Prominent indigenes of Okunland in Kogi West Senatorial District have launched an initiative aimed at providing relief for inhabitants of the area from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic. Known as the Okun People Covid-19 Relief Response Initiative, the move is meant to tackle the social and health challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic to the Yoruba speaking people of the state.
Among the prominent Okun (Yoruba) people named in the initiative’s Elders Advisory Council are former military governor of the old Oyo State and Minister of Police Affairs, Major-General David Jemibewon; former Minister of Industries and Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Chief Kola Jamodu; former Minister of Health, Prof. Eyitayo Lambo; former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN) and one time Acting Governor of Kogi State, Chief Clarence Olafemi.
A press release issued yesterday by a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Duro Meseko, on behalf of the Media Committee, also announced the setting up of an 18-member steering committee as well as various sub-committees including contact/network, fund raising and materials collection, procurement, relief materials distribution and funds/materials audit committees, among others.
According to the statement, the steering committee headed by former Deputy Chief of Staff in the Presidency, Prince Olusola Akanmode, has as members former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Yomi Awoniyi; Senator Smart Adeyemi; Senator Dino Melaye; Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mathew Kolawole; National President of Okun Development Association (ODA), Mr Femi Mokikan and Public Policy Analyst, Dr Ronke Bello, who will serve as the Secretary of the committee and head of the secretariat.
The steering committee is expected to drive the process for raising funds to buy drugs and essential commodities to be distributed to the people of the area as a way of complementing the efforts of the federal and Kogi State governments to contain the spread of the dreaded virus in the state and the country as a whole, as well as cushion the effects of the stay-at-home order subsisting in the state.
Eminent Okun personalities drawn from all walks of life and listed in the various sub-committees include business moguls Chief Jide Omokore, Chief Tunde Ayeni, Chief Funsho Owoyemi and Chief Sam Owa; former Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr Osten Olorunsola; Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Mr Babatunde Irukera; founder, Phase 3 Telecoms, Mr Stanley Jegede; Managing director Thisday newspapers, Mr. Eniola Bello and Managing Director, Cable News, Mr. Simon Kolawole.
The conveners are Senator Smart Adeyemi who represents Kogi West Senatorial District and two current serving members of the House of Representatives, Hon Leke Abejide and Hon Tajudeen Yusuf, representing Yagba and Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu federal constituencies respectively.
All former senators, House of Representatives members and current serving political office holders at the federal, state and local government levels, both elected and appointed, irrespective of political lineages, are expected to play one role or the other.
The statement quoted Jamodu as saying that all sons and daughters of Okun from the corporate sector, private businesses, academia and the public service at home and in the Diaspora will serve in the “Committee of the Whole”.
The media committee headed by Hon. Meseko has as members former Trust Newspapers Managing Director, Isiaq Ajibola; TVC’s Journalists Hangout anchor, Babajide Kolade-Otitoju; Managing Director, Kogi Government owned Graphic newspaper, Dayo Thomas; Director News (Voice of Nigeria), Austeen Elewodalu, among others.