…Marking Karounwi’s 55th Birthday( April 25, 2021)
– Phase two ( 1997 – 2021)
Phase one, (1992 to 1997), was published a year ago, when Karounwi clocked 54.( Google Karounwi at 54 for details)
I started Phase one narrative from my entry point into Efon Politics in 1992 (29 years ago) by contesting for Councillorship position under the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP and ended it at a point that I became the first Vice Chairman of Efon Local Government Council at creation in 1996.
Karounwi’s records of service to Efon Local Government between 1996 to 1997
This was contained in the Phase one narrative but summarized here as follows;
- I secured employment for three Efon indigenes in the old Ekiti West Local Government, Aramoko Ekiti.
- Chief Tope Folayan and Karounwi Oladapo brought the Magistrate Court to Efon in 1996, at a time the Local Government headquarters Aramoko hasn’t got one; ordinarily, the headquarters should have before any other towns within the Local Government.
( This was contained in a Book titled Ooni Obalufon Alaayemore, the history of Efon Kingdom, page 538-539).
- I supervised the assets sharing between the old Ekiti West Local Government and the newly created Efon Local Government in December 1996. As the last Supervisory Councillor for Works, Housing and Transport in the old Ekiti West Local Government Council, at Aramoko Ekiti, I guaranteed equitable sharing of assets between the two Local Governments under the guidance of the last Chairman of the old Ekiti West Council and the First Chairman of Efon Local Government Council, Chief Tope Folayan. We brought a lot of vehicles; low loader, tractors, caterpillar, tipper, cars and other valuables.
I left Efon Local Government Council in February,1997.
Hence the narrative of Phase two will start from 1997 and ends in April, 2021.
I contested for the House of Assembly seat under the United Nigeria Congress Party, UNCP with the old Political war horses like Chief J.I. Olarubofin, Chief S.V.K. Bamgboye, a vibrant Efon youth colleague, Afolabi Ige and about nine others, in 1997.
Chief Dele Jeje led Screening Committee screened nine aspirants out and presented three names to the Chief Olukayode Ige led UNCP Local Government Executive. The three are: Karounwi Oladapo, Chief J. I. Olarubofin and Mr. Mathew Anifowose.
The three of us were further screened down to two; myself and Chief Olarubofin. The party asked the two of us to present one person but none of us was ready to step down. I insisted on going to the primary election but the party leadership said a candidate must emerge without primaries. Eventually, the party leadership imposed Chief J. Olarubofin on the party without primary election and the dominant Party, UNCP lost the general election to the relatively unpopular Democratic Party of Nigeria, DPN. The UNCP Candidate Olarubofin lost to DPN Candidate, Barr. Nike Adegoke, now a Deputy Chief Registrar, Ekiti State Judiciary, in April, 1998 legislative general election.
Unfortunately, the House of Assembly elect Nike Adegoke hasn’t been sworn into office before all the Political Parties were dissolved on July 20, 1998, following the death of General Sani Abacha on June 8, 1998 and the inauguration of a new head of State General Abdulsalam Abubakar same day.
The formation of another Political Parties, under General Abdusalam Abubakar Political Transition Programme made Karounwi to become a Pioneer member and foundation Secretary of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, in Efon Local Government in 1998.
Subsequently, I became the Consensus Candidate of the AD for the House of Assembly 1999 legislative election. I won overwhelmingly in all the ten Wards in Efon in the general election to defeat the Candidate of PDP, Pa Michael Oladipupo from Efon Ward 5.
I was inaugurated as a Pioneer member of Ekiti State House of Assembly, representing Efon Alaaye Constituency, on June 1, 1999.
On the inauguration day, June 1, 1999, I was elected the First Chief Whip of the First Ekiti House of Assembly. I spent 37 days in the office of Chief Whip before my elevation and election to the position of Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly following the resignation of the former occupant of the office, Rt. Hon. Opeyemi Ajayi, on July 7, 1999.
22 years after I became the Deputy Speaker, it is on records that I still remain the longest serving Deputy Speaker Ekiti State House of Assembly ever produced. I spent 4 years less 37 days. No other Deputy Speaker has stayed in that office for that length of time.
Summarily, I was a principal officer of the first Ekiti House of Assembly for the entire tenure of 4 years.
To God be the glory!
Karounwi’s records of service to Efon Local Government between 1999 to 2003
1.During my membership of the House of Assembly, I facilitated the siting of a Federal High Court in Efon in February 2001.
- I facilitated the construction of Isaja gully site through ecological funds.
- I helped a good number of Efon indigenes got employment as follows:
3(i) three in the Ekiti State House of Assembly, one of them is today the Chief Driver of the House of Assembly;
3(ii) two in the Ekiti State Judiciary, and they were posted to Efon High Court in April 2001 to be specific;
3(iii) three in the Teaching Service;
3(iv) five in the Local Government Service, (senior cadre);
3(v) three in the Ekiti State Civil Service;
3(vi) two Directors in Ekiti State Civil Service from Efon were helped to become Permanent Secretaries. ( Permanent Secretary Laniyan Jegede is late. May his soul rest in peace).
3(vii) about seven lower cadre got employed in Efon Local Government Council through Elder Odunayo Ategbero the Local Government Chairman at the time;
3(viii) And a lady, a daughter of a Professor in Efon, got employed in the Federal Ministry of Information, Abuja. She is now the Chief Information Officer in the Ministry and about to become Assistant Director.
- I did weekly empowerment to my people in Efon and I pioneered street money ( owo orita) in Ekiti State, using my open roof white Toyota Celica to share money to people from Ado to Efon on Fridays and from Efon back to Ado on Mondays and within the streets of Ado in the week days, from 1999 to 2003.
I aspired to represent Ekiti Central Federal Constituency 2 ( Efon, Ekiti West and Ijero) in the House of Representatives in 2003. I contested with Barr. Afolabi Olasope from Efon Alaaye.
Some Party leaders who were backing Barr. Afolabi Olasope influenced the Party leadership in the state to manipulate the Primary elections in favour of Barr.Olasope at St. Philips Primary School, Aramoko on January 3, 2003. This sparked spontaneous violence in Aramoko and Efon.
There was so much tension in Efon through out the night. Many of my supporters slept in my compound wailing and crying throughout the night.
Unexpectedly, horrible and terrifying development occurred the following morning when many of my sympathizers have gone home. At about 10.00am, I suddenly saw some hoodlums dressed in black coming out in about 4 cars with dangerous weapons. They violently accessed my house and unleased terror. I scaled the fence with one of my Personal Assistants, Babalola Olaniyi Peter and escaped. My Driver Aderogba Adekanmi, now a Chief Driver in the Ekiti State House of Assembly, my wife Abosede, my two year old daughter Tosin, Mrs Bimpe Babalola, the wife of Chief Tunde Babalola Jako and many others were severely brutalized. My friend Supo Adekahunsi was put in the boot of one of the assailants’ car after serious beaten! My house was vandalized. My jewelries, money and other valuables were carted away. Efon DPO later smuggled me out of Efon with his car.
Guess what? The Alliance for Democracy, AD leaders in Efon Local Government, who sponsored my victorious opponent at the just concluded Primary elections, invited thugs from Lagos to wreck havoc on me! It became double tragedy for me; they manipulated me out of victory and they imported thugs to deal me a devastating blow!
It was on records that Chief Joel Omoniyi stood by me while the Political storm was raging.
Thank God, no life was lost during the crisis. History will not forget this ugly event!
This disturbing development necessitated the emergency meeting of my groups; Karounwi front led by Yemi Ajanaku and Aderogba Adeboki, Coordinated by Mr. Sunday Omidiji Jackie under the guidance of Hon. Bisi Kolawole who was a Supervisory Councilor for Works in Efon Local Government Council and a House of Assembly aspirant at the time; Karounwi Mothers led by Mrs Christianah Oluwafemi that later became the House of Assembly candidate of PDP and Honourable member of the Ekiti House of assembly (4 months after the crisis) in 2003; Karounwi Progressive Movement under the leadership of Chief Stephen Adeogun Ipinaise and Chief Femi Aluko, aka baba Agbede.
Chief Reuben Famuyibo, a friend and brother in the AD at the time came to address the groups on why we should all defect from AD to PDP.
My highly respected Egbon Bisi Kolawole lost his chance of getting the ticket of the AD for the House of Assembly because of his Political alliance with me.
Hon. Bisi Kolawole and I met separately. He told me we didn’t have a future with the caliber of leaders in Efon AD, considering the latest oppression and violence and that we should move to PDP. I declined but gave him a go ahead to defect to PDP in pursuit of his Political career and I wished him well. Hon. Bisi Kolawole, Hon. Yemi Ajanaku and Mrs Christianah Oluwafemi led some of my supporters to PDP after my rancorous House of Reps Primaries in 2003 while others remained with me in AD, now APC.
Hon.Yemi Ajanaku thereafter transformed the greater part of Karounwi front guys he led out of AD to a “Liberation Movement” in PDP. The name Liberation Movement defined the struggle to liberate Efon Youths from the stranglehold and oppression of Efon AD Political leaders, apparently because they felt they were oppressed and frustrated out of AD.
The Liberation Movement became the nemesis of AD in the subsequent elections in Efon Local Government until recently!
The good news however is that the opposing leaders and I, have reconciled and we all remain leaders in the Progressive Party, APC!
And those that defected are now the leadership of PDP in Ekiti State and Efon Local Government; Bisi Kolawole is the State Chairman of the PDP while Yemi Ajanaku is the Local Government Chairman of PDP in Efon Local Government.
My Party, AD, eventually lost the State Power to the PDP under the leadership of Fayose in 2003.
AD as opposition Party was reorganized in 2003. I was elected as the State Assistant Secretary of AD and that marked the beginning of my opposition Politics in the State for about 7 1/2 years until my Party ACN, an offshoot of AD, returned to Power in October 2010.
Meanwhile, Engr Segun was declared Governor in the 2007 Gubernatorial election and the legislative election produced a 13/13 House of Assembly; 13 ACN, 13 PDP.
My Party, ACN nominated me as a Parliamentary Liaison Officer to liaise between the House of Assembly, (where ACN has equal stake with the PDP) and ACN leadership. This was to ensure none of the ACN 13 legislators defected to PDP or compromised the position of ACN on issues. I deployed my legislative wealth of experience and delivered effectively on the mandate.
Chief Segun Oni was removed from office as Governor of Ekiti State and a rerun election was ordered by the Court in 2009. Rt. Hon. Tunji Odeyemi, the Speaker of the House of Assembly was sworn into office as Acting Governor. He sought for the input and nominees of my Party ACN in his State Executive. I was nominated by my Party, ACN, to serve in the acting Governor Tunji Odeyemi led State Executive Council. I became a Cabinet member and I was assigned to be the Political head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Hence, I became the first opposition Cabinet member in Ekiti State and Ekiti State Executive Council has not witnessed an amalgam of two Political Parties in its composition since then!
I didn’t betray my Party while serving under the PDP led administration of Tunji Odeyemi. I represented my Party well, particularly during the Gubernatorial rerun election that was conducted under that administration. I returned into the warm embrace of my Party leaders at the end of the administration.
I re-contested for the House of Reps seat in 2007. I contested the Primary elections with Elder Odunayo Ategbero from Efon, Chief Niyi Awosusi from Aramoko and Chief Olu Alufa from Ijero. I defeated them to become the Candidate of my Party, Action Congress, AC.
I contested the general election with the Candidate of the PDP, Hon. Kehinde Odebunmi. I lost the election under a controversial circumstance. I challenged the outcome of the election in Court and lost.
I re-contested the House of Reps seat the third time in 2010. I have gone round the three Local Governments and secured the assurances of the Party members and leaders. I obtained the nomination forms. I was before the Screening Committee led by Dr. Femi Orebe at Olujoda Hotel when I received a telephone call that the leader of the Party wanted to see me urgently. I left the screening venue never to return to the place. I was prevailed upon to drop the contest as the leadership wanted another assignment for me in the State. Painful as it was, I could only say God bless the leader! I promised to support the Candidate of the Party. Hon Oyetunde Ojo was chosen. I handed over my Political Structures in the Federal Constituency to him at Sadiat Hotel, Ado. I mobilised for him and he won the general election.
I was appointed Special Adviser on Legislative Affairs, a Cabinet rank and member of the State Executive Council till the end of the Administration in October 2014.
Karounwi’s records of service to Efon Local Government between 2014 to 2018
- 1 got employment for a number of Efon indigenes during the period;
1(i) four in the House of Assembly ( two of them were laid off when Fayose assumed Power in 2014)
1(ii) two in the State Civil Service.
- I facilitated the construction of Efon- Ipole Iloro- Ikogosi road. ( This was contained in the Book titled Ooni Obalufon Alaayemore, the history of Efon Kingdom, page 538- 539)
I wanted to re-contest the House of Reps seat the fourth time in 2014 but Hon. Oyetunde Ojo wanted a second term. Chief Jide Awe, the Party State Chairman brokered a meeting between myself and Hon.Oyetunde Ojo in a Guest house in Abuja. I told Hon.Oyetunde Ojo that I would not contest with him but I would rather support him to secure the second victory. He appreciated me.
Two weeks after, in November 2014, the leadership of my Party, APC, Dr. Kayode Fayemi invited me to his country home, Isan Ekiti and told me to contest the Senatorial seat for Ekiti Central Senatorial seat. He mobilised me same day. It should be noted that Dr Kayode Fayemi left office as Governor a month earlier. I thanked him for the trust he has in my capacity to be a Nigeria Senator.
I obtained the nomination forms alongside two other contestants; Ambassador Gbenga Olofin ( now late) and Chief Mrs Omotunde Fajuyi. We went for the Primary elections at Damlek Event Centre in Ado. Ambassador Olofin defeated me with a score of about 1000 votes against my 700 votes. Thereafter, I became the Chairman of Olofin Senatorial Campaign Council and led his campaign to the five Local Governments of Efon, Ekiti West, Ijero, Irepodun/Irepodun and Ado, at a great risk to my life because the Fayose led PDP administration in Ekiti State was too hostile and desperate to win the election. We were vulnerable as opposition. Hence the threats of attack and tensions were sufficient to scared me off the campaign but I braved the odds and led from the front in the interest of my Party. Unfortunately, APC Candidate, Ambassador Gbenga Olofin lost the general election to the Candidate of the PDP Hon. Fatima Raji Rasaki.
My Party APC came back to Power with Dr Kayode Fayemi as Governor in 2018. The Governor appointed me a Special Envoy on Regional Matters to Ekiti State Governor. I was later nominated by my Party, on consensus, to the position of the South West APC Zonal Publicity Secretary in April, 2019. The position I occupied to date.
It is on records that I have never lost my Ward 07 Efon to the opposition Parties since I joined Politics 29 years ago. Not even when the unprecedented happened that the PDP claimed victory in all the 16 Local Governments of Ekiti State in 2014, the results of Efon remained 9 Wards to PDP and my Ward 07 to APC!
Karounwi’s records of service to Efon Local Government between 2018 to date.
- In 2019, Karounwi secured employment for two Efon indigenes in the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
2(i) In 2020, Karounwi secured employment for three Efon indigenes in the Ekiti State Civil Service;
2(ii) two Persons in the State Universal Basic Education Board, (SUBEB);
2(iii) two Persons in the State Teaching Service; and
2(iv) One Person in the Ekiti State Micro Enterprise Development Agency, (MEDA.)
- In 2020/2021, Karounwi intensified his empowerment activities using the platforms of the State and Federal Government Empowerment Agencies;
3(i) I secured Federal Government Covid 19 survival Grants for a number of Efon people;
3(ii)Federal Government Small and Medium Enterprises soft loans were secured for a good number of Efon indigenes and many more are being processed to benefit in the next few weeks.
- On Political appointments, starting from 1999 to date, Karounwi has pulled a great number of Efon indigenes out of poverty through his influence at fixing some of them in the positions of authorities in the Local Government Council and State;
4(i) Karounwi has facilitated the elections and appointments of 4 persons into the position of the Chairman of Efon Local Government Council;
4(ii) Karounwi has produced many Supervisors, Advisers and other appointees;
4(iii) Karounwi has helped guys into the Ekiti State House of Assembly as Legislators
4(iv) And I have sponsored some as Councillors in Efon Local Government Council.
It is on records that I only visited and entered Efon Local Government Council Secretariat only once in 20 years; between 2001 and 2021, out of personal principle that I needed nothing personal from the local government Council or whoever is in charge of the Council. The only time I visited within the period was in August 7, 2007 ( 14 years ago) on the special invitation of Hon. Lekan Adekanmbi, the Chairman of the Council at the time
4(v) Some made it in Efon through Karounwi’s influence at fixing them into the Party positions, both in the Local Government and the State.
- In February, 2021, Karounwi’s efforts, in conjunction with others in Government, led to the award of contract for the rehabilitation of a 9 Kms, Ita- Awure junction to Idagba roundabout road in Efon.
- Karounwi’s efforts behind the curtain to get the Ekiti State Government fix the broken Efon township roads and other developmental projects will hopefully and prayerfully yield results in the short and medium terms.
His Royal Highness, Kabiyesi and the Concerned Efon Community leaders know my efforts in this regard.
Karounwi was installed the Otun Asiwaju of Ikogosi Ekiti in 2001. Karounwi was equally decorated the Otun Asiwaju of Ido Ajinare, now Ido Ile Ekiti, in the year 2002.
That I am alive today to witness the 55th years of my birth is a privilege and not a right. All glory to God.