The last may not have been heard about the gruesome assassination of the former attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Chief Bola Ige, as fresh narrative by the former pioneer national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, has alleged that the former President Olusegun Obasanjo-led federal government was complicit in his murder.
The late Ige who until his death was the deputy national leader of the pan Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, was killed by gunmen at his Bodija, Ibadan home on December 23, 2001.
In his memoirs entitled, ‘My Participations’, which was launched in Lagos on Thursday, Akande alleged that some elements within the Obasanjo administration met and resolved to kill Ige for selfish political gains.
The former Osun State governor recalled in the book that the late Bola Ige’s ordeal started when Obasanjo had gone on an official visit to Oyo State when Lam Adesina was governor of the state.
Akande alleged in his new book: “Obasanjo came on an official visit to Oyo State and I was there to give solidarity to my colleague, Governor Lam Adesina. He also gave me solidarity when the president visited Osun State. As the presidential entourage was being ferried from the airport, there were not enough official cars. Ige had to drive in Chief Michael Koleoso’s car. Koleoso, who had served with us in old Oyo State, was now the Secretary to the State Government. Koleoso’s car was not an official car and so it was not allowed to join presidential and governorship convoys.
“Adesina drove with the president while I was in my own official car and we drove into the Liberty Stadium together. By the time Koleoso’s car came, the president and the governors and the official delegation had taken position in the state box. The gate had been closed and both Koleoso and uncle Bola had to use the pedestrian gate. As soon as uncle Bola entered and the public recognized his famous face, the stadium erupted into the chat of ‘’ Ige!! Ige!!!Ige!!! Everyone stood up including those of us in the state box as if on cue.
“The cheering never stopped until Uncle Bola joined us at the state box. It was a defining moment authenticating Bola Ige’s enduring romance with the people and magic of his presence.
“I saw Dr. Jerry Gana, Obasanjo’s Minister of Information, making jest of Chief Sunday Afolabi and other Yoruba leaders of the PDP. It was clear who was in control of politics in Yorubaland and that certainly, it was not Obasanjo and his troops.
“I believe it was after that outing that some element close to the president met and decided to deal with Bola Ige. The next time Obasanjo would enter that stadium was to participate in the burial ceremonies of Ige. I believed the leader was silenced because he was deemed to be too popular with the people.”
“Uncle Bola’s main ambition in his last days was to resign from Obasanjo’s government and come to help us reorganize Afenifere.
Akande added that “there was enough evidence that the government of President Obasanjo was reluctant to find the killers of Bola Ige.’’
According to him, his summon to Abuja to meet with Chief Obasanjo and the involvement of Iyiola Omisore in the wake of the assassination was a fundamental poser that the government was bent on sweeping the murder of the attorney-general under the carpet.
He wrote in the book: “When I was about to board the aircraft on my return trip back to Ibadan, I saw Omisore. The jet had gone ahead to bring Omisore to Ibadan. What they told him I did not know. So why try to bring us together for a chat? All this created suspicion in my mind that cover-up was actively in the offing. That was why I came to the conclusion that the Federal Government was complicit in the assassination of Uncle Bola Ige.’’
Recalling his relationship with his former deputy, Iyiola Omisore, Akande said the politician crept into his life like a silent malignant cancer. “Iyiola Omisore crept into my life like a silent malignant cancer. He came in full force. In a few months, I thought I knew him. I regret I did not know him in his true colours,” he recounted in the autobiography.
He recalled that since Omisore was introduced to him by Yekini, popularly known as Bisi Adedotun, he started visiting him regularly in Lagos and Ila and “calling me Baba, while I called him Iyiola.
“Every place in my home, including my bedrooms, was made accessible to him even though I did not bother to know his house or wherever he might have been coming from. I very much admired Yekini and by intuition, I merely transferred the same admiration to Iyiola Omisore.”
Akande explained that at the initial time, he did not want to use Omisore for his running mate but that pressure mounted on him to use him.
According to him, while Omisore’s closeness to the Abacha regime made matters of trust difficult, he had to settle for him after all.
Akande said the Alliance for Democracy (AD) later won the election in Osun in January 1999.
“It was part of my immediate problems after the election that Sola Akinwunmi who seemed to have had a very soft and kind disposition for Iyiola Omisore began to alert me about Omisore’s disloyalty. They were earlier close friends because Akinwunmi, as an article of faith, wanted me to become the governor of Osun State at all cost.
“He entered into friendship with whosoever shared that faith with him. Soon after our election, Sola Akinwunmi, as the then secretary to the party, was disappointed at Iyiola’s attitudes towards me.”
Akande noted that Omisore was reported to have been withdrawing some party funds from Sola Akinwunmi using his name without his authority.
“He would go to the party secretariat and use my name to collect money, sometimes, N100,000. On one occasion, Ayo Opadokun lost his father in Offa, Kwara State and we thought we should honour him. I said I would visit him. I funded a gift from my own pocket for my visit to Opadokun in Offa.
“Then, one Omisore’s messenger came and met with Opadokun. He whispered to me that his boss sent him to give money to Opadokun and also give him N50,000 on my behalf. I told the emissary not to worry about mine because I had already seen Opadokun. It was later I learnt that Omisore took money on my purported authority from the party secretariat for the simple act of condolence,” he stated in the autobiography.
He added that on another occasion, Omisore was said to be collaborating with the commissioner of Police to impose ADC of his choice on him, but the plan was exposed and thwarted.
Akande also noted in the book that when Peugeot 504 cars were being given to every governor-elect by the military authority as take-off transport needs to the governor before inauguration, Omisore was said to have used his name without his authority to collect the four cars from the then secretary to Osun State government, Elder Femi Adelowokan.
“He sent one to me and appropriated three to himself. I then requested for the other three cars. After a while, he claimed one was snatched by robbers on the way to Cotonou in Benin Republic and that another had a serious accident. So, he never brought the remaining three cars,” he said.
How New Book, ‘My Participations’, Builds Perfect Narrative For Tinubu 2023
While the book by Akande dwells on the past, the timing of the launch of ‘My Participations’, may not have been accidental, coming roughly a month when APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinibu, is expected to make his much anticipated declaration to run for president in 2023.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that not only is the launch of Akande’s autobiography choreographed to coincide with the beginning of election season and the declaration by Tinubu, the book also builds the requisite political narrative that might make it difficult for President Muhammadu Buhari not to support the former Lagos State governor without appearing to have betrayed the trust of a political benefactor.
Akande is known to be a staunch political ally of Tinubu, and his book already portrays the president as having reneged on an earlier agreement to make Tinubu his running mate ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
Narrating how events leading to Tinubu being dropped as a possible running mate unfolded, Akande said, “We were all in Abuja and Tinubu rushed to me with this information. He wanted to know whether the understanding we reached with Buhari had changed. I called Buhari and he told me he now needed three names from us. I was angry with him.
‘‘General, this was not what we agreed upon,’ I said in annoyance. ‘You are changing our agreement?’ He knew I was getting angry. He said he was under pressure from some governors from the north, including those who were Muslims. I told him the slot belonged to the South-West and among the Yoruba, religion is not a factor in leadership,” he said.
The book also narrated how former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some unnamed political heavy weights, including a traditional ruler, put immense pressure on Tinubu and his allies to dump the Buhari project.
Buhari was in Lagos on Thursday for the book launch, where he described Akande as a victim of Obasanjo’s double cross because of the circumstances of how he lost his reelection bid as governor of Osun.
LEADERSHIP Sunday further gathered that support groups who are already building on the momentum created by the book launch are opening more campaign offices and are packaging Tinubu branded gift items in preparation for the presidential declaration.
The Tinubu camp is said to have been engaged in subtle campaigns, including congregating tumultuous crowds, enthusiastic receptions and a genuine interest to identify with their principal who has come to embody the concept of liberalisation in the government.
The support groups for the presidential ambition of the former governor of Lagos State have since berthed in different parts of the country amid inauguration of its steering committee.
As far as they are concerned the man fondly called the tutor-general of Nigerian politics, the Jagaban Borgu and the Asiwaju of Lagos State has been endowed with political prowess from God that no one has matched in the history of Nigerian politics, even as he must be given the driver’s seat to turn the country’s fortune around.
Many of the supporters who overtime have come to see Asiwaju Tinubu in his political experience as one man that has found grace and mercy of God to succeed where others failed are confident that he would emerge as the next president of the country.
They are not merely sensitizing people; they have also rolled out incentives, packages to sway the minds of the electorate.
LEADERSHIP Sunday checks showed that Tinubu’s supporters are tactically packaging and giving out food stuff in branded sacks, recharge vouchers to call all networks in the country to the electorate ahead of the party’s primaries and general election.
Also, if the comments, rousing ovation for the APC national leader at the Chief Bisi Akande’s Book Launch in Lagos is anything to go by, then he is one man to watch out for in the unfolding political dispensation in the country.
The man spearheading the supports movement, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who is the national chairman of Southwest Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA’23), a campaign group rooting for the candidature of Tinubu for the 2023 presidential poll, has maintained that he remained the best man for the job.
The group inaugurated chapters in Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti States after its regional inauguration in Ibadan, the political headquarters of western Nigeria, on December 15, 2020.
Adeyeye, former minister of Works, had called on the traditional rulers and various interest groups to prevail on Tinubu to contest for the 2023 presidential election.
Very recently, the group undertook a week-long sensitization, consultation and mobilisation tour in Lagos with visits to traditional rulers in Badagry, Ikeja, and Lagos Divisions solicited for their support.
Speaking after meeting with traditional rulers in the three divisions of the state, Adeyeye said the group had been strengthened to forge ahead in its consultations because of the positive responses by millions of Nigerians.
According to the national chairman of SWAGA 23, Tinubu is preferred for the highest service, having demonstrated that capacity as former governor of Lagos state.
He stressed that Tinubu is eminently qualified to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, saying he will build on the achievements recorded by the administration and inspire a new hope in the future of the country.
Adeyeye described him as a great national asset, a hunter for talent, a lover of human development, an economic problem solver and a bridge builder.
“We are here to visit the traditional rulers because they are a vital element in governance, we were in Badagry yesterday, today, we met with the monarchs in Ikeja Division and Lagos Division”, he said.
The scribe of SWAGA in Lagos, Khafilat Ogbara, said their visit to the traditional rulers was purposely for sensitization, consultation and mobilisation of people in different areas of the state ahead of inauguration of the group in the state.
They seem to be achieving their objectives as the monarchs in their response endorsed the candidature of Tinubu and beckoned on him to contest for president.
The sensitization is not limited to the South West zone; in the South South, the APC faction loyal to Senator Magnus Abe in Rivers State had before now expressed its support for the 2023 presidential ambition of Tinubu.
This is even as a former senator who represented Rivers West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Wilson Ake inaugurated the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Support Group, christened BATS Vanguard, Rivers State chapter, at Freedom House, Senator Abe campaign Secretariat in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Ake who is also the chairman, steering committee of the BATS Vanguard in the state, said Tinubu was qualified to be Nigeria’s next president come 2023.
He said he disagreed with those who described Tinubu as too old for the exalted office, saying his contribution to Nigeria’s democracy and the party had qualified him for the job.
He said, “For us in Rivers State, we are solidly behind the presidency of our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He worked so hard for the APC and he’s a detribalised man who has done so well for our democracy over the years.
“When Tinubu was working so hard for the APC, nobody talked about his age. He has finished working, now they are saying go and sit down let one young person come and take over. Does it work like that?
“I believe Tinubu is going there to make things better for Nigeria and Nigerians. He has the capacity and the ability to fix the economy of the country.”
In the North, the Speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly, Hamisu Chidari, said the APC in Kano State would support the 2023 presidential ambition of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in 2023.
According to Chidari, Kano State, which has the highest number of voters and delegates in the country, would repay Tinubu’s act of helping the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to become President in 2015.
He said, “My purpose is to kick-start the journey that will take us to the Villa by God’s grace with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the number one citizen of Nigeria.
“In Kano, being the state with the highest number of delegates, we have already decided and already concluded; we are set to give him at least 98 per cent of delegates in the primaries. Not only that, we are set as usual to give him the highest number of votes so that come May 29, 2023, we will be at the Eagle Square to swear him in as the President.
“All of us in the North-West are aware of the role he played in taking our son, President Muhammadu Buhari, to the Villa. So, we are going to reward him; we are going to pay him back. So, I have assured him of victory. Almost all the delegates from the North-West states are going to vote for him in the next primary elections.”
Although the national leader of the APC has not openly declared his intention to contest for the 2023 presidential election, his posters for the poll have flooded Lagos metropolis.
Tinubu’s posters for the poll posted by the supporters surface from time to time in many strategic areas of the state, such as Ojota, Maryland, Ketu Ikeja, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, Ikotun, Igando, Ojuelegba among others.