Ekiti Gov, Oyebanji fails to return to Nigeria, two weeks after foreign trip, many questions his whereabout

Biodun Oyebanji, the governor of Ekiti State, has failed to return to Nigeria over two weeks after leaving for a four-day conference in Texas, United States.

According to SaharaReporters, Governor Oyebanji left Nigeria on Sunday, May 5, 2024 to attend the 16th edition of the US-Africa Business Summit held by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) in Dallas, Texas, from May 6 to 9, 2024.

The US trip was also announced in an official press statement put on the state government’s website.

The statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Yinka Oyebode, said the summit, with theme, ‘US-Africa Business: Partnering for Sustainable Success’, is a platform for collaboration on trade, investment and innovation among Heads of national and sub-national governments; financial institutions, investors, agencies and institutions.

The statement said, “Governor Oyebanji will also participate in the nineteenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF19), holding at the UN Headquarters in New York.

“The Governor will take part in the Forum’s policy sessions on implementation of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests (UNSPF) alongside other invited Heads of state, senior officials of government, private sectors and stakeholders.

“Before returning to Nigeria, the Governor will also hold discussions with critical stakeholders and business leaders in the US in furtherance of the shared prosperity agenda of the administration.”

SaharaReporters gathered on Thursday that the governor was still in the US and there has been no official information providing the details of any official engagements or meetings held by the governor since the conference ended on May 9, beyond claims that Oyebanji would “hold discussions with critical stakeholders and business leaders in the US”.

There has no official information or provision of any pictures of meetings the governor held with the business leaders nor the names of such persons.

A source told SaharaReporters on Thursday that the governor was supposed to have returned but was surprised that he was still away.

SaharaReporters learnt Oyebanji was expected to receive the leadership of the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), led by its President, Arc Mobolaji Adeniyi and the Architect Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) led by its President, Arc Dipo Ajayi; who were in the state for their annual extra ordinary general assembly meeting on Wednesday.

The delegation was however received by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr (Mrs) Habibat Adubiaro, who represented the governor and spoke on his behalf, saying, “Ekiti State, under my watch is witnessing rapid developmental projects in all sectors of the economy and it is in the light of this that we appreciate Ekiti sons and daughters in the field of architecture for spearheading the hosting of NIA and ARCON where we hope to tap from the wealth of their experience”.

Efforts made by SaharaReporters to reach the governor for his comment were unsuccessful. He could not be reached by direct call because his phone number was switched off. However, text messages sent to him on WhatsApp were delivered but he did not reply to them.

He also did answer repeated calls made to him on WhatsApp on Thursday.

The governor’s special adviser on media, Oyebode, also neither answered his calls not replied to the text messages sent to his mobile lines.

SaharaReporters observed that shortly after Oyebanji left the country, some stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) started political unrest in the state.

The APC stakeholders kicked against the appointment of former Governor Ayodele Fayose’s loyalists into political offices.

A statement issued by the convener of the Concerned Ekiti APC Stakeholders, Prince Aderobaki Adeleye, noted that in spite of their numerous sacrifices and contributions to the success of the APC in the last poll, appointments were given to members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Adeleye described the situation as unacceptable and capable of creating division in the APC.

He urged Governor Oyebanji to correct the “anomaly in the interest of the party’s survival before it is too late”.

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