I knew I would lose 2003 governorship poll, yet we doled out N140m-Osoba - NIGERIAN NEWSORBIT


Thursday, January 20, 2022

I knew I would lose 2003 governorship poll, yet we doled out N140m-Osoba

Chief Olusegun Osoba

Nineteen(19) years after, former governor Olusegun Osoba on Wednesday revealed that he and his people doled out N140million on the eve of 2003 governorship election in Ogun State to prosecute that electoral war but lost, submitting that he had put it behind him.

Osoba also disclosed that he knew in advance that the outcome of that eletion was not going to favour him given the security reports at his disposal then but said that foreknowledge did not dissuade him from sharing the said money to mobilise people for the election.

The Aremo Awujale of Ijebuland and Akinrogun of Egbaland sought re-election in 2003 on the platform of his political party, the then Alliance for Democracy (AD), but lost the reportedly massively rigged and hijacked election to the opposition Peoples Democractic Party(PDP) and its candidate, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.

Speaking on Wednesday at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library(OOPL), Abeokuta, during public presentation of a book, 'Colour of Perception,' an autobiography written by Chief Kayode Odunaro, the ace reporter and octogenarian, said he had put the events of 2003 governorship election behind him, describing as a bygone issue.
The 318 - page book of 38 chapters was reviewed by a journalist and newspaper columnist, Dr. Festus Adedayo, who described it as "seductively inviting" because of its "aesthetic power" and an "elegant work of literature." 

The book presentation coincided with the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the author, Chief Odunaro, who was once the Chief Press Secretary and later Consultant on Media to Chief Osoba while serving as governor of Ogun State between 1999 and 2003.

Osoba noted that the gains of that election and the attendant loss is that it gave  the Gateway State people, especially the civil servants, the chance to compare and contrast what was the situation then with his administration and what obtained after he left office in 2003.

The ex - governor  recalled with concern that the conspiracies opposition to the choice of Odunaro as his Chief Press Secretary emanated largely Odunaro's Yewa people, and described him as  "courageous character" who solidly stood behind him after leaving office.

The Aremo however, disagreed with some aspects of Odunaro's account of what happened about the 2003 election in his autobiography, saying the author was dodgy ostensibly to avoid offending anybody or rocking the (the boat).

Osoba said: "The 2003 election I have put it behind me many years ago. 2003 is bygone whatever happened although in his book he concluded that I refused to go to court, yes I did because the evidence was too much and he alluded to some of the evidence, but let's forget about all that, it has gone, it is gone and the Ogun state people have had the chance to compare and contrast and they have given their conclusions and that is private to everybody.

"The civil servants themselves have been able to compare and contrast and they are able to now gave their own conclusions because I can tell you as governor, I never had anything like what they now call Chief of Staff, what is chief of staff? PA this, PA that, retinue of advisers, I had only nine commissioners, I never brought even a messenger into office, the civil servants in Ogun state were the ones that managed the affairs of government. The equivalent of chief of staff, the equivalent of the office of the governor, Sola Adeyemi and co were  my PAs the first time and the second time, I used civil servants throughout. I didn't bring what they now call technocrats.

"Odunaro came in as a courageous character. I have never seen a man could take such courage.

"Nobody expected that the election would go the way it went, but I knew it will go the way it went because Prof. Adu of FUNAAB who was the returning officer.... the figure had already been prepared. Some of the security people had given me the figure of the result that they were going to announce and I knew, he was referring to me spending money and some people taking my money to sleep in hotels, pocketed the money, I knew because in politics you must learn to na ina ku na (engage in wasteful spending) and you must learn to buy all kinds of lies, that is all part of politics.


"I knew that the election was concluded, I was warned, the electoral officer from Cross River had told me after the Presidential election that, 'Chief don't contest the governorship, it is concluded', but I said no.

"We shared N140million on the eve of the election and I knew it was a wasted money, but I shared it because if didn't share it, they will say if I had not given them the money, they would have won. So when my son was contesting, I said now you want to contest the House of Representatives, now you are going to ride on the N140million that you quarrelled that I spent at that time because those that I gave the money to, whether they chop it or not, now you are going to enjoy the goodwill. 

"When I left office, he was some of the people I took pity on and put him on my payroll. He engaged my successor robustly. They (successor) set to blackmail (me), to destroy all that we did, but at every point he would come out with a robust statement with facts, figures and everything at the risk of his life. We all know what happened after we left office, the kind of things that some governments were doing all over the country, how people were missing, yet Odunaro took the risk of engaging that government to the point that my successor had to invite him and the Governor was trying to cajole him to snatch him away from me, but again he stood his ground."

The duo of Senator Olamilekan Adeola popularly called YAYI  and the Youth and Sports Minister, Sunday Dare,  who sent in representatives to the occasion, commended the author for putting his documenting work and experience in a book form as media adviser to many leaders from military to civilian. 

Speaking earlier, in his welcome address, Odunaro said he decided to write the autobiography to expose his work experience to the world, particularly the upcoming journalists and media managers. 

Odunaro announced free donation of the book to all libraries and tertiary institutions in the state.

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