More controversy has emerged over the burial funds raised for late activist and Afenifere spokesperson Yinka Odumakin.
Odumakin’s memorial committee, Thursday, slammed members of the accountability committee over alleged mismanagement of ₦10 million raised for the burial.
The committee described the accountability committee members as “self-seeking infiltrators masquerading as civil society activists.”
Only a few days after the burial of Odumakin in Osun state, which took place on April 24, some members of the burial committee questioned the management of the funds.
They subsequently set up an accountability committee known as Odumakin Accountability Resolution Committee which indicted the Memorial Planning Committee (MPC) and asked it to refund ₦7.9 million to the Odumakin family.
But reacting to the accountability committee report, Awa Bamiji of the Civil Society and Pro-Democracy Movement Memorial Initiative, 2021, dismissed the allegations.
He warned members of the accountability committee to desist from “their divisive reactionary orchestration of disaffection within the movement or be ready to face the wrath of the majority and genuine leaders and elders of the civil society movement.”
He described one Declan Ihekaire as one of the key actors behind the issue, alleging that Ihekaire specifically requested and collected ₦20,000 to fuel his personal car to and from Osun.
He also accused others of taking and sharing ₦5 million, saying this is part of the evidence already compiled with the help of their legal associates.
“To this end, we have already instructed our legal advisers to approach the law court immediately to press charges of willful defamation, obtaining by force under duress and physical assault against them and their cohorts at large if they continue in their nefarious and malicious ways of unprovoked assault and smear campaign dubbed as resolutions of their dubious accountability gang,” he told Daily Trust.
“As the conscience of the country, the leadership of the Civil Society and Pro-Democracy Movement hereby vehemently condemns, disowns and distances itself from the divisive activities of this bunch of pretenders and Infiltrators who are of no significant reputation and scruples.”
When contacted, Ihekaire said Awa Bamiji who signed the statement should be arrested.
He said he was brought into the committee as a sub-committee member and he was never part of any meeting held by the memorial committee where issues of the disbursement of funds were raised.
Ihekaire noted that many people were shut out of the platform because the committee didn’t want to give account of the funds received.
He said some of them opened “Odumakin Real Accountability Platform” and added Awa Bamiji and Comrade Wale Okunniyi but they left.
But he stated that the committee did their work and found out they actually embezzled ₦7 million plus.
“They have gone begging people to give them soft landing and the committee members are saying, no, we are not backing down. We are going to address a press conference on this.”
“I have just told you the truth and nothing but the truth. We need to sanitise civil society. They should just feel remorse and come out to say we are sorry. It was even suggested that they should be ostracized from the activities of civil society,” he said.
The accountability committee later issued another statement, saying the claim made by Bamiji was an unsubstantiated story designed to implicate Odumakin family.
On the ₦5 million alleged to have been taken, it said, “The only place where the sum of ₦5 million was mentioned is in the budget itself and was listed as donation by the Lagos State Government towards the burial of late Odumakin.
“Other South-West governors of Ekiti and Osun states made donations of a staggering ₦1,000,000 and ₦2,500,000 respectively for the same purpose. Details of the income and expenditures analysis as submitted by Wale Okunniyi and Awa Bamiji, shall be affixed here under for our perusal.
“Meanwhile, the total amount donated by three South-West governors, (₦8.5 million only in total) was all listed as part of the total money lavishly wasted on frivolous expenses, multiple charges for same items, heavily padded relevant and irrelevant materials, overloading and highly overcharged provisions for non-existing expenditures etc. That is, if there was any at all,” the statement added.