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Tribute to Chief Boboye Olanipekun by Ajibola Ijesa

Ajibola Ijesa from the State of Osun Mourn Chief Boboye Olanipekun

Chief Olanipekun was bigger than his description as a former commissioner in Ekiti State. It is an insult to his memory. When l heard that he was made a commissioner by Fayose, l called him and asked him if he could survive. He did not last six months. He was impervious to corruption. Chief Olanipekun was a proper Yoruba man. Clean, honest and incorruptible, he was real Omoluabi.

I came in contact with chief Olanipekun in 1986 thru the instrumentality of Alhaji Adeyeye of Ila Orangun. I knew Chief Adeyeye when he came to Ife now Obafemi Awolowo in 1975 to do postgraduate studies.

It was Alhaji Adeyeye under Obasanjo that wrote the policy paper that led to the establishment of National fertiliser company of Nigeria (NAFCON) in PORTHARCOURT as the largest nitrogenoeous fertiliser plant in Africa with a capacity of 1000MT ammonia per day and One million tons of Urea per year. It was from the federal ministry of industries that Olanipekun was seconded to NAFCON as its foundation staff. It was Alhaji Adeyeye being the desk officer for NAFCON that was to be seconded but he declined and recommended Chief Olanipekun. It was chief Olanipekun that registered NAFCON, obtained the certificate of registration and recruited all the initial staff including Dr Ombo Isokrari as project manager who later became DMD and later Managing Director.

At a point he was acting MD of Nafcon. After Nafcon have been properly seated, Olanipekun became the divisional manager Admin and personnel and the most powerful person after the Managing Director which brought him both envy and hatred. The foundation of Nafcon was laid by a member of much scorned Fulani and northerner called Shehu Shagari as president of Nigeria who had the power to have moved the industry elsewhere and nothing would have happened. The indusrty was commissioned by another derided Northerner called Babangida. It is also on record that the same babangida commissioned Eleme petrochemical, Warri refinery, while the hated northerner called Abacha commisioned Portharcourt Refinery phase 2 and signed the sovereign credit for Bonny NLNG which today is the most lucrative industry in Nigeria and on train 7.

But when a southerner with a penchant for kainkain became the president with an igbo overrated bretton wood devotee as minister of finance and an Igbo wife as minister of petroleum, the trio could not take off the Olokola NLNG and brass NLNG off the ground. Brass NLNG is located in Jonathan village while Olokola is in ogun state. All that Jonathan was always to do was to sign the sovereign paper that would have given Nigeria a leap into heavy industrialisation. It was a wasted opportunity by overhyped literate called Ngozi Okonjo Iwealla and a clueless, kindergarten president called jonathan that spent all his waking time as president, sleep walking. All the industries built in the south by these northern leaders were all ate to the ground by their southern overseers. NAFCON, DELTA STEEL, THE ROLLING MILLS, MACHINE TOOLS, VEHICLE ASSEMBLY PLANTS were all ate to the ground by their rapacious southerners as MDS’ with sufficient leprosy of grandeur of illusion.

It was Olanipekun effort to prevent NAFCON going the way of Delta steel that a web of conspiracy was weaved around him. General Alani Akinrinade was the minister of industry while Alhaji Hassan Adamu from Adamawa was chairman of NAFCON. The ministry of industry was the supervising agency of NAFCON.

To perfect the game Olanipekun had to be removed. The plot was so thick that you could slice it with a knife. Lined against Olanipekun were all the top managers. Hassan Adamu (Wakili Adamawa )wanted to inject northerners into the top echelon of NAFCON especially have a Northerner take over the human resources division. It was a brutal war and nothing was spared. All the Yorubas in NAFCON looked up to Alani Akinrinade to save Olanipekun and by extension save we the yorubas, it was like a Christian proclaiming Judas as his savior. I sat on tne same bed with Olanipekun at our guest house in VI when Olanipekun wrote his petition to Akinrinade. I was the only Yoruba in NAFCON that stood with Olanipekun. At a point he asked me if I had no fear for my career, I said no. I have been sacked before and I also have sacked first tiers companies from ITT to Rank Xerox and Kabelmetal.The only question I asked chief Olanipekun was “which one came first, chicken or egg”? And if he Olanipekun had not stood his ground against Lt Gen Salisu Ibrahim who wanted his own even though I came first at the recruitment Interview for the position of export manager.

That was the stern stuff JB Olanipekun was made of. I also went to see his chief adversary in Buguma to appeal to him sheathe his sword. All my efforts came to nought. Chief Olanipekun was removed from his powerful position as human resources manager and replaced with Alhaji Dukku from Bauchi and a lot of Northerners were injected into NAFCON. Akinrinade was still the minister of industries when all these were taking place.

Chief Olanipekun was transferred and made Government Affairs Manager to be based in Abuja. The appointment alarmed his adversaries that he might used the position against them. They went for the jugular. They sacked him .They removed him from his official quarters at woji road, GRA PORTHARCOURT and gave him a small accommodation at GRA extension. To humiliate him further, they gave him janitorial work to be cleaning the premises at a fee. JB was undaunted. They later ejected him from the GRA extension house to a federal low cost housing estate in Agip of Portharcourt.

Chief Boboye spirit was not dampened. It was from that low cost flat that he moved back to Ado Ekiti. While at Ado, he wrote one of the administrative papers on the way Ekiti should be governed when it is created. While all the humiliations were being heaped on Olanipekun, Akinrinade was still the federal minister of industries. JB was bold, courageous, gifted writer and a real Yoruba unlike those irredentists parading themselves as Yoruba leaders. Sunre o. Omoluabi.

Global Gist Nigeria

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