Front line Nigerian politician and Egba businessman, High Chief Alani Bankole, has broken his silence on the installation of 75 Obas in one swoop by the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun, describing the action as “pure madness.”
Chief Bankole who is a traditional kingmaker in Egbaland, said a governor is not elected to disrupt the social and cultural system of a people, lamenting that even in a community where the residents were less than 200, Amosun, allegedly, appointed an Oba there, wondering the rationale behind such decision.
The father of former Speaker Dimeji Bankole, who spoke with reporters at his residence in Oluwo area of Abeokuta, the state capital, on Wednesday evening, said as a Kingmaker, he has a duty to promote, protect and defend the sanctity and sacredness of the culture and traditions of Egba people.
The Seriki Jagunmolu of Egbaland added that the traditional precept is that if a community begins to experience growth in population, the Baale in such community is usually recommended for upgrading to an Oba by the Alake to further drive development and enhance maintenance of peace, but noted that in the present circumstance, some of the people appointed as coronet Obas, were never Baales.
The Oluwo of Iporo Ake also cited the recent experience of Ogun state as a reason he would not support any call for restructuring that could confer enormous power to the States and Local Governments in the country, saying should that happened, nobody would be able to tame or hold state Governors and Local Government Chairmen accountable.
He lamented that in the last four or more years, the immediate past administration of Governor Amosun spent the state’s resources only on two Local Governments – apparently referring to Abeokuta North and Abeokuta South Local Government Areas (LGAs) respectively, to the grim neglect of the 18 other LGAs.
According to him, while these anomalies lasted, nobody could rein – in the hands of the Governor because he neither listens to others’ advice nor was there anybody known that could persuade him to adopt options different from his.
The 79 year old Bankole recalled that he was an ardent critics of Otunba Gbenga Daniel and his administration between 2003 and 2011, believing that he was the worst Governor to happen to the Gateway State, but said given the experience of the citizens in the last four years, “Daniel has turned out to be an angel in comparison with Amosun.”
The former Chairman of West African Aluminum Products(WAAP) expressed fears over what he considered as an emerging pattern in Ogun state where the incumbent end up worse than the predecessor at the exit gate, praying that Governor Adedapo Abiodun could learn from the history of his predecessors and “change the curve.”
“Can you imagine somebody upgrading and installing 75 Obas, Is that not madness? For instance, there is an Oba in my local government called the Oluga of Oluga, the population of that place is less than 200 and he installed an Oba there and we are talking about development.
“What we agreed in Egbaland was that, whenever we have a town developing and the Baale can no more effectively control them, then we would recommend that such baale be upgraded to an Oba.
“But the question again is that, Were many of these Oba-elect baales before they were installed as Obas?. In fact, so many of them do not live in the town, all they are interested in is to sell the lands in the communities to foreigners and farmers from other parts of the country. That is one of the abnormalities the politicians brought to the system,” Bankole said.
He, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to return the country to the parliamentary system of government if he meant business with his anti-corruption crusade, saying the Presidential system being practised today in the country has not only reversed the nation’s gains from the previous Parliamentary system but also choking since it is prone to an endemic corruption and wastage of resources.