Posted by By RAZAQ BAMIDELE on
Thursday, June 16, was a day the people of the ancient town of Ago-Iwoye, in Ijebu-North Local Government, Ogun State would not forget in a hurry.
Thursday, June 16, was a day the people of the ancient town of Ago-Iwoye, in Ijebu-North Local Government, Ogun State would not forget in a hurry. It was the day the peace chord of the town snapped and before anybody could say Jack Robinson, the student of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, situated in the town, had stormed the palace of the townís traditional ruler, Oba Abdurazaq
Adesina Adenugba and reduced it to ashes. Not satisfied, the students also proceeded to the Obaís family house and razed it. Other property, such as cars were either vandalised or torched.
The Oba was particularly touched by the sad development as it happened the very week he planned to commence activities to celebrate his first year in office.
More pathetic were the negative reports from the media that tended to portray the monarch as the achitect of his own misfortune. He was not only accused of condoling the vigilance group that was said to have been tormenting the students, but also accused of pulling a trigger at the students when they arrived his palace.
But on Sunday June 16, the monarch had an opportunity to state his own version of the case, saying "since it is a taboo and abomination for any Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye to see corpse, it is then out of place to say I shot at the students."
Without fear of contradictions, I am quite sure that those who have been reading various reports about my alleged role in the matter and who had known me for about 20 years would know that the Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye is never a ruthless man.
After spending 18 years in the bank, what would I be doing with violence? I donít believe in violence. I so much believe in dialogue. And I thank God for what has happened. I am thanking God for all the luxury of life he has granted me. And I am sure He will always be there for me any time, any day insha Allah.
Now, whatever has happened between me and the students was quite unfortunate because I am friendly with them.
I came to Ago-Iwoye last year. The situation I met on ground in terms of security was too bad. And I decided to see how I could improve on the efforts of the past. That was how we thought about vigilance group. And to complement my efforts, even the university authority donated a bus to assist the local security outfit.
And by that, I was blessed by God to chase out, from this community, armed robbers, hoodlums, cultists and other evil people that had been terrorising my people. But I now believe that some people are not happy with the development.
Shooting at students
I have to remind people that it is an abomination and taboo for Ebumawe to see a corpse, let alone shooting to kill! What would I be doing with shooting? I canít see a corpse. It is an abomination. It is just a pity.
And fortunately when these students came, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor was in my palace. We were discussing over the issue. The students even hijacked his car. He (DVC) was calming me down and I told him to let me just talk to their representatives to know what was in their minds that created that crisis.
By and large, I just want to appeal that the media should verify what to be published about me. Some of the journalists donít know me. They are just writing about somebody they donít know. But now you have known me better.
You have gone round the palace yourself. I donít have any cell in my palace. May be because I am sharing this small plot of land with the local government secretariat, people think the palace is bigger than this.
I have been living my simple life since I came into this life. I donít have any skeleton in my cupboard. It is proper to state my own side of the matter to debunk some of the things that have been published about me. And I am sure God is in control.
I thank the administration of Governor Gbenga Daniel who quickly set up a panel of enquiry to look into the matter. So, let us wait and see what would come out of the enquiry.
I donít know what informed their attitude. I have never seen anybody bring any complaint to me. I have not even been given opportunity to ask them what their grievances were. We have the Police Community Relation Committee (PCRC) that comprises the police, the indigenes, and the students. Nobody has ever come up with a complaint to me.
I am an administrator and with the level of my exposure, you can be sure that when anybody comes to me with a complaint, I will treat it accordingly. Some of the stories I have been hearing are fabricated ones. We should not flog this matter unnecessarily too much. Let those who said they brought any complaint to me and I did not act take their case to the panel and state the date, time and place.
And even the case of the pregnant woman that was said to have been tortured to death also would come up. And let me tell you, there is a management committee set up that monitors, manages and reviews the activities of the vigilante outfit.
I will continue to pray that peace should continue to reign in Ago-Iwoye. These students are my children. I was once a student. I have been in the university and I know how it is. I will continue to pray for the students that God would intervene so that peace would continue to reign in Ago-Iwoye.
I will also continue to pray that the students would have an opportunity to come back and continue their studies. I will also pray God that all the loss suffered be replenished in multiple folds.
I am a man of the people. Whoever perpetrated this evil, I leave him in the hand of God. I pray God that very soon, Ago-Iwoye would transform into a better community.
That is what I am saying that pressmen should get their facts right about what they write. Some wrote 47 students died. Some wrote 37 students died. Ogun State Commissioner of Police, CP, Mr. Tunji Alapini himself said that there was no dead student in Ago-Iwoye. The two casualties he mentioned were not students.
As far as I am concerned, I have not received any report on any death. I told the people to go round the mortuaries and hospitals to really confirm if there is any recorded death from the crisis. We went to the General Hospital, but there was none.
And let me remind you that I was not the person that banned night parties. Night parties had been banned in the country as far back as 1974 and I just came yesterday.
The government has set up the panel of enquiry, they will bring out their recommendation, and I have confidence in Governor Gbenga Daniel that the panel would recommend a lasting solution to the crisis. I enjoin the students and their parents to come to the panel.
If the panel recommends that the vigilance group should go, no problem, if it is recommended that the students should be incorporated into the system, no problem. So let us leave everything into the hand of the government. They know why they brought the university to Ago-Iwoye. And Ago-Iwoye is not the only university town that has witnessed this type of crisis. And that does not mean that I am happy about the development.
I canít give the estimate of the property lost to the inferno. I am still in shock. I canít give you any figure now precisely. But by your own assessment, what figure can you give me? I throw that challenge to you. Go round, make your rough estimate, and come out with a figure. It is an assignment.
No crown was stolen. All our crowns are intact and safe. I can assure you all the paraphenalia of office are safe and intact. No crown was stolen.
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