No doubt, Ibadan occupies an indelible position in the politics of the old Westen region as it has in the current Oyo state. A city that splashes rust and gold, was the seat of government of the old Western Region and is currently the capital of Oyo State, Nigeria. Ironically Ibadan city remains the epitome of the imbroglio of old WILD WILD WEST of the 1960s that ultimately closed down the first republic.
Thursday 30 December 2010, Ibadan city played host to Oyo State peoples Democratic Party (PDP) congress election, which once again ended with a baptism of blood, resulting in the killing of a rival gang leader Lateef Salako (a.k.a.Eleweomo) and the arrest of the Senate Leader Teslim Folarin, who has been linked to the shooting that terminated Eleweomo life.
It is well known that the two rival gangs involved are under the sponsorship of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In the beginning Abdul-lateef Akinsola Oloruntoki (a.k.a Tokyo) and his deceased rival Abdul-Lateef Salako (a.k.a Eleweomo) were best of friends and both Chairman and Vice Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Ibadan, Oyo State during the reign of the late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, the Ibadan Kigpin of thugs and PDP generalisimo. These two wild men (Tokyo and Eleweomo), under the tutelage of Late Adedibu, the head-thug of Ibadan college of hooliganism, jointly reigned terror on the people of Ibadan city without any regard for human life. Together they had killed, maimed and committed arson indiscriminately in the past in Oyo state without them being checked or charged for any serious crimes. They with the backing of their godfathers had been living above the law. Late Adedibu’s Command was effectively the Head of the military wing of PDP in Oyo state and throughout the length and breath of Nigeria in his days. After the demise of head-thug Adedibu, Tokyo and Eleweomo path ways with their followers and begun to work with new godfathers in their struggle for succession, leadership and power. Two clear factions emerged – Senate Leader Teslim Folarin/Former Governor Ladoja and Tokyo grouped to one side; whilst current Governor Alao Akala and Eleweomo grouped to the other. There had been indescriminate act of lawlessness between these two gang rivals for some time, but the trouble peaked at the recent Oyo State PDP congress when Eleweomo was murdered in cold blood.
When two animals fight in the jungle and one overpowers and kills the other, you tend to wonder who the judge to hear the jungle case would be. Your guess is as good as mine.
In a more civilised democratic society where the provisions of the laws of the land are well understood and very well respected, such act of arson and murder at a political congress will not happen in the first instance. Where it does, either by accident or by deliberate act, it would be taken as a very grievous criminal offence and public disturbances of the highest disorder. In such society, the perpetrators will not escape the claws of the law; but in Nigeria, the complete opposite is always the case. Nigeria is a land where anything and everything happens without any fear of been held accountable. It is a country where our lawmakers are those who are in the forefront of breaking the laws, regardless of the consequances on the society. It is in Nigeria where the agencies that are meant to uphold and implement our laws are those going mad and letting their madness loose and visiting their insanity on the people they were employed to protect. If it is not the ill-trained, poorly-equipped police today, it would be the naval mad dogs tomorrow or the ruthless army of unknown soldiers the next day. It is an appaling state of sadness where some people are criminally privileged to live above the law and torment other people. Nigeria, in this day and age, is a country where the ordinary people, lawfully going about their daily lives, have to live in constant fear of insecurity everyday from the hands of the established authorities on one hand and that of the motor park thugs governed by the likes of Tokyo and Eleweomo on the other hand.
It is really very disheartning to see the ruling PDP and its leaders both at the state and national levels behave in total disregard for the laws of the land. It is even much more distressing to note that the Oyo State Police Command, who is being accused of colaborating with Akala/Eleweomo faction in the build up to the dastardly occurrence, is the body that is carrying out the arrest and prosecution of members of the opposing faction. This is what you get in Nigeria. In any event, it is the view that had the State Commissioner of Police Mr Bolanta acted appropriately, responsibly and promptly, the arson and killing that occurred could have been averted. Clearly the Commissioner of Police cannot claim to be ignorant of the historic acts of hooliganism, arson and killing that usually accompany political party congresses in the past in Oyo state. Why then did he fail to provide adequate security to lives and properties on this ocassion? Why did he fail to act on time? And how did allow his command to be acused of complicity? With these and many other questions raised, is it then appropriate that he be the prosecutor in this event?
Clearly the situation in Ibadan is beyound the State government and the State Police Command. It requires the Federal might. A Federal independent enquiry, where Senator Folarin and, Governor Akala and their group as well as the State Police Commissioner Bolanta must all be witnesses in the box is the way forward in order to get to the root of the situation. The question is, will this happen? The answer is NO. Not with the PDP government in power in Oyo State and in Nigeria. If the perpetrators of previous murders of former Oyo State Governor and Federal Minster late Bola Ige and Former veteran journalist Dele Giwa, just to mention two, are still walking free in Nigeria, why then must we believe that the killers of a common thug in a political fracas would be brought to justice. It is a very sorry situation that in Nigeria there is no iota of respect for our laws, and that the people in the fore front of law breaking are our law makers themselves. Not all animals are equal after all. Very gravely sad indeed.
God bless you, and God bless Nigeria
Dr Adebisi Adewole MA, MBA, PhD