By Kolade Larewaju
Abeokuta-This is one question that has been on the lips of the people of Ogun State since Monday eveningâ€™s gruesome murder of the 2007 governorship candidate of the Action Congress (AC) in Ogun State, Otunba Adedipupo Dina, atÂ Ota, Ogun State. â€œDD Directâ€ as he was popularly referred to, was killed byÂ unknown assailants who spared the lives of two other persons: His driver,Â Mr.Tunde Oyediran and a prophetess,Â Funmi Olagoke,Â who were in his black Toyota Camry Car with him when the incident happened.
Accounts of how the urbane politician was killed vary. While some of his associates are insisting that it was a clear case of assassination, the police, through the Ogun State commissioner believe it was a case of armed robbery.
Sources close to Dina, who believed that he it was a case of hired killing, saidÂ the gunmen blocked his car, immediately opened the door and told him that they had been paid to kill him. â€œHe was told that somebody had paid for his life and that he should cooperate and surrender his life peacefully without struggle. Dina opened the door to get down possibly to fight, but the men just opened fire on him and killed him.
â€œIn fact, they wanted to take away his corpse, but he was already on the ground and while trying to carry his corpse, they knew time was running out. So they took his car and the driver and drove away only to drop the driver in Agbara areaâ€.
But the police commissioner, Mr. Musa Daura, said otherwise. â€œActually, yesterday (Monday) at about 10.30pm, I received a call from the Divisional Crime Officer and Area Commander of the area (Sango-Ota) and the Area CommanderÂ narrated to me what happened in the area that somebody was killed.
â€œI have gone to the scene. ThoughÂ I am not familiar with the terrain,Â the command hasÂ people who know the area and we dropped by the station. At the station, I met the DPO and personally interviewed the deceasedâ€™s driver and one lady called Funmi who were in the same car, Camry, black. Each spoke individually and not collectively, that they were coming from Lagos and on reaching Winnersâ€™ Chapel, an unknown vehicle having four persons inside double-crossed them and ordered them to come out.
â€œThey obliged and then were ordered back inside; some obliged. The deceased raised his leg to move and there was an argument and for failure to comply, the unknown men shot him on the abdomen.
â€œOne of the culprits drove off with Funmi and the driver in the deceasedâ€™sÂ car. They were dropped off somewhere. Then, I proceeded to the scene and was not able to extract any exhibit. I went to the mortuary and saw the deceasedâ€™s bodyÂ and sympathized with the family who also came. That is all I know, to the best of my knowledge. There is an element of robbery and element of assassinationâ€
But as the question arises on whether a man of Dinaâ€™s status would argue with armed robbers, attempt at reinforcing the theory of armed robbery was further made by a vigilance group in the area by describing the area as â€œa black spotâ€.
Addressing a press conference at the palace of the Olota of Ota, Oba Alani Oyede, the group, led by Alhaji Adeyemi Ayetoro, said that the area has been identified as â€œa notorious hide-out for criminalsâ€, adding that many innocent Nigerians had been dispossessed ofÂ valuables on the road. The group said that it had at different times called the attention of the police to the spot as a hide-out forÂ hoodlums.
The man Dipo Dina
Born to a well to do family on January, 15 1960, Otunba Dina was a chartered accountant who graduated from the University of Lagos.Â He lived inÂ Lagos butÂ Â had anÂ exquisite country home â€œEndurance Gardenâ€ in the Government Reservation Area, Ijebu-Ode. A man of immense wealth who was said to have inherited a vast estate from his late father, also a chartered accountant, he ran several businesses including a firm of chartered accountants and was also on the board of several companies.
He joined politics and was the House of Representatives candidate of the then Alliance for Democracy [AD] in Ijebu-Ode in the 2003 polls. He lost the election during which all AD candidates lost including Chief Olusegun Osoba who was the incumbentÂ governor seeking a return. He did not challenge the victory of his hardly known opponent then because the leadership of the party had decided not to do so.
But soon after, Dina dug deep and began to organize the party and decided to launch his bid for the exalted office of governor. He set up the Dipo Dina Movement which began to run adverts in a national newspaper. The adverts were not only stinging to the state government, but were also embarrassing as the Movement began to give details of â€œmismanagement and lootingâ€ of public funds allegedly by the state government.
These went on for some time with the Movement quoting vouchers and other government documents expected to be â€œTop Secretâ€. Government was piqued and he was reported to the police. He was subsequently arrested for allegedly stealing government documents.
For days, Dina andÂ four of his associates in the Movement were locked up at Zone II Headquarters in Lagos before he was moved to the Police Headquarters Eleweran where he spent 2005 Christmas and Boxing Day holidays with hoodlums and criminals.
He was to come out after getting bailed at the magistrate court to say: â€œI have never spent Christmas away from my family until now. If that is what I will get from trying to make my so society better, so be it. But I remain unbowed and I will continue to fight for the betterment of my society and the well-being of the peopleâ€
Government in the interim got an injunction restraining the Dipo Dina Movement and the national newspaper from further publishing any document relating to the finances of the state. Dina was sent for trial but was discharged and acquitted.
Not done yetÂ with Ogun politics, he went into the primaries of the Action Congress, defeatsÂ five other aspirants to clinch the ticket of the party for the 2007 polls.
By then the suave politician had entered the psychic of the state and was already a known figure.
It was with this status that he went into the elections with the incumbent, Otunba Olugbenga Daniel [PDP], Senator Ibikunle Amosun (ANPP) Alhaji Sefiu Adegbenga Kaka [DPP] and a few other unknown quantities.
The late Dina came a distant third and immediately headed for the tribunal to challenge the victory of Otunba Daniel claiming that the elections were not only rigged but fraught with violence and other anomalies. A substantial part of his petition was knocked off and he lost at the tribunal. He went ahead to the Court of Appeal, the zenith of governorship election petition, where he lost again.
Believing that he was robbed of his victory at the polls, DinaÂ declared after the judgment that he had left everything to God.
Was Dipo Dina killed by armed robbers? Or was he killed by hired assassins? Only police investigation or private investigation by his friends and associates can reveal the truth. But for now everything remains in the realm of conjecture.
MEANWHILE there were indicationsÂ yesterdayÂ that the remains of slain ActionÂ Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the 2007 elections will be buried on Friday, in his country home, Ijebu-Ode.
A family source said that funeral activities of the late politician and businessman would start today in Lagos.
The source added that an interdenominational service/ Christian wake_keep would take place at his Ikoyi residence in Lagos, after whichÂ his remains would be conveyed to Ijebu-Ode.
The late politicianÂ was killed by suspected hired killers on the Atan-Agbara Road along Idi-Iroko, in Ota,Â Ogun State on Monday night.
News of the funeral arrangement came, just as Ogun StateÂ Council of Obas rose from a meeting in Abeokuta, the state capital, lamentingÂ that the security situation in the state was terrifyingÂ â€˜â€™arising from the influx of the underworld men from neighboring states.â€
In a communiquÃ© issued after the meeting which held at the Obasâ€™ Complex, Oke_Mosan, the monarchs fromÂ the three senatorial districts of the stateÂ urged the state government to consider the need for a more effective use of vigilance groups across the state.