What is corruption?-Part 1, The boiling hot current state of politics in Oyo State.

24 Jan

*Disclaimer-The following entry is based on my personal observations, conversations, and compilations of the opinions of people I know, am close to, and respect in Ibadan. Due to the fact that I am not a citizen of this country, I do not claim to have any opinion or affiliation with any sort of opinion relating to politics here. These are strictly my observations and reiterations of the news.*

The governor of Oyo state (the state I live in, Ibadan is the capital city), Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala is not very well-liked by his constituents. For four years he has been embezzling money intended for Oyo state projects into his own bank accounts.

Adebayo Alao-Akala, the Oyo State Governor

Akala is an appropriate case study of a Nigerian politician-he is extremely highly paid, enjoys his swagger in the form of fancy motorcades, expensive clothing, and expensive real estate; he is self glorifying and propagandized billboards promoting himself are all over the state). When a horrendously weathered and haggard road in Ibadan finally and miraculously makes it in front of Akala’s attention, he publicly claims he will spend say 50,000 Naira to fix it. He finds cheap laborers and sand, spends perhaps 5,000 Naira to make a cheap and weak fix, and keeps the rest of the money for himself. The result is a quickly deteriorating road and unhappy Ibadan residents. Public school teachers in Oyo state have not received a paychecks since last May. I would be surprised to find one public school teacher in this entire state who has anything positive to say about Akala.

This upcoming april, “By God’s Grace,” as Yoruba people say all of the time about everything imaginable, Nigeria will hold a presidential election. This election will pose an interesting dilemma as Nigeria’s current president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was the former vice president and came to power last year after President Yar’Adua died. When Nigeria reviewed and edited its constitution in 1999, there was an agreement that the president’s position would switch off between each of the three main ethnic groups in Nigeria-Yorubas from the southwest, Hausas from the north, and Igbos from the southeast or “south south.” Yoruba’s first president after the constitution, Obasanjo was Yoruba from the southwest. Yar’Adua followed (a Hausa from the north), but many Hausas from the north argue that because he did not complete his term, it is still deserving of the Hausa people of the north to elect the next president. Goodluck Jonathan, who is running, is from the southeast. Due to this complex, racially and ethnically charged situation, tensions are high in the country over politics. Despite this discrepancy, it is looking more and more certain that Goodluck Johnathan will win.

Tensions are no less pertinent at the state level. Due to Akala’s corruption and governing style, it is unlikely he will win the next election-that is unless he brings his own lawless ways into the picture. On December 31st 2010, the Transport Workers’ Union Director for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP, Akala’s party) was murdered in Ibadan. A senate majority leader, also a PDP member, Teslim Folarin was accused of his murder. Folarin was Akala’s biggest opponent in the primary PDP elections, which occurred two weeks ago. To make a long and complicated story short and simple, Akala actually originally ordered thugs and hit-men to murder Folarin. Folarin’s posse members were tipped off and intercepted the threat before it was too late. They then paid off the same thugs to instead kill one of Akala’s party members and supporters. Despite the fact that Akala caused the entire situation, Folarin was charged with murder-Akala didn’t finish him off, but he did ruin his reputation and send him to court for a murder trial. After he was thrown in jail, thugs and supporters of Akala protested by firing automatic weapons in the air in a neighborhood not far from where I live-Eleyele, Ibadan. The story doesn’t end here, however. After a mere two days in prison and on trial, the court pardoned Folarin of his crime and gave him complete amnesty. Why? A rumor has been going around that Goodluck Johnathan himself pardoned Folarin because he was the senate majority leader, also a PDP member, and Jonathan (a PDP member himself) needed the vote from Oyo state. More accurately, it is assumed that the court pardoned him as to prevent more violence and fighting as the elections approach. Folarin’s supporters’ violent demonstration in Eleyele was enough to send the message that they were willing to go to the extreme. It is said that he was released on the condition that he will not cause any more problems.
Politics in Nigeria more closely resemble that of a mafia rather than a democracy. Guns, machetes, and money hold much more power and importance than anything else. PDP primary elections were held both at the state and federal levels two weeks ago. Of course Akala won in Oyo state and Goodluck Johnathan won the presidential primaries for PDP.

17 Responses to “What is corruption?-Part 1, The boiling hot current state of politics in Oyo State.”

  1. Tinuola Ajayi January 24, 2011 at 8:53 PM #

    Very good piece. Very good!Despite the fact
    You are a foreigner you really seem to
    Understand Ibadan politics. Nice!

  2. Karen Born January 24, 2011 at 9:58 PM #

    Wow…

  3. singo singo January 24, 2011 at 10:45 PM #

    This is called Amala Politics… ask people around about Adedibu the man responsible for the popularization of Amala politics in Nigeria

  4. Kris Schewene January 25, 2011 at 2:24 PM #

    Wow-when I start to feel thoroughly frustrated with politics in the US I will just need to remind myself of your blog…..

  5. Fisayo January 27, 2011 at 6:49 PM #

    Kevin kayode, quite well said. I wish Akala could read your piece and hopefully feel very ashamed of the representation of himself by a non-citizen.

  6. joyce January 27, 2011 at 8:02 PM #

    I believe you formed your opinions from comments you heard from people around you and it is rather sad. That is not journalism. While not holding brief for Gov Akala or anybody,I think the depth and intricacies of the politics of Ibadan may just be deeper than you can understand. Please note that you will rarely hear (if at all) any positive comment from an Ibadan indigene about the Governor.
    You were not here 3-4 years ago before he became Gov, so you might not be able to measure the level of his contributions.At the back page of today’s 27th Guardian newspapers, is a picture of firemen putting off the fire of a petrol (gas) tanker that fell and caught fire in Ojoo, Ibadan. 3-4 years ago,Oyo state DID NOT have a functional fire service dept.
    ALL his older children schooled in Nigeria primary,secondary and 1st degrees, the younger ones are still in school in Nigeria even in Ibadan.
    Please crosscheck your information very well,Oyo State is not owing any teacher salary,not even one month. I trust the Teachers unions, if that was the case,they would have been on strike by now.
    I will round up by quoting the Yoruba cliche that”nkan ti oju ko ba ri, enu o kin nso” meaning what the eyes did not see, the mouth do not say.
    Please next time before you do a hatchet job on any individual it will only be fair for you to get ALL your facts right, Oyinbo

    • irinajoyinbo January 31, 2011 at 12:04 PM #

      I appreciate that you shared your opinion. I do not consider this blog factual journalism, nor is that the reason I created it. I am simply trying to share my experiences abroad with friends and family back home. As a foreigner, I don’t claim to know the complete truth about everything in this country, especially something as complicated as politics, although it is something I strive for. I am simply relaying things I hear a lot from a wide range of Nigerians I know and trust here. Instead of trying to attack politicians personally, my aim is simply to share with others in my country the kind of words that are exchanged on a daily basis. Furthermore, due to the state of journalism in Nigeria, it is very difficult to know what is factual and what is not by relying only on newspapers. I have had several personal experiences where I have been completely misquoted and misrepresented in a wide variety of publications here so I am not all that inclined to blindly trust the news. I am sorry I made some mistakes in my piece, I will correct them accordingly. I know three teachers however, who I confirmed yesterday that have still not received their salaries since last May so don’t assume that everything you wrote is also the absolute truth.

    • singo singo January 31, 2011 at 5:35 PM #

      Joyce, do you work for Akala? I ask this question because not one person in Ibadan or Nigeria supports that impostor. Except maybe his family members and those who have benefited from his corrupt government, nobody has a good thing to say about him. Please stop trying to intimidate Kayode because he’s a foreigner, his views are in line with that of many Oyo people and Nigerians. They are also closer to the truth than yours.

      Here are posts from a Nigerian forum on ‘Honorable’ Akala
      http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-297174.0.html
      http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-565711.0.html

      • irinajoyinbo January 31, 2011 at 8:53 PM #

        O se jare!

      • joyce February 10, 2011 at 7:13 PM #

        Singo singo, I dont work for Akala, but I am from Oyo state and I go home a lot. I went through the links posted and I could see that the opinions were varied especially with respect to the public toilet constructions. However, you could see the positive comments from people living in Oyo State. You may not like the person of Akala but you cannot compare his achievements with his predecessors (who were all from Ibadan by the way),he has done far better than them all.Kayode, Oyo state is not owing any teacher’s salary. Singo, my statements are true.

  7. joyce January 27, 2011 at 8:04 PM #

    I hope you will be fair and allow my comments to be posted or remove this piece. Its slanted and not a fair representation at all.

  8. Stephen January 28, 2011 at 5:23 AM #

    I will keep this in mind when I am taking my “Introduction to Government and Politics” course in New Zealand. I wonder how the Nigerian people feel about this. My guess would be quite powerless. This makes me feel better about our system in the U.S. and some of the things we take for granted. At least there were no AK-47’s at this year’s State of the Union address (although I’m sure there are some representatives that would bring one if they could.)

  9. Bash February 10, 2011 at 1:29 PM #

    Hi Kevin Kayode:

    Interesting to see the world through the eyes of an outsider… it’s definitely not ideal, but I’m one Nigeria who’s convinced our worst times are over and it can only get better.

    Just need to make a correction – the rotation agreement with respect to Nigeria’s presidency is not in anyway reflected in the country’s constitution. It is, however, an agreement within PDP (some say it’s a gentleman’s agreement, some say it’s written in the party’s constitution… I don’t know which is fact), which has been the ruling party since Nigeria’s re-entry on the democratic scene.

    Keep up the adventure, and I look forward to reading more about your experiences.

  10. fk February 10, 2011 at 5:43 PM #

    Irinaoyinbo,
    Just a few observations. The president Goodluck Jonathan is not from the South-East, but from the South-South: a part considered as minority in Nigeria. That was the main reason the North found it so difficult to let him assume the presidency: they found it ‘insultive’ i believe.
    But i must say that i’m impressed by your intrest in the Yoruba language and culture. I’m really impressed. “O kare, omo’re ti j’iyan nain.” I’ll translate that if you let me know you can’t.

  11. Tomi February 23, 2011 at 3:32 AM #

    I love your disclaimer at the beginning of your article! Saves you a lot of trouble.
    Joyce is probably not aware of the goings on in Oyo state or is just blissfully ignorant! Like the proverb goes there is no smoke without fire.
    If Akala is an honest man, the widespread hatred and disdain for him that is so prevalent will dissipate with time. Time will tell so that those who choose to ignore the truth will sing out a bitter tune when the smoke from the fire begins to smart their eyes!
    The fact that he has done better than his predecessors is nothing to be proud about, if his predecessors did nothing Akala’s contributions cannot be said to be outstanding!

  12. bolanle February 26, 2011 at 9:03 PM #

    Wow this has been an interesting journey.
    Oyo politics is something that can be seen is a lots of states, the loud posters and banners,over priced budgets and poor deliverym
    I’Sat, Feb 26, 2011 say our politicians make a lot of P.R companies vey rich.
    Nice work oyinbo but pls try to get your facts right.

  13. bolanle February 26, 2011 at 9:07 PM #

    Sorry was distracted while commenting earlier lol, excuse my mistakes.

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