Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The leadership crisis among traders in Oyo State yesterday took a new dimension, when over 500 traders stormed the state Government Secretariat in Agodi, Ibadan, to protest against what they described as a conspiracy to install Alhaji Yekini Abass as the Babaloja-General of Oyo State.
The President, Coalition of Oyo State Market Youth Forum, Sikiru Adetunji, while speaking with journalists after the protest, said those behind the plan to install the Babaloja-General, including those in government, members of the Canteen Operators Association and Artisans Association in the Market Advisory Council by the past administration for political reason, are enemies of traders and the state.
He said: “The Traders Advisory Council constituted by the state Governor, Seyi Makinde, is a fraud, and we would not allow it to stay. We are traders, it is unacceptable to lump bricklayers association, musical instruments hiring association, canteen operators association, and furniture makers association with our association for political reasons.
“We know those who belong to traders association; we know our leaders and we know those who have shops in our various markets. It is impossible to allow intruders to hijack our business, more so, all they want is to use our association to defraud politicians who are desperately looking for votes to buy, likewise tricking the unsuspected traders into applying for illusionary loans after paying non-refundable fees.
“We have said this before and we are repeating it today that we challenge those in the Market Advisory Council to lead a team comprising the state Commissioner for Trade and Industry, the Chairman, Assembly Committee on Trade, Commissioner for Justice and security agencies, to their shops where they have their investments, show them the businesses they are into and why they want to remain with traders in the state.
“After the investigation into the activities of each member of the advisory council, both government and members of the public will know why Oyo State Market Advisory Council should be dissolved. Off course this will put an end to the crisis rocking traders association in the state.
“We have elected, ratified and sworn in Alhaji Sunmaila Aderemi Jimoh as the Babaloja-General of Oyo State before Y. K. Abass fraudulently lobbied the late Olubadan of Ibadanland into making him Babaloja-General, which a state High Court in Ibadan had recently nullified and warned him not to parade himself again as the Babaloja-General of Oyo State.
“We have likewise elected and inaugurated Alhaja Saratu Aduke Konibaje as the Iyaloja-General of Oyo State before the rebellions and saboteurs collaborated with enemies from outside to destabilise the state with their illegal campaigning for unknown candidate, Princess Azeezat Folasade Nurudeen, who never had any shop nor engage in any business activity in the state.”
He added: “What happened here today is purely illegal and unconstitutional and must not be allowed to stand. We shall protect the decision of our leaders who elected leaders for us, and no stranger will be allowed to hijack our association and businesses in the state.”