Saturday 16th October 2021 was a defining moment for the All-Progressives Congress (APC) faithful all over the country.
A day of redefining the identities and the future of the party in Nigeria and indeed, across the 36 states of the country when new executives at the state level were to be elected.
Party faithful of the APC drawn from the 236 wards in Ogun State, had gathered in their thousands at the venue of the State Congress at Ake Palace Arcade to elect members of the State Executive Committee in Ogun State.
Alas, as the congress proper was about to commence at Ake Palace Arcade after the arrival of dignitaries, which included two serving Senators in Ogun State, and Cabinet Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, gunmen suddenly surfaced. It was like a battlefield, party faithfuls and innocent citizens of Ogun State had to run for their dear lives.
Unfortunately, up to the time of writing this piece, 12 clear days after the mayhem, the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun is yet to condemn the brazen onslaught and invasion of Ake Palace, the venue of the APC State Congress and show sympathy to party faithfuls and citizens who in their hundreds sustained various degrees of injury from state sponsored attacks. More than 26 vehicles were damaged and destroyed and 14 persons were seriously injured in the melee that ensued from the state sponsored terror on the innocent Ogun State APC faithfuls.
Shockingly and crudely, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kunle Somorin, gleefully and shamelessly celebrated this sponsored attack. Somorin, writing in THISDAY Newspaper, of October 22, under the topic, “Comeuppance for Amosun and Friends”, justified the attacks by making futile efforts to stand truth on its head.
We don’t have a problem if Somorin doesn’t see anything wrong in the attack on the traditional institution of Egbaland, which Ake Palace represents, of course, this shows the level of denigration that Governor Dapo Abiodun holds the traditional institution in Ogun State. It is repugnant and distasteful seeing Somorin acting the voice of his boss celebrating the barbaric attacks on the innocent people of Ogun State.
To Somorin, as long as the people that were attacked and maimed were not members of their camp nor family, this unwarranted attack is considered fair game. How else does one explain an agent of the government playing the ostrich in a situation that affects the lives and properties of the citizens?
No man creates confusion, worries and anxieties for his aides and associates more than a public office holder, whose controversial emergence has continued to hunt him and the office he occupies.
Such aides and associates are constantly walking on eggshells, which makes them commit unpardonable errors in trying to please a boss, who has perpetually shown gross incompetence in governance and administration. It is obvious that, ‘Ogun State government shoe’ is too big for Governor Dapo Abiodun to wear. Unfortunately, the good people of Ogun State can’t reduce the shoe, because a standard shoe has been made!
Saturday, 16th October, 2021 will remain a sad day in the political history of Ogun State, a day when the agents of government went to attack and maim innocent citizens, who they should constitutionally be protecting.
A leader, who believes the best way to silence a huge percentage of about 80% of party members, who refused to associate with the incomprehensible and despicable incompetence that he represents was to maim or incapacitate them, has a day with history. The day of reckoning is, indeed, nearer and the good people of Ogun State are wiser. The judgment day will be a crying moment for a fellow, who has no better day with history.
It is a common saying that “he who comes into equity must come with clean hands”, yet the governor whose aides and associates were associated with the fracas of Saturday 16th October 2021 was seen threatening the good people of Ogun State at MKO Abiola Stadium with hell and brimstones. Governor Dapo Abiodun had said “I am the ONLY Ggovernor and Chief Security Officer of Ogun State and I will bring the full weight of the law on any individual no matter how highly placed”. Many people saw this as a statement of fear from someone who is clearly not in charge of the statutory duties expected of him.
It is a shameful irony that Governor Dapo Abiodun after more than two years in office is still reminding the great citizens of Ogun State that “ I am the only governor of Ogun State” . Governor Dapo Abiodun needs to be told that good leaders do not demand respect and honour they rather earn and command it.
Kudos to the leaders and members of APC in Ogun State who have been steadfast in their aggressive membership drive despite the hostile social and political atmosphere created by Governor Dapo Abiodun, who has isolated himself from the majority of members with his “pharaonic” tendencies.
The party has continued to grow from strength to strength with the support of leaders, who toiled to build the party and still working hard to sustain it in Ogun State, despite the desperate antics of the usurpers.
It appears our (Almighty) Governor could not believe what he saw: thousands of APC members, who trooped to the venue of congress at Ake Palace, as against his own contraption at MKO Abiola Stadium.
To vent his annoyance and anger on APC faithfuls in Ogun State, “known gunmen” from the usurpers, who are still freely moving around in Ogun State, invaded the sacred Alake of Egbaland Palace, shooting everybody in sight.
Innocent citizens, most especially, vulnerable women ran for their dear lives while many sustained various degrees of injury. The pictures and video of the “known gunmen” were recorded. These are in the public domain. Evidently too, the “known gunmen” have been identified as individuals associated with the government of the day in Ogun State.
While the people were waiting to see the “known gunmen” arrested and prosecuted by the Police, the Ogun State Police Command arrested six people after the congress in Ake Palace, thereafter paraded them. They were allegedly said to be in possession of two pistols, one locally made and one British made.
It is instructive to note that they were in police custody for ten days before being taken to court.. Whereas, the known gunmen, real attackers who evidently unleashed terror are still parading the streets with executive privilege.
There are pictorial documents including video clips on ”Channels TV Breaking News” and even NTA News Bulletins on that day showing these attackers with Pump Action Guns, pistols, cudgel, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons carrying out their nefarious acts in commando style manner in known vehicles. These same vehicles are still plying the streets of Ogun State. We implore the police to bring these people to justice.
The question on the lips of the good people of Ogun State is: why are the real attackers walking free especially, when they are known associates of aides of Governor Dapo Abiodun? Is it not curious that the police have not used the same speed and effectiveness to carry out justice on these criminals as they did to the six people already arrested and are being prosecuted, who they alleged to have possessed illegal weapons.
Despite the hurdles created by Governor Dapo Abiodun and his evil like minds to frustrate the conduct of the Ogun State APC congress, It was eventually held due to the resilience of party faithful who re-elected Chief Derin Adebiyi as the State Chairman along with other executive members. As at the time Chief Derin Adebiyi was elected Chairman, Governor Dapo Abiodun was still looking for crowds to populate his deserted congress.
In the language of a political veteran from Ijebu Ode, Baba Fasasi, “Governor Dapo Abiodun is walking on banana peels and imminently due for a free fall”. May be this is why Governor Dapo Abiodun is showing his bitterness and annoyance by unleashing terror on the citizens he is mandated by the constitution of the land to protect. What a failure of governance!!
*Olumide Oniyire, a legal practitioner writes from Akute, Ifo Local Government, Ogun State