How Collection of Bribe from Funke Osubudu Place Residence in Darkness by Leftist Osazee Edigin
2 times public Relations Officer
Edo Civil Society Organisations.
When members of Edo Civil Society Organisations set out to confront the fraud and inefficiencies in power sector particularly the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, we knew a lot of money would be offered to shut us up so that the status quo can remain while the people suffers.
Many of our unwise brothers thought it to be an opportunity to make money not knowing they were trading their destinies for a morsel of bread. The pains and cries of the people over the poor state of electricity is enough to confer a curse on any betrayer, more so, that any money taken from Funke Osibudu against the people kills destiny.
We will attempt to list the names of persons that their destinies have been altered by collecting money from Funke Osibudu, the Managing Director of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company.
1. Olu Martins (now a Reverend)
Olu Martins was introduced to the civil society movement in Edo state in 2012 by a former student union leader during the Fuel Subsidy protest. Due to his eloquence, he was nominated to be the spokesperson, as a matter of fact, he was nicknamed ‘the gov’ which means he was qualified to be a governor. The civil society had the overwhelming support of the masses in that protest thus gave Olu Martins the popularity that availed him the platform to assert himself.
Fast forward, in 2014, when we noticed that BEDC and other DISCOs extort customers N750 monthly as Fixed Charge for no services rendered, some of us approached him to figure out how to engage BEDC, he never showed interest, however, we still took up the challenge as he was just a front liner of the group and not the engine room. In the course of it, he joined in the protests we eventually staged against the management of BEDC. As usual, he was always with the microphone dishing out the positions of the group. At times, he does this climbing a drum or standing on the van roof belonging to the police condemning Funke and BEDC exploitation on the people.
The turning point was when Funke and her management noticed him to be the spokesperson during our protests that they cornered him and he was compromised. What later happened was that, he became frequent in radio and television stations making cases for BEDC against the people. He said so many things to defend BEDC and its activities which were contrary to his earlier stance with the civil society, as a matter of fact, he became the de facto public relations officer of the BEDC then.
In all sincerity, if Olu Martins had held on to what he stood for with the backing of the civil society who also enjoys the support of the masses, nothing would have stopped him from becoming one of the decision makers of the state today. The political gladiators saw all that happened and will not trust such an open betrayal of the masses. Today, he is no longer into activism but religious affairs after the episode with Funke Osibudu.
2. MD Sir-Ezehi Magnus-Desmond Igbas
In 2016, Funke Osibudu was sending Edo people to jail and continually putting communities in darkness as a result these, Edo Civil Society Organisations staged a well mobilized protest to the Edo State House of Assembly, Federal High Court and Appeal Court. MD Igbas was the committee chairman on energy and water resources in the house and Chris Okaeben was the vice chairman then. When we were summoned to defend our petition and Funke was also called to be present. After our submission and Funke spoke, we realised that our lawmakers took side with her, as a fact, Chris Okaeben took it personally uttering all manner of offensive statements against us. They saw it as an opportunity to have contact with Funke for their personal gains. It was later revealed that the sum of N13.5 million was given to the committee to compromise. MD Igbas was furious with us for no known reasons. We angrily left and addressed a press conference and pass a vote of no confidence on the committee and refused to further attend its sittings. Today, MD Igbas could not return back to the house.
3. Chris Okaeben
Chris Okaeben took over from MD Igbas as the chairman of the committee on energy and water resources. In one of BEDC events, he promised to ensure that the electricity theft law is passed and other support promises he gave them. However, as fate would have it, he was at loggerhead with the governor after he sneaked the MD of BEDC into the governor’s office when the committee on power from the House of Representatives paid him a visit in government house. The governor who was already angry with the operations of the BEDC sent her and her team out of his office. As it stands today, Chris Okaeben was not inaugurated into the 7th assembly, he is currently wandering in the street without a base.
4. Roland Asoro
It is no longer news the ill-luck that hit Roland Asoro recently when his wife drove a car with a government number plate and beating a traffic light along Sapele Road. Not only did she disobey the traffic light, she went ahead to insult, attack and abduct the enforcing officer until she was brought to EDSTMA office. She put a call across to her husband who came to EDSTMA office to unleash more attacks on the officer for doing his constitutional job. The video and pictures littered the social media and citizens have continued to ask what manner of lawmaker would also be a law breaker same time. As we speak, members of his constituency have lost confidence in his representation going by the attitude he displayed which will also be a very strong point by his future opponent will use against him. All these are not unconnected to his sponsorship of the already failed bill to criminalise electricity theft without considering criminalising estimated billing. It is all over the places that the sum of N50 million was released by Funke for the law to be passed in her Favour.
5. Kabiru Adjoto
Kabiru Adjoto was the immediate passed speaker of Edo State House of Assembly who contested for the house of representatives with Akpatason. There were controversies at their primary elections in the party which led to court cases that eventually ended at the supreme court. He was sworn in as house of representatives member while the court case persists. Kabiru Adjoto and few members of the house hurriedly passed the now dead Electricity Theft law in a manner that suggests compromise by Funke. Edo Civil Society Organisations protested against it, they were joined by some spiritual and traditional men who used some incarnations on any ally to the proposed law. As at today, Kabiru Adjoto lost his case at the supreme court and was asked to pay N2 million as fine. Adjoto will have to return to his farm as Funke’s money may have altered his destiny too. From a house of reps member to a full time farmer.
This historical analysis is to warn others not to consider collecting any bribe from Funke or BEDC against the desire of the people if they don’t want their destiny to be altered also. The leaders of EDOCSO have had better opportunities to collect money from Funke even before some of them listed above had it. As a true position, if EDOCSO had compromised, these people wouldn’t have had the opportunity to even near Funke let alone collect bribe from her. They thought they were cashing on our struggle by collecting money from her, little did they know they just traded their destiny. Let’s be sincere in whatever we are set out to do for humanity and the society.