IT is no longer news that there is a carefully orchestrated move by a few individuals to sow seeds of discord in the Ondo State All Progressives Congress (APC). Recent events have proven this with the media attacks against Engr. Tunji Ariyomo FNSE. Since the election of Barrister Rotimi Akeredolu SAN till last week, the party has been a one united entity rallying behind Akeredolu, the leader of the party in the state. Aketi had deployed his superb organization skills and wisdom to forge the different interests into a united entity, and he succeeded. Some political stakeholders who hardly exchanged greetings in the past now commonly associate. Even those who left the party in the wake of the governorship elections are now reconciling and coming back.
Some political interests from Akure however appeared determinedly opposed to the goal of the governor and have been daily plotting to throw spanner in the hard-work that the governor has put in. They have boasted everywhere that they would ensure they create a wedge between Ariyomo and the governor. Their first plot was to create an enemy base for Ariyomo by spreading unfounded rumours that he was interested in running for a seat in the Senate or the Federal House of Representatives. While he is courageous enough to aspire if he desires, this time, it is a lie. In an interview by Trace Magazine published on December 24 2017, which enjoyed wide circulation in the state, Ariyomo declared that he had no interest in contesting any position. He went further to state that since he joined the Akeredolu government in September 2017, every member of the cabinet must rally round Akeredolu as the leader and that if the leader in his wisdom calls upon Ariyomo to contest a position or serve in any other capacity, he would gladly step forward.
Penultimate week, the same ever-plotting group from Akure went into overdrive, when they chanced upon a glowing and brilliant recommendation on Ariyomo that the Paramount Ruler of Akure Kingdom, Ikubabayeye the Deji of Akure, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo Odundun II, forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari in April 2017, which in itself was a follow up to previous efforts that predated the 2016 gubernatorial elections in the state and which clearly predated Ariyomo’s joining the Akeredolu Cabinet.
Apart from wilfully forging a section of the recommendation to sit well with their motivation, it became their smoking gun evidence and they had at least two malleable cheap ‘journalists’ they procured to help them sensationalize the story that Ariyomo was working against his principal. Simple arithmetic shows that a letter written in April 2017 cannot be factored into Ariyomo’s unimpeachable omoluabi’s character over a position he accepted and was sworn-in to in September 2017. Or that a highly technical federal cabinet position which Ariyomo was interviewed for as far back as February 2016 by the Presidency, 7 months ahead of the APC guber primary in Ondo State, cannot be vitiated by an appointment he only took in September 2017. Apart from Odundun II, do they know the number and calibre of other royal fathers that rose in support of Ariyomo?
It is a fact, except politicians that may want to delude themselves, that every politician worth his onion rely on his contacts and leaders who believe in him to attain political growth. There are leaders who believe that Tunji Light Ariyomo (TLA) has something to contribute to local and national development and they have never shied away from recommending him at any point in time. Apart from his professional superiors in the engineering field, the list of such leaders includes President Olusegun Obasanjo, Aare Afe Babalola SAN and many more. Aare’s recommendation of Ariyomo and his verbal commendations of him could in fact make some to hit their heads against the rock.
I must state here without equivocation that I was the singular individual that dragged Tunji Ariyomo to a meeting with our current Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN sometimes in April 2015 when he was still VP elect. Ably assisted by my bosom brother, Pastor Jonathan Adeyemo, we, committee of friends who are ordained pastors and who share a very distinct vision for our country facilitated that encounter and the VP’s reaction under less than 15 minutes of interaction with Ariyomo proved us right. While Tunji only wanted to be a last-mile Consultant, the VP called for his CV, counselling as a gifted man of God and a no-nonsense professional (who could see the bigger picture) that only an insider could effect the kind of organic national infrastructure reforms that Tunji articulated.
So rather than support our own in Akure, we are actively pulling ours down. Akure ronu! All Akure freeborn, home and abroad, must commend Kabiyesi Aladetoyinbo for not reccommending a career politician but someone whose anticidents showed that he will positively project the image of the ancient city. Kabiyesis from the West, Obis from the East and Sultan and Emirs from the North daily recommend their capable sons and daughters. Odundun II is a pride to Akure and must be praised and commended for his sterling choice.
As a friend of Ariyomo, we know his unalloyed commitment to supporting Akeredolu to succeed. We also know that Akeredolu is of sterner built and courage and superior intelligence and can easily see through the infantile plots against this young man. If many royal fathers, iconic religious leaders and top professionals that have made their marks are eager and excited to support and endorse Tunji Ariyomo, any professional politician who seek otherwise is on his own.
If President Buhari or Governor Akeredolu in their wisdom decides that he should be a federal Minister, why should that cause any problem? Don’t his credentials stand out? Why can’t Ondo State have 2 ministers? Or even 3 if we are united? In this current dispensation, are there no states with more than 3 individuals holding such very strategic national appointments? When was the last time anyone saw the Hausa-Fulanis bicker or pull down their own when opportunity beckons?
In 2012, I Bolarinwa Omotoso, personally committed my individual resources and time to support Aketi. Ariyomo was in the UK at the time. Prince Olu Adegboro, Hon. Afe Olowookere, Chief Adaja and several others should be able to recall my selfless service and contributions. In 2016, I again served alongside TLA on the Akeredolu Support Organization as the Director of Youths. This is to let those who may want to personally “own Akeredolu” know that it is a massive blunder to so attempt. There is a huge crowd of people out there who want nothing but who believe in the pedigree and leadership of Aketi. We in that category will not fold our arms and allow some to put a wedge between him and capable people. A general is as strong as the number and quality of his troop. Aketi as a General needs many reliable lieutenants.
There is no plot without a motive. While it may appear that the promoters of this schism have no set targets, they do. It is the fear of the unknown. But let it be known that our own Tunji Light Ariyomo is not a politician in the mould they fear. TLA has no interest in leadership or who leads a local government, a federal constituency or a senatorial district. When election comes, TLA knows what to do to bring out the votes and everyone cannot deny his efficiency on that front. But this is not the time for election. This is the time to fulfil electoral promises. This is the time to lay the foundation for tomorrow’s street credibility. It is such street credibility, already laid, that the likes of TLA would deploy as ‘weapons’ during elections. This is the role Tunji is actively engaged in today – to ensure that Akeredolu succeeds.
*Bolarinwa Omotoso, PhD contributed this piece from Ondo State.