On Rotation Agreement We Stand, Akoko Politicians

By Oluseyi Sanni

It was meant to be a simple and lasting political arrangement, but trust politicians, it has now been turned to a complex knotty political issue.

Akoko North local government council had an unwritten agreement as political gladiators prepare to take the reins in 1999. The massive and highly populated local government was divided to two by the military government that felt in its wisdom that it was by dividing it to two that development could get to the grassroots.

Even with the division, there was a potential bubby – trap noticed by the community political leaders. One of the newly created Local Government Councils had 13 wards while the other had only 10 ward and both formed a federal constituency and are expected to produce a federal lawmaker.

According to Chief Sanya Orungbemi the last Chairman of Akoko Local Government before government in it’s determination to take governance to the grassroots split the local government into two – Akoko North East and Akoko North West said the leaders smelt a potential danger: if a political arrangement was not put in place, the local government council with 13 wards would always win an election involving the two Councils.

He said the desire to prevent domination made the leaders to opt for the rotation of the federal constituency seat after every four – four years. This arrangement, he said worked perfectly well to stabilize the polity.

Since that political arrangement started in 1999,the political leaders have kept faith with it. In 1999, Mr. Dada Busari of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) who is from Akunu Akoko in Akoko North East Local Government Council became the federal legislator. In 2003, Mr. Lawrence Adeyemi aka Obalola ,a Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) candidate from Irun Akoko in Akoko North West local government council represented the Federal Constituency.

Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, a PDP member from Ikare,Akoko North East was the member House of Representatives in 2007 while Mr. Ganiyu Dauda from Irun Akoko in Akoko North West in 2011 represented the Federal Constituency. In 2015, Hon. Stephen Friday Olemija from Ikare in Akoko North East local government council was elected to represent the constituency.

In 2019, Hon. Bunmi Tunji – Ojo from Okeagbe Akoko,Akoko North West local government council was elected to represent the constituency. Hon. Tunji – Ojo performed so well that the unwritten agreement was bent to allow him go for a second term. It was the first since the beginning of the fourth Republic.

But by divine arrangement, Hon. Tunji -Ojo could not complete his term as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu appointed him as one of his ministers thus leaving the federal constituency seat vacant.

The Minister who has now assumed the political leadership position of the two local government councils did not search far before he picked a successor in the All Progressives Congress ( APC) fold.
He picked his cousin from Oyin Akoko few kilometers from his Okeagbe Akoko base to replace him. Although there were dissenting voices, the party leadership endorsed his choice and in a primary election that is now a subject of legal intervention, Mr Ife Ehindero from Akoko North West was picked to fly the flag of the ruling party.

The main opposition party, the PDP struck to the rotation arrangement by electing Hon. Olalekan Bada, a former Chairman of Akoko North East local government council as its standard bearer.

Although Hon. Bada spent a very short period in the council, he, however, left an indelible mark in the minds of residents and community leaders in Akoko North East local government council. As if he knew he would be coming so soon to ask for their votes, the PDP standard bearer made sure he touched the lives of the people with his policies,programmes and provision of infrastructure.

Alhaji Jamiu Usman, the PDP Chairman in Akoko North West local government council said the Minister was a beneficiary of the rotation arrangement of the federal constituency. The electorates,he said rejected the attempt by the sitting member of the house of Representatives for a second term,even with the support of the late state governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu. He was roundly defeated by Hon. Tunji -Ojo who came from the other local government council.

He said it is the turn of Akoko North East local government council to produce the next member of the House of Representatives based on the rotation arrangement adding:” if we insist on getting it by force from them, we should not forget that they(Akoko North East) have 13 wards while we have only 10 wards. If we allow Akoko North East to have their turn now, they have three and a half years to complete the term and it will come to our local government, but should we be politically greedy, then we should forget getting any political position in future because in any election involving the two local government councils,they will defeat us(Akoko North West)”.

Speaking on the political situation in the federal constituency, a former commissioner in Ondo state, Prince Yekinni Olanipekun who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said:” we are aware there was an agreement on rotation between Akoko North East/North West Federal constituency when the old Akoko North Local Government Council. I am from Akoko North West local government council and I am saying it is the turn of Akoko North East ” adding that :” it is the right of Akoko North East to represent the federal constituency”.

Both candidates of the two popular political parties in the federal constituency have intensified their campaign to the streets and palaces of traditional rulers. However, attempt by the APC candidate to bring the Olukare of Ikare land, Oba Akadiri Momoh directly into the political campaign backfired last week. One of the traditional chiefs in Ikare Akoko had during a political rally alleged that Oba Momoh had endorsed Mr. Ife Ehindero of the APC , a claim the palace said was untrue and malicious.

Few hours after the news of the event at the rally filtered into the Olukare palace, a disclaimer was caused to be issued. It reads:


“Over the years, the Olúkàré’s take on partisan politics is to give a level playground to all as a father. But would be rather unfair for anyone to capitalize on this to steer confusion in the land as the Akoko North East/North West Federal Constituency bye-election draws close.

“Let it get registered that regardless of the Kábíyèsí’s support for the government of the day, to expect that the Kábíyèsí Omo A-tè-síbi-ayé-n-tè-sì would drop an Ìkàré son and ok support for the candidate of the ruling party is the least of all human possibility and dreams.

“This decision has nothing to do with neither empty emotions nor heavy enumeration. The Olúkàré of Ìkàré, Ọba Akadri Saliu Momoh IV (JP, CON, CFR), long declared that his support would be for whichever party projects an Àkókó North East son as their candidate for the vacant Federal House of Representatives seat.

“Coming online at this critical stage in preparation for the poll only to refer to one imaginary well-attended party meetings in Ìkàré where the Olokedogan of Okoja-Ikare (Chief Liadi Ekunusi) claimed to have spoken the mind of the Kábíyèsí in declaring support for Hon. Ifeoluwa Ehindero is quite misleading, malicious and mischievous.

“Truthfully, Ìkàré has the history of supporting the government of the day, but to use that as a premises to curry the Olúkàré’s favour in a race of long-existing “rotational agreement” is in no wise in line with conscience.

“To set the record straight, the Olúkàré’s promise to his people stands solidly. Kábíyèsí did not at any time discuss in private or send any Chief to broadcast his support to anyone. “Àwa ló kan” is still the loudest anthem on the lips of every youth of Àkókó North East extraction. No private discussion between the Kábíyèsí Olúkàré and Chief Olókèdogàn against the candidacy of Hon. Olalekan Bada and the unanimous voice of the community.

“Right from the onset, Ìkàré was all out to rally support for the victory of the candidate of any party which pick their flagbearer from an Àkókó North East extraction. To the very end, here we stand. And at the end of the bye-election exercise scheduled to hold on the 3rd of February, 2024, we are hopeful that on the faces of our people there shall be smile.

“Prince I.O. Momoh,
Secretary to the Olúkàré-in-Council.

The Olukare has since gave Hon. Olalekan Bada his royal blessing which his royal brothers in the two local government councils re-echoed although Hon. Bada does not enjoy an exclusive monopoly of the blessings as his political opponent Mr. Ehindero has also visited a couple of palaces to receive blessings.

In Akoko, the traditional institution still plays a prominent role in who becomes what and most time ,the traditional rulers network to ensure that the unity, peace and progress of the community is maintained and sustained, would the electorates listen to them and maintain the over two decades political arrangement? That is the one million aira question hanging in the air.

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