Diran Odeyemi: The Chief Hypocritical Sycophant in Oyo State

by Abiodun Ladepo

And so the elections tribunal gave its ruling the other day, essentially affirming the (s)elections of “governor” Adedibu as the de facto “thief executhief” of Oyo State. His “deputy”, Alao-Akala and “assistant-deputy” Arapaja also were affirmed in their respective positions.

As was expected, Molete, the seat of government, (you know, they prepare and sign State Budget there these days) and its environs, went agog. Transporters, the core of Adedibu’s support, zoomed through the length and breadth of Ibadan, flipping one of their minivans and killing at least 4 people in the process. In another part of Ibadan, 2 Okada drivers/riders jumped over a bridge to their death in an attempt to avoid collision with the rambunctious transporters.

Indeed, it was a blissful day for Baba Adedibu. Baba himself led a convoy to the Secretariat, where the offices of “deputy-governor” Alao-Akala and “assistant-deputy governor” Arapaja are located. They danced and jollified. Alao-Akala spoke for the triumvirate. He took the political high road, asking all those that had contested their electoral victories to eschew bitterness and join hands with them for the collective good of the people of Oyo State. (I recall that when the Appeals Court reversed Ladoja’s impeachment, Alao-Akala vowed to take the matter all the way to the Supreme Court. And he did) He told them that there was room for all of them to help govern the state. I thought that was a mature thing to say.

His graceful speech was, however, quickly buried in the deafening din of the gleeful cacophony that emanated from his retinue of hypocritical sycophants, surrogates and hangers-on, led, of course, by Diran Odeyemi, his former cantankerous, combative and tactless Special Adviser on Communications. Within minutes of Alao-Akala’s speech, literally, Odeyemi penned an article published by Nigeriaworld.com. You could tell, from reading the entire rambling and disjointed piece that my erstwhile friend did not give proper thought to what he intended to say. The same absence of mature, professional and perceptive appreciation of events and incidents that characterized his stint as Adviser on Communications, and led to many unpardonable gaffes, is ascetically evident in his current attempt to darken his nose off Alao-Akala’s rear end.

He started off with a conciliatory heading: “Oyo State Electoral Tribunal Judgment; No Victor No Vanquished,” but quickly betrayed his true intent – the continued fomentation of fractious and intractable crises in Oyo State.

In one breath he wrote:

“As far as we are concerned, there is no victor no vanquished; nobody is a loser, we all won.”

And in another, he wrote:

“The battle is from all angles; left, right and centre. The prepared script of the opponents kept changing to such a ridiculous extent that absolute lies were added to fabricated stories just to paint the Governor in black colour.”

In yet another breath, he wrote that:

“A man whose era was dogged by violence, brutality, civil strikes and total anarchy could not be rated above the one that restored peace and hope, wiped off tears from the faces of the oppressed and above all restored injustices of the past” – an obvious reference to former governor Rashid Ladoja who many peace-loving Oyo State indigenes are trying to reconcile with Alao-Akala.

Many readers who know me personally, and know Diran Odeyemi as well, may wonder why I am criticizing him in the public domain. Odeyemi himself may wonder why I did not pick up the phone and call him (again) rather than “trash” him on a website, after all, I have known him (and his wife) since we shared the same hall of residence at the University of Ibadan in the early to mid 80s. To such readers, I want to tell them that I have exhausted all reasonable avenues (phone calls and face-to-face conversations) in order to keep Odeyemi from wrecking himself and taking Oyo State down with him. I will remind such readers that while I am from Oyo State and a native of Ibadan, Diran Odeyemi is NOT an Oyo State indigene. Even though he enjoys the patronage and largesse of Lamidi Adedibu and Alao-Akala, Odeyemi is an Ijesha man from Osun State. And why is this piece of information relevant? Odeyemi, through his actions, speeches and writings, has convinced me that he would rather light and continue to fan the embers of discord and anarchy in Oyo State (for his selfish, parochial interests) than contribute positively to the enhancement of the standard of living of the people of my State. There is nothing new in the appointment of a non-indigene to positions of authority in a State. Lagos State, in particular, does it all the time. The issue here is that Odeyemi, unlike anybody in Nigerian politics appointed as Special Adviser in a State other than his State of origin, has irresponsibly sacrificed his principles for his share of the “Amala” in “Amala Politics” in a way that subjugates the ordinary indigenes of Oyo State, and Ibadan in particular, who labor day-in, day-out to eke out a respectable living. Odeyemi can afford to set Oyo State ablaze, run off to governor Oyinlola of Osun State and beg for another political appointment. I can’t.

In his trademark combative, insulting, arrogant, adversarial and garrulous manner, Odeyemi has succeeded in further driving a wedge between the government of Oyo State and those that oppose it. More often than not, Odeyemi has stuck both feet in his mouth as he assailed perceived and real enemies of Alao-Akala, especially the Ibadan elders. The talk making the rounds in the circles of Ibadan elders and youths is that Odeyemi must be a bastard for denigrating tried and tested elders of Ibadan. I continue to remind them that Odeyemi is not a bastard, for he is not from Ibadan.

A contributor to Nigeriaworld.com, Eric Ayoola, writing from London, UK, has aptly described Odeyemi as “a well rewarded professional praise singer, without any sense of shame…) Ayoola must know Odeyemi as well as I do since Odeyemi lived in London immediately preceding his appointment to Adedibu’s cabinet. I am often confounded when I read anything Odeyemi says on behalf of Adedibu or Alao-Akala. Ayoola also described Adedibu as an apostle of Realpolitik, a German coinage that captures the essence of politics without principles. I posit that Odeyemi is a disciple of Realpolitik. Certainly, the Odeyemi that I visited at Alao-Akala’s office, fresh from the widely reported beating he received from then deputy-governor Hazeem Gbolarumi’s thugs, was different from the one I used to know. Throughout our walk from his office down to my vehicle, he looked over his shoulders, afraid that someone might attack him in broad daylight in the official premises of the Office of Governor! A couple of days later when we met at a suya joint, he showed up with armed police guards, ostensibly because his life had been threatened by those on whom he had unleashed his infamous barrage of uncouth vituperations.

I wondered how he lived life like that; seeking trouble where none existed and making hay where the innocent and gullible shed blood. My only answer was that he justified his relevance in Adedibu’s government by doing its dirty job. How else could one explain the sudden retrogression of Odeyemi’s positive political activism (read his vitriol on OBJ and others in his early days as a contributor to Nigeriaworld.Com and prior to fighting for crumbs off Adedibu’s table) to this crass level of ethical and moral decadence?

Michael Egbejumi-David, in his May 2007 article published by Nigeriaworld.Com succinctly captured the Odeyemi saga when he asked and answered his own question:

“Wasn’t Diran Odeyemi uselessly slapped around by the former deputy to Alao-Akala or his thugs? Yet, Diran is still there hanging around for some kind of “boy-boy” job…”

Odeyemi now holds the “enviable” position of Special Adviser on Special Duties. Wow! Might those Special Duties include running “Ghana-Must-Go” bag errands between Molete and Agodi? Or between Agodi and Ogbomosho? Or between Agodi and some off-shore banks?

Certainly, this is not the Odeyemi I used to know. This Odeyemi appears capable of selling his soul in order to continue to hoodwink the “ill-literate” and discredited governor that he serves. And if Odeyemi is half the man that he purports to be, he will quit the government headed by Adedibu, the hydra-headed canker-worm that is feeding fat on the fabric of Oyo State.

“If Adedibu does not die, the people of Oyo State will not know peace”, Odeyemi once told me. How can any man, or woman, with any iota of principles, any scintilla of pride, continue to work for such an entity?

Before sitting down to write this piece, I spent two days going through Odeyemi’s past articles. One of these days, I will take the time to cull and publish parts of his old diatribe, back when he pretended to be a social critic. I am convinced that if Adedibu and Obasanjo have access to Odeyemi’s old write-ups, they will discover that the man is a fair-weather friend, “hanging around for some kind of ‘boy-boy’ job”, as Egbejumi-David puts it. It is ironic that Odeyemi describes Alao-Akala’s opponents as members of “AGIP” (Any Government in Power). Alao-Akala should re-examine his coterie of so-called friends. He may have to eliminate some of them. And does not Alao-Akala’s betrayal of Ladoja represent a commitment (on Alao-Akala’s part) to AGIP?

Probably the worst part of Odeyemi’s piece, the one that lost him my respect, is this quote:

“On a final note, and this message is for all political leaders in Nigeria, it takes the praises of sycophants for a good leader to derail, while it takes inner wisdom, self-examination and self-determination including prayer for a wiser person to succeed. Governor Akala is thoroughly brought up in the parlance of elders, he is wise.”

Sycophants? Puleeeeze. Does Odeyemi know what the word means? His entire article drooled like a sycophantic elegy. Who is he trying to fool? The people of Oyo State? Lamidi Adedibu? Alao-Akala? Is his job in jeopardy? Why did he write that piece? Does he want to usurp the current Special Adviser to the Governor on Communications? Does he want to keep his name in the news in preparation for a future run for office in Osun State? At whose expense is Odeyemi playing this tomfoolery?

I have never read anything so ideologically bankrupt; so intellectually inept and so politically fraudulent. Does he realize that “government comes and government goes, but the people remain”?

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1 comment

Gbenga Oluwadare April 4, 2008 - 10:09 pm

Abiodun is very right and i am really sad to read about what i have discussed in private conversations about someone i know so well. Diran has been a big disappointment and i am just praying that he would recover from his political madness. Don’t get me wrong,i have nothing personal against Diran, but as a classsmate in the University (we graduated same year and did the National Youth service – we actually lived in the same house – and are quite close ) i am totally dismayed that he would descend to this level. I recall a discussion we had in London together some years back before he came to government when he was an active social critic, writing and speaking against corruption. He was so very vehemently “anti-corruption”, “pro – transparency”, he had dossiers on certain government officials with private bank accounts and properties in the UK, and this earned him my respect. But i want to ask him now to tell us how many millions of pounds he has helped to launder for his boss(es).

I am not surprised though that some people like Diran can change their positions when it becomes (economically) expedient. I disagree with Biodun though about one thing: Diran doesn’t have to come from Oyo State to be a good government official. He lived all his life in Oyo State and is as good as any indigene. The question is about his integrity: he can’t be good even in his native Osun State. He has no qualms about what happens to his reputation after he leaves government and he better prepare for his defence because nobody in Oyo, Osun or any other state would look at him with respectability. I hope he realizes how many good friends like us he has lost.

Anyway, thank you Abiodun for this tellingly courageously piece. I pray that Diran would appreciate your sincerity.


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