Wednesday, 5 August, 2020

Egbe Amofin Crisis: Olagunju Has no Hand in My Adoption – Alabelewe

• He was Shocked at my Withdrawal Offer
• My Adoption Cannot be Impeached
• Murray is Not My Godfather
• Rivalry between Ojibara and Baloo age-old

Mr. Mas’ud Mobolaji Alabelewe, the adopted candidate of Egbe Amofin Oo’dua, has told CITY LAWYER that his adoption by the influential Yoruba lawyers’ forum followed due process and cannot be impeached on any ground.

In an interview with CITY LAWYER, Alabelewe argued that the only reason NBA Legal Adviser, Chief Rafiu Balogun and former NBA Ilorin Branch Chairman, Dr. Mobolaji Ojibara are contesting the adoption is because it did not favour them. Both Balogun and Ojibara are also gunning for the coveted post of NBA General Secretary in the forthcoming NBA National Officers Election now rescheduled to July 30 and 31, 2018. The duo had rejected the adoption exercise, saying it was flawed.

Alabelewe also debunked the allegation that his adoption was orchestrated by NBA General Secretary, Mr. Isiaka Olagunju, adding that the NBA scribe was “shocked” to learn that he offered to withdraw from the race.

His words: “It was a normal meeting where issues were tabled and debated and resolutions taken. The other candidates presented themselves before the committee of five eminent persons. The committee’s report was presented to the meeting and debated. If somebody is not happy with it, it doesn’t mean due process was not followed. If the result was in their favour, would they have resiled?”

Alabelewe told CITY LAWYER that he “did not go to the meeting with the mind of being adopted,” adding: “I don’t see anything that was out of place in the proceedings. I think they will cast aspersion on anything that does not favour them. There is no crisis. Everybody wanted a resolution of the matter.”

Giving more insight into the debacle, the former NBA Welfare Secretary said: “It was a committee of five most senior lawyers both at the Bar and in age. I was ready to withdraw insofar as one of them steps down for the other. When I made that offer, the committee said that was a significant progress. Baloo said that he wanted to consult with his people. When the committee’s report was presented to the house, the DG of Baloo’s campaign told the meeting that the tussle between Baloo and Ojibara dates back over 10 years.

“It was at this stage that the Chairman of the meeting now asked: ‘What do we do.’ There were motions here and there. Someone then raised a motion that ‘since Alabelewe had shown maturity by offering to withdraw and by deferring to the forum, he should in turn be honoured with an adoption, moreso as the other two could not agree.’ The motion was seconded and carried. How can anyone then say there was no due process? They do not agree not because the process was not transparent but because it did not favour them.”

Alabelewe told CITY LAWYER that he wanted to quit the race “because I was “pissed off with the whole tussle. I was tired and embarrassed that we could not agree on such an issue. It was actually embarrassing that, with all the eminent persons that had been talking to us as well as several meetings held over the matter, there was no resolution. It is actually embarrassing that three of us – all from Ilorin – could not agree. The two have a long history of rivalry.”

Asked whether his offer to withdraw was a mere ploy, he vehemently disagreed, saying: “I tell you most sincerely, if any of them had agreed to step down for the other, I would have honoured my word. I could not have eaten my word. It wasn’t a game. It would have been a very dangerous game! It had traversed this country seeking for votes. I was just pissed off and tired of all the embarrassment and wanted to walk away from it all. It is even more difficult when you have to run a race with people you know.”

On the allegation that his adoption was stage-managed by Olagunju, Alabelewe said nothing could be further from the truth. His words: “Olagunju does not know anything about it. He was shocked when the committee reported that I offered to step down. In fact, he sent me text messages seeking an explanation. I am not desperate.

“He did not engineer anything; I say this in all honesty. He did not influence anything and was not in a position to influence anything. There were several dignitaries on that high table. He was there merely by virtue of his office as NBA General Secretary. Incidentally, the Welfare Secretary Ade Adegbite was also there. No doubt, he is my very good friend and classmate. But that’s where it ends.”

Alabelewe also laughed off the allegation that he was conscripted into the race by Olagunju and the Chief of Staff to NBA President, Mr. Muritala Oladimeji Abdul-Rasheed (aka “Murray”), saying that nothing could be further from the truth. “It is a total lie. I am a veteran in NBA politics. I did not consult anybody before I decided to run. I contested three times before I became Welfare Secretary. When I served as Welfare Secretary, everybody felt I served well. I now decided that if I could not go for the presidency, I can take a shot at the General Secretary position. Murray is my good friend. We practiced together in Kaduna. It’s entirely their perception. But they should not think that I do not have a mind of my own. I know my onions. I know when to serve.”

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