Public angst against the London trip of wives of Oyo State legislators has spread to London, where irate indigenes of the state living in the British capital stormed the Custom House London hotel, where they were lodged, to protest their stay.
The 31 women, who were led by Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Jumoke Sumonu, were in London to attend a workshop on how to support their husbands for effective performance in their legislative duties.
The trip has generated public anger and criticisms, as it was funded with state funds, allegedly to the tune of N50 million, with stipends given to the women for shopping.
According to online media network, newsbreaknigeria, Oyo citizens resident in London, who got wind of the jamboree, staged a peaceful demonstration, vowing to occupy the venue until the women left town. They were said to have rained curses and abuses on the lawmakers and their spouses for allegedly wasting “the scarce resources of the state”.
Sumonu, who headed the delegation, was reported to have called in the London police when it became obvious the protesters were not ready to shift ground. The police, on arrival, appealed to the protesters to disperse. The protesters reportedly left the hotel after police persuasion.
Locally, there have been wide condemnations of the state government’s sponsorship of the programme, with the Zonal Publicity Secretary of the party, Kayode Babade, querying the constitutionality, justification and relevance of the trip .
The state’s PDP group through Dotun Oyelade also expressed misgivings over the trip “at a time thousands of indigenes have lost all they have and most structures in the state under severe stress”. The Speaker in an interview with yet another online journalist, Kola Ogundamisi, defended the training programme, which she admitted also had sight-seeing component during the weekend.
She described as false claims that the hotel was booked for 10 days, or that each room cost £100, adding that a room cost £75, while two women were paired in a room. Sumonu said no principal officer of the house was involved, while she was the only legislator on the trip. Dismissing criticisms, she said: “Oyo is not the only state doing this. Some other states had been around before.”
She said the various media attacks as well as invasion of the hotel by Oyo indigenes in London have made her apprehensive because the wives of the legislators were already jittery, just as many of them said they were no longer interested in the programme.
According to her, “everywhere in the world, leaders get paid from public funds; the only thing is to ensure that money is judiciously spent.” Asked whether it would not have been more judicious to hold the course in Nigeria, Sumonu brushed the suggestion aside, saying many Nigerians, especially those in Diaspora, like to run good things down.
Source: Sun Newspapers