KAROUNWI @54,THE POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF KAROUNWI FROM EFON KINGDOM. Phase one (1992 – 1997)

Karounwi Oladapo.

Nothing to celebrate! The world is not at peace! Coronavirus is ravaging the World.

However, here is a piece for the record.

The Political Evolution of Karounwi From Efon Kingdom

-Phase one (1992 – 1997)

Karounwi Oladapo was 26 years when he entered Efon Politics 28 years ago, as a fresh University Graduate.

Before my entrance, through the lowest Political unit, to contest for the Councillorship position of the old Ekiti West ward 7, Efon Alaaye, under the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, in 1992, Efon Political Establishment was predominantly elders’ affairs. The Political class was constituted by the retirees ; retired Primary and Secondary School Teachers, Headmasters, Principals, Civil Servants, Local Contractors and the likes. Youths involvement in the Politics was seen as an abberation.

The foremost grassroots leaders of the SDP, the dominant Party in Efon at my point of entry were ; Chief Odole Olowuro who was the overall Party Leader in Efon, Chief Mrs Agbeke Oni was the overall Women Leader, Chief Olukayode Ige was the Executive Chairman of the old Ekiti West Local Government Council, Chief George Ajanaku was the Parliamentary Leader of the Ekiti West Legislative Council and Chief Idowu Akinyele Ologbo who was the Ekiti West Local Government SDP Publicity Secretary doubled as the highest ranking Party officer in Efon. Chief C. K. Awoyelu from Erinjiyan was the Local Government Party Chairman and Mr.Jacob Dada from Okemesi was the Local Government Party Secretary. The Party Secretariat was situated in Aramoko, the Local Government headquarters.

At entrance into Politics, Chief Mogaji Eyinmenungun was my ward 7 Chairman. I mobilized the ward to displace Hon. Adedayo Adeuyi, the incumbent Councillor who was seeking a re-election.Little did I know at the time that hardly can one secures any party ticket except one is properly situated in the Party Structures or gets the endorsement of the Party hierarchy. I relied on my popularity among the youths that constituted the greatest number. Alas, the Political Establishment taught me the first lesson in practical Politics when they schemed me out of the race and my youths constituency influence paled into insignificance! Hon.Adedayo Adeuyi was primed for a second term alongside five other Councillors.
Note that Efon town had six wards under the old Ekiti West Local Government ; Wards 1, 2, and 3 were in Aramoko while wards 4 to 9 were in Efon. Efon wards increased to 10 at creation of Efon Local Government on December 4,1996.)

The Political transition process ran into troubled waters following the annulment of the Presidential election in 1993 and the Political Parties were proscribed. Late General Sanni Abacha returned Nigeria, and indeed Efon to a zero Party arrangement. The Political Structures in Efon were collapsed.

The first defeat I suffered had taught me that I needed a Political Structure to grow and survive in an engagement I have chosen as my occupation. The Efon Political Establishment was not comfortable with my involvement in Efon Politics because they calculated my Political steps and projected that I could disrupt and alter the status quo. They invited me severally, collectively and individually, advising me to look for jobs outside Politics, claiming that Politics is for the retirees and that I should return to Politics at retirement from my jobs. Each time, I humbly refused their counsel and moved on. Of course, the Political gang up started to teach me the Political lessons that would force me out of Politics. I stood my ground courageously. I rose up to the challenge at a great cost. I paid severely for my choice but never regretted my decision.To worsen my situation, my father, Oladapo Akanni, vehemently opposed my participation in Efon Politics because of the bitter experience of his Political activities that almost took his life in the August 1983 Ondo State Political crisis of NPN and UPN that engulfed Efon Alaaye. He was a staunch supporter of Chief Akin Omoboriowo of NPN. He did not want me to suffer similar fate!
Notwithstanding the odds, I broke the glass ceiling and altered the status quo ante in Efon Politics!

When the Political season was off in 1993, Prince Aderogba Agbaje, who has been training and mentoring me from my teenage years, offered me a job as Consultant in Training in his Business Management Consulting firm, AGMAN Consultant Limited, Sadiku Street, Ilasamaja, Lagos State. I took up the job, worked for about two years only to resign my appointment with him when General Abacha Military Government rolled out the Political transition timetable. I returned to Efon with the aspiration of becoming a Councillor. My mentor and benefactor, Prince Ade Agbaje did not like my decision to go back to Politics. He saw a University Professor in me. He was convinced that I was a very intelligent and brilliant guy. He advised me to pursue a masters degree and PhD. Unfortunately, my passion for Politics did not allow me to give his beautiful advice any thought! I followed my passion.

Having learnt that I needed a Political Structure to actualize my Political aspiration and thought deeply on how to overcome the challenge, particularly at Zero Party period when the previous hostile Political Structures have been decimated, then came the power of IDEAS! I came up with the idea of EFON PARAPO, a Political platform that was designed to bring all the Political Leaders of the left and the right together with a view to healing the subsisting wounds of the NPN /UPN, Ajasin /Omoboriowo Political crisis of 1983 that tore Efon Alaaye apart!

I started visiting Efon Elites in Lagos with this noble idea. In the process, I met with Chief J. F. Alake Jofolak and he bought into it because he saw an opportunity to take the Political Leadership of Efon in my idea. He was he that helped translated my idea into reality in Efon when we established EFON PARAPO as a Political platform in 1995. He used his resources to host the meetings of Efon Political Leaders and I provided the intellectual and Secretarial support. He became the Chairman of Efon Parapo and I became the Secretary. The Leadership was strengthened by the supports of Chief Julius. I. Olarubofin, Chief Dele Jeje and Chief Bode Olayinka BOS. We then proceeded to establish ward Structures for Efon Parapo. These Structures were used to generate the six Councillors of Efon, including my humble self, in the Zero Party election of 1996. I was elected a Councillor at age 30.

(It’s important to state here that the Efon Parapo Structures of 1995 became the building blocks upon which the foundation of Alliance For Democracy, AD, Political Party was laid in Efon Local Government in 1998.This led to the emergence of Chief J. F. Alake Jofolak as the foundational Local Government Party Chairman and Hon. Karounwi Oladapo as the foundational Local Government Party Secretary while Chief Dele Jeje was the foundational Local Government Party Treasurer.)

For Ekiti West Local Government Council Chairmanship under Zero Party, the Efon Parapo Political hierarchy adopted Barr. Gbadebo Ibuoye from Okemesi as its Chairmanship Candidate. However, through a divine arrangement, Chief Tope Folayan from Efon, that was never given any chance, emerged outside Efon Parapo Structures, to become the elected Chairman of the old Ekiti West Local Government Council in 1996.

Next was the struggle for the only Supervisory Councillor position alloted to Efon, out of about eight towns that made up the Local Government. The Local Government system was a unicamera arrangement ; Supervisors were to be nominated among the elected Councillors. In Efon, Councillors Isaac.O.Ogundugba and Idowu Akinyele Ologbo were in tough contest for the alloted Supervisory Councillor for works position. I was equally but subtly aspiring for same position through the Efon Parapo Leadership. For reason best known to the concerned, I was not the favorite Candidate. Then I made a detour, re-strategised and rooted my aspiration through the closest Political ally of the elected Council Chairman, Chief Tunde Babalola, alias Jako. Chief Jako took my case up and linked me to the Chairman. The Council Chairman, Chief Tope Folayan promised to appoint me and he boldly and courageously appointed me Supervisory Councillor for Works, Transport and Housing, contrary to the choice of Efon Political Leadership. Here, Chief Tope Folayan and Chief Tunde Babalola became my benefactor two and three, after Prince Ade Agbaje. I will never forget the trio in my life! They remained in the positive side of my Political history. I worked loyally with Chief Tope Folayan in the Local Government Secretariat, Aramoko, defending the interest of Efon, until December 4,1996, when Efon Local Government was created out of the old Ekiti West Local Government.

Chief Tope Folayan was directed to continue his chairmanship in the newly created Efon Local Government and I became the Pioneer Vice Chairman of the newly created Efon Local Government Council at 30 years of age. It should be noted that the other five councillors from Efon resigned from their Councillorship positions shortly before the creation of Efon Local Government, leaving Chief Tope Folayan and Hon. Karounwi Oladapo behind! They resigned to contest under the emerging United Nigeria Congress Party, UNCP.
The Chairman, Tope Folayan and the Vice Chairman, Karounwi Oladapo, ably supported by His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Emmanuel Aladejare and Efon Elites, facilitated the smooth take off of Efon Local Government.The Local Government Chairman made me the Chairman of the Asset Sharing Committee between Ekiti West and Efon Local Governments due to the fact that I was the Supervisor for Works, Transport and Housing before the split of the old Local Government. My Committee worked closely with the Kabiyesi, Efon and Ekiti West stakeholders.We defended the interest of Efon and Efon was not shortchanged in the sharing formula of moveable and fixed assets in the Parent Local Government.

Today, I am happy to note and observe that the first Phase of my Political struggles in Efon Politics (1992 to 1997) have been a motivating factor for many youths involvement in the Politics and Political Leadership of Efon as opposed to what it used to be in the past!

And I am equally happy that since I entered Politics through a Social Democratic Political Philosophy, I have not deviated from that Progressive lineage to date!

Signed

Rt. Hon. ASIWAJU KAROUNWI OLADAPO.

Kasto-Cicero
April 25, 2020.