Don’t Drag Makinde Into Traders’ Leadership Tussle, Support Him To Tackle Food Insecurity – Group Charges Ibadan Elders

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The Research Centre for Integrity Assessment and Evaluation (RCIAE) has advised leadership of various groups including social clubs, religious and traditional groups as well as individuals in Ibadan to stop engaging in what he described as a misplacement of priority and unnecessary distraction of Governor Seyi Makinde from his commitment towards reducing effects of economic hardship on the good people of Oyo State.

According to the statement signed by the secretary of the research center, Mr. Omobolaji Aremu, the tussle between the traders and some greedy and covetous leaders among them has been on for some years now and it’s of no consequence to the economic development of the state because genuine traders are busy carrying out their business activities, hence they needed not to get the governor distracted from his good works with this insignificant issue.

“We think it’s right time to call leaders and elders in Ibadan to get right what their priority should be and stop causing detraction and downgrading Ibadan cultural, traditional and historical heritage. Rather they should channel energy towards gathering support for the governor to fight food insecurity in order to force down escalating prices of foodstuffs and boost agricultural development in the state.

“Trade associations are entities registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), therefore traditional institutions, government, religious groups and social clubs do not have any right to interfere with their activities. If they are causing problem within the state, government will use security agents to curb their excesses and prosecute them where necessary.

“If they have unresolvable issue among themselves, the only institution allowed by Nigerian constitution to decide on such a case without anyone or group acting contrary is the judiciary. They have the grace of seeking legal redress to resolve their differences.

“Meanwhile, the major causes of their problems are interference from politicians, covetousness of some politicians among them, who now engaged outsiders to carry out their evil plan and lastly, the composition of the agency that government instituted to serve as middlemen between traders and government, that is, market leaders advisory council.

“The market leaders advisory council was initiated by the past administration to help manipulate traders for political benefits of the government in power. Hence they brought together traders, markets men and women, and those who do not have anything doing with buying and selling nor have shops in our market places, like the canteen operators, Bricklayers, welders, painters, musical instruments renters and artisans generally, through marriage of inconvenience.

“Of course, the governor who lumped together traders and artisans, others to serve his selfish interest got it all wronged, because he couldn’t get what he wanted through them. Even now, most of them do not have electoral value. Especially now that the people of Oyo State are voting for individuals not political party not the person presented to them by their greedy leaders. We have seen that in the past and even in election that returned Engr Seyi Makinde as the executive governor of Oyo State for the second term. Only ignoramuses still depend on leaders who cannot get 10% of the total votes in the ballotbox placed infront of their family house.

“We would like to also advise the state governor to consider individual’s personality when reconstituting market leaders advisory council that will serve as middlemen between traders and his administration. To avoid problem, traders should be separated from artisans, canteen operators and others. Traders associations are about five altogether, leader of each association who will serve in the advisory council must have means of livelihood, his or her shop must be fully stocked.

“Expectation was so high during the last general elections, some of them were moving from house to house pledging support to politicians. Some even promised to work against the sitting governor, some associations openly declared for candidates of opposition parties. Their sudden change wasn’t a surprise because they said governor’s body language is in favour of a particular candidate and they wouldn’t want to be left out in the sharing of cash and materials, including exotic cars. Evidence against them are available and they shall be exposed at the appropriate time.

“From investigation carried out by our team and evidences gathered, traders from the 33 local government councils in Oyo State, including leaders from the 5 zones came together to elect and install Alhaji Sunmaila Aderemi Jimoh as their Babaloja-General at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Secretariat, Agodi Ibadan on 24 of August, 2020. But few days after Alhaji Y. K. Abass went to the late Olubadan of Ibadanland,Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1 to be installed by the royal father as Babaloja-General. Documents, including newspapers and videos supporting both installations are available.

“In 2022 a competent court in Ibadan faulted Olubadan’s action and ruled against the installation of Alhaji Yekini Abass. The court ruled that no traditional ruler has right to install Babaloja-General or any market leader. With this development and coupled with the fact that traders had earlier elected Alhaji Sunmaila Aderemi Jimoh as Babaloja-General of Oyo State, how possible it is for a player who was caught in offside position to be in onside at the same time in a football match, it is definitely impossible.

“Coming out to declare that Market Leaders Advisory Council, an agency of the government, comprised of 5 traders representative and 7 others who belong to other associations, such as food canteen operators, artisans have elected Alhaji Yekini Abass as Babaloja-General is disgraceful, ignoble and unreasonable. How could 7 individuals who haven’t any business with traders’Association decide for over 2.5 million traders.

“The power to elect and install Babaloja-General and Iyaloja-General belong to the Congress of Babalojas and Iyalojas from the 33 Local Government Councils and these are the heads and representatives of all markets in each of the 33 local government councils, all clusters of traders’associations are well represented. It is after they have elected their leaders (Babaloja-General and Iyaloja-General) that they will present them to the governor for recognition through government agent, that is market leaders advisory council. This they have done since 2020 and equally forwarded it to the Chairman, House Committee on Trade.

“In addition, we want Ibadan elders and leaders to get this right, that election, selection and installation of Babaloja-General and Iyaloja-General is beyond traders in Ibadan zone, but collective responsibilities of all the 5 zones in Oyo State, which includes Ibadan, Oyo, Oke Ogun, Ogbomoso and Ibarapa. If Ibadan zones is mounting unnecessary pressure on the governor while elders and leaders from other 4 zones are watching, where then is maturity. Besides, remember I said all zones including Ibadan had gathered and elected their Babaloja-General of Oyo State in 2020, evidences are available for us to see. I think traders know their Babaloja-General and Iyaloja-General in the state regardless of the noises and propagandas; nobody can dictate to or manipulate the brain of someone who laboured to raise capital for his/her business”.

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