Femi Mokikan, President of Okun Development Association (ODA), the umbrella socio-cultural group of the Yoruba people in Kogi State, has cleared the air on the visit of some Okun leaders to President Bola Tinubu in Abuja.
Mokikan, in a statement issued at the weekend, said ODA was fully involved in the visit to the President on Thursday.
While saying that the visit was not aimed at promoting any governorship candidate but to ensure protection of the collective interest of the Okun people, the ODA President, however, commended the role played by Leke Abejide and some other influential persons in ensuring the success of the meeting.
The statement reads in full :
“Good day sons and daughters of Okun Nation at home and in the diaspora.
This release would not have been necessary, but for the numerous calls and messages that I have received, and some of the write ups I have read in some okun-linked platforms between the time some of our people visited the president yesterday 03/08/23 and now.
Some believed that the visit was embarked upon without the knowledge of the oda since the oda president was not among those who went on the visit. Some wondered if I was still the president. Some queried the composition of the delegation. Some politicized it. Why was this person included and that one was not included. There were even those who suggested that the visit was initiated and organized by a particular candidate. And so on and so forth.
This intervention is to put the records straight.
As the president of the ODA, I and my colleagues have for over a year been on the okun for governor agenda, working with like-minded and not so like-minded individuals and groups from across our state, towards the actualization of our 2019 understanding with the executive governor of our state, that power would rotate to the west in 2023/2024.
It is public knowledge that there are several stakeholder groups working on this same project. There is kwef, ott, kwacf, aside from others. Oda has been an active participant in all these named bodies.
As to be expected, each group has its own operational framework and strategy.
Visiting the president of the federation was a strong consideration in almost all the groups.
ODA, being a legal personality, by virtue of its registration with the cac, and also being the only body authorized to speak for and on behalf of the okun people, was in the forefront of making a request to the president for a visit on the same matter. The request was made on behalf of KWEF, OTT and ODA.
The request got to the presidency for close to one month and we did not receive any confirmation of a date for the visit. At some point we followed up and got assurance that the request would be approved. Immediately, kwef and ott were informed to give a list of those to represent them so I could combine all in a single list. This was done and I added the ODA and KWEF committe teams and sent ahead.
Ordinarily, the ODA president should lead the delegation on such a visit. And that was the plan. The approval did not come soon enough as I expected. None of us had any control over that.
Before the approval came, I had to travel out of the country for a family engagement. When it got to that point, I had to draft the speech that we would present during the visit and I left it with my colleagues in the kwef committee to review and finalize, should the approval come while I was still away.
It was on Tuesday this week, august 1st, that I got a message that we were to pay a visit at 3pm on thursday august 3rd.
I immediately activated all the plans that were already on ground. I got another message at exactly 12:39pm yesterday, the day of the visit, requesting to know since I was not going to be available, who would speak on our behalf. I immediately sent the person’s name.
To the glory of god, the visit took place as planned.
Let me add that none of the lists compiled by the various groups and given to me contained the names of any governorship candidate or elected official.
I have always admitted that I am a poor student of protocols. With benefit of hindsight, I should have mentioned it to all our elected officials. The presence of our elected officials in the national assembly should have been an added advantage. Lessons for the future.
Notwithstanding, we benefitted tremendously from the existing relationship between Hon Leke Abejide and some others in the villa. I must acknowledge and appreciate his role and that of one of our prides, amb sola enikanolaiye. Without their intervention, we most certainly would still have been waiting and expecting.
Let us use the wisdom in our elders admonition when they say
“a snake threatens. What does it matter whether it is the wife that kills the snake or it is the husband. The goal is to kill the snake.”
Please let us calm down and see the good part of this visit.
I confirm that I was a part of the process from the beginning to the end. Nobody has usurped the office of the president of oda from me. Transition to another president will not happen until march 2024, by his grace.
The visit was not to promote any particular candidate. The visit was primarily and solely to present a compelling case on behalf of our good people of Kogi West. “