I have read the 12 page “litany of lies” released on Wednesday 25th May, 2011 by my successor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which he set up some months ago with Justice Samson Uwaifo as its chairman. He was allowed by his “Truth” Commission to read that piece and say all manners of things against my person despite the fact that
he filed no petition against me before the panel. Several newspapers, television and radio stations also helped him to carry the manifest falsehood he read out at the session.
I found it quite unnerving that Mr. Aregbesola while reeling out what he called his “travails” could forget that he was no longer the noise maker from Lagos but the governor of a state peopled by rational minds who would ask questions before coming to conclusions on matters of morality such as this. I intend to respond to the rather serious issues he raised, ignoring the ridiculous ones like accusing me of calling his Oranmiyan group, Oranmiran.
DEPLOYMENT OF SOLDIERS IN ILESA, OSOGBO IN 2007
Following the loss of the governorship election of Osun State on April 14, 2007, by Rauf Aregbesola, his supporters went on rampage in Osogbo, the state capital and Ilesa, Mr. Aregbesola’s hometown, maiming people and burning houses. By the 16th April, 2007 when it was clearly apparent that the police were unable to curtail the crisis, the President and Commander-in-Chief called ordered the military to take control. The primary objective of the soldiers deployment was to restore calm and peace and this was achieved. They professionally brought the situation under control by fishing out and arresting the culprits. Those arrested were thereafter handed over to the police for prosecution.
Shortly after, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola went on air using some television stations in Lagos to claim that I deployed soldiers in his hometown and that the soldiers killed hundreds of people. And I asked then: Who were those killed and did they not have relations who would tell the world about their fate? Is it possible to kill even a fowl without its owner looking for it? However, the matter got to a head from Monday 17th to Thursday 20th December 2007 when Galaxy Television helped Aregbesola use a false news package with the caption: “Oyinlola kills his people.” In the report, Galaxy Television showed a footage of some political thugs arrested in Ilesa by soldiers and made to lie face up. The television station claimed that what it showed were corpses of people killed by Oyinlola.
I promptly reported the matter to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) with a video tape showing when those people got up and were led into a truck that took them to the police headquarters in Osogbo. A copy of that tape is in the archives of the NBC. After a very thorough investigation, the NBC discovered that the report was false in its entirety and sanctioned the television station.
The NBC, in a letter dated 31st January, 2008 informed my office that it had taken measures against the television station that carried the report and that it had directed it to give me a right of reply “besides other measures” taken against it in other to “correct some opinions and unsubstantiated allegations against the personality of the governor in the news broadcasts.” The letter was signed by its Ibadan zonal director, Olufemi Ayeni, for NBC’s Director General.
It was exactly this same footage that Mr Aregbesola played, deliberately at the very last sitting of the Truth Commission, on Wednesday 25th May, 2011.
The recent post-election violence in parts of the North also witnessed deployment of soldiers. It will be nice to know Rauf’s opinion on the deployment of soldiers in April this year to quell the post election riots in those Northern states. Will Aregbesola say those soldiers in Bauchi, Kano and Kaduna were deployed by the governors of those states? Very ridiculous! I say again just as I told Aregbesola’sTruth Commission, rational minds know that those soldiers in Osogbo and Ilesa were deployed by the President and Commander in Chief and not by Oyinlola.
THE KILLING OF HASSAN OLAJOKUN
I was informed in the afternoon of Sunday May 15, 2005 by one of my media aides, Mr Bamidele Salam that Mr Aregbesola had that day addressed a press conference where he claimed that his “major financier” had just been gunned down at Gbongan junction along Ibadan- Ile-Ife road. I promptly got in touch with the Commissioner of Police (now a DIG) who later briefed me on the incident. The police took written statements from the man’s wife and daughter who were with the deceased when he was killed. They also took the statement of the then Majority leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon Jide Omoworare (now a Senator elect) who also ran into the robbery, witnessed the killings and became a victim too. I was informed that the deceased and members of his family stopped at Gbongan junction to buy fruits and that it was while they were purchasing the fruits that some men accosted Olajokun’s driver demanding the key to his jeep. The deceased reportedly resisted the robbers and despite pleadings from his wife to let the robbers have the vehicle, he snatched a gun from one of the robbers and killed the robber, wounding another. Other members of the gang, according to the statements, swooped on Olajokun and also shot and killed him. The robbers made away with his jeep and Omoworare’s car. They, in addition took away the corpse of their shot gang member and abducted Omoworare who was eventually pushed out of his car later near Oyo town in Oyo state.
That is the story of Olajokun’s death. Indeed, the fact that the man snatched a gun from one of the robbers, shot and killed one and wounded another of the robbers was confirmed in a television interview on Monday 16th May, 2005 by the then state Chairman of the Alliance for Democracy, (Aregbesola’s party) who is now his Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Moshood Adeoti.
I have the video tape of that interview.
Just like I said that time when I told The Punch that I was waiving my immunity to be investigated on the matter and be tried if found culpable, I am challenging Rauf to use his current position to get the matter prosecuted.
THE RAPE OF ONE TOSIN AJAKAYE
When this case of alleged rape was brought to my attention, I directed all appropriate security agencies to investigate and punish the culprits, if any. Those arrested were ordered prosecuted based on the legal advice from the state ministry of Justice. The case is still on, the suspects were never shielded by me despite the fact that they were members of my party. Their defence of self help over the burning of their houses by some hoodlums (among whom they claimed the victim was) did not assist them. It has always been my belief that if any one runs foul of the law, he faces the music. I never for once, departed from this policy throughout my years in office. I sincerely hope that Rauf can do same to the ACN members who killed one Taiwo Abimbola in Irojo, Ilesa and made his wife lick his blood in January this year. I hope the ACN governor will do same to those who murdered Bolarinwa Taiwo, a former PDP councillor in Osu, Atakumasa West local government during the last general elections, and Mayowa Alonge, a PDP ward leader in Atakumasa East killed on April 1, this year. I sincerely look forward to the day Rauf will wake up and seek the prosecution of all his men who beat up several traditional rulers in Ijesaland and maimed PDP members across the state following his coming to office in November last year.
OROKI DAY 2006
I am not going to waste my time on this incident, the story of which is known already to the public. I will only say that I was happy that Aregbesola’s own video footage at the Truth Commission showed how an event that had already gone peacefully underway for 90 minutes was violently disrupted by Mr Aregbesola and his hoodlums when he arrived ringing bells. I must say that it was interesting to note that the chairman of the Commission, Justice Uwaifo was shown on television mistaking the event for Aregbesola’s campaign rally. Even Aregbesola’s boss, Bola Tinubu agreed with me at the burial of Engineer Funsho Williams in Lagos that his boy was wrong to have invaded, with hoodlums, an event where the governor of a state was seated. Bola told me he had let Rauf know that.
THE JUNE 14, 2007 BOMB BLAST
A bomb blast occurred near my office exactly a month after the governorship election of that year. Aregbesola and Bola Tinubu’s initial reaction was that I planted the bomb to kill myself. Later they described it as an explosion caused by rock blasting materials because it occurred near the ministry of water resources forgetting that the ministry does not blast rocks in borehole sinking. One wounded suspect, Richard Adesanmi was arrested at the scene, one died, others escaped. The arrested suspect, Adesanmi made statements to the police and even swore to an affidavit disclosing how the operation was planned by their sponsors in Lagos. It is a police case which has nothing to do with the office of the governor. It is nice to know that one of the very first decisions taken by Rauf as governor was getting the case scuttled at the high court.
I want to say that it was a big surprise that Aregbesola who remembered all sorts of ridiculous things at the Truth Commission on Wednesday could forget to mention that he was also arrested for alleged forgery of a police report and taken to Abuja for trial. It is on record that as a sitting governor, when armed robbers killed Alhaji Hassan Olajokun at Gbongan junction in 2005 and Aregbesola said it was a political killing, I offered to waive my immunity for the case to be properly tried. Even The Punch used that as its lead story that time. But Aregbesola, three days after he was sworn in as governor pleaded immunity before the FCT High Court in Abuja when the forgery case was to commence against him. I am urging Aregbesola to also waive his own immunity NOW so that the forgery case in Abuja can be properly tried and dispensed with.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE TRUTH COMMISSION
I advise Rauf that next time he wants to set up a fact finding panel, the proper thing to do is to empanel people whose neutrality is not in doubt. What he has done with the membership of his Truth Commission easily gave his motive away. Why for instance would Rauf choose as Truth Commission members Mrs. Funmi Falana, wife of Mr. Femi Falana who was Rauf Aregbesola’s lawyer in the forgery case; Chairman of the Labour Party in Osun State, Mr. Rufus Oyatoro whose party contested elections with my party and lost. There were also Messrs Bamidele Aturu and Nurudeen Ogbara who are not just Mr. Femi Falana’s friends but are also allies of Rauf Aregbesola and supporters of his party. So, I simply laughed when my party chairman informed me that the Commission heard, before winding up, over 200 petitions filed by Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) supporters while it heard ONLY SEVEN (7) out of the 79 petitions filed by supporters of our party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). Truth and reconciliation indeed!
I am seasoned enough and well trained to know why all these dramas are going on. I remain focused and unmoved. I am always ready to defend every decision I took as governor because while there, I was always conscious of the fact that every masquerade would one day become man. I hope Rauf, the new masquerade, knows this too. Again, he needs to know on time that governance is a serious business. It is not the same as rabble rousing. When a leader is convinced that a crime has been committed, the rational thing to do is prosecution of the offender, not playing to the gallery, rousing the rabble. Aregbesola is today the governor of our state, I urge him to get all the cases he mentioned in his statement prosecuted forthwith if he is sure of his facts. Any leader who wants to be called an Omoluabi must fear God and live above board. He must not tell lies to hoodwink the gullible. An Omoluabi is one who says the right thing the right way. The name is reserved for a gentleman not a noisemaker.