced by the non-indigene immigrant members by forces of retrogression because of the hatchet job they wanted them to handle for them.
It was these immigrants chairman and secretary that signed the letter of suspension of Oni, the Asiwaju of Ifaki-Ekiti, former governor of Ekiti State and former Deputy National Chairman of APC.
The group said with all these information at their disposal, they decided to write to the National Chairman to let him know that it was Governor Fayemi himself that had started to create problems within the party in the state and that this unwarranted self-created problems might affect the fortune of the party.
They concluded that the reaction of Ekiti State government to their letter to the National Chairman through the SSA to the governor on public communication, Mr. Segun Dipe, had clearly vindicated their position that it was the governor that was planning and executing the whole drama of suspension of Oni from the party for reasons best known to him.
The group listed some other areas they believe Dr Fayemi had wronged Chief Segun Oni in the past saying In 2010, after the Justice Salami’s judgment which removed Oni as governor of Ekiti State, Dr Fayemi, the then new governor got Oni’s photos/portraits removed from the governor’s office so as to erase Oni’s record from Ekiti. That was after Oni had spent three and a half years and had done so well in the state to the admiration of all and sundry and his records were in the minds of the people which cannot be erased till today
They noted that when Oni left office on October 15, 2010, Gov. Fayemi immediately sent a message to him on October 16, the very day he removed his portrait, that he should return the government vehicles that took him to Lagos. Oni returned the vehicles on October 17 and not a single car was left for a man who served his state as governor meritoriously for 42 months.
That for the four years Dr Fayemi spent as governor, 2010-2014, he ensured that no entitlement meant for Oni was paid to him, hence Oni hitherto remains the only governor who had left office without any benefit, ten years after he had left.
And when Oni became governor, he paid all the entitlement of His Excellency, Otunba Adebayo, who was not even his immediate predecessor in office. As a matter of fact, Oni ensured that the cheque for that entitlement was taken and delivered to Otunba in his own house. That is how Oni believes any former governor should be treated. That was not all, Oni made sure that all the political office holders under Otunba Adebayo who were the brains behind the case filed against him by Dr Fayemi and who even demonstrated against Oni in Ado Ekiti were paid their severance and other allowances despite the fact that they were not members of his party and were working with Dr Fayemi to get him (Oni) removed as governor which they eventually did. That is how a mature mind should reason; that’s Segun Oni for you.
The group said one should not because of politics, deprive people of their legitimate rights.
And surprisingly, the only governor who extended hands of fellowship to Oni was former Governor Ayo Fayose, first by personally restoring Oni’s photo to its place at the Governor’s office and secondly, by supplying land cruiser Jeeps to all the former governors, including Adebayo, Fayemi and himself, Oni in 2018.
It would be interesting to note that while other recipients accepted the vehicles, only Chief Segun Oni – though in dare need of vehicle at that time and the vehicle would have been the first benefit received from government since ten years after leaving office as governor – rejected the vehicle because he felt a moral burden on himself to accept a vehicle which value was put at about N59million when government workers were being owned months of unpaid salaries. He, therefore, politely advised the government of Fayose to sell the vehicle and use the money realised from the sale to pay part of the workers’ salaries.
The group said that they know that one day, the people of Ekiti would speak for Oni. They also believe that Fayemi, now as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, other governors should be able to educate him on how and how not to treat former governors.
The group said that notwithstanding all the treatments given to Oni by Fayemi , when Oni left PDP to join others in forming APC, he whole-heartedly supported Dr Fayemi for his second term election in 2014.
And Oni also supported Fayemi’s ministerial appointment
It was further noted that when Oni concluded plan to contest as governor, he wrote letters to formally inform Fayemi and Adebayo and he also had a one-on-one discussion with both of them. Fayemi told him he was only interested in the Ekitigate matter to reclaim his mandate from Governor Fayose at the Supreme Court which Oni said he would cooperate if he could do that.
But when Dr Fayemi eventually showed interest in contesting for the governorship, he never informed Oni or anybody in Oni’s camp.
Recall that when Dr Fayemi won the primary election, notwithstanding the use of governmental power, Chief Oni congratulated him and advised him to meet the AtunseEkiti group which Dr Fayemi refused to do. Despite the fact that Dr Fayemi refused to meet the AtunseEkiti family, Chief Oni mobilised all his supporters to work for Dr Fayemi and APC’s success at the general election.
And when the Elders Forum and representatives of the party held meetings with the Segun Oni group and promised to schedule a meeting with Governor Fayemi, the meeting never held because Dr Fayemi didn’t see any reason for such meeting holding. Otunba Niyi Adebayo had earlier promised to organise a similar meeting between the Oni group and Dr Fayemi but it never happened.
And so, when Dr Fayemi visited Chief Oni and advised that Chief Oni should go back to his former position as Deputy National Chairman and Chief Oni accepted on the condition that he (Fayemi) should bring up the suggestion at the meeting of South West leaders which was to hold later in that week, Dr Fayemi did not show up at the meeting.
When Senator Adeniyi applied for the Deputy National Chairman position and the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu prevailed on him to withdraw for Otunba Adebayo, he obeyed the leader and withdrew.
And when it was discovered that Fayemi breached the constitution of the party , the most civilised and constitutionally-recognised and acceptable way to challenge him was to approach the judiciary, and that was exactly what Segun Oni did.
How that can constitutes anti-party activity is not yet understood.
Some of the Oni’s critics once asked: what does Oni want? And his response was: “Segun Oni doesn’t want anything other than the good of Ekiti people. In the fullness of time, Ekiti and its people will be delivered from those holding it down and real development and progress will come to them. I, therefore enjoin my supporters to remain steadfast and be full of hope. Tomorrow is almost here.”
This is the concluding part of the views of Ekiti Political Research Group (EPRG).