Your Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, I have the pleasure and privilege of writing this open letter to you as there appears no other way to draw your kind attention to the plight of a people whose existence is greatly threatened in our great nation Nigeria. Let me say right away that I am a foundation member of APC having registered for the party at Ward 2, Ilaro, Yewa (Egbado) South of Ogun State. I have served in various appointive capacities like Chief Press Secretary, Senior Consultant to military and civilian governors of Ogun State as well as adviser on communications to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In these positions I worked as a professional in government and joining APC was my first stint in partisan politics since the dawn of this our nascent democracy. I am an indigene of Ilaro in Yewa South of Ogun State.
As expected, I share the vision of APC that culminated in the change of government in our country after the 16 years rule of PDP to an APC government led by your able self. I also contributed my widow’s might to that change in terms of resources and participation in the processes towards the change. Since your assumption of office, your efforts to manage the inherited bad situation that is not helped by a sharp drop in crude oil prices and further compounded by destructive activities of Niger Delta militants and criminals is worthy of commendation. As you strive further to execute policies aimed at rescuing the nation from the doldrums you met it that circumstances have now turned to a full blown recession, I join all patriotic Nigerians in praying, wishing and working for the success of this administration. Your success is indeed for the benefit of all. However, as I stated earlier, the people of my area namely the Yewas, Aworis, Anagos, Ketu, Ohori etc. all located in Ogun West Senatorial District are indeed disillusioned about our status in Ogun State and indeed Nigeria as we have been grossly neglected in the scheme of things in the nation whose development our people are contributing to in diverse ways. For record purpose, Ogun West shares international boundary with Republic of Benin in the west, Lagos State in the south, Oyo State in the north and a host of Ogun State local governments to the east. With a hub of industrial complex including the multi-billion naira Dangote Cement at Ibeshe, the senatorial district accounts for about 70% of Ogun State IGR and a huge chunk of Nigerian Customs generated revenue to the Federal Government from our international borders. Amongst us can be counted great men and women of local, national and international repute that had contributed/are contributing to national development. Historically we have the warrior figure of Oronna of Ilaro who was a defender of his people against the marauding Dahomean Army.
But for his triumphs, it is possible that part of present day Ogun State of Nigeria could have been carved into another country during the Scramble for Africa making us lose the present oil rich Tongeji Island to Benin Republic. In contemporary time, we have renowned late Professor (Senator) Afolabi Olabimtan, a Yoruba linguistic expert, Professor Biyi Afonja, a renowned scholar, Professor A.I. Asiwaju, an international expert on Boundaries Matters, General Tunji Olurin (Rtd), a former ECOMOG commander and Military Administrator of Oyo and later Ekiti State, the late Chief J. A.O Odebiyi, Dr. S.A.J Ibikunle, the late Dr. Tunji Otegbeye, a pre-independence activist and politician Alhaji Bolarinwa Abioro, Senator. Felix Kola Bajomo, Senator Kamal Odunsi, Professor Titilola Filani, Chief I. Ade Akinleye, Mrs. Ebun Oyagbola, a former female federal minister and Senator Iyabo Anisulowo another female federal minister and a host of others. All of them have contributed and some still contributing both at the state and national levels to the development of Nigeria. We have no lack of eminent and qualified people to hold positions at state and federal levels. But surprisingly, since the creation of Ogun State over 40 years ago, no indigene of this district has been appointed or elected to govern the state with resultant lopsided and skewed development against the people of the area as will be acknowledged by any objective observer in relation to the two other senatorial districts of Ogun Central and East that had been rotating the governance of the state between them. And Your Excellency, the neglect of Ogun West development is continuing, a major reason why during your visit to the state at its 40th anniversary, this was the only district that you did not visit its Traditional Rulers’ Council while you visited the three other Traditional Rulers’ Councils namely the Egba, Remo and Ijebu Traditional Rulers’ Councils. The reason for this is that infrastructures, particularly road infrastructure in the area are in a parlous state and there were indeed paucity of completed projects for you to commission. Incidentally, your vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s maternal origin is traced to Ilaro, the administrative and political headquarters of Ogun West as well as the seat of Yewa Traditional Council, the only such council in Ogun West.
Over the years, the marginalization of the people of the district in the state in terms of equal chances in governance and civil service has been compounded by denial of appointments of key officers of the Federal Government and its agencies. Key and top federal appointments from the state as with the governorship of the state has been from the two senatorial district of Ogun Central and East. Since the advent of our nascent democracy in 1999, no person from Ogun West has been appointed a minister of the Federal Republic. The last time we had a minister was under the military administration of General Sanni Abacha when Mrs. Iyabo Anisulowo was appointed minister of education.
Many federal appointments also ended up by act of omission or commission in the hands of the people of the other two senatorial districts further relegating the people and development of Ogun West to the backwaters. Mr. President, I and majority of my people that voted for you overwhelmingly believe in your sense of fairness, justice and equity and were expectant that in terms of federal appointments, you may look in the direction of Ogun West for some key federal positions that is coming to Ogun State. The area is not in short supply of qualified and indeed ardent supporters of your administration. But surprisingly, your administration seems to be following the trend of old and further relegate Ogun West in the scheme of things. So far the major federal appointments made by your administration have gone to people from Ogun Central and East.
They are namely the Minister of Finance, the chairman of NCC and the Post Master General of Nigeria, the Registrar of JAMB, INEC REC and member Governing Council of Universities. We are not in doubt of the competence of the individuals so appointed and we are indeed elated that Ogun State parades illustrious sons and daughters that can hold their own anywhere in the world.
Yours sincerely, Chief Kayode Odunaro JP
● Ona Ola Compound, Ilaro, Yewa South LGA