A civil society organisation, Coalition for Good Governance has mourned the death of the late Ondo State’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, noting that it came as a rude shock.
Dr Adegbenro, who died in Ondo as a result of COVID-19 complications, was Commissioner for Health and Chairman, State Interministerial Committee on COVID-19.
In a statement signed by Amir Sirajudeen Abdulazeez Folayemi, convener of the Coalition for Good Governance on Saturday, July 11, 2020, the group said the ranks of the Muslim community in Ondo has further been depleted by the death of Dr Adegbenro.
It reads: “The Coalition for Good Governance has expressed shock over the death of Dr. Wahab Adegbenro who was until his death the Commissioner for Health in Ondo State and the Chairman State Interministerial Committee on COVID-19.
“To us in the Coalition, one of the best Muslims in the administration of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN has gone! One of those whose appointment stands for equity, justice and balanced governance is gone! The Muslims in the cabinet of Aketi (Akeredolu) has further been depleted by the death of this gentle man!
“It would be recalled that at the wake of this administration, Governor Akeredolu appointed 4 Muslims as commissioners into his cabinet. But at the dawn of the 2019 general election, two out of these Muslims were sacked for no known reason and were never replaced!
“Consequently the Muslims were left practically with only two Muslims among the commissioners and by extension the state executive council. With the death of Wahab Adegbenro, the Muslim community that constitutes about 40% of the population of Ondo State are now left practically with only one representative in the cabinet of Arakunrin Odunayo Akeredolu and the state executive council.
“The death of Wahab Adegbenro has further put the Muslims of Ondo State at a disadvantaged corner! Our involvement in the administration and governance of Ondo State have further been chocked up! We have further been strangulated by the death of this Medical Hero as such, we are bereaved politically.
The coalition also decried the marginalization of the Muslim community in Ondo politics, saying they are not equally represented in both government and civil service.
It also stated that the demise of Dr Adegbenro who always championed the cause of Muslims has further exposed the vulnerability of the Muslim community and make it politically bereaved, while urging the incumbent governor to ensure fair representation.
“Muslims have been marginalized politically since the creation of Ondo State. Muslims have never been opportune democratically to rule the state and under the present administration, all the Principal Government officials are Christians! Even when minority groups are given oportunity to govern this state, Muslims are ostracised from the ruling class.
“We have never been nominated as an Ambassador or a Minister from the state, all the tertiary institutions in the state have never been managed by a Muslim. The state has never produced a Muslim Senator in the political history of the state! More than 99% of Federal Board and Parastatals members as well as chief executives are all people of other faith.
“Even in the administration of the Civil Service, Muslims are nowhere to be found! We can go on and on but to say the least, the situation of the Muslims in the state is politically precarious! We say, we are politically bereaved with the death of this Medical General who has paid the ultimate price by putting his life on the line to save the state from the ravaging COVID-19!
“The coalition is calling on Governor Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN to as a matter of urgency balance up this deficit on the side of the Muslims. He should come up with a deliberate policy aimed at empowering the Muslims politically! Akeredolu should increase the number of Muslims in his cabinet and put up measures to reflect the 40% Muslim indices in his appointment. As he warms up for his second term in office, the Coalition is strongly advising him personally to choose a Muslim as his Running Mate!”
By: Abdulganiy Abdullah