Here is the news, again: Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, experienced yet another moment of terror on Sunday, 5 June 2011, as factions within the state chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) engaged in a sustained gun battle, over five hours killing 20 people, including a pastor.
This was the headline of most newspapers in SouthWest, Nigeria. The Tribune called it, NIGHT OF TERROR IN IBADAN. For the Guardian, it was, 20 FEARED DEAD IN OYO DRIVERS CLASH. Thisday captioned it, BLOODY SUNDAY AS 20 FEARED DEAD IN RENEWED NURTW CLASH. Etc, etc.
Really? It can not be. Recall also that just last Monday, 30 May 2011, barely 24 hours after the new governor, Senator AJIMOBI, was sworn in, there was a fight between the factions which was reported to have claimed one life and left properties worth millions of naira damaged, among which were some 60 vehicles. Then this one again!
When are we going to have real peace in Ibadan and in Oyo State? This is becoming a never ending NIGHTMARE. Is there no government in the land? It seems as if really their lunatics have taken over our asylum.
Over the OBASANJO’s tragic presidency, especially from 23 December 2001 when Chief James Ajibola IGE, the then outgoing Minister for Justice and Attorney General, was gruesomely assassinated in his Solemnia Court, in old Bodija, Ibadan, human life had become worthless as long as it served their political purpose in the “nest of killers” party called PDP. It become most pronounced upon Senator Rashid Adewolu LADOJA becoming the PDP governor of Oyo State in May 2003.
It was during the Obasanjo presidency that Lamidi Ariyibi ADEDIBU(Buru Ku)was crowned the “garrison commander” of the South West, from Owode to Owo. While Obasanjo was the President, he, Adedibu was the governor of the infamous “Molete school of thuggery”. Given the presidential seal of approval and protection, Adedibu promoted thuggery to the highest level in the land. Scums like Tokyo, Eleweomo, Auxilisary, Tawa, Igboho, etc,etc, were elevated to honourable status as enforcers who could not be touched. The thugs terrorised all and sundry as they liked, till they removed Senator Ladoja, on his presidential majesty’s service.
I have chronicled all the attrocities in various books I had edited. The roll call include: TRIUMPH OF RULE OF LAW – The LADOJA “Impeachment” Saga; JANDUKUDIGBOLUGI – President of Molete School of Thuggery, The ADEDIBU-OBASANJO Saga; ADEDIBU-BURU-KU: Who Bent Obasanjo’s Dry Fish; AKALA-MAGBO: The Vulture In Oyo Government House. I thought with end of Akala’s government we have seen the end of our enemies of peace and progress.
All through Obasanjo’s second term, we did not spare him on the internet websites such as the NIGERIAVILLAGESQUARE.COM,
SAHARAREPORTERS.COM, NIGERIA.COM, NIGERIAWORLD.COM, publishing articles castigating him for his iniquities. For each mayhem and carnage that happened, I always wrote: BLAME OBASANJO FOR THE IBADAN MAYHEM, Blame Obasanjo for this, and blame Obasanjo for that, among others...
And, now, Obasanjo can not carry the blame for the current crises in Ibadan or Oyo State or even the whole of the SouthWest, directly or solely. We must extend the blame to the current occupier of Aso Rock, Goodluck JONATHAN. As we continue to face these battles staged by Obasanjo’s proxies, locally and nationally, it is logical to blame Jonathan who appears very willing to continue to protect Obasanjo’s interest, both legitimate and illegitimate, in perpetuating BRIGANDAGE over the land for personal political gains.
It will not matter that Akala has been defeated so the incessant episodes of terror by the thugs will also become history. No, not yet. There remains one catch in the equation: the POLICE! He who controls the Police Commissioner in the state has an edge in the political game. Remember that Senator Ladoja as governor was able to call the bluff of both Adedibu and Obasanjo when the then CP was Mr Audu Abubakar. They had to unceremoniously remove him from his post on 26 December 2005 for the simple offence of dutifully and diligently protecting the governor against Adedibu’s evil forces, preventing them from playing their game of violence in the state, including keeping Tokyo in Agodi Prison. Once he was replaced by Jonathan Johnson, the game changed! The police became an extension of the Adedibu-Obasanjo brigandage gang. Then the state became ungovernable and Senator Ladoja was thuggishly,(the pun is intended)”impeached”. The rest is history well known to us all.
Please let us fast forward to now. It was learnt that Sunday’s battle was a reprisal attack waged by a group loyal to Lamidi Mukaila (alias Auxiliary) to revenge Monday’s attack said to have been triggered by the faction led by Lateef Akinsola Oloruntoki (alias Tokyo). The union has been rolling from crisis to crisis during the administration of Akala, resulting in countless but needless fatalities and casualities. A former chairman of the union and an ally of Akala, one Lateef Salako (alias Eleweomo) was killed on 28 December 2010 during the siege at the PDP primary in Akanran Olunloyo, for which the former leader of the senate, Teslim Folarin was charged, and “discharged” Jonathanesquely on the day of PDP presidential primary.
Mr Auxiliary, who had earlier been reported to have led an attack on the house of my cousin, Senator Lekan BALOGUN in May 2010, inherited Eleweomo’s gang - and his hostility to Mr Tokyo. The hostility, which had been mellowed by the illegal proscription of the union by Akala, suddenly flared up after the same Akala lifted the proscription order few days to his departure from Government House. Tokyo then seized that chance to forcibly seize the Iwo-Road interchange motor park from Auxiliary, whose men had been holding the park for Akala. Over the years several attacks have taken place including during the elections.
In this very last attack, as much as 20 lives were lost, a number of people were also wounded, with about 20 shops burnt and 30 others looted, while about 50 vehicles were reportedly vandalised. The journalists reported that most of the victims of yesterday’s brutality were commuters who were waiting for night buses to board to their various destinations including Abuja were at a Total filling station along the end of the Ibadan-Ife Expressway, when a team of the NURTW led by Mukaila Auxiliary stormed the place and started shooting indiscriminately at about 11.45pm. The battle with Tokyo’s gang lasted till dawn. You may want to know, where was Alhaji Baba Adisa BOLANTA and his police team?
Because Goodluck should have removed Bolanta the so-called CP in Oyo State long ago when all these crises had been recurring under Akala (Magbo), I lay the BLAME squarely at JONATHAN’s gate at Aso Rock. For keeping the compromised police chief in post, even after several warnings by well meaning observers, Jonathan should carry the blame. Indeed, Jonathan is as cupable as Bolanta, Tokyo and Auxilliary.
As we do not yet practise proper federalism, the police is still under the Presidency so cant blame the Governor. Jonathan appointed Hafiz Ringim, the IGP, and should have called him (Ringim) to order about the recurrent disorder in Oyo State for so long a time. The Governor does not control the police who should stop the mayhem. Still Jonathan, if he has no hidden agenda, like making Oyo State ungovernable and then declare a state of emergency, should have removed Bolanta via Ringim.
It will be wrong to blame the new Governor Ajimobi as the security systems and apparachtik are all under the direct control of Mr President. This is a president who is proving incapable of stopping mahems all over the country: NURTW brigandage in the South West, Boko Haram bombings in the North and kidnappers, armed robbers and militants rampage in the South East and the South South. Who will now rescue the innocent citizens when the government appears to be in collusion with touts, thugs and terrorists?
I think there is still a chance for the mayhem to continue in Ibadan and Oyo State, even with the proscription of the NURTW by Governor Ajimobi. BOLANTA, the Police Commissioner, MUST be "proscribed" too from Oyo State, IMMEDIATELY. Leaving Bolanta in post is a SECURITY RISK to the government and people of the state. He appears to have a diabolical hidden agenda to maintain DIS-ORDER in the state. He should not only be removed but must also be investigated.
Even as reported by the TRUST of Saturday 4 June 2011, a former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General in Oyo State, Barrister Michael Folorunso Lana has demanded immediate removal of the CP from the state over alleged bias and divided loyalty. He accused Bolanta of playing the script of the sacked government in the state which announced de-proscription of the NURTW in the state barely 48 hours to the eclipse of the administration. He maintained that for Oyo State to enjoy enduring peace, the authorities should effect the immediate arrest of Auxiliary whom he described as the arrowhead of the recurring crisis in the state in the recent times while Bolanta should also be transferred out of the state forthwith.
Besides, the governor should set up a PANEL of INVESTIGATION or a TRUTH COMMISSION, or carry out a JUDICIAL REVIEW to help us unravel the spate of mayhem and carnage that has been endured in Ibadan since the ADEDIBU's reign of terror, and the Akala continuation of same. For instance, we need to know how they came by the arsenal of arms and armonitionsat their disposal. How did they get their fake, or is it genuine, army uniforms? Where did they get so much fund for their nefarious activities? How did they get to be more powerful than the state police force? Who are their godfathers and mothers? And so on and so forth. If we do not get to unravel all these critical issues, we shall continue to get haunted by the surge of the touts, thugs and terrorists.
I suppose we may call on civil right lawyers like Femi FALANA to take the Police establishement to court for culpability by their acts of commission or omission in all these crises. The natural HUMAN RIGHTS of the poor helpless people of Ibadan, Oyo Sate, the South West and Nigeria are at stake. Human beings have become expendable items.
To the good and innocent and long suffering people of Ibadan and Oyo state, my piece of advice, please remain vigilant, indeed very vigilant, as the antagonists in the violent drama remain uncaged and unrepentant. Banning the NURTW alone will not guarantee our SAFETY. The bastards could still defy the ban and still operate illegally. They have done it before. They can do it again, and again, and again, as their “PROTECTORS” may wish.
So, there may be the need for staging PROTESTS by the YOUTHS, the MOTHERS and CIVIL SOCIETIES rally to get a climate of real peace in the land. As the state is not helping, there may be need to resort to self-help. President JONATHAN must be PETITIONED to call the police to order to create order as required by the constitution. Where it has been seen that the Police Commissioner, as in Bolanta’s case, is not up to the task, they should be replaced. The president has that prerogative by giving the IGP the directive. Is that too difficult for any security conscious and peace loving president to do?
NB: Please I am already fed up with chronicling all these bad, sad mad news stories about Ibadan, Oyo State , Yorubalasnd and, indeed, Nigeria. Guys spare me the ordeal. So, now, Enough is Enough!
Bisikay Ayedun, PhD, a global analyst and business philosopher, is director of BCK International, a personal and organisational development consultancy and training firm, from his base in London, UK.