Diran Odeyemi: Alao-Akala’s Special Corruption Conduit

by Abiodun Ladepo

In my article: “Odeyemi: The Chief Hypocritical Sycophant in Oyo State”, I lamented the steady retrogression of Odeyemi, the Special Adviser to Oyo State governor Alao-Akala on Special Duties, from social critic to lapdog and messenger, sometimes of death. Odeyemi, again, without pause or remorse, wrote a rejoinder which was published a few days after mine. Before I read his stuff (which I am sure somebody wrote for him, or at least edited), numerous readers had written to me, asking me to ignore it and not join him in the gutter. Here, I have no intentions of joining him in that lowest abyss of social decay and decorum. It is an old antic of incorrigible entities to change the topic when they are unable to comprehend the depth of the dialogue.

In this piece, therefore, I will strive to bring Odeyemi back to the issues. I can play the personal attack card too, but this is neither the place, nor is it the time for it. And quite frankly, there is no personality in Odeyemi for me to attack. Nigeria, and indeed Oyo State in particular, need people who are not beholden to godfathers and special interest groups to tell things as they are. I have long decided that I will be one of those truth-to-authority guys. Besides, I have too much respect, as a part-time “pen-pusher,” for the publishers of this website, who do not know many of us personally, yet provide this forum without charge. Also, I do not want to subject serious readers to inane and trite reading.

I admit that when I wrote the article in question, I intentionally did not place many of my assertions in easily discernible contexts, either because I assumed that many people already knew, or because there was no need for lurid facts to back up some of my points. The main point, which ONLY Odeyemi (out of the more than 300 readers that responded to it) failed to understand, being the fact that he did not care about the people of Oyo State either because he is not from there (he is from Ilesha in Osun State), or he has sold his soul to the highest bidder in the corruption-infested Oyo State politics, or both.

I now see that there is need for further elucidation because Odeyemi’s perceptive impairment has left him clearly in the lurch about what I talked about in the piece. Many in Nigeria and abroad, who know both of us, will now know who is playing to the gallery. Below are some issues to which Odeyemi should respond if he dares – this time though, straight to the issues, no infantile name-calling.

Issue #1: Corruption.

As I sat across Odeyemi’s desk at the Governor’s Office when Alao-Akala first became governor, 3 men came in, carrying a brand new video-recorder. Two of the men represented the company that wanted to sell the recorder to the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), while the third was the Chairman, Board of Directors of the BCOS. Obviously, the deal had been discussed prior to that day and the men came to show the equipment to Odeyemi. The men offered the equipment to the State for N700, 000 each. Odeyemi told the Chairman that government would purchase 2 recorders at N10m (ten million naira!) each, grossly inflating the contract. I flinched and recoiled from the computer that I was using. But none of these men noticed my reaction. They were all engrossed in the haggling. And while the two dealers were still there, Odeyemi negotiated his cut of the deal with the Chairman! When the three left, I asked my friend: Was that a joke? His response: “O o se maa wo ni ti e? Bi a ti n se e ni’bi ni’yen.” Meaning: “Why don’t you just keep watching? This is how we do things here.”

If Odeyemi wants to deny it or feign memory lapse, let me put it in a proper perspective: Alao-Akala was out of town that day and the BCOS claimed it did not have enough cameras to film his up-coming chieftaincy ceremony at Obasanjo’s Owu, in Ogun State. Essentially, the cameras were for that ceremony. Odeyemi told me that his regret was that he had to make deals with “riff-raffs” (his word) like that Chairman, who was one of Adedibu’s men “imposed” on Alao-Akala. He would rather do away with the middleman and deal with the camera dealers directly.

My other question to him that day was why it became the responsibility of the Special Adviser of Communications (or even the Chairman, Board of Directors) to negotiate and purchase equipment for the BCOS. Were there not Procurement/Purchasing and Finance units at the BCOS? He dismissed my question with a wave of the hand.

If Odeyemi denies that the incident ever happened, I am sure that somebody at the BCOS will remember.

Issue #2: Corruption and Supine Principles.

When I made reference to Odeyemi’s new job (as Special Adviser on Special Duties), running Ghana-Must-Go bag errands for Adedibu and Alao-Akala, I did not make the remark lightly. Odeyemi told me himself that on one occasion just before we met in Nigeria in 2007, he was angry at Alao-Akala for telling him to deliver a bag of N25m to Adedibu’s Molete residence. The money was kickback for a contract. Odeyemi was angry because, according to him, he “worked on making the contract go through too” and thought he deserved a cut. He said Alao-Akala told him that there was “more where that came from, take your time.”

If Odeyemi denies that the incident ever happened, Alao-Akala will remember holding that conversation with Odeyemi and will know that I will not be privy to such details unless I was told by somebody. The other possibility is if Odeyemi told the story to amplify his self-importance.

Issue #3: Corruption and Greed.

Before Odeyemi reported to Nigeria for his first appointment (as Adviser on Communications), he called me up in Germany and asked that I give him advice on how to be successful. He was worried that Alao-Akala received too much bad press because of the manner in which he became governor, betraying governor Ladoja. Part of the advice I gave Odeyemi was to make a round of all the major news outlets in Nigeria, especially in the Southwest, meet with the editors and senior reporters and present them a well-written 10- or 20-point “Development Plan” on which Alao-Akala would embark. Odeyemi complained that he did not have any contact with The Guardian and asked if I could introduce him to my friends there. I called my friends at The Guardian and asked them to please accommodate Odeyemi. Some of the people in the media, especially an editor at Thisday, were not even willing to shake his hand. But I persuaded the people at The Guardian, and they told me it was okay to give Odeyemi their number. I also specifically told Odeyemi that the senior people at The Guardian were not the sort that you bribed. I knew them personally and used to work with them in that newsroom.

What did my friend do when he went to The Guardian? He brought a bag-full of money that he placed on the table, telling the gentlemen there to share as they deemed fit! Of course, they rejected the offer. When Odeyemi left, one of them called me (actually he used to be my boss there) and roared: “Biodun, what kind of man did you send here? That boy was so arrogant, pompous and garrulous. Can you believe he brought money here?” Now you know where I got the “arrogant” and “garrulous” from in my previous article on Odeyemi. It was not my original idea.

A newspaper senior reporter once told me that he met Alao-Akala at a private function and the governor accused him of not using his paper to do positive stories despite sending N1m to him through Diran Odeyemi. The reporter told me that he asked the governor to “go back and retrieve his money from whomever he sent” because he never got any money.

Odeyemi also told me that the Alao-Akala administration paid the Ibadan-based Nigerian Tribune editors N3m monthly to guarantee positive stories. Odeyemi was angry at the media outfit for raising their “price” on Alao-Akala. Ladoja, he said, used to give them just N500, 000.

Issue #4: Threat to the Lives of Dissenters.

Finally, some readers and followers of Oyo State politics will remember the time that Baba Adedibu went to the Nigeria Televison Authority (NTA)’s office in Ibadan to roughen up a female producer because the station had the guts to report the elections tribunal’s reversal of Ladoja’s “impeachment.” Well, my good friend, Odeyemi, was in that rampaging entourage. He told me himself that he dragged the woman downstairs (by her armpit) to face Baba Adedibu who slapped and poured venom and invectives on her. I told my friend that he should be ashamed of that, asking him how he would feel if someone did that to his wife. He told me he had no way of knowing how Adedibu would treat the woman.

If you recall the celebrated whipping that Odeyemi received from aides to Azeem Gbolarumi, former deputy-governor to governor Alao-Akala, Odeyemi told me that he decided to initiate the bad blood between Alao-Akala and Gbolarumi on the instructions of Alao-Akala. “The governor and I decided that I should be the one attacking Gbolarumi so that the attacks would not be traced to him,” Odeyemi told me. And why was there a need to attack Gbolarumi, I asked Odeyemi. “Oh, the governor thinks Gbolarumi plans on challenging him during the gubernatorial primaries, and we need to damage him before then,” he told me. Because of the fear that Gbolarumi might run against Alao-Akala, they turned governance into anarchy.

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OLATEJU July 29, 2010 - 1:08 pm

Knew Diran in UK, later got confused about his character. Now I know better. Thanks

Kay Soyemi (Esq.) May 3, 2010 - 7:59 pm

Seems like leopards never change their spots. I had cause to get rid of Diran when he worked under me as a Temp Housing Officer at the defunct West Hampstead Housing Association in 1999. His composition was awful and his grasp of the skills required for the job was abysmal. I stopped using the agency that forwarded him and couldn’t believe it when he (Diran) insisted he wrote for the Nigerian Tribune – a paper I had hitherto, held in high regard. Diran’s footprints since then has not amazed me but simply confirm the level of mediocrity in charge in Nigeria.

Tayo May 7, 2008 - 11:28 am

I used to read Odeyemi when he used to write for Sunday Tribune. I was really surprised when he started working Akala-Alao bearly 2 days after Ladoja got sacked. I was wondering if it was same person………..

Like many who wrote for Sunday Tribune in the past………..

Need I say more!

Timothy April 24, 2008 - 1:00 pm

You seem to know a lot of evil and choose to now reveal them AFTER falling out with your friend… Which sort of editors did you tell Odeyemi he could bribe? Did you notify Ibadan people or Tribune publisher that the editors were receiving inducement for stories? Notify the Thisday deputy editor of Odeyemi’s threat to ‘deal’ with him? How many stories did you edit for your friend bordering on character assasination? Do you mean to tell us you did not receive a cut from the BCOS video deal? Common, we aint all that dumb! We dont need these types of expose/stories from you and ur (estwhile) friend? There are more serious issues…


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