How Obasanjo Tried To Implicate Me In Bola Ige’s Murder ― Akande
•Says Omisore paid for his nomination form, but troubled him
In his tell-all autobiography, “My Participations”, former Osun State governor, Chief Bisi Akande recounted the early hours of the murder of his political leader and then sitting Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, noting the indicting salvo then President Olusegun Obasanjo fired at him.
The yet-to-be-solved murder of the country’s Chief Law Officer took place in his Ibadan residence on December 22, 2001.
Akande’s book which accused many top political operators of sundry misdemeanours and in some cases, outright crimes, is already generating ripples and reactions.
Recalling the moments the news of Ige’s murder was made known to him, the former interim national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) wrote, “When we arrived at the Government House, I gathered my entourage together and broke the tragic news to them. There was an uproar – groaning and moaning and general confusion. Someone suggested we should pray. We bowed down our heads and prayed. By the time the prayer ended, I noticed that the Commissioner of Police was now with us.
“He had walked into the centre gingerly and was now standing close to me. Before we greeted, his phone started ringing. He gave me the phone. It was President Obasanjo on the other end.
“Now you see the lapses in your security! Look at what happened to Bola Ige!’ The President was shouting at the other end. I was enraged at him.
“You must be out of your mind Mr. President! How can you say lapses in my security when Bola Ige was killed in Ibadan? I rule in Osun State! I am not the Governor of Oyo State! When his cap was removed at the Ife palace during your wife’s chieftaincy ceremony, what did you do about it?’
“Obasanjo cut the line. I gave the CP back his phone. Everyone was silent except those who were weeping silently. Few minutes later, Obasanjo called back on my own line. He started sermonising. ‘You know that Bola Ige too was my friend! What happened was very unfortunate!’
“It occurred to me that what concerned the President more was not to arrest the assassins of his friend but to prevent social unrest and calm the nerves of the popular. I told him we would take necessary measures to prevent a breakdown of law and order.”
Speaking further on the first 24 hours of the assassination, Akande who was Osun governor then, said, “There was enough evidence that the government of President Obasanjo was reluctant to find the killers of Bola Ige. A day after the assassination I was with Governor Lam Adesina and other governors at the Government House, Ibadan, when I received a phone call from Major-General Abdullahi Mohammed, the Chief of Staff to the President.
“Mohammed, a former military governor, was also former head of the Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO), the precursor of the SSS and later Directorate of State Services, DSS. He was regarded as a strong pillar of the Obasanjo presidency. He invited me to come and talk to the President and that a plane had been dispatched to the airport in Ibadan to fly me to Abuja. I said I was not interested in talking to the President.”
In the book, former senator and Akande’s estranged deputy when in office, Iyiola Omisore got a generous mention, but possibly the most-hit.
Speaking about how he became acquainted with the Ife politician and ending up with him on the defunct AD joint governorship ticket, the former chairman of Afenifere in Osun State, narrated how Omisore paid for his nomination form, before allegedly becoming a thorn in his (Akande’s) flesh.
“When I left the meeting (where he was picked as the AD consensus candidate for Osun governor), I was apprehensive. I went to my cousin’s pharmacy shop in Osogbo. I was there in Igbona area when Sola Akinwunmi and Omisore came in. They were able to trace me because they saw my car. They said I had to take an application to our leader, Senator Abraham Adesanya, in Lagos. It was a Saturday and we were asked to pay in bank draft N250,000.00 fee for our nomination form.
“I did not know the rule and had not such money; and even if I could raise it, it had to be during the working days of the week. To my surprise, Akinwunmi said Omisore had already bought the bank draft and he gave it to me. It was during the period of serious fuel scarcity, but Omisore also volunteered his car with full fuel tank, to take me to Lagos immediately. He said another provision had been made for fuel in Lagos.
“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.
“Thereafter, having committed myself to Otunba Iyiola Omisore, I began to rebuff all subsequent protests against his choice. The first was from Mr. Moji Akinfenwa. He accused me of not consulting him before picking Omisore as my running mate. The second was by Chief Ayo Fasanmi, my political godfather who was the AD National Vice-Chairman and a long-standing friend to Chief Bola Ige.
“He wrongly held Chief Bola Ige responsible for my decision such that he had to withdraw his support for Bola Ige’s nomination for the presidency at the D’Rovan conclave.
“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.”