Alleged Nepotism: Disquiet over Kwara APC lawmakers, appointment of children, siblings as legislative aides

The trend of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Assembly
lawmakers in Kwara State appointing their children and relatives as
legislative aides has attracted criticism from opposition quarters in
the state who have accused them of promoting nepotism ad undue
favouritism at the expense of merit from the electorate and masses who
voted for them. HEAD POLITICS, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM examines the issue.

Last week, the accusation leveled against the lawmaker representing
Irepodun/Ekiti/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency at the green chambers
of the National Assembly for appointing his children and relatives as
legislatives aides has exacerbated the complaint of nepotism leveled
against the All Progressives Congress (APC) federal legislators and
senators in Kwara State.
The accusation, coming against the backdrop of the change mantra that
saw to the non re-election of members of the former political class in
the state, has been strongly condemned by the opposition and
antagonists of the O to ge movement.
In the argument of the opposition, the last dispensation in terms of
appointments and employments at the federal level glaringly rose above
the selfish narrative presently being promoted by the APC NASS
members. They believed those that occupied those offices before, were
considered in the appointment of their legislative aides were aware of
need to spread the employment opportunities considered as part of the
dividend of democracy to party members and supporters who toiled for
the success of the party during elections.
However, the emerging trend in the Kwara State for the National
Assembly lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives appears
to be following a particular pattern of appointment of their sons and
daughters including relatives as their legislative aides. Although,
their action may not have run foul of any constitutional or legal
provisions, critics have argued that such decision was the height of
self centeredness and egocentricity that brought to the fore the lack
of sincerity and oneness of purpose to render selfless service as most
of them have mouthed during the electioneering process.
Speaking on the issue, a top member of the Ilorin Emirate Descendent
Progressives Union (IEDPU) who declined the use of his name told Pilot
Politics that the action of the Senator representing Kwara Central,
Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, appointing his daughter and nephew as
legislative aide appears difficult to rationalise and an action that
can only court unnecessary criticism.
“Personally, I don’t know what he (Oloriegbe) wants to achieve by
making such appointment which he knows could attract backlash from
members of his constituency within his party and his opponents
especially in the light of the peculiar political situation in the
state. I consider this unnecessary because there are other
appointments that he could secure for his daughter which is far
rewarding financially and otherwise that nobody will even raise
eyebrow about by virtue of his position as a senator and chairman,
Senate Committee on Health. So, why must he allow this needless
criticism from his opponents across boards? Considering where we are
coming from and the promise to provide selfless service, those
positions of legislative aides should have gone to the grassroots and
children of nobody in his constituency. That would have earned him
more commendation in the eyes of the public and attracted sympathy for
him as a considerate and concerned ‘o to ge’ advocate, the official
But the senator before documents of the appointments surfaced on line
had recently responded to the allegation thus in a chat with Pilot
According to him, “I have not made appointment of aides and NASS is
yet to ask us to appoint anybody (then). As a senator who is not a
principal officer, I am not entitled to appoint Chief of Staff whether
officially or unofficially. Only the Senate President can do that. I
have not appointed anybody and there is no appointment letter to that
effect. No House of Reps or Senator has done that; you can find out
from the National Assembly.
”My daughter is a lawyer and she has her Masters in-law with
certificate in arbitration with chambers and business of her own. I
can send her on errand and ask her to compile things for me and maybe
those who saw that are the ones insinuating that I have appointed her
but I have not appointed her for anything. In her right, she is an
Ilorin person; married to an indigene of Alanamu and she has the right
and requisite qualification to be anything. But I have not appointed
her. Why should people insinuate what is not there,” he had said.
On the issue of appointment of his nephew, Oloriegbe said the Shagaya
family is well known in Ilorin and the person in question has the
right to aspire for anything he wants to be, adding that “I am not
bringing a foreigner to come and take any position. People that are
insinuating this should understand that my people voted for me and if
they are qualified, they can be anything. It does not mean because I
am a senator my daughter or nephew cannot be anything so long as they
have the criteria, which is that they must come from my constituency
and must be qualified and competent. My only guide is equity and
fairness in the distribution of appointment accordingly.
“Let me also say that aides are not political appointments but
personal staff of senators and I want to assure our people that …the
four local governments under my jurisdiction – Ilorin West, Ilorin
South, Ilorin East and Asa, local governments will be well taken care
of when the time comes on the issue of appointments. The allegation is
from critics who were hurt from the previous government. I don’t have
anything to hide; I am a public person and committed to the
development of my community. People that will work with me must be
from my constituency”, the Senator had submitted.
Similarly, the alleged nepotism leveled against the House of
Representatives member from Kwara South, Abdulraheem Tunji Olawuyi of
Irepodun/Ekiti/Isin/Oke-Ero federal constituency has attracted
condemnation from the senatorial district.
A group, Kwara South Youth Development Alliance (KWASYDA), last week
issued a 7-day ultimatum and threatened to initiate the process of
recall if he fails to rescind the appointment of his daughter and
other relatives as legislative aides.
In a press release jointly signed by Adio Abegunde and Sherifat
Owolabi, chairman and secretary respectively, a copy of which was made
available to newsmen in Ilorin, the group accused Olawuyi popularly
known as Ajulo-Opin of “nepotism and undue favouritism of his home
town Omu-Aran to the detriment of other towns and villages in Federal
“Ajulo-Opin had appointed his daughter, Sherifat Olawuyi and his
cousin Adebola Adekeye as legislative aides, while he also appointed
his younger brother Lanre Abdulganiyu as Senior Legislative Aide. This
is the highest level of nepotism, where he couldn’t find any of his
numerous constituents or even party members worthy of the appointment
except his blood relations.
“This is an honourable that came in on popular demand, but has however
lowered the bar of performance; he has neither shown understanding of
the job at hand nor show seriousness to learn from experienced
“He’s busy traveling from one part of the globe to the other,
abandoning the job of lawmaking which was the main reason he was sent
to Abuja by his constituents. We cannot afford to have a
representative who is perpetually globetrotting while the constituents
are suffering.
“We use this opportunity to call the attention of the whole world to
the non-representation of Irepodun/Is in/Ekiti/Oke-Ero Federal
constituency of Kwara State, our Rep member stays more in Canada and
America than Kwara and Abuja. We demand an immediate stoppage of his
globetrotting and face his legislative work, while we give him a 7
days ultimatum to rescind the appointment of his daughter, cousin and
younger brother as legislative aides or we might be forced to start
his recall process” the group threatened.
Ajulo-Opin has since refused to respond to several calls and text
messages seeking his reaction to the issue from Pilot Politics.
However, unconfirmed online report had accused the APC lawmakers at
the National Assembly from Kwara State of having a sinister motive for
embarking on appointment of children and relatives as legislative
Quoting an unnamed relative of Ajulo-Opin, the online report noted
that the “lawmakers in Kwara are appointing their family members whom
they trust to work with them so as to conceal financial information
that will be revealed at the national assembly from the grassroots”.
“The lawmaker relative said the sole reason all Kwara APC legislators
will continue to appoint their families as their LAs and SLAs is to
ensure information about their salaries, severance packages and other
fringe benefits from the National Assembly are concealed from Kwarans
so they won’t be under any pressure from the constituents.
“You can’t blame him for appointing his daughter and relatives, they
have all discussed it at their caucus meetings and they agreed to toe
same path. Like others, he is afraid of our people who may be
revealing confidential information about how they pay them at the
National Assembly to the grassroots. All of them want to have peace of
mind while they are enjoying the money they will make in Abuja and the
only way to do this is to use their family members whom they trust as
legislative aides so that whatever they see in Abuja, they won’t be
able to say at the grassroots”, the quote added. While the veracity of
the online report cannot be ascertained, it may not be entirely
possible to easily discard it either especially with the political
situation in the state and recent actions of some of the lawmakers
accused of frivolous spending at the detriment of some members of
their constituents who voted for them with high expectation of change.

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