Posted by By Sina Babasola, Ibadan on
Violence in Ibadan? Ibadan is a very big place and when you want to measure violence, you measure it in terms of loss of lives, loss of property, loss of this, loss of that. You donít measure violence by the amount of thugs or by the amount of noise that is being made. I think what you called violence is a tolerable level of exhibition of democracy.
What do you have to say on the spate of violence in Ibadan in the past few weeks?
Violence in Ibadan? Ibadan is a very big place and when you want to measure violence, you measure it in terms of loss of lives, loss of property, loss of this, loss of that. You donít measure violence by the amount of thugs or by the amount of noise that is being made. I think what you called violence is a tolerable level of exhibition of democracy. Everybody feels that they have a right to talk, they have a right to express what their feelings are, and they have a right to even once in a while go to the extent of showing their feelings. That is what has been happening and when you look at it the only place that that is coming is from my Baba and as I always tell you, Baba is a politician, he has to be occupied so Baba has occupied himself with that one and atimes also advertising that he is still there. So that is it. I donít see violence as a major issue now in Ibadan or in Oyo State. It hasnít gone beyond a tolerable level.
But what of the loss of lives?
Well, so far we have recorded a murder in the person of Lati Olaniyan and it is a very regrettable situation and very, very sad indeed and the police are supposed to be investigating it but I am still not satisfied with the level of investigation. I have made that one known to the Inspector General of Police and the state Commissioner of Police that I am not satisfied with the level of investigation. Because it seems the police are investigating petition rather than investigating the murder. I happen to know that theyĎve taken to Lagos up to 40-50 people. They will take them there two days after they will ask them to go back and I think about four or five people are still with them. Somehow I think that what they are doing is that they are investigating the petition and not the murder after some time may be they will now wake up and take the murder properly because I am not a police man and I donít know how they do their job but at least I used to watch the films whereby in America they will say the FBI has taken over the case and therefore the FBI agent has gone to Mississippi to investigate.
They donít say that the FBI people are waiting in New York or are waiting in Washington and asking people in Mississippi to come to New York. They move there on the ground work with the people on the ground and they investigate and then most of the time they find solutions. If our police will just go on asking the people to be conveyed to Lagos, because they want to interrogate them I donít really think that they are seriously investigating the matter yet. And I am sure that my discussion with the IG will be fruitful because I told him that I am not satisfied with the level of investigation. When Baba Adedibu said his life was in danger I discussed with the IG and I requested the police to provide for Baba adequate security because Babaís life is very precious to me. Every life is precious but you know Babaís contribution to politics in Nigeria in general and particularly Ibadan politics, he is very important so we have to preserve his life; we have to make sure that nothing happens to him and to that extent I requested the Commissioner of Police to please provide him with adequate security.
All of us who know Baba, know that Baba can make mountain out of a mole. Everything about Baba is politics even death is politics to Baba. I donít think that the situation is out of hand because you will see that it is not a general thing it is just some harassment of some political opponents. But as far as I am concerned Baba has not committed any crime and there is no reason why anybody should molest Baba at all. Baba is my Baba and I respect him.
The attacks on Baba was also said to have been politically motivated. How do you react to this?
No, you see I donít react to rumours I react to hard fact. The report of the police which I got was that it was a fight between some rival groups in the transport union and they claim that there was a fight at the airport. Babaís team came to welcome him and the Chairmanís group, Tawaís group said people came from his office to also welcome him and drive him back to their office and that those four people were severely beaten up, their vehicle damaged and they went to report to the police and later on there was another round of attacks on the way back. So I donít think that it was politically motivated because Tawa is not a politician and Baba was not there when they started fighting so it could not have been because of Baba that they were fighting. But because these two people were intolerant of one another and it continued Wednesday, because the Commissioner of Police told me again Wednesday, that an attempt was made to take over the Iwo Road Motor Park. Until the union understands that when you said an election has been held you have to respect the wishes of the people and not try to take over garages by force we will not have an end to it but Iím sure that by and large it will now come to an end.
The newspapers have reported that there is a problem between you and BabaÖÖ
(Cuts) I have not accused Baba of anything. I told you that Baba is advertising. Baba advertised in Nigeria so tey he no get the thing wey he want he now carry the advertisement to England. He said he is looking for a replacement for Ladoja abi come 2007. He said Ladoja will not win an election in 2007 but Baba has forgotten that he has only one vote and if you as a journalist goes into the market ask whether they are happy with the government or not they will tell you whether they are happy or not, go to the schools ask them whether they are happy or not they will tell you; go to anywhere they will tell you they are happy with the government.
But your supporters are fighting one another?
(cuts) Who are my supporters that are fighting? I mean like if somebody is attacked and they try to resist does that mean that they are fighting? They have not gone out of their way to go and fight anybody because they are in government.
The gunmen killed Lati OsogboÖÖ
(cuts) Who is that gunman? Do you know the reason why he was killed?
Now that your government is saying that it has no hand in it donít you think that all these will create more problems in 2007 election?
Letís look at it from this angle. There is a murder, the police are investigating the murder. I wonít say that Lati Osogbo is a very important person in politics. Lati Osogbo belonged to a group in Ibadan North which is my own local government. This Ibadan North is a place where all of are one we donít see anybody as been in the other group. And if you want to know, when Lati Osogbo was celebrating the wedding ceremony of his son in Kogi State we provided him with logistics and yet the people said he was not in our group. We were told later that he was properly reprimanded at Molete for accepting the offer but that is how we are. We in Ibadan North see all of us as one whether you are in this camp or in the other camp I mean after all we have seen that here people that donít seem to belong to the other group but we are all together in government. I donít think there is any reason for us to assume that his murder was politically motivated that is a murder.
But you have to ask yourself what is the motive for murder? Is Lati going to contest election? Is Lati crucial to election result in Ibadan North or in Oyo State? Is Lati a mobiliser? To all these questions you find that the answer is NO. And Lati was not a fanatic of any group. Lati was a liberal person and he wanted peace that was why he moved freely among all groups so I donít see it as a politically motivated murder I see it as a pure murder and that is why I said that I am not pleased with the way the police are investigating it thinking that it was a political murder. I believe that also is a way of leading them on a wild goose chase and they should please be focused to look at all other aspects of Latiís life and not only the political aspect of it.
You have always been saying that you have nothing against Adedibu but Baba has been insisting that he is nursing serious grudges against youÖÖ
(cuts in) It takes two persons to fight if you want to fight me and I said I am not ready to fight who you are going to fight. There is no reason why I should nurse any grudge against. Baba why should I? He may have grudges against me - may be the style of my government is not acceptable to him. I mean that should have been left to the electorate to judge. Baba has got a vote, may be his families and supporters also have their votes but all of you know that when the election was coming the major question then was will Baba not be the one to be ruling instead of me and I told you simply that what are you talking about I will soon be sixty and people say that a fool at forty is a fool forever. If I am going to be sixty and I donít know my left from my right then will I not be an insane person and I told you that I am not only a father I am already a grandfather. I told you then that I was not just starting my life Iíve carried my life to certain stage in this world and Iíve made some meaning for myself. I told you I would consult generally and I will take decisions and the decisions will be my decisions and I will take responsibility for whatever decision I take and that is what I am still on.
But what of your relationship with other party leaders because few days ago Chief Kolapo Ishola said you havenít been properly relating with them?
He has not told me that one and until he tells me I will not be able to know what he means by that. My office is always open he comes there anytime he likes. He come to the house anytime he likes, you see the Governor is a very busy person you have to understand that he has been here before. He knows that you donít really have a sleeping time I mean as they were fighting yesterday they were telling me I mean I was not the one fighting. As the people were shooting themselves on Thursday the commissioner of police was frantically looking for me to report to me. If they say I donít go from house to house to meet people may be yes but they know where they can find me.
As the Chief security officer of the state what does all these report of murder cases across the country tell you?
I have explained that of Oyo State to you. If you are not from Oyo State and you donít know Oyo State very well you will also think it was politically motivated. I have been able to dispel the rumour that it was politically motivated. For the other ones in other states, the circumstances of those ones may be different from that of Oyo State. You know a lot of things happen, politics, business, a lot of things are interwoven. I was told that the boy that was killed on Thursday has been arrested many times by the police on drug offences. His file was at both at Mapo and Iyaganku police station. You see some of these boys take a high risk when they are high, most of them they donít know what they are doing and they think they are invincible. The allegations will always come but as I said I am not happy that most of the time most of them are not resolved. In fact when I was complaining to the IG, he said that I am not pleased that most of the murders in Oyo State were not resolved and I want the commissioner of police to get to the root of this one because I said here we have seen Uncle Bola Ige, weíve seen Suliat Adedeji too, weíve seen Olanipekun too and they still remained unresolved and that for once they should please do some professional work. If you now carry the whole executive of Ibadan North to Lagos for interrogation you are wasting precious time.
So I sympathise with the people who lose their loved ones but these are some risks that will continue to happen and it is not only limited to politicians. But relatively Nigeria seems to be a safer place than many other countries. People say that in New York they commit a murder every thirty seconds or so. We are lucky that we in Nigeria are not a murderous people.
Baba Adedibu is pointing accusing fingers at you over the death of Lati Osogbo and Daropale what is your reaction to this?
When somebody says this is my enemy, enemy will always be enemy even though I donít have one and Baba said he was going to do everything to make sure that I donít come back in 2007. So anything is right in Babaís dictionary when it comes to destroying Ladoja but God is the only one that can make and unmake. I know that I do not have a hand in any murder at all and I believe at times that perhaps it is to divert the attention of the police and other investigators from the real murder. Why are you taking Baba so serious actually? Is it not the same Baba that said that the commissioner of police was our agent and yesterday I read in the paper that where he said that I didnít know that the commissioner of police is so good. Where is the consistency in that one? So tomorrow Baba can come out to say that itís not Ladoja, that I know Ladoja can not even hurt a fly. It depends on circumstances, but when you know that Ladoja is occupying a seat where Baba is looking for candidate for and heís trying to tell the people that this man there will not come back and will make sure that he doesnít come back. You see Baba wanted us to accuse him of slander or accuse him of libel but you will be doing Baba a favour if you do so because there is nobody in Ibadan who doesnít know Baba.
There are series of violence cases in the capital and has been traced to Molete I want to know what would it cost the government if Adedibu is tamed or is he a sacred cow?
A correction Egbeda was not traced to Molete they had their own local problem and we have already resolved that one. You are saying that the Ibadan South East chairman Ademola Ige narrowly escaped death, you see atimes people exaggerate things. There is nobody in Molete who will go out to kill anybody really. They can scare with their cutlasses, we are very lucky in this part of the country when somebody come with a cutlass now all of us will not even look at what is happening before we start scampering about. I donít think that it is as serious as that because the information I got was that even the Ibadan South East local Government Chairman was molested in Molete and that his people reacted to protect him. So a lot of people just by imagining what would have been happening but those things are not happening. Everybody is free to go about his business, the market women are happy that they are not paying any protection fee to anybody. The teachers are happy that they are getting promotion not because they have to go and lobby anybody.
The members of the House are happy because they can change their speaker at will without anybody interfering with their decision that is how the whole thing is supposed to be. Let me say that it is a novelty to some people that we can be as free as this. This is the reason why those who are not happy are saying we are attacked, we are attacked, nobody is attacking anybody. I mean how can somebody say that he has a means to escape if they wanted to kill him six times haba? Then it means that the people are stupid also. I mean if you want to kill somebody and you missed it six times and then you also now escape from them again, ha you will not have been going to work again o (laughs).
What about 2007?
2007 is in Godís hand. I look at it from this angle; I was elected for four years ĎĎam just above two years I still have another two years to work so why should I border my head now. I should redouble my efforts at fulfilling the electoral promises I made so that come 2007 if the people feel that I have worked hard for them, may be they may decide that they still want me. But I am not bothered about Baba now. Baba is advertising and his advertisement is a question of saying please I made Ladoja, come to me so that I can also make you governor. And he has been trying to do that one, he has had many candidates now, he has said that his candidate will be Adeojo, he has said his candidate will be Ajimobi, he has said that his candidate will be Babalola and so on. I mean (laughs) you can understand that Baba is advertising and I canít stop somebody from advertising his wares as long as I am not going to buy it.
And Baba has even gone nuclear; he has gone to Europe to advertise again to say that he can not find a viable candidate in Nigeria he has now gone to England to look for a viable candidate for the governorship position. So what is my problem with that one? He is expected to advertise his wares and it is a free buyer to a free seller.
Ladoja is seen by some people as a green snake under the green grassÖÖ
(cuts in) Ladoja is not a snake; Ladoja is a human being (laughs)
You have not come out to say whether you want to contest in 2007 some are even saying that Ladoja only wants to become the OlubadanÖÖ
(cuts in) Yes I am praying to become the Olubadan, but I am not praying that the people before me should die quickly (laughs). I think I am now number nine to the throne. I am not praying that they should die fast.
But they have to die before you become the Olubadan?
But let God do His work. Itís not me that will decide. If God says that I will get there then I will get there. I am the Aare Alaasa now which is number ten but with the death of Chief Durosaro, Iím supposed to get a promotion. I started my ascension in 1993 and this is twelve years after so I thank God for that.
The code of conduct beareau is prosecuting you in court for possessing foreign account you have not made any official reaction on it, why?
When a matter is in court you can not react on it. The only thing that people need to know is that I am the one who declared that account has been in existence and since that time I have not operated it, I have not maintained it.
And from the publication of Baba you can now see where the matter is coming from. Just as I said if any government or police allow themselves to be led in a wild goose chase that is there own headache.
We are not the one seeking for adjournment; it was the court seeking for adjournment because we asked them to bring their proof. In Nigeria you have to bring the proof, itís not for the defence to bring you the proof it is for you the prosecutor to proof your case. In the first one they were the one who struck it out later on they re-listed it so what is my head ache?
And now Baba is trying to tell them how to do their work. And if you look at what Baba wrote, any reasonable person or any intelligent person will know that it could not have been true that I corner corner Total Agric and turn it to Yakoyo when the thing was being offered for sale, Mr. President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was contacted, Baba Folawiyo was contacted, Adeosun was contacted and I was contacted. It was a matter that has been going on even before I became the Senator. The issue has been on for at least fifteen years. If it is today that Baba is just finding out that I corner corner it you can understand that something must be going on somewhere. And if you allow yourself to be led in a wild goose chase that is why I donít brother myself because I know Baba very well and Baba knows that I know him.
He is my Baba and I respect him. I respect him I will do everything to protect him because I see him as an institution but the unfortunate thing is that atimes he doesnít apply it correctly.
I mean he is an institution that I wanted to develop if he had given me the opportunity of doing so but I think he is happy with what he is doing. I really love him. I love him. For somebody without higher education to get to that level in life, then you have to understand that Baba is a genius.
But the only thing is that atimes when Baba is fighting, he fights with his eyes closed and that is wrong. I mean look at that simple one when he said that this Commissioner of Police was coming to take bribe from me. He said it in an interview.
He is corrupt, he is this and that; he is the one that colluded with the government to kill. Later on he said I donít know that the Commissioner of Police is so good, I mean that tells you that when Baba is fighting he is fighting with his eyes closed.
I know him because Baba gave me good description about himself. That description has been guiding me in my dealings with Baba. He was the one who gave me the description and with those ones I know that my Baba is a genius and also vulnerable.
Can you tell us those descriptions?
But those descriptions are for me and him alone (Laughs) I am not telling you.
But Baba is insisting that the two of you are at loggerheads?
(cuts in) I am not fighting Baba, Olorun I am not fighting Baba.
What of the incident of last Thursday are you planning to wave the olive branch?
(cuts in) Which incident? I just want to protect Baba that is why I provided him with the police.
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