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101 Months After: The bungling of Ige murder case, by Bisi Akande

*Explains how he landed in jail after Second Republic
*Advises Governor Fashola on impasse with legislature

Last Sunday, we served you  the first  part of what Chief Bisi Akande, former Osun State governor and National Chairman of the Action Congress, AC, said on  some burning national issues.Today, we bring the concluding part, the highlights of which are the perceived offence of the  late Chief Bola Ige, SAN, and his assassination;  the way the case was allegedly bungled and who to hold responsible. “Obasanjo’s government killed Bola Ige.  And may be, to answer your question correctly, we may need to ask the government of Rashidi Ladoja.  That is the truth.“It was Ladoja’s government that went to court to plead nulli prosequi, that the government was no longer interested in continuing with the prosecution of the case. “Go and ask Ladoja, why did he take that decision that time. “Ladoja used to be like myself, a follower of Bola Ige, but we should go and ask him why he took that decision at that time.“But I have never sat him down to ask him why he did that. Akande also spoke on  the crisis in Lagos State between Governor Raji Fashola and his legislative arm.
Excerpts:

By Jide Ajani , Deputy Editor & Anthonia Onwuka

But you people cannot be exonerated. If you look back, much of the impunity which played out during the Obasanjoyears started with the local government election that was not allowed to hold even when  the 1999 Constitution categorically states  there shall be democratically elected councils for local governments in Nigeria.  That was not allowed to happen and, instead, administrators were brought in?

You are right and you are right in the sense that we had agreed with our governor colleagues in the south that we were all going ahead to have the local government elections.

From the South West, South East and South South, we had agreed that we were going to have the elections because if you remember at that time the issue of local government elections was very topical. But our own parent body in the AD said otherwise; insisted that we should not go ahead. We had to disappoint our colleagues in the other areas of the south. They felt we were traitors,  they felt very bad, they thought we let them down, we felt bad about that, too.

But the Afenifere that was supposed to defend us, as soon as Obasanjo used that same request we granted him to get rid of the AD, the Afenifere leadership, in their own dishonesty, started piling the blame on the AD governors saying the governors sold out.

Chief Bisi Akande

That was the most ungodly thing that the Afenifere leaders did to the governors and that was what destroyed Afenifere itself because when you lead people in a dishonest manner, when your leadership is based on falsehood, all other things will crumble.

Just as a digression, some people have formed what they call  Afenifere Renewal Group. What does that mean because some of those who parade themselves as….?

Oh! An excellent group; those are the youths coming behind us who believe that ‘if our fathers can not do it well, then we will do it better’.

Some people will not agree with you on that?
I give them 100% support. And I say work on, I’ll be behind you.

I know you would have heard the talk about the role Bola Tinubu of Lagos allegedly  played in destabilizing the Afenifere with his own politics, too?  And  Ayo Adebanjo would not agree with some of the things you have said because he, too, would bring his own version of the events?
Honestly, what destroyed Afenifere among the leadership in the sense that, while for example, Adebanjo was appointed by Obasanjo into the Constitution Review Committee, Adebanjo would always tend to cover that up and promote the idea that Bola Ige was in Obasanjo’s government. But what they do not say is that the decision of Bola Ige to serve in that government was the decision of the Afenifere and it was a unanimous decision taken at Ijebu Igbo and it was also a decision of the AD, at Ikeja, under the chairmanship of Ayo Fasanmi, unanimously too.

But Chief Ayo Adebanjo objected to that and even raised it as a motion on the floor during one of your meetings?
Yes, it is true that Ayo Adebanjo got up at Ikeja to oppose the idea that Bola Ige should go and serve in Obasanjo’s government but his motion had no seconder and the motion had to fall flat, that was a unanimous decision too.

We had a unanimous decision taken at Ijebu Igbo that Bola Ige should go and serve in Obasanjo’s government provided Obasanjo would give him the portfolio of energy because we felt that electricity was most germaine to the issue of development.

Bola Ige was one of the people whom Obasanjo did not ask to go through some of those his ridiculous conditions for ministers. But these our  leaders did not want Nigerians to believe any longer that it was Afenifere and the AD that asked Ige to go into the Obasanjo government and serve. They piled it on Bola Ige that he was the one who decided to serve in the government and if leaders are dishonest, such a group would collapse.

What about  D’Rovan’s Hotel episode?  People were made to believe that it may have been Bola Ige’s own way of reacting to the meeting which denied him the presidential ticket of AD?
Let’s not talk like that.
Was Bola Ige not part of the leaders who went round with Chief Olu Falae to rallies and campaigns?  Was Bola Ige not raising the hand of Falae up at campaigns and rallies?

Even if Bola Ige still felt hurt inside, what he did in public committed him to Falae’s success.  So, it is very unfair and it is very wrong. But the insincerity of the leadership, that ‘why should it be Bola Ige that would be invited by Obasanjo and not one of these our leaders; why didn’t Obasanjo pick Adebanjo or Olanihun Ajayi’?  That was something that the likes of Adebanjo and Ajayi could not understand; it worried them and they could never resolve it and it is still worrying them even after Bola Ige had died, ‘why Bola Ige among all of us’ – that is their problem and it worries them till tomorrow.

But these leaders they are insensitive to change.  Bola Tinubu worked abroad in some very reputable companies and is well exposed but these leaders could not understand what Tinubu was trying to do for the Yoruba nation and we saw it as an affront on us because we as elders were not ready to understand that change was imminent and possible.  Tinubu wanted to lead a classical type of development which requires technological processes, to which we as elders were blind and we were not knowledgeable about it and by the time he was leading us into that technological age. What can you say Bola Tinubu did wrong?

Of all the AD governors, including, of course you, too, it was only Tinubu who survived, how did he do it?
We are all alive and we are surviving.  He was lucky to be governor of Lagos State and he, too, as a person was very good.  The eye of the world is on Lagos so Obasanjo didn’t want to play too rough in the eye of the civilized world so he couldn’t afford to be as daring in rigging elections in Lagos as he was in the backward states.  Obasanjo knew he couldn’t try it because he would have destroyed himself and the country.

Now, Bola Ige!  He was assassinated and till today, the case has had no head, just like one of the people killed anyhow.  Here was a leader, a former state governor, a minister of the federal republic, killed like that?  The circumstances of his death?

Obasanjo’s government killed Bola Ige.  And may be, to answer your question correctly, we may need to ask the government of Rashidi Ladoja.  That is the truth.

Meaning what?
It was Ladoja’s government that went to court to plead nulli prosequi, that the government was no longer interested in continuing with the prosecution of the case.

Go and ask Ladoja, why did he take that decision that time?
Ladoja used to be like myself, a follower of Bola Ige but we should go and ask him why he took that decision at that time.
But I have never sat him down to ask him why he did that.
 
When you were Osun State governor, you once told me that you feared jail so much that whatever people said about your administration would not bother you because you know what it means to be put in jail?
Before you go any further let me tell you why. I had been imprisoned once for something I did not know anything about during the Second Republic.

They said the chairmen of local government councils in the then old Oyo State, used their contingency allowances to buy vehicles for the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, and that if they had done that, it might be by conspiracy between the chairmen of local governments, the state governor and his deputy and because of that their logic, they made the local government chairmen who did the buying of the vehicles to come and say that we as governor and deputy, approved contingency allowances and for approving contingency allowances in the budget, the military said I should go to 42 years imprisonment.

Did you order the chairmen to buy the vehicles?
No!

But governments have been known to even fund parties now?
The same military, less than three years or so there after, used government money to build about 1500 houses for the then Social Democratic Party, SDP, and National republican Convention, NRC, all over this country.

The same government bought cars in their thousands for the same political parties that it funded.
They used the same government money to pay functionaries of these two political parties, in this same country.

The problem you had then was that you were almost at loggerheads with everybody in government.  In fact, some people said you could almost fight your own shadows at that time?
Let me tell you what happened.

When I became governor in Osun State, I knew that it was very possible for some people to sit down somewhere and deliberately tell a lie against somebody in power and jail him and that was why I was not surprised when some people said I stole money from the borehole rigs and that I stole money from Bola Ige House.

If I had not been that careful, they would have built evidence against me again like the military did when the local government chairmen used their own allowances to buy vehicles for the party and turned round to say that I was part of it. So I didn’t want that type of thing to happen again.

That was why when I was Osun State governor, I never had any deal with civil servants, I never had any deal  with contractors, I never had any deal  with commissioners. So, what evidence do you have against me?
Some people even said I stole money from Bola Ige House; but I knew nobody in this world would come and sit down and say I made a deal with him about anything in  my four years.

 The Yoruba nation is in tatters and I’m sure you would agree with me; what is the way forward?
The way forward is to empower the upcoming youths in the land.

Who would empower them?
Oh! We!
We the outgoing old people of Yoruba race must stop assembling as either Egbe Igbimo Agba or egbe this or egbe that.

We must all come together or individually to empower the up coming youths, our children; to associate like the Afenifere Renewal Group is doing now because they are modern and they understand modern civilization and they can lead us, we the old men, who have forgotten that the world is moving on.

 As a Yoruba leader, you would agree that Obasanjo used the slot of the Yoruba nation for eight years. With  rotation palava engulfing PDP  Jonathan’s possible participation in the contest and the shambolism that has engulfed the opposition groups, what does that portend because before Obasanjo became President, there was that myth woven around the Yoruba as being exemplary and nationalistic?

I think Obasanjo occupied the slot of the North and not the slot of the South West.
The greatest evil Babangida did to Nigeria and the Yoruba people was to bring Obasanjo back to power and the Yoruba demonstrated it by not voting for Obasanjo.

It was the North and the East which voted for Obasanjo to rule Nigeria, not  the Yoruba people. That evil is bigger an evil than the annulment of June 12.
 

Your party, AC, is neither here nor there.  In the South West, you have a Tinubu who runs the AC like an imperial leader.  The feeling in some quarters is that whereas AC leaders accuse Obsanjo of dictatorial tendencies in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  Tinubu is no different in the way he dictates the what AC does or does not do  in the South West?  Is it because he has money?

I am the national leader of the AC.
I have never seen a more submissive person than Bola Tinubu when it comes to giving instructions and I say ‘you Bola Tinubu, you are a follower, this is what I want you to do’. He might feel pain, he might not like it. He could complain, that ‘Baba, if not for you, I don’t think I would have done it this way’. So, I don’t know where people get that talk of imperialism from but as you have rightly said, he has money and he’s spending it for the benefit of us all in the South West but I can not remember a time I said to Bola Tinubu ‘enough of that thing, turn to the left’ and he will not do it.
I’ve never seen a subordinate that has been more submissive than Bola Tinubu.
I’ve never seen.
 
How does the party intend handling what is going on in Lagos State between Governor Babatunde  Fashola and the  State House of Assembly?  Some people are even amused that the situation is like this.  Some are already insinuating that he may be pushed out of the party while others say he won’t be pushed out but that should he get a second term, he might seek to chase some people out of town?
I don’t see anything strange in what is happening. When I was the Governor of Osun State, the Alliance for Democracy had 23 of the 26 members of the state house of assembly in Osun and for four years, I can not remember the executive and the legislature being that close.

I was the state governor and the state assembly was there but I know that we did not have a chummy relationship for the four years.

 They said you were not spending the money?
Well, I don’t know if that was the case.

I am telling you what the people said and that you were just stingy and playing god with state money?
My ways were not the same as their ways.  It is not strange that something like that is happening in Lagos.  If Fashola caves in, then he’s not fit to be the governor of Lagos State.  Fashola, as a man of strength should look for very creative ways of bailing himself out of the situation. But if he became downcast and  felt defeated, then I will say the AC made a mistake for putting him there as  governor.  He must be strong. He must resist evil when he sees one and he must proclaim good when he sees the same people doing good. I do not see anything wrong in what the assembly is doing.  They are doing their own job. It is because Lagos is doing well that is why all eyes are on Lagos. So every little thing people talk about Lagos.

In the beginning people said it was Bola Tinubu that was fighting the state governor but I have gone through that kind of thing before.  A situation where the legislature and the executive are working in perfect harmony, then it means that something is fishy, call it corruption.

What is happening in Lagos will make the AC healthier and it will make the state better.

Still on the legislature and the executive, sometime in 2002, at about the time the governors and the Afenifere leaders were being conned by Obasanjo,  members of the House of Representatives wanted to impeach Obasanjo but it was you people who rallied and made that move fail. Perhaps, had you  allowed the national assembly do its work, may be Nigeria would have been spared  Obasanjo for second term?

Well, you are right. Sometimes  there could be a misconception about a situation.  Because Obasanjo was a Yoruba man, if he had been impeached for no specific reasons because we were not giving any specific reasons.

They made it clear that he was breaching the 1999 Constitution?

That was what they said. The easy way to think for those who are not deep in politics was  that the Yoruba people were being persecuted because the northerners were saying Obasanjo was a mis-choice; that he never kept the agreement they reached. In other words it was like buying a slave to work for them, may be he did work for them, may be he didn’t work hard enough for them because we had an Obasanjo who knew what he went into with them but kept working for himself, was neither working for the north nor for the Yoruba people and was neither working for the south south, nor for the Igbo people, so Obasanjo knew what he was doing; he was working for himself; he was working to perpetuate himself in power; he was already looking forward to the Third Term. Obasanjo stooped so that he could win; he surrendered so that he could become victorious and that was why he came to beg us not to allow the local government elections to go on and it was at that time that they tried to remove him.

That was about the same time our leaders told us to treat Obasanjo gently.  We had no option as obedient children and that was why we never said at that time that what was happening served him right, not because we loved Obasanjo because we knew Obasanjo had no character but because he was the President, Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria.

What is happening in the polity today – lack of due process, rigging of elections, imposition of candidates and the pervasive suffering in the land – how can we get out of it?

What is happening today in the polity is not the problem of AC alone. The problem of lack of due process, the problem of impunity should not be seen as an AC problem but a problem confronting all of us as Nigerians. If you look round the country, people are suffering because good governance is not in place and the reason is that people get to power without the people’s mandate


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