Between Fulfilling Your Promise On Bursaries, Calling Your Appointees To Order, And Maintaining Good Intra-party Leadership
Your Excellency, the first time I reached out to you via an open letter was in May 2020, after the demise of your dear friend, and the crooner of “Omi tuntun,” Mr. Kehinde Ayoola. May his soul continue to rest in peace. I also reached out for the second time in July 2020.
As it is known, choosing silence instead of blurting out ‘in-the-moment’ feelings that are hurtful are not really how you feel in the grand scheme of things is one of the best ways to communicate. And I have seen myself subscribing more to this aforesaid thought lately.
Choosing to get my pen off the radar for a while doesn’t mean I have nothing meaningful to contribute. Rather, my two years of silence were indeed years of direct access to some of your appointees who I believe have been giving you feedback on some of our observations on issues going on within the State.
In the last letter, I articulated my opinion clearly on different affairs relating to your administration, ranging from Education, Health, Economy, Bursary, and Scholarship, among others.
With the need to say my piece, my letter will be addressing two major issues; Indigenous Union Bursary & Scholarship and General Governance which will be limited to how it affects the 2023 General Election.
Your Excellency, in my last letter, I spoke about how you were granting students bursaries and scholarships before emerging as Governor, and how the good gesture stopped immediately you emerged as Governor. On this issue, your appointees, to the extent of what I was able to gather, couldn’t come up with a proper response on this.
While it’s important to connect the past with the present to define a secured future, I wish to remind your Excellency that one of the promises you made during your campaign in 2019 was the Bursary & Scholarship Scheme for students. Sadly, less than 12 months to the expiration of your Administration, only Law school students were awarded bursaries in 2019, with the payment being effected in 2020.
According to the December 11, 2020 report of Business Day, an online newspaper, the Oyo State Government through the Commissioner for Education as at that time, Barrister Olasunkanmi Olaleye informed the public of the readiness of the State Government to pay Oyo State Indigenes studying in Higher Institutions bursary and scholarship. “The commissioner, who stated that Governor Makinde’s administration is ready to address the issue of bursary awards and scholarships to Oyo State students in tertiary institutions, maintained that the state, through its scholarship board, has earmarked the sum of N834 Million for that purpose in the 2021 Appropriation Bill, which is before the Oyo State House of Assembly”.
It might interest you to know that since then till now, the question in the mind of many Oyo State Indigenes can simply be resolved to really query the authentication of the Governor’s plan on bursary and scholarship scheme.
Your Excellency, I’m aware that the leadership of the Indigenous association at different times has met with Government representatives. However, one of the recurring excuses given was that the government has no data to work on the scheme.
I ask; where were they getting students’ data when you were an aspirant contesting? Is it not funny that they couldn’t remember or make use of those sources again after your emergence?
Your Excellency, I was privileged to attend a meeting with the leadership of the State Scholarship Broad, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education, Commissioner for Youth & Sports, S.A on Students Matters in 2020, when I was the Head of Media, Senate Arm, Federation of Oyo State Students’ Union, National Council. It was the representatives of the State Government that called the leadership of FOSSU National at that meeting. What was discussed at that meeting was bursary and scholarship. Unfortunately, your representatives gave the same excuse, saying that they have sent letters to different institutions and are yet to receive enough responses that the ministry can work on. Isn’t it strange how your representatives couldn’t trust students’ leaders who were trusted during the electioneering process?
At that meeting, we gave several way-forwards. One of them was that each President of the Federation of Oyo State Students in each Institution across the country should liaise with their Division of Students’ Affairs, and get the list of _bonafide_ Oyo students duly signed by the division and send it to the National Council for compilation. This, among other suggestions, was made, but unfortunately, none was implemented.
It might interest you to know that the option I gave above is the most reliable for any government that’s ready to pay.
To paint a better instance of the idea projected above, in Obafemi Awolowo University, the Federation of Oyo State Students’ Union President as at the time (Khalid) already liaised with the Dean of Students’ Affairs then and was attended to.
Your Excellency, I understand and recognize the excesses of students’ leaders over the years. But that isn’t enough to deny students their dividend as expected despite your heavy investment in the Education Sector. This leads me to the part where I inform you of some of your appointees who have been misrepresenting you.
Sir, your Special Assistant on Students Matters, Victor Olojede is alleged of being at the forefront of the ugly issues surrounding the leadership election of our dear Union, Federation of Oyo State Students’ Union, National Council.
The Union National election has been postponed three times. The last one was held on the 26th of March, 2022 at Igbo-Ora.
Amidst vested interests between the current leadership of the Union as at that time, Azeez Muritala Olowoeko and Ajadi Isaac, and some of your appointees who are using your name as a protective mask.
The electoral committee, after over 5 months of constituting them and postponing the election, finally held an election on the 26th of March which saw one Alarape emerge as the factional president. This is because the election was conducted by the General Secretary of the committee while the Chairman announced another postponement.
Sir, Mr. Victor Olojede still has questions to answer, most especially for giving us a divided union for reasons best known to him. I wouldn’t want to mention a lot of things that happened at the election ground.
Your Excellency, people are asking us if there are no better people in the Union, and that is the reason I’m informing you about this development. I hold no grudges against the aforesaid persons, but the S.A hasn’t done well. From mobilizing thugs to the venue of the election ground, to buying votes under the guise of logistics funds, among others. The S.A appears not to be the only one in this, as he only outwitted Ajadi Isaac and Olowoeko who also had vested interests. Unfortunately, the S.A who’s supposed to be a leader for all identified with a faction, sent congratulatory message and fixed swearing-in date which will be holding soon.
Your Excellency, there are evidences of the dirty tricks Mr. Victor Olojede did, including the involvement of one your commissioners to distort the peace that we have been enjoying in our Union over the years.
Your Excellency, as I did promise in my opening introduction I will be addressing two issues, the second issue which I Identified is General Governance as it relates to the 2023 General Election.
Sir, I was one of those who worked for your emergence in 2019. We made efforts to get some data that were useful for your call center. I was the General Secretary of the Federation of Ibadan Students’ Union, Obafemi Awolowo University then. Alongside my President, Babatunde Mutiu Damilare (Captain Oath), we supported the movement. Our encounter with Mr. Kazeem, who at that time was the one coming to Ife to meet with us as a representative for one of your campaign organizations. We supported the movement without collecting a dime as opposed to what was obtainable among other students’ leaders. We did that out of the love and genuine desire for change. Unfortunately, what have our members gotten in return? The bursary and scholarship that would have been a direct benefit to them are what your appointees are playing politics with. We can’t even ascertain if some people are not stealing that fund.
Your Excellency, 2023 is here. I sincerely don’t know how to convince them again. They are students and the direct benefit they can get is what they have been denied for almost three years. Although, it’s not too late, like I said, as their representative, I must speak on their behalf. I receive their messages everyday, asking me when the student-friendly governor will remember them.
Your Excellency, there are a lot of things to speak on, especially the ongoing imposition of National and State House of Assembly Aspirants in your party. Unfortunately, I’m not a registered member of your party. But as someone interested in your success, I will advise that you allow the people to decide who represents them.
I will stop here for now till there’s a need to reach out to you again.
I hope this letter meets your Excellency and all other concerned individuals in good health.
‘Kayode Ajani writes from Ibadan North LG. He can be reached via 08104260476 or firstname.lastname@example.org