By Seye Ajakaye
The social media has been agog since the Young Progressives Party made its press statement in Ilorin on the 15th of December, 2020 raising many issues bordering on Local Government Council autonomy and youth inclusion in government. Though there has been no official statement, atleast from the state government but some social media job lackeys gullibly loyal to the government have been on parrot singing pontification, effusing irritant defence of government inexcusable alibis.
As it is, it appears the emergence of this frontline Kwara Political Liberation Crusader, Charles Olufemi Folayan, a brand name in political emancipation and good governance, as the State Chairman of the Party has not only come as a shock to many retrogressive elements, but has also put serious fear in Governor Abdulrasak’s kindergarten political camp, hence their personalisation of this matter and consequent but needless media attack on the YPP State Chairman, Mr. Afolayan.
For record, it is important to refresh the one gig memory of these ranters that Charles Afolayan has always been a key player in progressive politics, not just in Kwara but also in Nigeria. He was the Secretary of the Youth Mobilization Committee of the Presidential Campaign Council in 2019. He played a major role in the political liberation of Kwara State from the bands of our oppressors to get Kwara to freedom. It appears that the result of the struggle of that time is indeed in the hands of wrong beneficiaries who don’t know how to attain success let alone how to manage one.
It is also on record that the group he Co-Coordinated in 2019 in Kwara State (The Kwara Alliance for Buhari Osinbajo) KABO mobilizes major youth groups in Kwara, carried out several trainings for the youth from different polling units and also supervised the distribution of food items from the Presidency to various part of Kwara through the youths as palliative. Even those who have suddenly found their whistle to blow against Charles today used that same mouth to eat our palliative. What an ungrateful elements?
Afolayan as a young politician is not a paper weight in his ward and local government, he is a force to reckon with, with stamped records of human resources development, contribution to his community and state at large. Without any iota of haughtiness, one can not deny that this well known philanthropist and founder of the Asoju Odo Youth Development Center is a major sponsor of APC in his ward in 2019, the role he continued to play for the APC until he went back to the YPP he helped grow. He has always worked for youth development and will continue to do that regardless of party affiliation.
Afolayan a former Student Union leader has consistently maintained youth follower-ship in Kwara State in the last decade, he is not new to activism, he came out as the President of the Kwara Youth Stakeholders Forum in the height of Saraki political hegemony in 2017, when no one could cough against Saraki in Kwara, he demanded the sack of the former Senate President from the red chamber for what he called poor representation and insubordination to the federal government, some of those who were sponsored to criticize and attack him on media at that time, later moved to his side when they saw the reality, and are now beneficiaries of the Otoge movement. We would expect the same to repeat itself later, when they see the reality.
Charles was also among the few founding fathers of the Young Progressives Party. He was the pioneer National Publicity Secretary of the Party and the former National Youth Leader of the same party he now chaired in Kwara State.
It’s a fallacy for anyone to think that a man who joined his few like-minds years ago to register a political party (YPP) would need to be financially induced to run same party in his state, YPP remain the best option to save the people now. For emphasis, Afolayan doesn’t need any financial inducement to do what is right, he does what is right for the collective wellbeing of the people.
Truly, Charles’s movement to YPP has thrown many people into confusion, knowing how close he has been to the Tinubus and his loyalists in the APC. He is also a close associate of many Aides of the President and the Vice-President, having served as a Technical Assistant in the Presidency for years. His wide connection with many politicians of repute within the APC both at the National and State level is not little and that remains solid; no wonder Mr. Governor’s camp is confused because they know they are the black sheep in all of these.
It is therefore not surprising that some intellectually lazy individuals came up with unsubstantiated allegations against Afolayan regarding Gobir Organization, the Organization has since denied any allegations against him. It is without doubt that Charles who decided to take such bold step to YPP is prepared for anything and ready to face such fabricated lies against him from the state government and their parasitic followers. Their phantom allegations and lies, no matter how loud their voices are, can never deter him from letting the people know the truth about AbdulRahman led government and deceit.
Give it to him, Afolayan has worked closely with some bright politicians in Kwara State, including Dr. Mike Omotosho, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, Alh. Mohammed Ajia Ibrahim and Waziri Yakubu Gobir. He has maintained clean slate with those politicians while working with them and after, till date non of them has passed negative remark about him or accuse him of anything. In fact, he worked closely with Alh. Abdulraman Abdulrazak (now the Governor) before the elections, and his Sister Sen. Haira Gwadabe without demanding or collecting a penny from them before, during and after the elections.
He knows how politician can fight, he had faced such heat before, he knows e-rats would be recruited not only to attack his personality but also everyone seen working for YPP. Unfortunate, many of those youth they recruited against Charles today are some of the people he has personally helped and supported at one time or another, the more reason some of them would continue to write anonymously and hide under unknown names and faceless group to work against him. That is how ingrates operate, their false allegations and name calling can not stop Charles.
It is laughable to see some hungry youth who were last fed by Charles, converging under the auspices of All Progressives Youth Forum APYF to call Charles all sort of names and even accused him of impersonating as TA in the Presidency. They must have taking Presidency for their student group where anyone can claim position for themselves with no consequences. For the record, Charles was duly appointed in 2016 as Technical Assistant (Office of the SA to the President on Youth and Student Affairs) and he served till 2019. May be Tunde Salau and co need to be tutored on the meaning of Presidential Aide.
Is it not funny that same youth who had visited Charles at his Federal Secretariat Office as Technical Assistant in Abuja at one time or the other, could suddenly come out to deny knowing him as Presidential Aide just because he left APC for YPP. The same group of youth led by Tunde Salau (APYF Coordinator) who met with Charles at Kwara Hotel few weeks ago to lobby for executive positions in YPP could suddenly come out to condemn the same party? This further confirmed the lack of integrity that led to Tunde Salau expulsion in KYSF under Charles’s leadership in 2014 which also made him and his gang unworthy for YPP leadership role.
It appears that Afolayan and emergence of YPP is helping the APC youth groups who worked for the Otoge movement and were abandoned for almost two years, at least they have suddenly been dusted and reawakened with stipends to arrange kangaroo press conference against their leader. We would not also be surprised if the Government suddenly wake up tomorrow and dole out appointments to Kwara youth, YPP would push them to that level.
It’s very unfortunate that many movement in Nigeria towards alleviating the sufferings of the youth have suffered set back because the political elites have enough money to give peanuts to the youth to destroy whatever is being built by other youth, this is what is being played out in Kwara against YPP. However, YPP is not shaking, they are determined to keep moving against all odds. The Afolayan that we know will never back down until he achieves his goals – to provide quality leadership and good governance to the people. These he has done before and he will do it again, InSha Allahu.
YPP is the idea that the time has come, it is not a struggle of just Kwara but national, it is a struggle that the visionary youth has taken and the mission will succeed. Charles is just the face of the struggle in Kwara State, he is all out to represent many like-minds including those who believe in the struggle but still hanging around the government and other platforms expecting something would come from the government before the end of their tenure. If everybody has to wait for this, no one would take the bold step to do the right thing.
YPP is strongly on ground and not shaking at all. We are here and will remain till the people are given what they best deserve – good governance.
Seye Ajakaye writes from Ilorin.