A Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has said that his meeting with the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, some years back had to do with the Ondo State governorship election.
Sunday Igboho revealed this to the Publisher of the Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu, during an Instagram Live Chat on Tuesday.
Igboho disclosed that he met Tinubu during the preparation for a governorship election in Ondo State, in which a former governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko, was a candidate.
He narrated that a former governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja, told him that Tinubu had demanded to see him at his Bourdillon house in Lagos.
He further said that his conversation with Tinubu in Lagos was hinged on the persuasion by the former governor of Lagos that he should not support the Peoples Democratic Party in the election because the party had impeached Ladoja as governor of Oyo State in 2006.
He also refuted the claims that he made his wealth from thuggery, saying that Tinubu gave him a sum of N2 million naira after the meeting.
“I once met with Tinubu during the build-up to the governorship election of Mimiko in Ondo State. I supported his opponent during the campaign but my father, Senator Rasheed Adewolu Ladoja, told me Bola wanted to see me. Ladoja also asked me to please Tinubu in every way,” Igboho said.
“Tinubu later called me on the phone and asked me to meet him at his Bourdillon residence in Lagos. I honoured the invitation and went to Lagos.
“At his residence, Tinubu urged me not to support the PDP in the Ondo State Governorship Election. He told me that the PDP frustrated Ladoja in office as governor and eventually impeached him. Tinubu added that it was payback time for the PDP.
“I pledged my cooperation and left the place but before leaving his residence, he gave me N2m to fuel my vehicle. That was the last time I met him. Tinubu is still alive and he can attest to this.”
A former presidential aide, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, had described Igboho as a political thug in a write-up on Monday, an allegation Igboho swiftly denied.
He said Tinubu was able to dissuade Igboho from disrupting a poll in Ekiti, even though Igboho had allegedly collected money from a senator to wreak havoc in the state.
He said, "Tinubu went on and on, lecturing him on the beauty of democracy and unencumbered electoral process. By the time Tinubu finished with him, he became sober and contrite. 'Baba', he said, 'I have heard you and I am pleased with what you have said. Whatever you want me to do, I will do even though I have collected money from the other side'.
"This was the extent Tinubu went to secure Ekiti for his party, ACN. Most of this, the candidate, Fayemi himself, was not even aware of.
"Tinubu then beckoned me to follow him to the bedroom of the suit he occupied in the hotel. 'Femi, this guy appears sincere. It does appear we have dissuaded him'.
“'Thank you, Baba,' Igboho said with a smile across his face as soon as he received a golden handshake for agreeing not to destroy Ekiti as they had planned.
"He then said that he would be in Ekiti on the eve of the election but at 2.00 am, I should put a call through to him. He would put his phone on speaker and I should tell him I am a police AIG and that the police had discovered his presence in Ekiti and would be raiding in 30 minutes time. With that call, he would tell his minders he could no longer stay. He would pack his boys and their lethal weapons and leave town.
"Tinubu ordered food and drink for him. He would touch neither. He however overtime became comfortable in our midst and regaled us with several anecdotes from his career as a political enforcer. One particular anecdote stayed locked up in my memory till today because it was so funny.
"According to Igboho, he went through the tutelage of Chief Adedibu, the strong man of Ibadan politics. He said he was one of his most reliable and trusted thugs. At a point in their relationship, Adedibu, he said, began to suspect he was getting too powerful and independent. Adedibu, he narrated, then invited him to a meeting and told him he would like him to run for the chairmanship of a local government.
"He said he knew this was an attempt by Adedibu to bench him and he therefore told Adedibu that he was not educated, not able to speak English and could therefore not be chairman of a local government.
"Adedibu, he said, looked at him and barked an order STAND UP! He stood up. “SIT DOWN!” He sat down. Adedibu then said 'and you claim not to be educated. Whatever is left, we shall add it unto you'.
"A week before the election, we had reserved and paid for all the rooms in all the hotels in Ekiti. The money ran into several millions. Tinubu, as usual, paid for this. The strategy was to ensure no thug or any undesirable element had a place to stay in the state. Security men and INEC officials had to appeal to me, sometimes through Tinubu, to release some rooms to them to stay. With this, we knew who was staying where. And we closely monitored them and their activities.
"Thus, when Igboho and his band of 50 thugs arrived in Ado Ekiti that Friday, we were able to monitor them till they were taken to be accommodated overnight in Government House due to lack of hotel accommodation in the state.
"This was the situation when at 2:00 am I did exactly what Igboho instructed me to do and he and his men fled town. Two hours after leaving, I got a call from him. They did a head count and found out two of their men were missing. Interestingly, they found out the two had gone to town in search of women. Igboho pleaded with me to help retrieve them and get them out of town the following morning."