•What City People Found Out
Over the last few days, the fallouts of the new book written by Chief Bisi Akande and the views attributed to this elder statesman have deepened the animosities that many Yoruba leaders have for themselves. It has taken Baba Akande’s book to show that there is no love lost between Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Baba Akande.
For instance, this has also triggered the age-long animosity between Adebanjo and Tinubu, so also the age-long rift between Baba Akande and Omisore. There is also the cold war between Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Baba Akande, his predecessor.
First to react to the book was Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the Afenifere leader, who responded to the allegation made by Chief Bisi Akande in his book, My Participation, that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu built his house in Lekki for him.
According to Papa Adebanjo, “About a week ago, last Thursday, 7th December to be exact at the presentation of the book “MY PARTICIPATION” by Chief Bisi Akande it was said that Chief Bisi Akande, stated in the book that I brought pressure on Bola Tinubu to build the house for me. But since Bola Tinubu himself was present at the presentation, I expect him within a few days to refute such a malicious falsehood about me emanating from his Man Friday.”
“I hold this view because Bola Tinubu just some 3 years ago, on the occasion of the presentation of my auto-biography “SAYING IT AS IT IS “ said that for my incorruptibility and strength of character, he Bola Tinubu would not have been Governor of Lagos State in 1999. What then could he be demanding from me after his two term governorship to make me pressurize him to build a house for me, when I did not get a naira from him before he became the governor?
A lot has been said in the press and the social media to demolish tantrums. But I owe a duty to myself and to put the record straight for posterity about the big lie that Bola Tinubu built my house in Lekki for me. I therefore deny categorically that my house at Lekki was built with my resources through the sale of 3 developed properties, loan from GTBank and the sale of undeveloped landed property given me by my late leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo, of blessed memory.
The details are as follows:1. A 4 bedroom duplex with 2 bedroom flat enclosed with 2 undeveloped plots at plot 4, block 14, Nuru Oniwo Street, Aguda Surulere, Lagos State, this is where I was living before moving to Lekki. The house was commissioned in 1972 by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
A wing of the duplex was once occupied by a staff of the security outfit then known as “special branch” headed then by the late Alhaji M.D. Yussuf who later became Inspector General of Police when General Olusegun Obasanjo was the Head of State. It was later occupied by one of the wives, Chief Pius Akinyelure, who often visited his wife there in company of Senator Bola Tinubu.
The gate of this property was forced open by Abacha security forces when NADECO was holding a sendoff party for American ambassador Walter Carrington in my house. I took the Federal Government to court for damages and I was awarded #1million which has not been paid till today by the Federal Government, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN, was my counsel.
The house was sold to St Baths Anglican Church, Aguda, Surulere.
(2) Two storey building at Odedola Street, Surulere, Lagos State. I bought it through an Estate Agent by name Mr. Shiwoniku who has relocated to UK, he has a brother who is a legal practitioner in Abuja.
The house was sold to a Ghanaian by name Mr Akappo. He is still alive and he lives in one of the flats in the building.
(3) Four storey building with a warehouse on the ground floor and six flats on top. It was commissioned by Chief Awolowo in 1977. I inherited the plot of 45’X100’ from my mother Salamotu Anomo-Adebanjo, who built a bungalow on it.
She bought the land when I was in primary school in 1940 from one Pa. Idowu Onitiri for £20, which she paid by instalment of £10, £7, £3. His son, Akanbi Onitiri, executed the conveyance for me without extra payment after showing him the purchase receipts from his father, when I was developing it in 1976. Akanbi Onitiri is the father of Sumbo Onitiri, a well-known estate surveyor in Lagos. The building was sold to a woman through an estate agent.I then took a loan from GTBank to complete the house in Lekki where I am living now.
When the interest on the loan became unbearable, I was compelled to sell the undeveloped land given to me by Chief Awolowo in Dide-Olu Estate in Maroko, Victoria Island. One Mr. Ade Otusanya, a friend of my son, Femi Ayo-Adebanjo bought the land.
The contractor who built my Lekki house is Engr. Hakeem Sulaiman, Senior Partner of Messrs HA associates. The Electrical and Mechanical Contractor is Engr. Tokunbo Oshokoya, Senior Partner of Messrs Oshea Projects.
The Architect is Mr. Deji Johnson. The Quantity Surveyor is the late Otunba T.B Adebayo. The Lekki property, the house in my village, Isanya Ogbo, and 3 Bedroom flat in a townhouse, at Omorinre Street in Lekki are the properties I have in the whole world.
Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola also responded: “I have just read a part of the recently released autobiography of my predecessor, as governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande, which concerns me. He levelled some allegations against me and also made certain allusions and insinuations. My forthcoming autobiography has already taken care of all the issues. Notwithstanding that, however, I have the following preliminary replies to some of the issues he raised where he mentioned my name. This is for the benefit of Nigerians who may be interested in hearing my own immediate side of the story.
(1) Bola Ige House contract
Chief Akande said I wrongly accused him of corruption in the construction of the Governor’s Office (Bola Ige House). I did not level any false charges against him. I came into office in May 2003 and discovered that the Governor’s Office complex which Akande commissioned for use, after he lost the election, was really not completed. The state government asked the contractor to come back to site and complete the works, more so when evidence in government accounts showed that he had been paid. But the project consultant shocked everyone with his claim that part of the payment was taken back to finance the 2003 re-election bid of Chief Akande. The consultant said the contractor could not go back to work unless he was paid his full dues. One of Akande’s own appointees confessed collecting money from this contractor for Akande’s re-election. I consulted Chief Akande on this. He denied having any deal with the contractor and the consultant. Some people were subsequently taken to court on a seven-count criminal charge. Stakeholders in the state and Alhaji Arisekola Alao later intervened. I have the details of who collected how much in my forthcoming book.
(2) Chief Akande brought into his narrative some names including that of General Alani Akinrinade whom he quoted as calling me on the content of a government file which Akande confessed was stolen by his people and brought to him in Ibadan. I state that General Akinrinade could not have called me “Lagun” which Akande inserted in his book. General Akinrinade and everyone in the military called (and calls) me Ola or Oyin. In any case, I have records of every document I appended my signature to in my years in government.
(2) Akande’s full advance payment of N800million on new Govt House
Chief Akande wrote on the Government House that he wanted to build on a site on Ilesa road in Osogbo which I stopped. I found it strange that Chief Akande who boasted that he was prudent and honest as governor, awarded the construction of a Government House in his last days in office, after he lost the election, and in advance, paid the contractors the entire contract sum of N800million. Chief Akande confirmed this strange payment on page 393 of his book. This was a man who said there was no money to pay workers and pensioners but he had enough to pay a contractor in advance for a government house after losing his re-election. In any case, the state already had an ongoing Government House started by the military government which Akande refused to complete. I completed the project and added chalets plus a presidential lodge. Everything was completed and commissioned within my first year in office. The state has continued to use the structures till date. Akande, in his book, condemned my decision to opt for that project instead of his own idea. Further details on this are in my forthcoming book.
(3) Chief Akande said the 2003 governorship election in Osun State was rigged in my favour. Chief Akande has repeatedly told this lie. The truth is known to everybody in the state that Akande lost the state shortly after he took over in 1999 and started fighting every one in the state. He sacked thousands of workers and did not pay their entitlements. In some instances, the retrenched persons included husband, wife and children. He owed those who were not sacked months of unpaid salaries which I inherited and paid. He deducted 20 percent of workers salaries to fund his projects. He fought obas, chiefs and religious groups and leaders. He sacked the press from government activities, blocked the only access road to NTA Osogbo and locked the gate of the Government House against even press correspondents in the state. He had no word of succor for his victims. These were the ingredients that cooked his defeat in 2003. But it is convenient for him to blame his defeat on everyone else apart from himself. I defeated him comprehensively in all local governments in the state apart from his home council area. Again, the details are in my forthcoming book.
(4) I am happy Chief Akande described me in his book as his younger brother. I also hold him in very high esteem. That was why I counselled him at the beginning of his administration when he came to my house in Okuku, around June 1999, that the easiest way to destroy a state government was to draw a wedge between a governor and his deputy. I told him to watch out and prevent this from happening. He told me anyone dreaming of coming between him and his deputy, Otunba Iyiola Omisore, would be wasting their time. The rest is history.
(5) Finally, I take responsibility for every action I took as governor. Chief Akande said I apologized to him for my actions as governor. That is not true. As Governor, I feared only God and was nobody’s errand boy. I say so because I noticed that Chief Akande repeatedly blamed President Olusegun Obasanjo for the steps I took which he didn’t like. Ironically, Chief Akande was President Obasanjo’s favorite and the president always said this to those of us in his party. The saying that came to my mind when I read Chief Akande’s attacks on Obasanjo is “Eni a fe l’a mo, a o mo eni to fe ni (We only know those we love, we do not know those who love us).”
Many also don’t know that Chief Olusegun Osoba and Chief Ayo Adebanjo don’t see eye-to-eye. In a recent response to his relationship with Chief Adebanjo, Osoba reacted this way when he was asked the question:: It appears that you and Chief Adebanjo have been having differences. Is there anything that is personal?
“Very much so. Over time, he has never wished me well. In 1984, soon after the military coup of 1983, the military offered the position of Managing Director of Daily Times to me. I went to our leader, Papa Awolowo, to clear the appointment with him.”
“Adebanjo was opposed to my moving from Daily Sketch to Daily Times on the grounds that it will be a sellout to the military. But Papa Awolowo took a very objective opinion and said “look, this is a professional appointment and it has nothing to do with politics and Osoba moving to Daily Times would be a big plus to the progressives”.
“Of course, Awolowo’s view manifested when I moved to Daily Times. Later, we met at Lagos University Teaching Hospital when the late governor of Ogun State, Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, was hospitalized. There, Adebanjo requested that I should use Daily Times to run a campaign to have the road to his house constructed because the road was always water-logged. And I told him “but you were opposed to my going to Daily Times, and said I sold-out”.
“Gboyega Onabanjo, the son of Olabisi Onabanjo, is alive to testify. Also in 1990 when I opted to contest for the governorship of Ogun State, he went all out to abort my ambition. He took many practical steps; he adopted Professor Olabimtan as his candidate and got the Awujale to call a meeting of Ijebus where a resolution was passed that “no Ijebu should vote for Osoba”.
But thank God it was the era of Open Ballot; we went to the primary and I defeated him even in his home town. During my first tenure as governor, I still invited him and others to an Elders Consultative Forum. By the time of my second coming, he again was opposed to me, he supported Femi Okurounmu. He is always against me.”
He is always acting like the interpreter of Awolowo’s philosophy. I once challenged him: when did he become Awolowo’s Peter and when did Awolowo give him the key to his philosophy? I have always maintained that my relationship with Awolowo was independent of any of them. I met Awolowo when he came out of prison in 1966. That’s the man. Form your opinion of him”.
Chief Akande’s new book also revealed a lot of things that happened between Chief Akande & Sen. Iyiola Omisore, in those days when they fought.
“As far as I’m concerned, It was only that Baba found it difficult to cope with a daring young man, who they thought they could take his money and cheat, wrote one of the political leaders. “The likes of the old brigade were alien to finding the young, rich and vibrant ones..it was an era of:”Nibo lomode yi, ti ri owo”..Baba is talking as if Iyiola, was the only politician that was close to Abacha.”
“They took his money to register the Alliance For Democracy, the party and fund campaign but denied gubernatorial candidacy at almost last hour. But pacified him with the Deputy slot and promised the coming term…But like any young man, on assuming office,he saw body-language of his boss..And being a too hasty and being a big spender type, Baba Akande(his opposite in art of giving out)got amazed and jittery, started ill-treatment of his deputy and youthful exuberance of deputy did not help matters.He had to react, like any youth would and in the process, got victimized and framed…It’s all part of history today.”
“I am sure now if same situation arises, Iyiola would handle it differently with maturity!!! Another observer wrote: “We all know autobiography is an account of a person’s life written by that person. We are all students of history and I am sure you know there are two sides to a story, Baba Akande has written his participatory experience where he labeled Otunba “Wolf in Wolfskin”. Again, I found so much positivity in this statement as the man was not labeled a traitor or “Wolf in sheepskin” which can best describe most politicians of today. I am sure Otunba Omisore too will have something to say about his experience with Baba, whether good or bad, I leave it to both of them as I am not trained as a Yoruba man to trade my father’s outside.”
So bitter are some of these Yoruba elders that they have decided to start work on their autobiographies to reveal their own participations in the politics of the period Chief Bisi Akande wrote about. We hear Chief Olu Falae is writing his book. We can also confirm that Senator Iyiola Omisore is coming out soon with 2 books. Chief Akande’s book also revealed what many didn’t know that Chief Bisi Akande & late Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa were not on good terms.
In one of the interviews the late Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa granted The Tribune newspapers, in Sunday Tribune, 23th November 2014, he revealed that Senator Iyiola Omisore was one of the founders of Alliance Democracy (AD). In his book Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfemiwa titled Footprint since 1933 page 152 he wrote.”We formed the AD and wrote its Constitution in Abuja Nicon Noga Hotel room of Iyiola Omisore who was then young man, second generation of Afenifere sons. AD would not have seen the light of the day without Iyiola Omisore.
Akinfenwa was asked the question, about Chief Akande’s claim that Senator Omisore borrowed from their Campaign fund in 1999. As an insider, could he shed light on what happened?
“I was the Chairman of the party in Osun State. In the first place, I made Akande the governor. If I had insisted I wanted to be governor, we would have gone to primaries and he wouldn’t even contest, because he ran away as soon as he left prison. He said he wouldn’t play politics again. Then, I was bringing our people in Osun State together, first in my house in Ibadan. Then at a time, we had to move to Ayo Fasanmi’s house in Osogbo, because we said it would not be good for Osun State political affairs to be decided in Oyo State.”
“So, I brought all of them together in the days of Abacha. Then, the people said I should be the chairman. And I said no; Akande who had been the deputy governor and vice-chairman of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) should automatically be Chairman in Osun State.”
“Then, I led a team of three: Professor Kayode Adedeji and Sola Akinwumi, to meet Akande in Lagos to ask him to come back. He said he didn’t want to participate in politics again. After I had organised everything and the ban on politics was lifted, Akande now came; and I still gave him the chairmanship. We called the meeting of state congress to Osogbo. And I remember that Akande had once told me that I would be the governor of Osun State. Let me not go into detail, because he ditched me; though I don’t mind because I never wanted to be governor. So, we called the meeting of the congress at Osogbo Presidential Hotel. Then, they said those of us who wanted to be governor should raise our hands. Because he had spurred me on earlier, I raised my hand. Omisore, Lere Adebayo raised their hands; nine of us. Then, Akande suddenly raised up his hand; the man that told me to go and be governor; I was surprised.”
Then, they asked us to go into a room and come out with one name. When others had gone, I called Akande aside and said Bisi, do you want to be governor? He said Moji, mi fe se, sugbon won ni kin se (I don’t want to do, but I was asked to do it) . I said ok, do you want? He said yes and I said it was well because I have been praying to God to let me know if I should be governor. I said thank you, God, you don’t want me to be governor. Then when we got into the room, we decided to pick one person and I told them that being the oldest and the one who started the political movement, I would explain the hierarchy. Papa Awo was the founder of Action Group (AG) and he became premier. He was founder of UPN and he became presidential
candidate. Bola Ige was chairman and he became governor. So, the man who automatically becomes our chairman takes the party’s ticket. But I, Akinfenwa, step down for Bisi Akande. Akande nearly collapsed. Then Omisore said aah, eyin agbaagba yi, e o dara o; ibi ti e gba yo si wa yi o dara o (you these elders have shortchanged the younger ones). So, all others stepped down for Akande, except two; Salami and Biola Morakinyo. Then I called Salami outside and begged him. I said when you wanted to be governor under zero party, I sponsored you. We have a system. Then, he said akuko nla o fe ki kekere ko (the mighty are subduing the vulnerable). He said he had stepped down. You know when I was Senator, he was also a Senator. I was the AD leader in the Senate. And we always held meetings in my office.
Morakinyo too, I begged him and prostrated for him; he insisted and said we had to go to Ibadan to settle it at Bola Ige’s home. Then, I wrote a communiqué; the decision of nine of us; we all signed it and that was how Akande became the candidate. Now, in the first place, Akande joined us just in 1979. Before then, I had never seen him in my life. All he was saying in the newspaper shocked me.
He said he had not been in politics and that it was only in 1978 that Papa Awolowo brought him into the thing. Then he is a neophyte; a newcomer. So, Akande was not one of us at all. He became a religious quota. When S. M. Afolabi left the government as deputy governor as a result of the crisis, he left for the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). So, we wanted a deputy. Ayo Ojewumi would have been the deputy. But someone suggested a Christian/Muslim ticket and we bought the idea.
But where would we get a Muslim from the backyard of Afolabi? Then somebody said but they said Bisi Akande is Abdulkareem. And I said Bisi Akande, my closest friend? He had room in my house in Ijesaland; I had a room in his house in Ila to show you how close we were. But I never knew for one day that he was a Muslim. He never prayed in the Muslim way for one day; he doesn’t even know how to do so. His wife and children were Christians. So, I didn’t know he was a Muslim.
But later I asked him: are you truly Abdulkareem? He said my people used to call me so. But then, we were happy, because he was very loyal to Bola Ige as the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). Then, we decided to make him the deputy governor. He couldn’t have been deputy governor above me. He couldn’t match me politically in life. But I subjected myself to him.
Chief Akinfenwa was asked if it is true that at that time, Akande ran on the ticket Omisore paid for? “All these stories are in my book. I will
explain to you. When he became our candidate, we needed money. But Akande had told me initially that he had no money. I said I knew. Then as the state party chairman, I called a few people to my house in Ilesa to raise some money. We raised about a million naira within 30 minutes. I first entered my room and donated N100, 000. And that was how it began; we raised a million within 30 minutes in my sitting room. Then I called
Akande to tell him we had started raising money. He said Moji, so mo pe mo ti so fun e pe mi o lowo (I have told you I have no money). I said don’t worry. Then I sat down and wrote letters of appeal to prominent people to donate money, and we got over two million naira and we needed three million naira. And so we told
Omisore who put down about N750,000. That was the first thing that impressed me about the young man.
Then, Afenifere said each candidate should pay N250,000.Omisore paid, but Akande had no money. Then, Omisore told the Afenifere that Akande should use his own money as he was no longer contesting. He used Omisore’s N250,000 as his nomination fee. So, I am surprised that he is saying that kind of thing now. During the campaign, Omisore provided three air-conditioned vehicles in which we leaders were travelling for the campaign. Omisore fuelled all the vehicles.
Throughout the period, Akande relied more on Omisore’s funding. That’s why I was surprised when he said he borrowed from his campaign fund. Which campaign fund? Akande had no kobo of his own for the election. The only money we could say he provided was from a friend who gave him a cheque of N50,000. And the cheque was turned to our financial secretary, Professor Yemi Kayode Adedeji. He is alive. That was the only thing Akande provided. He had no fund of his own. Many of the things he said make him a disgrace to our generation. Elderly people like us should not lie; we should say the truth always.
And what is more about Omisore? Let us be frank about that young man; we may not be in the same camp, but we must tell the truth. When we were founding AD in NICON NOGA Hotel, it was Omisore’s presidential suite that we used. Where did Akande come in? He just got all he did on a silver platter. He has now come to tell lies to frustrate people like me who raised funds for him. It is unfortunate.
All these fireworks have shown that many Yoruba leaders are not united. City People gathered that their differences run deep.