Wednesday, April 28, 2021

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‘For too long, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so they took our power and by doing nothing we gave it away. We have seen where their ways lead…. a downward spiral to stagnation, oppression and defeated spirit’.

It is time to lend our voice to the issues of Owan West.

We are a broken generation that have been deliberately incapacitated and made worthless to ourselves and the communities at large because of the self-centeredness, greed and lack of vision by our supposed ‘leaders’. While other youth across the world are excelling and contributing their quota to growth and development in different commercial endeavors, we are totally disengaged and idle with nothing to do but wait for the next ‘freebie’. We hang around for the next big car to come into our community and troop out to hail the ‘owner’ in the hope that he will drop some money for us to scramble to share amongst ourselves for alcohol and drugs. We are healthy and strong, but we do not farm to feed; we are simply tools for the next politician ready to hire. We are used election after election with the promise of jobs, but after the elections we are left behind in despair, losing hope once more with a voice telling us this phone is switched off when we try to reach out to fulfil another failed promise. That is pretty much the lifestyle of most youths. How long can we live like this?

We are called different unpalatable names and blamed for not being responsible, but we do not know any better because this is how we were raised. Those who are supposed to know better keep us this way to help them to achieve their selfish goals. The Local Government Council as the third tier of government is expected to deal directly with the people to identify what they lack, their needs and to ensure that sustainable projects are implemented within communities. It is however disheartening that the stewardship of local government council is perceived instead as a cash cow and the personal account of the chairmen.

Without going far back, let us take an assessment of the immediate past Chairman whose term ended on March 31, 2021, Frank Ilaboya. Within three months of entering office, he built himself a mansion close to the Uzebba-Ifon Road and tarred the road leading only to his gate. It was not long before he seized the generator, bought through the contribution of the Evbiobe Community (Sabo) to light up the streetlights in that area, to his house for his personal use. It was only returned when the youths came out with one voice to stop this irresponsible abuse of power.

He did not stop there. Frank Ilaboya made a claim to complete the Uzebba Motor Park Plaza that was erected by his predecessor to roofing stage over Nine years ago. The irony of this is that not only did he make a false claim but also removed the roofing sheets from this same building to build his personal poultry farm. For 1 ½ years until leaving office, it remained an abandoned project. Please see photos below of the current state of the claimed completed structure as at 26, April 2021.

His mastery of the art of deceit and manipulation was the bane of his tenure. These characteristics of a trickster displayed by Ilaboya leave much to be desired in terms of values of leadership. He was a champion of claiming community and individual projects as his own. His empowerment programs did not go beyond grinding and sewing machines, stage managed by him and his cronies. Which makes one ponder as to what he must have claimed to have accomplished to merit this recognition of stewardship in the LGA to have been given 2 awards. I am yet to see any major accomplishments within Owan West that can be attributed to him.

His lack of accountability to Owan should not be too surprising as he was not elected to office by Owan people but emerged as council chairman courtesy of his godfather, Ojo Asein, at a cost to our council coffers. It is alleged that the agreement was that Ilaboya will pay his godfather five hundred thousand Naira monthly (N6,000,000 per annum), even though Asein was not an employee of the council and was at that time a member of the Edo State House of Assembly representing Owan West LGA. If we recall Ilaboya claimed, he was unable to pay the salaries of the council workers. He claimed that there was no money in the council because the state government took the money leaving them with crumbs to run the council. Some of the staff I spoke with claimed that they were not given their full salary, it was always between 10 – 30% if they received any at all, but he was able to secure his own salary, full allowance and still accommodate a non-staff member’s monthly N500,000. He was unable to come up with any initiative that will generate substantial amount for internal revenue. Aside of two sienna he put on the road as transport, mostly the taxes on the markets were what the council chairman relied on. There was no accountability or transparency, and no one knows who got the money and what it was used for. Ilaboya also claimed that Ojo Asein hired over four hundred people into the council making it a total of over six hundred employees in a council that only has the capacity for One hundred and twenty employees or there about. We believed him until he started his scheme to return to the council. Why does he want to return to a place he claimed that the government did not fund, a place where he has nothing tangible to show us that he accomplished in his tenure, a place where after his tenure the youth are worse off for wear and tear?

Flashback to the Governorship election 2020. He was not at his unit until the youths went to house screaming and finally showed up nonchalant and would have lost his unit. He barely won his unit with twenty-four votes. He lost Uzebba Ward 9 with 325 votes to the APC and lost Uzebba Ward 10 with 442 votes to the APC.

He went on to establish the Owan Youth Foundation which looked like a laudable project at the time to uplift Owan youths. Till this day no one knows how much was raised or what the money was used for. So far, after the fund raiser no one has heard anything about it. Even though he does not need to be in office for the foundation to be effective and he meant well.

We were also disturbed that Frank Ilaboya discouraged the youths from participating in the interactive session with the Managing Director for EdoJobs, Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, even though this will benefit the local government and uplift the youths in the various communities. We know better now.

With no money to pay salaries at the council, Ilaboya gave party leaders and ward chairmen Five Million Naira to endorse him to return to the council. This action was met with serious opposition, by not just party members, but the general electorate in Owan West. They swore that any party who fielded Ilaboya will certainly lose the election. Those who signed the so-called endorsement document were chastised by party members who were against unilateral decisions being made against the will of its members and the general population. We fought godfatherism at the 2020 elections, we cannot allow it to rear its ugly head again. It was at that time that some revealed that they were told that he had the backing of the Deputy Governor and refusal to sign will lead to their removal from their elected positions. In fact, Ilaboya bragged that he had taken care of the Deputy Governor and he (Ilaboya) was the Deputy Governor’s choice for Owan West regardless of what the people wanted.

Sequel to Ojo Asein’s removal as a member of the House of Assembly, Ilaboya saw this as the perfect opportunity to reduce his unaccountable monthly income from our treasury of N500,000 to N300,000 as his perceived value had depreciated.
Asein, a wounded lion was having none of it and mounted his counterattack on Ilaboya by bringing in Jimfred as his aspirant to support as the new candidate for local government chairman. Jimfred a timid petrol station attendant who needed convincing was promised by Asein, to bank roll this aspiration, however, we are not sure what deal or price Jimfred will have to pay. He (Asein) also bragged of the support of the Deputy Governor, stating that he had placed Jimfred as a house help to the Deputy Governor, so that Jimfred will be considered when the time was right for council. Asein also bragged about his influence over the State Governor.

While the Ilaboya/Asein drama was ongoing, others without godfathers but God the Father were pushing forward their aspirations for a better Owan West. One of such is Omonlei Imadu from PDP Avbiosi Ward 5, who declared to the 11 wards in Owan West his intent to serve in the capacity of the LGA chairman. This interesting turn of events has changed the dynamics of Owan West.

Panicked, this caused Frank Ilaboya to return to Ojo Asein promising to pay him the arrears of the money he owed for the two years which totals to twelve Million Naira. Haba! And no money to pay salaries.

Frank Ilaboya has absolutely no project to show for the three years he was in office. If he says he has then he must come out and show it to us and provide the documents and account for same. We wonder why he needs to go back to the council, which he claims has no money and is not profitable for him. We are done with the lies. We desire good governance for Owan West Local Government Area.

What we are saying and demanding from the leadership of the party is to allow us to choose who we believe will work for the development of Owan West Local Government Area, the growth and progress of its people.


‘Our youth are not failing the system; the system is failing our youth.’ ~ Rachael Jackson

God Bless Owan West LGA
God Bless Edo State
God Bless Nigeria

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