By LEKE ADESERI, South West Regional Editor & OLA AJAYI
IBADAN – TWENTY days to the change of government in Oyo State, a major crack has opened up in the cabinet of the outgoing governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala.

A key cabinet member and commissioner for health, Dr. Isaac Owolabi Babalola alleged, yesterday, that “some desperate, greedy and intellectually percolated cabal” within the state government circle was plotting to kill him.

But the government through the Special Assistant to the Governor on Communication, Dotun Oyelade, said Dr. Owolabi was unfair on Governor Akala.

The physically disturbed commissioner, while speaking with newsmen on his ordeal in the hands of his alleged assailants said, he was attacked by a gang of four to six armed men at Connoil Filling Station, Mokola, area of Ibadan, at about 8.30p.m on Friday.

He said the hoodlums who were armed with knives and cudgels would have overpowered him when he was about refilling his car at the filling station, adding that he later escaped after wrenching himself free from the attackers.

Vanguard gathered that he had been beaten to stupor after leaving the state executive council meeting held at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi.

Babalola, who is one of the pillars of the administration of Otunba Akala was said to have stirred the hornet’s nest by his comments at the meeting which was chaired by Governor Akala, that the failure of  Akala to clinch the governorship seat for the second term should be blamed on its refusal to find lasting solution to the eight-month strike of the medical practitioners in the state.

A source said that Babalola’s other ‘sin’ was his refusal to give approval for the release of N250 million from the ministry’s treasury to an Ibadan-based politician.

Dr. Owolabi was quoted as saying: “I won’t do anything that I would not be able to face the EFCC and defend after leaving office.”

Though, Babalola did not mention anybody in particular as suspect, a response from the government quarters stated that it was unfair and uncharitable for him to infer, under any guise that Governor Akala knew anything about his trauma in the hands of those who allegedly assaulted him.

The message stated: “One fails to understand why Owolabi will crave for such publicity even while he remains part and parcel of the out-going administration and soon after the elections. He should search his conscience and let the world know the exact reason why he has to make such an unfounded allegation. He should stop hiding behind the mask. In other words, Dr. Owolabi can defect or turn coat but he should do it decently.”

Public consumption

Despite the attack, Owolabi said he remained loyal to Governor Akala. He noted:  “I’m still a member of the state executive council and I’m under allegiance not to reveal what are not for public consumption .But all my actions have been out of very serious sense of responsibility and trust to the Executive Governor of Oyo State and by extension the good people of Oyo State.”

When asked if he had reported the attack to the police and the State Security Service, he answered in affirmative.
Confirming this, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Baba Adisa Bolanta said he did but did not state that some people were plotting to assassinate him.

Babalola remained non_committal on the alleged N250 million request. He said: “All I can assure you is that I will not be a party to any last minute arrangement to deplete the resources of our commonwealth , and to my mind, this is being true to the cause. I intend staying on the course.


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