Soji Adagunodo, Osun PDP

By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo

The embattled Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State, Hon. Olasoji Adagunodo has taken a swipe at his kinsman and factional chairman of the party whom he addressed as Pathfinder Group leader and Chief Campaigner of Senator Ademola Adeleke for governor, addressing him as “a man without honour and a ready tool by anybody that can give him money.”

Hon. Adagunodo in interview granted in a reaction to an earlier interview granted @Orientmagazine by Hon. Sunday Bisi expressed shock that Sunday Bisi can still hold on to the obsolete lies and attempts to blackmail him which has been laid bare and the initiators have shown remorse with series of apologies in writing and verbal reactions. Below is the full text of the interview.

What’s your reaction to an interview granted our magazine by the Factional Chairman of PDP. Can you shed light on some of the issues that came up in the course of that interview?

I will like to react to the specific allegations brought up by Sunday Bisi in the interview which appeared as a recalcitrance on his part. First, I will like to correct the erroneous impression about the status of Sunday Bisi in Osun PDP. He was elected into office as the Publicity Secretary of the party on March 25, 2018 and he remains so until his tenure winds up on March 25, 2022. He is the State Chairman of Pathfinder Group that is loyal to the aspirations of our party’s candidate in 2018 governorship contest. If you look at his activities in a recent tour of local government areas of the state, he has been campaigning vigorously and rigorously, assuring his audience that they will represent our former candidate again in 2022. No reasonable state chairman of any party will open his mouth and utter such a divisive statement when we have other governorship hopefuls in the party.

There is no doubt that there is intra party crisis in Osun and you’re at the centre of it, do you think your party will come out of it in no distant time, especially that election timetable has been released for Osun by INEC coupled with the fact that you’re still in court?

Thank you, every political party has issues and the one in PDP is as normal as that of any political party especially that election is coming up and people have aspirations. All sorts of scheming and horse trading will be on display. On the settlement of the party ahead of the election, and I being at the centre of it all, it is left for the leadership of the party to take a bold step that ensures we do not go into the election as a divided family. You will remember that when I first got interlocutory injunction to go back to office on November 3rd, 2020 and later preservation order on November 9th, 2020, when I got to the party secretariat and found out that it was locked, I granted an interview, I was ready to opt in for political solution but rather than exploring that opportunity, they went straight ahead to Appeal Court in Akure and up till now, the substantive case is still pending at the lower court due to the prolonged industrial action by the judicial workers. What I went to court for is very simple.

My removal was illegally done, it was based on spurious and malevolent allegations, not investigated as the constitution stipulates, hurriedly decided by a few click of three members of the National Working Committee instead of a Seven man National Disciplinary Committee, to be set up by NEC of the Party, it was also sordidly ratified by the same members of NWC instead of it to be ratified by and adjudicated by the National Executive Committee NEC, of the party. So in a nutshell, all their actions of terminating my tenure were aberrations, unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect as it contravened Article 2 of our party’s constitution which the National Chairman and Secretary signed into law in 2017 National convention of the party. But one hope, I mean the last hope for the party is the National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee, headed by the former Senate President and former Governor of Kwara State, HE, Dr. Bukola Saraki, if that is harnessed, the party will go into the coming election without fear and we are going to excel.

Hon. Bisi has been singing the praises of the Adeleke family and he said the party will win but it seems you’re against the Adelekes according to your statement earlier. What’s your view about Senator Ademola Adeleke’s candidacy in 2022?

I don’t have anything against Senator Ademola Adeleke or anyone in his family, i said it in one of my interviews that the party members should give him first consideration being our last Gubernatorial Candidate. If you don’t know, there is no single politician in Osun state today that is closer to the family than me, majority of them became Adeleke supporters through politics but I have been part of the family before Senator Isiaka Adeleke became governor, I was one of his junior friends in business. It is these politicians that wanted to extort Dr. Deji Adeleke during the West Senatorial bye-election, I disagreed, and as the chairman, I did not allow these politicians to extort him, and they put a wedge between us, and you know, Dr. Deji Adeleke is not a politician, he is purely from the business world, so they were successfully able to manipulate him. If you compare the results of the Senatorial bye-election and the governorship elections you will see that the so-called supporters of the Adelekes today lost everything when the party structures and party executives were not given proper place of party administration and they were replaced by their cronies and trusted friends.

On my stand about Senator Ademola Adeleke’s candidacy, I’m not against him becoming the candidate but what I’m saying is that the party organs have no constitutional right to be campaigning for an aspirant that has not become candidate. It is wrong.

But you were alleged to have supported Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi in 2018, what do you have to say about that?

Nobody can say that I campaigned for Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, not my State Working Committee, State Executive or Our Party Leaders, no I never did. The fact remained that I decided to change my mind and support him when almost all the Aspirants has pitch their tent with him , 23 out of 30 local government Chairmen has done same, 13 out of 14 State Officers of the party has done same, 12 out of 13 State Working Committee except Sunday Bisi has also done same, the Adelekes decided not to have anything doing with the party, Dr. Deji Adeleke openly told PDP leaders in a telephone conversation that he would not have anything to do with me or any of my executives, few days to the party primaries, so I shifted attention to Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi but I never campaigned for him throughout the way Sunday Bisi is doing now.

You were a close friend of Mr. Sunday Bisi and he in his recent interview he accused you of diverting the party’s fund into your private company account which formed the basis of your removal, can you shed more light on this statement?

Maybe I should open up. I dont want to talk. Please ask Sunday Bisi if money was not transferred to his personal account or the account of all the State Working Committee Members running into millions from the Account of the party, ask him and all the Working Committee members if they did not collect cash also running into millions from the party accounts, from the audit report he mentioned it was also alleged that Prince Bola Ajao collected #162m , also in the report it was alleged that a company belonging to Alhaji Kazeem Akinleye collected #10m , Hon Adesoye Oyetunde the treasurer of the Party was alleged of collecting #3m. Maybe all these people stole the Party money too. In politics, betrayal is their walking stick, betrayal is the pillar of their support, Sunday Bisi is an age long friend but I have taken everything he did as a pinch of salt, it is normal for him to aspire for any office but he would have gone through the rigours of contesting for the office the way I did between 2016 and 2018 before we finally settled the rift on March 25, 2018.

On the issue of fund diversion, I’m shocked that he can still be repeating that. I have a long list of letters where I have responded to all these spurious allegations. All the money he was referring to were money I borrowed the party during our party programs. All aspirants and leaders of the party were contributing money for every program of the party and in most cases, they hardly contributed up to 70% of our budget and I was always the one that source for the money to make the balance.

During the Step-Aside period, the Acting Chairman, Elder Sunday Akanfe Atidade addressed a press conference where all this allegations of diversion of money were alleged and I responded to their allegations that I operated the party as a private enterprise, my response then is here quoted:

“It is interesting that, at this juncture, the whole of the State Working Committee feigns ignorance of all the expenses of the party that we executed between the 25th March, 2018, when we were inaugurated, and October 6th 2018. This was the period funds were raised and expenditures incurred. Let me state unequivocally that between then and when I was told to step aside on April 30 2020, I was the major financier of the Party.

“The list is long but among others, the following party programs were undertaken between May and October 2018:_

_(1) SOUTHWEST Mega Rally_
_(2) 3 ad-hoc Ward Congresses,_
_(3) Local Government Congresses._
_(4) State congress for the PDP gubernatorial primary._
(5) Senatorial rallies
_(6) MEGA rally for the gubernatorial campaign._
_(7) 3 Ad-Hoc Ward delegates congresses again, for State and National Assembly primaries_
_(8) Local Government Congresses_
_(9) Gubernatorial campaigns and Consultations._
_(10) Gubernatorial elections._
_(11) Senate primaries_
_(12) House of Representatives primaries_
_(13) State Assembly primaries_
_(14) National Convention_
_(15) National Assembly and Presidential campaign_
_(16) State House of Assembly Campaign_
_(17) National Assembly and Presidential elections_
_(18) State Assembly elections_

_For all the above listed party activities, State Working Committee meetings, State Executive Meetings, Stakeholders meetings and Elders Caucus meetings in the House of our Leader Senator Olu Alabi were held. We, in fact, discussed all budget proposals and all expenses and how to raise funds to execute them._

_In this light, it is more than funny and ridiculous seeing the Atidade-led State Working Committee members that were fully part of all the decisions taken turning around, feigning ignorance of how these expenses were incurred.,_

“Whereas, proceeds from the sales of forms, including payments for delegate forms, were all remitted to the National headquarters of the party, all expenses and incomes were targeted at carrying out the party programs, including those mentioned above. Further more, one hundred and thirty thousand party membership Cards, copies of the Party Constitution and ward registers that were also purchased and distributed free of charge to the wards are also known to all of them, including Sunday Bisi and Elder Atidade. How convenient was it for Atidade-led SWC members to claim ignorance of all these expenses?_

_It is now very clear that the Acting Chairman is extremely culpable in the ongoing crises in the Osun State PDP maybe because he is also from Ede. I could be wrong but I want to believe that other executive members are still not and cannot be part of the shameful act._

_Many questions are begging for answers and its high time the PDP faithful and the general public who are truly interested in salvaging the PDP in Osun State asked the acting chairman some questions. He should stated whether or not:_

_(1) They are aware that we undertook the above mentioned activities and expended some funds?_

_(2) Were they not aware that we had budgets for each of these activities and that we discussed how to raise funds for them?_

_(3) Were some members of the SWC not part of the disbursement of the said money according to the dictates of their various offices and portfolios?_

_(4) What of the series of meetings that we usually held, preceding all these activities, involving the SWC, the State Executive Committee meetings, the Stakeholders meetings, the Elders Caucus meetings in Baba, Dr. (Senator) Olu Alabi’s house before the commencement of all these activities apart from our regular normal meetings?_

_(5) There were officers that disbursed funds for coverage of party activities, led by Sunday Bisi the PRO, mobilization, legal running expenses, refreshment and souvenir, Food and drinks used on all occasions._ _Organization of events expenses, various religious and spiritual consultations, Security, both orthodox and unorthodox local , Honorarium for officials that supervised those activities and Government Agencies logistics?_
_Did any one of them remember to collect receipts for the disbursements?_

_(6) Are they aware of the various committees set up for both Mega rallies and Senatorial rallies?_

_(7) Are they aware that the Southwest Working committee was the Main Organising committee and we are Local Organising committees with various sub committees._

_This is actually becoming extremely laughable and a serious joke taken too far. It might not be palatable for the Party. I hope the founding fathers, pioneer members and leadership of the Party will salvage the situation from those who are hell-bent on destroying our Party because of personal motives and agenda._

Ask Sunday Bisi if he was not directly involved in the publicity of the party programs as the State PRO and the Director of Media, Hon. Bamidele Salam who is now a member of the Federal House of Representatives. Does it mean the millions that I was persuaded to borrow the party which was meant for live coverage of the South West Mega rally paid to AIT which Sunday Bisi superintended was stolen by him?

Does it mean that several millions of Naira that Elder Atidade, Alhaji Taye Ambali Kondo and other spiritual leaders took for prayers that were disbursed to them by Prince Bola Ajao were stolen by them?

The duo of the financial secretary Alhaji Remi Arogundade and treasurer Hon Adesoye Oyetunde disbursed close to 20 million cash during the South West Mega Rally, were they accused of stealing?

It means that the yet to be refunded millions of Naira taken by Sunday Bisi in form of loan from the party accounts for his office and same expended were stolen by him? It also portends that the over N162m that Prince Bola Ajao collected and expended on party activities like mobilization of party members from local government areas were stolen by him?

It is very unfortunate that Sunday Bisi can still be holding himself back in this deliberate effort of an audit report that captured only repayment of loans back to me and not the loans from the same C-SOKA bank account when the party was in distress and dire need of money. I borrowed the party money on requests with the knowledge of the leaders , Southwest Working Committee members, my executives and some of such money were paid back and same now being tagged by Sunday Bisi as unauthorized transfer by me. The fact that he said I transferred money without their consent shows he is purely a deliberate liar with intent to destroy me. We have 3 signatories to the Party accounts and it is two people to sign, you can see how daft Sunday Bisi is by saying i single handedly transferred money from party accounts.

This is a summary of my response to their allegations.

_Having said that, on the money you claimed was transferred to C-SOKA NIGERIA LIMITED, you were aware and I know that the State Working Committee members, the Executive Committee members, the Stakeholders, the leaders of our party, all members of Elders Caucus and all strata of the leadership of our great party in Osun State as well as the Dr Eddy Olafeso led Zonal Working Committee were all aware that we chartered a 50 seater plane to bring all the National leadership of our party, led by His Excellency, Prince Uche Secondus to Osun State for the South West MEGA rally._

_The service was paid for by C-SOKA Nigeria Limited on behalf of our party, because the initial arrangements to use Dr. Deji Adeleke’s private jet failed. The aviation company was linked to us by Mr. Bamidele Adeleke who is versatile in aviation business. He nominated the airline and sent the company’s account to me personally. I paid the company from C-SOKA Nigeria Limited – N7,516,000:00. Facts are sacred it is always better to dig deep than to assume and act on impulse._

_In the same vein, we also contacted DAAR COMMUNICATIONS media outfit, AIT to cover the South West MEGA rally live. The South West Chairman, Dr. Eddy Olafeso was in charge. Due to insufficient funds in the Party accounts, through which the money was paid, DAAR COMMUNICATIONS threatened not to mobilize their technicians to Osun unless payment was completed. Again, I had to rescue the party by paying from C-SOKA Nig Ltd the sum of N1,000,000:00 to DAAR COMMUNICATIONS to save the face of the party from another financial embarrassment._

_Furthermore, we all agreed at the South West Organizing Committee meeting to use customized Shirts, T-Shirts and Jerseys and ordinary T-shirts, Jerseys, face caps, round neck T-shirts and other souvenirs to make the Rally colourful, it was myself that paid for the items in the sum of N5,402,500:00. Recall as well that we agreed at the meeting that expected defectors to the party that day, numbering about 8,000, be given ANKARA materials. Even though we were supposed to purchase Ankara for 8,000 people, we were only able to purchase 5,000 bundles of Ankara due to paucity of funds. These were sent to all local governments for use by defectors from other parties to the PDP. I paid the sum of Five Million Naira (N5m) personally to proactively push this from a mere idea to reality. It is worth stressing that arrangements for all these were, as a matter of necessity, to be done earlier, before the week of the Rally. Hence, my coming to the aid of our party in that regard and on several other occasions._

_It is, therefore, necessary to make it clear that it was all these funds that were refunded and credited to C-SOKA Nigeria Limited account. It may interest you to know that the money refunded was not up to the amount I lent the party. The records of the party’s indebtedness to me are available but were not included in the Audit Report. For you to now mischievously raise a false alarm and play dumb over transactions that are not unknown to the party leadership and attempt to attack my personality is callous, irrational, and demeaning of your status as a leader and active participant in the processes that led to how I actually bailed out our party._

My advice for the leaders of the party is to make sure that they properly address this issue of unfounded allegations against me, not just because of my person and my innocence alone but because of the future of the party, per adventure the party needs similar assistance in future, do you think some other people will be willing to assist if this crop of ungrateful elements like Sunday Bisi are put in charge of the activities of the party? Some people have been calling me of recent and they told me that Sunday Bisi asked them to give him the names of people who are well-to-do in their various local government to be contacted for donations, do you know what their responses are? Many of them went back home and warned their people to learn a lesson from me. They want stringent conditions that will ensure that they get their money back from them because according to them, Adagunodo was disgraced despite spending his money on the party.

Hon. Sunday Bisi said you didn’t play your card very well and when asked further he said you know what he meant by that, also you have a new name in Osun Political circle as Hon. Ibukun Fadipe referred to you as MUIBI SONUBI, please can you dig further?

Well you would have asked him what he meant by that, I’m not a politician that will be encouraging people to sell their conscience, that was their expectation of me. They boldly approached Dr. Deji Adeleke to do, which I rejected may have given rise to their decision to take me out of the way so that they can fully embark on the real business of ripping aspirants of their hard earned money. I remember reading in his interview where he said every member of the State Executive of the party jointly agreed to remove me, no that was not true. We have so many who objected but they were induced with money , intimidated with dissolution of the Executives and the National Legal Adviser was also capable “dropping” the name of the National Chairman too. The state Youth Leader, and some others, when they discovered their motives behind my removal backed out, especially when they discovered that all the allegations of financial impropriety they were talking about were spurious, they warned them and said “the State Chairman, Hon. Olasoji Adagunodo is yet to be found guilty of anything.” However it was not just Sunday Bisi alone that was of that opinion but my brothers too, Hon. Oluwole Oke and Hon. Ibukun Fadipe , Alhaji Kazeem Akinleye who all went to Dr. Deji Adeleke, negotiated with him to give me N100m, two Jeeps and a Toyota Hilux Pick-Up utility vehicle to facilitate his brother’s emergence as the lone candidate of the party. Dr. Deji Adeleke truly bought into that, invited me and told me about their house discussion with my kinsmen. I rejected it and told him to go and use the money on the delegates instead of me and that was where our disagreement started. Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi got a hint of that arrangement, I don’t know who told him, he offered to make his own N120m with other cars as promised by Dr. Deji Adeleke, also for him to emerge and I gave him the same advice. Hon. Wole Oke was even bold enough to label me as NOT SMART and VERY CHEAP. Can you beat that? That’s where they gave me the appellation of MUIBI, ARIGBINMAHE etc but I thank God that I’m vindicated today.

Assuming you’re reinstated either through the court or through political solution as you said earlier, will you support Senator Ademola Adeleke if he eventually wins the party’s primaries and becomes the candidate of your party?

Why not? In 2018, go and find out, I was ostracized, abandoned and replaced by the family of our candidate with all my executives from Ward, Local government up to the state level. I had to withdraw money from my personal account which I shared among the State Executive Committee members and all leaders that the Adeleke family were told not to give any money. It was all these people that I gave my personal money that won the governorship election for the party. Everybody who claimed support for Senator Ademola Adeleke lost with the exception of those from Ede, Akogun Lere Oyewumi, Senator Francis Fadahunsi and Hon. Ibukun Fadipe. Those four personalities and my people were the only ones who won their units and Wards, every other lost woefully. If he is lucky to get the ticket of the party, I will still repeat the same feat and win for him but they must be ready to carry everybody along the way we did in 2017 during the West Senatorial bye-election. Every vote matters, we have 3,010 polling units in Osun state, if all PDP members had won his/her units with just 2 votes we would have led the APC with 6,020 votes and the issue of inconclusive based on cancelled 3,000 votes in 7 polling units wouldn’t have arisen.

Senator Kola Ogunwale, JUMOKOL also alleged that he sold one of his buildings and gave you N62m, is that true?

Humnnn! Senator Ogunwale really surprised me, in fact he amazed me a lot. I never expected his recent actions, I’m seriously disturbed and wonder if something is not really wrong somewhere. He used to be very close and nice, we have been good friends, I really respect him being elderly and elegant but on the issue of N62m, there is nothing of such, a friend of mine, Alhaji Isa Bello can attest to the good relationship between both of us. Since the news of the N62m broke out I have gone to bank to print out all statements of account of C-SOKA that Senator Ogunwale claimed he transferred the money to but he has refused to pick my calls for verification. I told Alhaji Yisa Bello to invite him and be a witness in inspecting my company statement of account, since then he has ran away the only money he ever gave me was N2m during my son’s wedding which I rejected but had to take after so many persuasion, he is alive today to bear me witness if something is not wrong oooooo. He was getting angry because of my refusal but interestingly enough, Senator Ogunwale came to me one day that he was cash strapped and needed N2m urgently that he want me to borrow him .The N2m he gave me during my son’s wedding was intact in the bank, even that of Adeleke family are still safe in the bank as I’m speaking. So I gave him his two million naira back. Ask Junokol up till today he is yet to refund the #2m. But for him to be going round and be blackmailing me is very unfortunate and sad, it is not expected from someone of his calibre, I expected him to be among the gladiators who will make the party’s crisis subside.

In a short sentence, what’s is the way out of this quagmire and what’s the hope of your party in the coming gubernatorial contest?

The way out is for the leaders of the party to go back to factory reset, respect the constitution of the party, especially, the National Working Committee of our party who have taken it upon themselves to destabilize the party because someone from our state is sponsoring the party at the national according to some of them. If the leadership of the party get it right and do the needful, the party has what it takes to be in government in Osun in 2022 and they should not forget also that Osun State governorship election is like the window to the nation’s presidential and other general elections, getting it right in Osun is the best for the party at the federal level, anything short of victory for PDP in Osun in 2022 may not be palatable.