Otunba Gbenga Daniel
Otunba Gbenga Daniel
by Otunba Gbenga Daniel
On page 239 of my Memoirs, Daniel in the Lions Den, launched in May 2011, I describe, vividly, one of the many tragic characters I ran into in the course of my tenure as Governor of Ogun State. Tunde Oladunjoye was one such character. A few years ago, a friend of our Administration introduced Oladunjoye to me as one of the young, up and coming, politicians being suppressed in his home constituency by older political leaders. Given my disposition to encourage and empower young and energetic Nigerians in whatever productive engagements they pursue, I singled him out for favour, positioned him in the leadership structure of his Ijebu-East Local Government Area, and in due course, facilitated his emergence as the Chairman of the Local Government.
This fellow, who turned out to be an agent provocateur, was removed from office after the Ijebu-Ife mayhem of Dec 2009 during which a Police Commissioner, Mr Oladokun Omolodun, was murdered. Immediately after his removal from office, based on the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry constituted to probe the Ijebu-Ife disorder, he worked, briefly, for Prince Buruji Kashamu. Before long, Prince Kashamu discovered the reprehensible character that Oladunjoye was and sacked him. Subsequently, the fellow found his way to Baba OBJ whom he ‘worked’ for before his current pre-occupation of ‘working’ for Governor Ibikunle Amosun. This fellow, in essence and disposition, reminds me of the tragi-comic character, named Servilius Casca, in the “Tragedy of Julius Caesar”, the epic drama written by Williams Shakespeare.
In recommending him for removal as Chairman of of Ijebu East LG, the Hon Justice Olukayode Somolu (rtd) Panel, which looked into the Ijebu-Ife mayhem while Oladunjoye was in office, stated inter alia: “..The Chairman, Ijebu East LG, ….where the mayhem occurred, Mr Tunde Oladunjoye, has shown himself to be a very bad example of an elected public official. His conducts were not only appalling but morally reprehensible. Right from 1st Dec 2009, when the crisis erupted, resulting in such magnitude of loss of lives and property, he has not demonstrated an atom of human feeling for the constituents he was elected to serve….To say the least, Mr Tunde Oladunjoye is NOT A SUITABLE PERSON to hold any public office. We accordingly recommend that he be suspended from office forthwith…in addition, we hereby recommend the immediate arrest and investigation of Mr Tunde Oladunjoye by the Police….”.
Since the recommended removal, there was no evil under the sun that Oladunjoye had not planned and attempted to execute against my person and members of my family. Unobtrusively and without prompting, we expected the Police to do their work. Now, the question is: who are Oladunjoye’s godfathers that have prevented the Police from doing their work, even after he was found culpable in the dastardly murder of a Police Commissioner? Is there any nexus between him and those behind my current travails with the EFCC?
1. OLADUNJOYE AS EFCC PROSECUTION WITNESS
By the way, Oladunjoye was listed as Prosecution Witness No 4 in the ongoing EFCC case, having written several baseless and malicious petitions against me, alleging that I misappropriated Billions of Naira of Local Government funds, the basis of which I was initially arrested. The EFCC must have become wiser, as ALL the charges based on Oladunjoye’s libelous petitions have since been withdrawn.
2. OLADUNJOYE AS A CONVICT
In committing him to Prison for contempt of Court, Justice Charles Archibong of the Federal High Court, Lagos, in his ruling of July 4, 2012, ordered the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone Two, to execute his Order by remanding Tunde Oladunjoye and 2 others in prison custody for 6 months for criminal contempt. To date, the said Oladunjoye is a fugitive from the law.
Now it was the one-sided and malicious testimony, concocted by a notorious felon like Oladunjoye, that Amosun’s ‘Truth’ Commission (this time using one retired Judge, fortunately not from the Ogun State Judiciary), used as basis for its recommendation that my gentle, peace loving and amiable wife of nearly three decades should be tried for assault. That our country is still a ‘work-in-progress’ is a fact known by all. But I confess that despite all my years in public life and as the Chief Executive Officer of Ogun State for eight years, I find it difficult to believe that a mischief of this magnitude, so brazen in conception and unconscionable in execution, could be thrust into the public domain. Even James Hadley Chase, with all his weird creativity, would not have attempted to stretch the creduility of his readers to the extent of putting to paper the tragi-comedy currently running in Ogun State.
3. FACTS OF THE MATTER;
In the July 24, 2010 edition of the National Life, a newspaper probably set up by our ‘friends’ to destroy OGD as much as possible in the build-up to the 2011 elections, manipulated photographs of my children (one of them, Adebola, is known to be wheelchair bound), studying in the UK, were splashed on the cover page of that newspapers. In the published photographs, simulated bottles of alcohol were placed in such a way as to depict them as drunks and irresponsible. All my children, like me, are teetollers, neither drinking nor smoking, well behaved, and without any airs around them. Those among our people who interacted with them when I was Governor would readily confirm this. They are the kind of children any conscientuous parent would be proud of. Adebola has since written a letter of protest on behalf of himself and his siblings to the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan(copy reproduced below).
Earlier, the same newspaper published similar libel against me when, by some computer graphics manipulation, it super-imposed my head on the body of a popular film maker called LALAALU. The devious purpose in that publication was to depict me as a ritualist. The criminal libel is still in court.
The manner in which Oladunjoye and his paymasters then dragged innocent children into dirty politics was the cause of the peaceful rallies referred to in Governor Amosun’s ‘Truth’ Commission . My wife, Yeye Olufunke Daniel, led the campaign during which she visited the palace of the Oba of Itele to plead with him to impress it on Oladunjoye and his sponsors not to drag innocent children into his bad politics. She went to Itele in the Chairman of Ijebu-East Local Government, Mr Michael Agbolade, the then Secretary to the State Government, Otunba ‘Gbemi Onakoya, Police and SSS operatives, and other leaders – mostly women. Where could be the place of thugs in such an entourage?
Peaceful rallies against the unwholesome acts of Oladunjoye, who signed the wicked publication, took place in several local government areas. To the best of my recollection, there was not a single incidence of violence. The Amosun’s ‘Truth’ Commision’s storyline is that Mrs Daniel allegedly slapped the Petitioner right in the presence of the Ogbere Divisional Police Officer (DPO). That was the claim of the petitioner. However, the Justice Aderemi ‘Truth’ Commission curiously avers that Mrs Daniel ordered Policemen to slap him. Which version shall we rely on? Meanwhile, the culprit himself, Oladunjoye, was confirmed to be away from home when the entourage branched at his residence on this peace mission. For this singular reason, another of Amosun’s Kangaroo Commissions wants Mrs. Daniel arraigned for criminal prosecution!!!
4. FORGED DOCUMENTS.
I have seen some of the forged documents relied upon by the Commission to arrive at this conclusion. They include a supposed hospital card without a hospital name, from an ‘hospital’ that has no address. There was no medical report indicating the condition that was treated, neither was there any supporting Police report. Apart from the account of the petitioner who claimed to be an aide of Oladunjoye, and Oladunjoye himself who was confirmed absent from home when the incident supposedly happened, no other person corroborated the ‘slap’ theory. The Commission, accepted, as evidence, photocopies of pictures of the petitioner with clearly made-up injury plasters and bandages without any authentication and certification by any medical doctor. What manner of Commissions are being constituted in Ogun State these days making mockery of governance and their shameless promoters?
5. SALUTE TO THE FEW COURAGEOUS MEN AND WOMEN LEFT IN OUR LAND
We were reliably informed of two people who saw through the shenanigans and honorably declined participation in the empty inquisition that has now revealed itself as mere ‘Job for the Boys’. Hon Justice Dolapo Akinsanya rtd., the fearless Judge who gave the historical ruling in the MKO Abiola celebrated case, declined participation in the ‘Truth’ Commission. Bamidele Aturu Esq, the reputable Human Rights lawyer, also declined participation and politely turned down Gov Amosun’ request. We salute their courage. For now, we reserve our findings and comments on the other members of this Commission.
6. THE VERDICT OF THE COURT
Rather than take the Law into our hands despite the fact that I was a sitting Governor, we encouraged the maligned and libelled children to go to Court for redress to the anguish caused them by the Oladunjoye’s publications. Pursuant to the enforcement of their fundamental human rights, the children filed a case in court against Oladunjoye, his employer at the time – the Omoilu Foundation- and Lagoon Press Ltd, publisher of National Life Newspapers. In the subsequent judgement delivered by Hon Justice O Ogunfowora, on Wed 20th April 2011, the court ordered as follows: “The 1st and 3rd Respondents. (i.e. Messrs Tunde Oladunjoye and Lagoon Press, publishers of National Life newspaper) are hereby ordered jointly and severally to pay the sum of N5m as damages”. This was in addition to the order of perpetual restraint against them from any further malicious publication against the plaintiffs and a mandatory retraction on the front page of the culprit newspaper. It is obvious that Tunde Oladunjoye went to the ‘Truth’ Commission to circumvent the judgement of the court. NOW SEEMS THE TIME TO ENFORCE THE JUDGEMENT.
7. THE ILLEGALITY AND FAIT ACCOMPLI OF THE ‘TRUTH’ COMMISSION
As with the various other Amosun’s inquisition Commissions, the Terms of Reference of the ‘Truth’ Commission were specifically limited to our tenure of 2003-2011. The Governor, during his swearing-in ceremony, in a reckless manner denigrating of the exalted office he was being inducted into, declared that the alleged Killer Squads being operated by the OGD administration in Ogun State murdered 56 of his supporters. That was a further amplification of part of the mindless lies told all through our tenure to hoodwink the unsuspecting public in order to gain sympathy and win elections. And, yes, they succeeded with their propaganda and got the state power they had sought with all desperation! With several mysterious deaths and many cases of unresolved political murders in the last 15 months of the Amosun’s Adiministration, the people of Ogun State are getting to know the truth.
We called into question the legality of using a kangaroo Commission to investigate and pass judgement on supposedly criminal matters when we have the Nigeria Police put under the control of the Governor. Added to this is the fact of the many court cases challenging the essence and legality of the Commission. Many of the cases are still pending in the various courts and even one of them has got to the Court of Appeal in Abuja. Why were our Governor (who is supposed to be the custodian of Law and order in the state) and his Advisers/witch doctors always in a hurry to circumvent the law courts?
8. TRUTH AT LAST
After several months of hostile investigation to get to the roots of the phantom 56 people which Governor Amosun told the whole world were killed by OGD, there was not a single instance where the report connects my person to any Killer Squad or murder in the state or anywhere else. When the plot to hang murder and the fabled Killer Squad around my neck like an albatross failed, then the fertile minds of the undertakers worked up the design to arraign my wife for allegedly slapping someone “to act as deterrent to other Governors’ and Presidents’ wives”! We will certainly seek redress in the law courts. But could the office of the Governor of Ogun State now so recklessly being used to haunt down perceived enemies be the same that I occupied for eight years, conducting myself with dignity as the alter ego of the state, measuring and weighing every single word that I uttered and actions that I took? Times are indeed changing.
We are not entirely surprised with the timing of the Amosun’s Truth Commision. I had hinted of this in my last reports while raising some questions in the Tragi-Comedy Parts One and Two, that I could read Gov Amosun like the back of my hand. I asked him to provide the Autopsy Report on Late Apagun Wole Olumide which he carried out five months ago. We are still waiting. I asked him to deny his open involvement in the mayhem that occurred in Abeokuta in the build-up to the 2007 elections. We are still waiting. I asked him to deny if he had not been giving rebates in excess of 50% on land Charges in Ogun state(the basis of which he has been instigating the EFCC to nail OGD). We are still waiting. I asked him to deny that he gave one of the members of the infamous Akinyemi Land Commission, Mr Ayodeji Biobaku, a discount of N113m on land deals while the Panel on which he served was sitting. We are still waiting. This Yeye Olufunke’s diversionary tactics will not work, neither will it stand. I have a further challenge for Mr Governor: I have in my possession video recordings of Your Excellency’s violent disposition and acts on four different occasions in the last seven years. If you and your ‘Truth’ Commission are genuinely interested in the truth, kindly authorize the Gateway Television (pardon me, OGTV) to broadcast the DVDs for the people of Ogun State to view. With that, the truth and the gravity of what I went through in eight years, containing and managing people like your good self, will become clear to all. While we await the next move from your bag of tricks, we will continue to set the records straight, Your Excellency.
Otunba (Engr) Gbenga Daniel, FNSE., FNAEng was the former Governor of Ogun State (2003 - 2011)