When the famous Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe wrote his popular piece, the Arrow of God, he made it clear that the two priests’ rivalry in the kingdom were mere two powerful men used by the unseen oracles to fight their wars among men.
The latest form of rivalry for head teachers to occupy the office of the education Executive Secretary for Ikorodu Division has received external support by powerful political forces who are both trying to win this covert battle.
These political figures who are fighting the wars on behalf of the head teachers may ended up dragging themselves in the mud as cans of worms are already spilling out.
The race to fill the vacant position of the Ikorodu Division Executive Secretary has been a rough one and things seem to be spinning out of control as two different factions are laying claim to the coveted office.
Amidst the twenty four candidates who applied for the position, two men dominated the scene as both are widely supported by some powerful political figures in the Division.
One Mr. Yekini Aregbesola and another rival, Mr. Afolabi Amusa, are the two favourite candidates backed by two powerful political factions.
It was gathered that the State All Progressives Congress (APC) Vice Chairman, Lagos East Senatorial District, Chief Kaoli Olusanya and his allies favoured Mr. Yekini Aregbesola and they are doing everything possible to ensure that their candidate emerge the new Education Executive Secretary for the division.
On the other hand are leaders of the APC in Ikorodu Division, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, former Lagos State Deputy Governor and Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Bashorun, who are supporting the candidature of Mr. Afolabi Amusa.
In a frantic effort to secure the post for their candidate, the Kaoli’s faction argued that the SUBEB by-laws made provision for the appointment of an Education Executive Secretary, and that by that provision, a local government chairman and his councilors will appoint and present a candidate for the office of the local government Education Executive Secretary. They inaugurated a panel to screen the candidates who applied for the post and the report is yet to be announced.
Though, the group believe that Mr. Aregbesola is the most qualified and preferred candidate for the job.
On the other hand, the faction believe that the verdict or report by the first 7-man panel constituted by the former deputy governor is the only constitutional panel which was done in line with the constitution.
They believe that the second panel set up by the Kaoli’s faction is illegal and by every means a Kangaroo panel, thus, no one must honour the submission of its panel.
The first panel submitted, after its findings, that Mr. Aregbesola is the most qualified for the job, this was a decision made based on the clauses in the SUBEB handbook which states the educational and other relevant qualifications/criteria for the office of the education executive secretary for all local governments.
When our reporters spoke with one of the members who partook in the 7-man panel, they expressed their dissatisfaction over how their report was being treated after they had done a sincere job and found a qualified candidate.
The 7-man panel was chaired by Chief Babatunde Rotinwa, a former Lagos Head of Service and incumbent Chairman, Lagos State Local Government Service Commission and Prince Segun Ogunlewe also a former Head of service as deputy chairman, while Lanre Kuye A Director, Information and Public Relations, Lagos State Polytechnic was the secretary. Alhaji Musiliu Lawal Animasaun (De Cubano) was also a member of the 7-man panel. These are nonpartisans who follow strict rules to do their job. Most of the members of the panel expressed their concerns as the appointment of the Local Government Education Executive Secretary is being politicized instead of focusing on merit and criteria of the candidates as demanded by the constitution.
Some politicians in Ikorodu believe that since the appointment of Kaoli Olusanya as the Chairman of the APC Lagos East Senatorial District and executive member at the state level, he has been using his office to aggrandize himself. He was alleged to have used his influence to nominate his daughter for the post of a Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu after the local caucus had chosen someone else.
They accused him of taking all the largesse from the state government to himself. They believe that using his influence this time to force a candidate to become the next Local Government Executive Secretary in the division is not only a selfish act but also an act of undermining the positions of the APC Local Government leaders Chiefs Abiodun Ogunlewe and Olorunfunmi Bashorun.
In a brief chat with Honourable S.O.B Agunbiade, the representative of the Ikorodu Constituency I and Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, he said that though, he can’t say for sure who will emerge the preferred candidate, Mr. Aregbesola was found to be most qualified for the job. The honourable said that Mr. Afolabi Amusa did not attend the recent panel because he believe that he has the support of the six chairmen in Ikorodu Division. It was observed that since the Kaoli’s faction know Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, they have the ace card in this game and that their preferred candidate is by all means more suitable for the job.
Honourable Nurudeen Solaja, representative of Ikorodu Constituency II and Hon Bimpe Adesola also supported the idea that the most qualified candidate for the position must be based on the outcome of the Kaoli’s panel.
The bone of contention between both sides now is the mode of appointing the Local Government Education Secretary to represent Ikorodu Division before SUPEB, regarding matters of all public primary schools in the division.
The executive secretary is by law the interface between SUBEB and all primary schools in the division, by bringing all reports about the schools to the fore. Both sides have different views to the clauses regarding the appointment of the executive secretary. While the Kaoli’s group believe that the clause in the SUBEB constitution states that all chairmen in the division and their councilors will nominate and endorse a candidate for final approval by the Lagos SUBEB, the other group argued that the constitution only empowers the chairmen, excluding the councilors from nominating a candidate to be ratified by the SUBEB authorities.
Mr. Amusa was former primary and secondary schools teacher and had served as principal.
Mr. Aregbesola was also a former primary school head teacher at LASPOTECH Staff Primary School.
Kaoli Olusanya is the current Chieftain of the APC East Senatorial district comprising of Epe/Ikorodu/Somolu/Ibeju-Lekki. He was appointed sometime last year.
Bashorun Olorunfunmi was a former Secretary to State Government during Lateef Jakande era. He and his friend, Abiodun Ogunleye, have been the Ikorodu party leaders for APC for a while now.