By; STEVE OTALORO
As an attentive observer, I have closely listened and watched numerous commentators discuss the issue surrounding the composition of the interim management team for Irekari LCDA. It is crucial to establish the truth behind this power struggle before more individuals take sides unnecessarily. It is evident that the entire scenario is driven by personal interests and nothing else. All those involved in this seemingly political conflict within the LCDA are selfish individuals with their own agendas, except for myself and my interim management team. Allow me to explain why.
There have been significant errors in the actions of men, and these errors have led to severe consequences. This reminder keeps me on the right path towards making Irekari great. If I were to compromise the future of our nascent LCDA and make peace with those who oppose me, all I would need to do is make a call to a political influencer in Abuja and pledge my loyalty to work for their interests in Irekari LCDA.
I accepted the position of the maiden chairman of the LCDA because I knew I had a lot to offer and I was determined to achieve our goals without compromising. The present obstacles we face are a result of my independent political background, which makes some individuals uncomfortable. As a politician, it is expected that you align yourself with a political godfather or be part of a caucus within the party. I belong to neither of these. God is my political father, and I am part of the constituted authority’s caucus.
My appointment seemed odd to many because they never saw me in the house of their political leader or attending their caucus meetings. One person even asked a naïve question about where I vote in Idoani to warrant my nomination as LCDA chairman.
However, I won’t burden you with unnecessary details. Let me reiterate that what is currently unfolding is a game of power and control over the affairs of our LCDA, rather than a dispute over the composition of the team. The main power player is a legislator based in Abuja who wants to maintain his role as a superintendent and control all the newly created LCDAs in Ose LG.
Another interest group is led by a party chieftain who desires his personal assistant to be the Vice Chairman of Irekari LCDA. However, he was offended when this did not materialize. There is also a newcomer to the party who was immediately appointed by the Governor, and nobody complained then. He hails from Afo town and wants his surrogate to lead the LCDA and protect his interests.
All these individuals are party members who cannot openly go against the party and the Governor’s nomination. Their plan to get the signatures of the traditional rulers from Irekari LCDA in a meeting failed, as all the traditional rulers refused to sign their self-composed and adopted resolution.
In response, they resorted to their plan B by recruiting a surrogate who initiated their plan. They found a pawn in one of our revered Chiefs from Owani, who had been passively agitating against the composition of the LCDA interim management team online before taking a more active role when approached. This respected Chief has one of his relatives as a member of the management team, but his personal interests outweigh his family ties. He did not hesitate to be used as a pawn to fight against his own family and kinsmen. His goal is to upgrade his chieftaincy title from that of Idoani to that of the entire Irekari. Thus, his fight is not for the benefit of Irekari but for his personal ambition.
He quickly latched onto the concept of equity as the reason for his opposition, even though this is not the true motivation behind his actions.
Denying one’s identity brings no dignity. My name is Steve Otaloro, and I have the choice to end this fuss and embrace peace through compromise with those who hold power over our LCDA. However, I also have the choice to change the narrative of our LCDA for the better, with concrete developmental achievements that will fast-track our growth. This is why I believe that myself and my team are the only ones truly concerned about the welfare of Irekari LCDA. We cannot afford to dine and wine with these individuals at the expense of our people, as we would then be compelled to follow their orders, which often do not align with the interests of our LCDA.
Many chairmen have gone down this path in the past, only to fight back after the damage has been done. I would rather be transparent about where I stand than deceive you for support and later fight back. My struggle is simple: I do not want to be seen as merely in charge; I want to be in control, taking full responsibility for the success or failure of the LCDA.
I am not stubborn and refuse to listen to words of wisdom, as many have called for a peaceful resolution of this quagmire. While I respect their views, I strongly question the terms of settlement that would tie my hands in a compromising manner.
If these political leaders in our LCDA had followed the proper nomination process instead of secretly nominating their own family members for the chairman and vice chairman positions, we might not have reached this point. The imposition of their surrogate on the rest of the LCDA caused the controversy because it was shrouded in secrecy. They have no one to blame but themselves for the Governor’s decision to nominate us.
Let me also emphasize that it was not my initial intention to serve at the local government level. I enjoyed my role as the spokesperson of our great party, which provided me with numerous opportunities to meet people at different forums and earned me a reputation as a fearless spokesperson among media practitioners.
Nevertheless, I found this new assignment as LCDA boss interesting and challenging. I embrace challenges, as they allow me to have a closer relationship with my people and provide them with the dividends of democracy to enhance their standard of living. Additionally, there is the deeper thought of making history as the first chairperson of Irekari LCDA. These reasons were compelling enough for me to accept the position.
Remember, I mentioned that everyone involved in this political turmoil is driven by personal interests and not the welfare of Irekari LCDA. They should stop deceiving the people and playing with their intelligence. According to a Yoruba adage, “Babalawo to nipe tori ORUNMILA lo se fa, ko se ifa ni tori Orunmila o, ati jeun tie ni o.” These people are hypocrites who claim to fight for equity while manipulating the people. What could be more equitable than the Governor fulfilling his promise to create an LCDA and appointing our sons and daughters into the interim management council? On the other hand, a few individuals with selfish interests decided to anoint their surrogate for the same position without involving other members of the political party in the decision making.
If mistakes were made in the composition of the LCDA team, they can be corrected in the future. The current composition is temporary, as proper local government elections will take place.
Let me assure other communities that I will be fair to all in the discharge of my duties and in the distribution of democracy’s dividends. I am now more than just a stakeholder in Irekari LCDA; I am responsible for its security and development, and I cannot afford to fail.
I pledge to always do the right thing and reach out to everyone, including the agitators, to develop the local government. I invite all of you to participate in the growth and development of our LCDA.
The Red Sea parts and stands at attention to salute those who know where they are going. This is a maxim that resonates with me. I have a clear mission to accomplish in office, and unwavering focus will guide me in fulfilling this assignment.
The Alani of Idoani refused to sign the purported letter brought to him because those appointed did not appoint themselves he retorted. I am reiterating this statement and calling for calm from everyone, as this assignment is temporary before proper elections take place.
We have been entrusted by the Governor to lead our LCDA because he believes in our capabilities to carry out this responsibility. It was not our will to be appointed, but it is now upon us to serve.
Illustration: A path leading to a bright future for Irekari LCDA, with various stakeholders working together for development and progress.
Steve Otaloro is the Caretaker Chairman of Irekari LCDA, Idoani Ondo State. He can be reached via [email protected]