Wale Adedayo, the suspended chairman of Ijebu East Local Council is a long distance runner, and in the moment, he may have to continue to bear the loneliness of a long distance runner, no thanks to his colleagues ( fellow local government chairmen in the state), who have left him in the lurch after accusing the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun of diverting the local governments funds in the state.
On August 31, Adedayo shelled the governor in volley of bullets of accusations over diversion of funds meant for local governments. But hours after the opening of the Pandora box, other local government chairmen in the state issued a denial , and what could pass as a rebuttal to Adedayo’s.
The Chairmen denied the allegation that the state government had been diverting their funds, resulting in zero allocation to them, as alleged by the Chairman of Ijebu East council area, Mr. Wale Adedayo.
The Chairmen disclosed this, on that same day of the accusations, in the night, when they visited Governor Dapo Abiodun without Adedayo, who made the allegation, to tender an unreserved apology, noting that they accepted that mistakes had been made.
The meeting, held at the Governor’s office at Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta, was attended by 18 out of the 20 Chairmen.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Ijebu-Ode Local Government, who also doubles as the chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, Mr. Babatunde Gazal, told the governor that the visit was to beg for forgiveness.
Gazal acknowledged that in May, N4.5 billion was shared by the 20 council areas. In June, N4.4 billion was shared, while July also saw the sharing of N4.4 billion. In August, N5.2bn was shared.
In responding Governor Abiodun expressed surprise at the allegation.
Hear him: “Where there is no information, there is misinformation. When I read in the news media yesterday that I, Adedapo Abiodun, the privileged Executive Governor of this state for the second term, is being accused of diverting funds meant for a local government, I said to myself perhaps, it must be another Adedapo Abiodun and not me.
“God knows that this job, I am doing it with every iota of sincerity of purpose. I continue to ensure that I am guided by all the promises I made in the course of my journey to the governor’s office.
“I continue to remind myself that I am holding this public office on trust as a trustee for and on behalf of all sons and daughters of this state and I will continue to be dogged, irrevocably committed to developing every part of this state equitably and fairly.
“I will continue to respect that besides the state government, there is also another tier and we are charged with the responsibility of building the future of this state.”
Three days after the accusation was made, Adedayo, was suspended for three months over allegations of maladministration and financial mismanagement. Adedayo was suspended by the seven councillors of the LGA’s legislative council.
The local legislators said they received different petitions on the allegations that needed to be investigated. The councillors directed Adedayo to appear in its next sitting on September 14.
Adedayo’s many infractions
According to a document issued by the councillors, fifteen allegations were levelled against the suspended chairman.
The councillors accused Adedayo of “withdrawal of N4 million from LG account for empowerment in 2022, which never took place. Wastage of N2 million on Iṣẹṣe Day on August 20, 2022. Duty tour allowance of N260,000 for the chairman and other top functionaries in June 2023,” the document read.
“Another duty tour allowance for the chairman and other top officials’ engagement in Abeokuta to the tune of N250,000, also ratified in June 2023. Another sum of N426,000 was purportedly spent on the production of a report on the 2020 Jigbo Festival Ijẹbu-East when we were even yet to be elected. Claimant of N350,000 for the inauguration of Women in Politics in Ijebu-East in 2022; the money was not released to the group in 2022.
“Entertainment and other logistics expenses during the commissioning of a legislative building at N350,000 on April 18, 2023. Another entertainment on that same commissioning of the legislative building at N295,000 same day, 18th of April 2023. The second N8.2 million was sent from phase 2 of the project (table and the chair for schools) 20 chairs were made with N8.2m.
“N20 million allocation from the state is nowhere to be found. Another N15 million sent from the state went the same way without any project to show for it. Award of two boreholes at the cost of N1.8 million each totaling N3.6 million in August 2023.
While he collects N3 million monthly as security votes, he has held on to the N300,000 monthly security vote of the Vice Chairman for about five months. He has refused to pay up despite several interventions and meetings on the issue by the ALGON executive, led by Tunde Emiola.
“Inability to account for over N2.5 million left in the Project Account of the council by the previous administration for the completion of a school at Kajola, Ogbere. The school remains uncompleted to date. Illegal tax collection from Okada riders and drivers via what the chairman called “levy” without the approval of the Legislative Council, which is double taxation for the people of Ijebu East at this tough period.
“Having received the above allegations, there is a need for a thorough investigation by the House.”
But Adedayo denied all the allegations.
Efforts by Business Hallmark to speak to Adedayo proved abortive, and a councilor in Ijebu East said “We the councilors have nothing to say again on the matter.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Ijebu East council area, Adedayo, immediately distanced himself from the decision of his colleagues to apologize over his allegations.
In a telephone chat with a news daily, ( not Business Hallmark) he said: “Have you seen any letter of retraction from the writer of the letter or did you see any video where the writer of the letter is making any retraction? So leave them with their propaganda.”
A day after the accusation, the State Security Service (SSS) took into custody Adedayo.
The secret police took Mr Adedayo into custody on Friday after he honoured its invitation over an allegation that he made against Governor Dapo Abiodun.
Recall that in a letter to a former governor of the state, Segun Osoba, Adedayo accused Governor Abiodun of diverting federal allocations to local governments in the state. He repeated the allegations in petitions to two federal anti-corruption agencies.
However, less than 15 hours after human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Femi Falana demanded his release, the SSS said it has set Adedayo free. In his first response to his release by the SSS, Adedayo vowed to seek legal redress over his detention
When journalists prompted him to say the reason behind his brief detention, Adedayo said: “They claimed there is a letter from the governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, that I was making inciting comments against the state government. But I told them there was nothing like that, or who did they say I have incited?
They said that I was planning protest but I said I don’t know anything about that and I told them that I had only done what my conscience said that I should and this I did with my other colleagues chairpersons despite the fact that they all ran back.
“My conscience is very clear in the letter I wrote to Chief Olusegun Osoba, the former governor of the state and a national leader of our party, APC.
“I will certainly go to court to challenge my illegal suspension because on the day of my suspension, over 100 police officers came to my local government, and I asked to do what. Maybe if I had shown my face on that day, I might not even be here in one piece”
When told that members of the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) said no money was lost, Adedayo retorted: “Let them tell that to the EFCC. I have sent my letters to them.
“Who is even JAAC? This concerns the local government chairmen, and if each of them claimed that they have been collecting the money meant to develop their council areas, they should be ready to account to the people.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Falana, in a statement after Adedayo’s release said he had advised Governor Abiodun to go to court if he felt the suspended council boss had libelled him.
“Even though the Ogun State Government has denied the allegation of funds diversion, Governor Abiodun is advised to sue Wale Adedayo for libel in the Ogun State High Court.
“In similar circumstances, two of his predecessors, the late Governor Olabisi Onabanjo, had sued the National Concord newspaper for libel in the Ogun State High Court in 1981, while Governor Segun Osoba sued the Punch Newspaper for defamation of character in the Ogun State High Court in 2001. Both Governors won the libel suits.
“Having regard to the facts and circumstances of this particular case, I am compelled to request the Ogun State Command of the SSS to release Mr Adedayo from custody forthwith.”
Kayode Akinmade, two- terms Commissioner of Information in Ondo State, who is now Governor Abiodun’s Media Consultant, said Adedayo was being economical with truth
He said, “Because there is so much misconception about LG operations, media commentators often look at issues at face value and rush to judgment instead of doing a little investigation. The structure in LGs in Ogun State is not different from the one in other states.
“JAAC has its responsibilities as a constitutional provision, the organ that identifies and sorts out first line charges. It came about after long agitations by teachers and LG workers over the delay in the payment of their salaries and emoluments.
“In the last 26 months that Wale Adedayo has been chairman, the records show that he attended JAAC meetings, where LG funds are disbursed after being received from the Federation Account, 15 times. His sudden claim of zero allocation to councils in Ogun State is therefore curious, to say the least.
“Records show that, like other LG chairmen, he has collected N3 million every month as imprest, while his council also shared from all the allocations given since 2019 when Governor Abiodun came on board, including the N5.2 billion allocation shared in August this year; the N4.4 billion shared in July, the 5.2bn shared in June and the N4.5 billion shared in May. So, where did he get his zero allocation from?
Adedayo is not a stranger to controversy. On his Facebook, he described himself as author, journalist and political consultant, born in Monrovia, Liberia of Ijebu parentage, educated in Lagos and a lover of justice.
He made his name as a journalist, former Nigeria Union of Journalists chapel chairman at The Guardian, with stints at Concord and Punch, rising to the level of Assistant Editor at the latter. He became Director of Organization of the People’s Democratic Party in Ogun State, then later Chief Press Secretary to Governor Gbenga Daniel.
Not a stranger to controversy and the intricacies of power in Ogun State, Adedayo at the Truth Commission set up in 2012 by Governor Amosun shocked the people when he revealed a lot about political assassinations, giving unusual insights.
At the Commission, Adedayo, a former Chief Press Secretary to Chief Gbenga Daniel, in an account suggested that the 2006 assassination of Lagos governorship candidate, Engr. Funso Williams, was done by outsiders.
“From the little work we did along with the former Ogun State governor, it was clear as the noon day sun that elements sent by persons outside the Lagos State PDP were responsible for it,” he said.
He hinted that corruption is a way of life in which those who operate outside it are regarded as lunatics or frustrated persons. Corruption, he said, has “made a mess” of the lives of key institutions of democracy, and weakened those important pillars to such an extent that the polity is only a shade different from what obtained under a military dispensation.
In his controversial memoir: “Micro-seconds away from death”, he gave a graphic account of the dark side of politics in Ogun State when he was chief press secretary to Governor Gbenga Daniel.
At the 2012 Commission, he stated that he wrote “Micro-seconds away from death,” to record “what happened to me” on the night of 10 January 2009 in Ilishan, Remo, Ogun State, the night in which he killed three gunmen. It is because of that book that the commission summoned him to appear before it.