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Osun State Politicians' Globetrotting: Over Two Hundred Million Naira Wasted?
From Niyi Adebisi

E-mail address:

On behalf of the ConcernedNigerians b
CC:      The Osun State Local Government Affairs Commission

            The Economic and Finance Crime Commission
            The Nigerian Bar Association
            Ms. Bolaji Atanda
            Osun State House of Assembly
            Osun State Government  

MS. Bolaji Atanda, the United States of America (USA) based Nigerian that linked Osun State politicians with the most recent virtually wasteful globetrotting jamboree in May 2006, seemed to have decided to belittle the power of journalism in-spite of her background. A popular adage has it that it is those naC/ve to the lethal power of Generalissimos' sword that will fondle with its poisonous cutting edge. Ironically, Ms. Atanda, an erstwhile professional journalist who used to work with the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC), was the first journalist I would come across that would choose to ignore the power of knowledge that journalism endowed the masses with.

On July 2nd, 2006, Ms. Bolaji Atanda admitted not only that she was the organizer of the 'seminar' which engendered the controversial globetrotting that sixteen local government chairmen of the Osun State embarked on in May 2006, she also proudly announced that she was seriously planning to put the Osun State's members of the House of Assembly on aircrafts en route to Philadelphia for similar sojourn. The two hour telephone interview I had with Ms. Atanda about her involvement in this practically wasteful expedition of the Osun State's politicians ended up being an astonishing revelation of a possible aliterate feature of those we elected into positions of trust in Osun State. During this interview, Ms. Atanda declared that 'paper journalism', as she would rename Nigerian journalism, would never change the spendthrift attitudes of her friends in politics because, as she put it, 'these people do not read'. If her revelation about the Osun State's politicians' apathy towards reading deserved any credit, I wondered what type of knowledge these alleged aliterate politicians would acquire from her 'seminars' and their trips to the United States, since USA happens to be a community where reading is the most important and essential tool of learning. Direct questions to Ms. Atanda for information on what useful knowledge her guests gained from her United States' hosting were answered with promises that were yet to be fulfilled at the time of this second report. Close to six weeks after Ms. Atanda promised that she was going to email the seminal schedules of her guests to the GraftWatch, this promise still remains unfulfilled.  

GraftWatch independent investigations however revealed that first, a whopping over two hundred million naira was allegedly collected from the respective local government chests by the sixteen local government chairmen who attended the May 2006 'seminar' of Ms. Bolaji Atanda.

Second, we gathered from reliable sources that the aforesaid Osun State's politicians spent barely thirty minutes of their one week of  'seminar' on what could logically be considered as something remotely connected with administration of the people of Osun State. These thirty minutes were allegedly spent on the first day of the 'seminar' in the office of the Mayor of Philadelphia, Mayor John F. Street. We sent an e-mail to Mr. Michael Amato in the Press Department of Mayor Street concerning this alleged meeting of the Osun State Chairmen with the Mayor of Philadelphia. We later spoke with Mr. Amato about the said meeting, but he could not immediately confirm that the meeting took place between the two sets of politicians. He however noted that he was going to contact us with any information he and his press team might have in their records about the aforesaid alleged meeting. Mr. Traylor's office in the  Commerce Department of the office of the Mayor of Philadelphia however informed our reporter that his office's record showed that a team of delegates from Osun State visited his office on May 22nd, 2006. He could neither ascertain the identity of these delegates nor confirm the details of their meeting at the time of this report.  

The rest of the period of one week's stay of these politicians in the USA, at the enormous expense of the people of Osun State, were allegedly spent on sightseeing in Washington DC, purchase of auctioned cars in New Jersey and series of personal shopping at expensive stores across the northeastern states of the USA. We could not find any record of any activity that these politicians might have embarked on during their May 2006 visit to the USA that would be of any benefit to the people of Osun State of Nigeria to justify the exorbitant cost of this wasteful trip to the USA by these politicians at the expense of the citizens of Osun State.

In view of the foregoing, unless Ms. Bolaji Atanda, or anyone connected with this aforesaid plot of wasting the resources of the people of Osun State, publicly announces the gains and usefulness of the aforesaid sojourn, the ConcernedNigerians and lovers of Nigeria and Osun State of Nigeria advise the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to investigate this wasteful spending of the Osun State's politicians. We want the EFCC, the Nigeria legal system and Nigerians to determine if Ms. Bolaji Atanda and or the sixteen chairmen of the Osun State of Nigeria that allegedly embarked on this wasteful spending of our money need to refund such wasted money into the coffers of their respective local government areas. Second, Ms. Bolaji Atanda and or anyone else should, henceforth, desist from aiding and abetting wasteful spending of Nigerian politicians. Third, we advise Ms. Bolaji Atanda to call off her proposed USA 'seminar' for the Osun State Members of the House of Assembly or any other politicians in Nigeria. We advise that if she or anyone else has any great idea to sell to Nigerian politicians on the ways forward for our nation, such ideas should be taken to Nigeria instead of defrauding Nigeria by flying Nigerian politicians abroad for seminar that could be held in Nigeria. If Ms. Bolaji Atanda or anyone else embarks on or abets such wasteful venture at the expense of the impoverished Nigerians, such individual(s) or group should be forced to refund all such wasted money or pay commensurate price. 

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