By Promise Uwaeme
In a normal circumstance, I wouldn’t have bothered to exercise a right of response to a piece ladened with the deliberate attempt to misrepresent facts and deceitfully manipulate historical events. I wouldn’t even want to join issues on NRA matter with ignorant minds who lack the idea of issues and events that constituted the historical trends in NRA Elections.
But as a critical STAKEHOLDER who had been involved in the NRA Electoral processes for over a decade and a half, i owe the Association as an institution the obligation and duty to set the records straight.
The author of the piece did not inform his innocent and targeted audience of what transpired in the past and how such historical circumstances influence or could influence today, and possibly, tomorrow.
Before the 2015 Elections, Otunba Tade Azeez was not a candidate to hold any position but a member of the Electoral Committee, while Chief Omodara (Ekiti) signifies his desire to be NRA president to challenge Alh. Maude (Kaduna), who took over the reign after Senibor Sam Sam Jaja resigned as NRA president.
To facilitate the electoral victory of Chief Omodara, the then-incumbent vice president and other key NRA officials from Southwest who wanted a 2nd term was forced to abandon their aspirations and support Chief Omodara.
However, Chief Omodara eventually decided to opt out of the race and Otunba Tade Azeez was drafted in to deputize for Alh. Maude as a roadmap for the Southwest to take over after Alh. Maude’s tenure.
No doubt the NFF as the regulatory/supervisory body of its Member Associations, sanction and ratify this decision.
After the tenure of Maude, the then president honoured the spirit of agreement that the Deputy President is supported by the outgoing president, and no doubt, the Regulatory body supported the transition, and to fulfill the precedences and trends in existence in the NRA succession processes.
By 2019 however, there was a soured relationship between the then-incumbent president Otunba Tade Azeez and his deputy. There was an air of uncertainty for Otunba Tade, then a Member of the Referees Committee, and based on his close association and working relationship with the NFF Referees Committee Chairman, he invited Alh. Inuwa Sherif Ahlan to intervene.
And NRA being a Member Association of the NFF, the then Chairman of Chairmen who is, today, the incumbent NFF President also intervened primarily to ensure a peaceful transition and restoration of the existing succession processes of a Member Association, which is a statutory function. In doing this, Sani Zubairu was made to step down for Otunba Tade Azeez to allow him to finish his tenure, thereafter he can succeed him.
This is where today’s involvement of Alh. Ahlan was instituted and built. Alh. Sani Zubairu complied and looked forward to the end of Otunba’s tenure to succeed him as his incumbent Deputy President. Otunba Tade Azeez’s 2nd term bid was unchallenged with a promise that he would support his Deputy to take over as President at the expiration of his tenure.
Otunba Tade did not only contested unopposed in Ijebu Ode, he equally drew out a list of those he wants to work with. Other exco Members who equally deserved a 2nd term but were not in the good book of Otunba Tade Azeez were schemed out as zonal meetings were held to instruct delegates to vote in Otunba Tade’s choice.
Today, his tenure is expiring and he did not want to honout the 2019 agreement.
Promise as they say is a debt, and this is what informed the Northern Caucus meeting that will hold in Kano, at the instance of Alh. Ahlan who felt obliged that fairness and justice must be adhered to.
Before now, Otunba Tade Azeez wanted to bring in Prince Moruf Oluwa, whom the author claimed is a Northerner.
Prince Oluwa is from Ikorodu in Lagos but was resident in Abuja until he retired from service a few years ago when he relocated back to Ikorodu in Lagos. However, Otunba while shopping for a successor, appointed Prince Oluwa as Special Adviser to the President on Administrative matters, a ploy primarily to hand over to him.
When the processes commenced certain forces in the South East confronted Otunba Tade that a Lagos Yoruba man will not be exiting to be succeeded by another Lagos Yoruba man. Thus, Otumba Tade dropped Prince Oluwa and in a desperate move to get a stooge that would cover up his atrocities, opted for Dr. Suleiman Omeiza.
This was Dr. Omeiza Secretary General, who should be a signatory to the NRA Accounts and took over the administrative machinery of the Association, but was not given and allowed to function as statutorily defined. Rather Otunba Tade retained Prince Oluwa and continued to access the financial operations of the NRA unquestioned, with lots of misappropriation and mismanagement of resources. The same Dr. Omeiza who has consistently and persistently lamented on how he has been sidelined in the affairs and administration of the association accepted today to be a tool to cover up the atrocities committed by both Otunba Tade and Prince Moruf Oluwa.
WHAT AN IRONY OF FATE.
The same person who chooses not to honour the agreement is desperately sponsoring a campaign of calumny against those he has sought their intervention when the cost was unclear for him in 2019. And to Alh. Ahlan, ON ABURI WE STAND is the principle. According to him as men of honour we must live up to our promises or else, God will not forgive us.