Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has come under fire in the light of damning allegations. The former CAC chairman who is famous for cracking down on internet fraudsters and kidnappers in his state has been accused of having a criminal past, with concerned parties calling for his disqualification as APC flag bearer in the coming gubernatorial primaries.
What does this mean?
On Monday the 9th of May, the Coalition of Ogun State Students and Youths (COSSY) put out documents that alleged that the governor had a criminal record in the United States of America. The circulated documents contain a mugshot of the governor and certified true copies of multiple felony charges between 1986 and 1987. These dates coincide with the period Governor Abiodun transferred to the Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia where he graduated with a BBA in Accounting in 1986.
The charges against the governor come under two names — one David Shawn Michael which appears to be an alias under which Governor Abiodun was charged for forgery, grand theft (2nd degree), uttering a forged instrument, petty theft, resisting officer with violence, credit card theft and possession of over a hundred credit cards. Under the name Abiodun, Oluseun Adedapo is a singular charge of resisting an officer with violence.
Governor Abiodun was arrested on November 7, 1986, for fighting and injuring a police officer while attempting to resist arrest. While he was being processed at the station, his fingerprint was run through the crime database, revealing him as the same Shawn Michael David with multiple charges against him.
These allegations are being revealed a year after Governor Abiodun’s aide Abidemi Rufai was arrested in the United States for alleged $350,000 COVID-19 unemployment fraud. It is recalled that the governor took action immediately he was briefed about the arrest, suspending him from office to allow him to answer the charges against him.
What are the implications?
More interesting, however, is the governor’s argument that his criminal records are not enough basis for his disqualification. Earlier in March, Sahara Reporters published criminal records which purported the governor had been jailed for wire fraud. However, no evidence for this was tendered and the release of the recent evidence implies it was the same incident being referred to. However, as the Governor was not officially charged to court and thus, was not convicted, he has technically not broken any law. This was the argument he made in April, responding to APC member Ayodele Oludiran who tendered a petition on behalf of Oluwatobi Sofela of Ogun Bibire Unity Forum voicing concerns regarding the gubernatorial seat and Abiodun’s supposed criminal record. Governor Abiodun stated that his probable arrest was not a conviction, meaning he was not answerable to the laws applicable to criminals. He also clarified that the Nigerian constitution only disqualifies ex-convicts from contesting if their sentence was less than 10 years before the date of election.
COSSY has called for the disqualification of Governor Abiodun, stating that if the APC does not take necessary action, one of their members and APC aspirant — whose name was withheld, will be presenting the circulated documents in court. According to the general secretary Muyiwa Adetona, “Now that we all know, he should steer clear of Oke-Mosan and vanish into an inglorious oblivion,” he charged.