The controversy over the burial funds of late activist, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, deepened on Thursday as the memorial committee slammed members of the accountability committee over alleged mismanagement of N10 million raised for the burial.
The committee described the accountability committee members as “self-seeking infiltrators masquerading as Civil Society Activists”.
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Daily Trust reports that a few days after the burial of Odumakin in Ife Moro, Osun State, some members of the burial committee questioned the management of the funds.
The burial took place on April 24.
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 N7.9m to Odumakin family.
But reacting to the accountability committee report, Comrade 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 N20,000 to fuel his personal car to and from Osun State.
Allegation of illegal disbursement of N5m
He also accused others of cornering and sharing N5m, 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.
“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 these bunch of pretenders and Infiltrators who are of no significant reputation and scruples.”
When contacted yesterday, Comrade 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 N7m 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.”
He also said he was not moved by the threat of legal action against him even as he dismissed the allegation of cornering N5m.
“He had threatened that earlier and now petitions have been written against them to the EFCC, Force CID and people have been begging on their behalf. We have to call those that have been begging on their behalf that they have not shown any remorse.
“I have just told you the truth and nothing but the truth. We need to sanitize 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.
Attempt to implicate Odumakin family
The accountability committee later issued another statement, saying the claim made by Bamiji was an unsubstantiated story designed to implicate Odumakin family.
It insisted that the sum of N9.3m out of N9.9m raised by the committee was blown on burial jamboree.
On the N5m alleged to have been cornered, it said, “The only place where the sum of N5m was mentioned is in the budget itself and was listed as donation by the Lagos State Government towards the burial of late Comrade Yinka Odumakin.
“Other South West Governors of Ekiti and Osun States made donations of a staggering N1, 000,000.00k and N2.500.000.00k 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 (3) South West Governors, (N8.5m naira 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.