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Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Ahlaji (Chief) Tunde Badmus, Osogbo: Things Fall Apart?

From a Freelance Journalist, Osogbo.
July 14, 2006

THE cordial relationship exhibited by the duo of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the current governor of Osun State, and Chief Tunde Badmus, the National President of the Nigerian Poultry Association and business mogul cum general contract who hailed from Osogbo, Osun State, was an enviable one to outsiders when the pair jointly attended a welcome party in Atlanta on January 27, 2004. Their declared joint mission in the United States of America then was to acquire billions of naira worth of tractors for the development of agricultural sector in Osun State.

Contrary to the expectations of the people of Osun State however, the erstwhile tractors' project that was supposed to add more baskets of foods and farm products for the betterment of lives of the people of Osun State failed to realize its set goals more than two and half years after the aforesaid tractors' shopping of the aforementioned duo in the North America. Instead, the ears of the poor state's citizens had been filled with rumors that the allotted billions of naira allegedly invested in the said project might have suffered the same fate that other numerous elephant projects' monies suffered in the history of Nigeria in general and Osun State in particular.

Many rumors had it that the North America trip jointly embarked on by Governor Oyinlola and Chief Badmus might have little or nothing to do with the aforesaid tractors' acquisition. In fact, it was reported that the aforesaid tractors were supposed to have been purchased in Brazil and not the United States of America. Thus, the joint appearance of the governor and the wealthy businessman in the United States of America in January 2004 might have been more than for official or business reason(s). Billions of naira of the citizens of Osun State was changing custodianship between these two powerful citizens of Osun State around that time of their 'August visits' to the United States of America. The monetary tie would definitely be something strong enough to explain why these two power brokers in Osun State appeared to the citizens of their State in Diaspora as if they were twin-brothers.

Despite the perceived amicable spirit of whatever cord that might have bound these eminent figures of Osun State together, it seemed the volatility of the materials that this cord was made from would not stand the test of time. It was not long after the January 2004 USA trips of the duo that it started becoming an open secret to the citizens of Osun State that things were falling apart between these two eminent sons of Osun State. It is well said that whenever two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. The unfolding rift between these two influential sons of Osun State is definitely leaving the grassroots citizens of the State variety of wounds to nurse. One of those big wounds was the lack of the promised tractors and abundant foods in the State after the billions of naira of the impoverished citizens of the State had changed hands and crossed ocean(s).

The GraftWatch reliably learnt that the absence of Chief Tunde Badmus was highly palpable at the recent party that was organized to honor Governor Oyinlola in the United States during the second weekend of July 2006. During this party, our correspondent posed fact finding questions at the governor about the circulating rumors concerning his relationship with his erstwhile buddy, Chief Tunde Badmus.

Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola reportedly minced no words in dissociating himself from Chief Tunde Badmus. Governor Oyinlola, a former military helmsman, who was one of the Abacha's trusted and chosen appointees to rule the richest state in Nigeria, Lagos State, for three years reported openly declared that the very first time he came to know or heard about Chief Badmus was during his tenure as the military administrator of Lagos State during the dictatorial regime of the deceased General Sanni Abacha. He reportedly informed his audience in the USA that Chief Badmus came to seek contract in his office and that he developed personal interest in Chief Badmus' application because of the revelation that this businessman was from the same state as the then military helmsman of Lagos State. He further reportedly stated that his second contact with this wealthy son of Osun State was when he became the governor of Osun State.

In response to the tractors' contract, Governor Oyinlola reportedly stated that he was disappointed by the manner Chief Badmus allegedly handled the delivery of the contracted tractors. He reportedly announced that Chief Badmus hardly delivered fifty percent of the agreed tractors up to date, despite the fact that it was now more than two years after the contract was awarded. The actual value of the said contract remained unknown, though the first batch, which was supposed to be about thirty tractors, was said to be three billion naira. The remaining batches of tractors that were allegedly supposed to be delivered by Chief Tunde Badmus were said to be over three hundred in number according to the speech of the governor.

Our efforts to reach Chief Tunde Badmus for his reaction(s) were to no avail at the time of this report. The fact however remains that, one way or the other, the already impoverished citizens of Osun State may not be getting more than diminutive fraction of what they were forced to pay for.

We will keep you posted as we acquire more information on this issue.

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