It is no longer news that many attempts were made on the life of Senator Ibikunle Amosun (SIA) before he became the governor of Ogun State on May 29, 2011. It is equally not a news item that violence became the second name of Ogun State, especially between 2007 and 2011 and an unstated official policy of the government of Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD). It was the only period in the history of the state when insecurity led to banks closing business while other organisations simply relocated to neighbouring states.
What appears to be news is the orchestrated attempt by some revisionists to rewrite history through distortion of events and outright fabrications. It is therefore important to remind the general public of some of the deadly violent acts perpetrated against the person of Amosun and his supporters in the years leading to his becoming the governor of Ogun State. Interestingly, the libraries of media organisations in Nigeria could further help readers’ memories on the Gestapo conduct of the last government and HOW IT BLAMED OTHERS FOR THE CRIMES COVERTLY AND OVERTLY PERPETRATED AGAINST THE OPPOSITION BY ITS AGENTS, sometimes with the connivance of elements of the police. Citizens will also recall the daily killings in cities like Sagamu, Abeokuta, Ijebu Ode, etc. and at the drinking joints around MKO Abiola Stadium during the reign of terror.
This intervention is very important in order to guard jealously our hard-won peace and tranquility under the current administration. The incidents listed below are by no means exhaustive.
(1) Constituency’s Tour Attack
On Monday, July 18, 2005, Senator Ibikunle Amosun was on one of his constituency’s tours around Abeokuta with hundreds of his supporters. Suddenly, Governor Daniel’s convoy showed up. The convoy rammed into the SIA’s convoy. ODG’s security men, for no just cause, fired tear gas into the crowd and shot sporadically, killing two supporters of SIA and wounding many others in the process.
(2) Invasion of Sagamu
The city of Sagamu was invaded by OGD's boys on November 22, 2006 in which scores of SIA’s supporters were gruesomely attacked.
(3) Attack on Gbenga Obadara
Bukola Olopade, popularly called Ozogula, the then Commissioner for Youth and Sports and his boys physically manhandled Senator Gbenga Obadara (Ozogula’s uncle) at the 2nd February Hangout in GRA Abeokuta in 2007.
(4) The Ijaiye Attack
On March 9, 2007, the SIA Governorship Campaign Team was violently attacked at Ijaiye, Abeokuta. The state capital had stood still for SIA on the fateful day. This got the PDP jittery, hence the attack by its thugs, led by Ologbowon and Bukola Olopade (Ozogula). Some of Amosun’s supporters were killed while he escaped by a hair’s breadth. Properties running into millions of naira were destroyed by the thugs.
(5) The Police Invitation/ Adatan Car Wash Attack
Upon invitation from the police on March 10, 2007, SIA decided to trek to the Eleweran station with some of his supporters. At the Car Wash area, Ozogula and Ologbonwon, the heads of the ‘hit-and-run’ team of OGD, attacked SIA and his teeming supporters who were unarmed. Those who sustained grievous injuries in the attack included Chief Derin Adebiyi, Mr Taiwo Fagbemi and Alhaji Mufasiru. Many others lost their lives. This particular attack was later described as ‘illegal trekking’ by a very senior police officer. Only divine intervention saved an unarmed Ibikunle Amosun from an obvious, premeditated assassination attempt. It remains a miracle till date because he was the MAIN TARGET.
(6) OGTV Incident - Governorship Election Debate
On April 3rd, 2007, the governorship election debate on the premises of Ogun State Television (OGTV) was disrupted by a team of boys led by Ozogula, who wielded dangerous weapons like guns, daggers, machete, etc. Otunba Dipo Dina was among the candidates slated for elimination that day. Others included Senator Gbenga Kaka, Ogbeni Lanre Banjo. Again, God did not deliver Amosun to their hands.
(7) OPC Invasion of Abeokuta
On a bright afternoon in 2007, several members of the OPC invaded the Ogun State capital, fully armed and chanting war songs. They converged at the PDP secretariat, where Governor Daniel addressed them, saying “Awon omo ogun mi, mi’o gburo yin!” (My warriors, I’m yet to feel your action!) The capital was later thrown into pandemonium and many supporters of SIA went into hiding. It was the era when shop owners in Abeokuta closed business latest by 6pm.
(8) Physical Assault on SIA
On May 23, 2008, during the burial of Senator Abraham Adesanya at Abusi Odumare Academy, Ijebu Igbo, Amosun was physically assaulted by agents of the former governor. He was also pelted with sachets of Pure Water.
(9) Attack on Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello
She was violently attacked INSIDE THE CHURCH by one of OGD’s body guards who bears the name Daniel during the wedding ceremony of the daughter of the then Governor Alao Akala of Oyo State on November 15, 2008.
(10) Attack on Chief (Mrs) Alaba Lawson
On December 19, 2008, Mrs Alaba Lawson, the Iyalode of Egbaland and staunch supporter of SIA, was violently attacked by agents of the former government. Her guard was slaughtered. Only God preserved her life. Further threats were sent to her through her brother. As a result of the incessant threats to her life by OGD’s men, she went on self-exile for over two years and only returned to Abeokuta after the inauguration of the Amosun government. She has since lived peacefully in the state capital.
(11) Attack on Wale Adedayo
On January 10, 2009, at about 10pm, there was an attempt on Wale Adedayo’s life on Ago Iwoye/ Ilishan road by agents of the government that he served. That was at the height of the disagreements that led to his eventual exit from Daniel's government. Readers will recall the accounts of the galling atrocities committed by the OGD regime in Adedayo’s book - Micro-seconds from death.
(12) Murder of Age Omo Lemomu
On February 14th, 2009, Mr Age was murdered in cold blood in Sagamu by men believed to be OGD's supporters. His body could not be found till date. He was a lieutenant, staunch supporter of OGD and credited with having gory details of OGD’s atrocities, including his not being from Ogun State. The general belief is that Age was murdered because he knew too much about OGD. For instance, it was Age who established a root for OGD in Sagamu, whereas he (OGD) hails from Isoko-land.
(13) Murder of Lafenwa DPO
On March 4th, 2009, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Lafenwa police station, Chief Superintendent Adesola Okesola, was killed in what appeared to be a premeditated murder by the powers that be in Ogun.
(14) Court of Appeal Attack
While following the due process of law to reclaim his stolen mandate in the 2007 governorship poll, Amosun and his supporters were violently attacked by the OGD boys on the premises of the Ibadan Division of the Court of Appeal on Monday, January 18, 2010. Several vehicles belonging to the supporters of Amosun were smashed by the thugs.
(15) Assault on Tunde Oladunjoye
The Chairman of Ijebu-Ife Local Government, Hon Tunde Oladunjoye, was assaulted (slapped) on Saturday, July 24, 2010 by Mrs Daniel, wife of the then governor, Gbenga Daniel, because of his principled stand on the rule of law. The OGD men returned to Ijebu-Ife on Monday, July 26, 2010 and burnt down Oladunjoye’s house. The palace of the king of the town was equally razed on the same day.
(16) Face-off with Speaker Dimeji Bankole
OGD also had a face-off with the then Speaker of the House of Reps, Dimeji Bankole, during the inauguration of Sango bridge, constructed by the Federal Government on July 29, 2010. The Speaker had been invited by the minister for the event only for Daniel to orchestrate the launch of the bridge once he realised Bankole was already close to the venue. Bankole was enraged and this resulted in a war of words between the duo. Residents who had come for the event scampered for safety as security aides of the two men engaged in a shooting spree.
(17) Osoba went into Exile
As part of his vindictiveness and intolerance of the opposition, a phony allegation was made against the former governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba, who by sheer coincidence was in Ilaro around the period Yeye Funke Daniel’s convoy was allegedly attacked. Chief Osoba was arrested and made to write statements, especially at the Zone 2 of the Nigeria Police Force, Onikan, Lagos. As a result of his persecution by OGD, Chief Osoba went on self-exile and could only return in 2011. A massive home-coming ceremony was organised for Chief Osoba and other party faithful by Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Osoba has since been enjoying his visit to Abeokuta or any part of the state.
(18) Ozogula’s cult project
This was christianed ‘Taking the boys off the streets’ but it was a smokescreen as the same boys were used to unleash violence on real and perceived opponents of OGD. It is not surprising that the Ogun State Truth Commission stated that Bukola Olopade alias Ozogula, Akeem Odejimi Ologbowon, Mrs Olufunke Daniel, Mr Saburi Kehinde Ayoade, among others, “were shown conclusively by the Petitions considered by us to have engaged in acts of either political violence, abuse of office or hooliganism...” The Commission, for instance, recommended the criminal trial of Ologbowon (Ozogula’s comrade-in-crime) for murder of Gbenga Apolola. It said Mr Saburi Kehinde Ayoade should be prosecuted for gunning down Moshood Bankolewa. While recommending criminal proceedings against Mr Bukola Olopade aka Ozogula, the Commission said he “was found to have attacked one Ajasa Olayiwola at Car Wash Adatan Area of Abeokuta with thugs and hoodlums and had him beaten with sticks and metals resulting in bleeding from his head.”
(19) OGD’s Valley View Declaration
On that day of infamy, OGD wore a red cap. He described the situation, which he foisted on the state, as the commencement of war. A sitting governor and war, one wonders!
(20) Other Attacks on SIA
Amosun suffered other violent attacks at Ilaro, Ajilete, Ijebu Ode, Oke-Itoku and Odogbolu, all in a bid to permanently silence him. But the Almighty did not grant them their heart desire.
(21) Siege on Ogun House of Assembly
There were several reported attempts on the life Rt. Hon Tunji Egbetokun, the then Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly and others opposed to the mis-governance of the state under OGD. For instance, Daniel’s Chief of Staff, Mr Yomi Majekodunmi, was apprehended by the police for being in possession of firearms around Hon Egbetokun’s house.
(22) The OGD Killer Squad
The security agents are not unaware that members of OGD's killer squad are still stealthily active under the cover armed robbery, political violence, cultists’ clashes, etc. They will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Finally, citizens must be wary of these revisionists and profiteers from violence. It is on record that since the recent APC crisis began, Amosun’s watchword has remained reconciliation. Interesting, there has been no political violence against the opposition under the Amosun government. This bears eloquent testimony to the style of Amosun. It is an irony that OGD and his supporters moved freely in Abeokuta on the day of the inauguration of his faction of the Labour Party. That was not possible when he was the governor. Leaders of some labour unions were brutally silenced for having the guts to demand for their rights. Daniel now enjoys the liberty he denied others. What an irony! Other opposition parties even have their events relayed on the state television, which was a taboo under OGD. Of course, there are a few unpatriotic elements within the APC, in collusion with the opposition, that attempted to reenact violence in the state on two occasions. The security agents, I believe, are on top of the situation to prevent a repeat of the isolated ugly incidents.
Vigilance is the price of liberty. Let’s all guide our freedom jealously. Let’s ignore the lies and join hands with the Amosun administration so that the unprecedented development the state is witnessing can continue without let or hindrance.
I wrote this piece from the depth of my heart because I was a victim of the lawlessness and crude violence that characterised the government of OGD. Nobody would have been able to predict in 2009 that normalcy would ever return to this state. Let the calculated lies on the internet stop. Let OGD's boys and their collaborators devote their time to better things. Amosun is a man of peace; and that’s evident in the freedom being enjoyed by all residents of the state.
- Oludare Abayomi is a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (now All Progressives Congress), Ogun State chapter.