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Akande tells own story the ‘controversial’ way

Akande tells own story the ‘controversial’ way

Last Chapter 11

Last Thursday, BusinessDay published some snippets in the recently launched book of Bisi Akande.

‘My Participations’ has elicited a welter of controversy in the polity. But here, we steer clear of whatever controversy, but just take a peep into what the author says in the book, chapter-by-chapter.

In this second part of the publication, we are looking at chapters 11 to 26.

Chapter 11

Akande focuses on the charismatic leadership trait of former governor Bola Ige, and his exemplary leadership ability.

He talks about his passion to continue the people-driven policies of Obafemi Awolowo and the full implementation of the cardinal programs of the UPN.

According to him, “Ige was most committed to continuing to sustain the Awolowo legacy and free education to the people of Oyo State despite the lean resources at the disposal of his administration”. He wanted to put smiles on the faces of the masses.

Chapter 12

In this chapter, he focuses on the political intrigues that ensued between Bola Ige and his deputy, Sunday Afolabi, and a commissioner, Busari Adelakun who were nursing governorship ambition to succeed Ige in 1983.

Akande reveals that Adelakun joined forces with like-minded politicians to discredit the Ige’s administration and was eventually moved to another ministry before he resigned. He joined forces with Afolabi and the rest to stop the re-election bid of Ige in Oyo, Bisi Onabanjo in Ogun, and Adekunle Ajasin in Ondo State.

The chapter revealed that Adelakun attempted to blackmail Ige, by writing a letter to Awolowo that Ige had a meeting with Olusegun Obasanjo, in which Ige was asked to contest for the presidency after the expiration of his term in office. He would then be succeeded by Afolabi, while Ige would contest the Presidency.

Akande further stated that in a party meeting in which Awolowo was in attendance, Ige told Awolowo that though he met Obasanjo, the issues of the presidency were not discussed. However, despite expectations from Ige’s opponents in the party, Awolowo never suspended Ige from the UPN because of the issue, though expressed resentment over Ige’s meeting with Obasanjo.

Chapter 13

In this chapter, Akande reveals the eventual resignation of Afolabi which saw Ige appoint him the new deputy governor.

In this chapter, Akande further reveals a particular incident which was during the campaign to the 1983 general election; there was a serious crisis in Modakeke when Ige and other UPN leaders went to the town to campaign due to some prominent leaders of the town’s hatred for Ige and his administration.

The crisis led to the death of several party members who were in the entourage of Governor Ige, several people were burned to death alive, others shot.

However, Ige, Akande were safe, while Akinfenwa narrowly escaped by jumping out of the bus before it was set on fire, where everybody died.

He said Akinfenwa was particularly saved by some police officers who noticed that he had helped his wife to get teaching work. A member of the State Assembly was also among the politicians killed.

Chapter 14

In this chapter, Akande reveals how Ige lost the governorship election to Omololu Olunloyo of the NPN in 1983, due to the massive rigging that took place in Modakeke which aided them. The chapter gave a vivid account of how the military truncated the Second Republic, arresting and imprisoning all notable politicians in the Second Republic including him.

He reveals that he was taken around prisons cells in the country including, the Kirikiri maximum prison, military barrack in Mokola, Agodi prison, and later transferred and tried by the new military degree which stipulates 21 years imprisonment for convicted persons.

Akande says he was released after about six months in prison, but adds that he was later rearrested shortly after he issued a press release countering military claims of corruption against Ige in a water scheme project while in office in which he was subsequently imprisoned for three years.

Read also: Akande captures own life journey in an unforgettable book

Chapter 15

Akande talks about his arrangement by the military tribunal at the military barracks, the trial had begun and several issues in the contract for the purchase of a bus for his re-election during his time as deputy governor were raised. He said several of his friends mobilised for his release from military detention, he was particularly grateful to lawyer Peter Ajibade.

In Chapter 16

After spending three years in detention, the military issues a white paper for the release of some political prisoners. Akande was released around June 1986 and was picked up at the Agodi prison by Barrister Peter Ajibade; a lawyer who had fought the military hard for his release.

Akande narrates his subsequent meeting with his family members after being released from prison, however, his children called a family meeting, thereafter requesting that he quit partisan politics in which he rejected, saying that the coming civilian administration was not dictatorial like the military. He promised them that he would not accept any political appointment, but would rather remain a political party man.

According to him, “I told them firmly that I would remain and die in politics merely as a political party man. I promised them that I would no longer accept any future elective or appointive government office position.”

In Chapter 18

After the demise of Obafemi Awolowo, his political family and friends formed the Afenifere and subsequently NADECO, through the groups they fought the military dictatorial rule. Afenifere later changed to Alliance for Democracy in 1999, going into an alliance with some Northern friends. However, Akande revealed that the controversy over the choice of the presidential candidate of the group in 1999, between Bola Ige and Olu Falae, soon created a big division in the AD which eventually led to their split.

According to him, “There were those who wanted the group to be separated from Afenifere, which did hold, this contributed to the group splitting.”

In chapter 19

He talks about how he emerged as the governorship candidate of the AD in 1999, despite his initial promise to his family not to seek an elective position, he was forced into the gubernatorial race by Bola Ige who did not trust his recommended candidate, Moji Akinfenwa. Despite a contest from some other aspirants he was adopted as the candidate of the party in the 1999 gubernatorial election.

In chapter 20

Akande says Iyiola Omisore was a young politician that he liked, and after selecting him as his deputy despite several oppositions, he had planned to mentor him politically. But he was wrong, as Omisore changed his behaviour immediately after they assumed office in 1999. Akande stressed that Omisore was spending money lavishly and lived a life of opulence.

According to Akande, “He abandoned his official vehicle which was Peugeot 405, resorting to renting cars. His ambition was inordinate and he was prepared to go to any extent and employ any weapon no matter how dastardly or devilish to achieve his objectives.”

He added that Omisore behaviour was surprising to him, stressing that his refusal to give approval for $1, 500, 00.00 million for the purchase of chemical for use at Osun State Ministry of Water Resources which had been lingering from the previous military administration of Theophilus Bamigboye made their relationship to degenerate which subsequently led to move by the state lawmakers to impeach him.

In chapter 21

Akande talks about how attempts to impeach him were finally truncated by 13 loyal members of the state House of Assembly who voted against it. Stressing that 12 members who were loyal to Omisore voted in support of the motion; at the end of the day, there was fracas by touts who were brought into the House by the 12 members loyal to Omisore to beat members loyal to him.

In chapter 24

Akande talks about the Ife-Modakeke war, he was of the view that the war was unnecessary, and he reached out to the then president Olusegun Obasanjo to intervene because the crisis was overwhelming and had left a lot of people dead.

He said the intervention of President Obasanjo through a committee headed by Bishop Gabriel Abegunrin, in which Olabode George represented Obasanjo found a solution to the crisis in Ife-Modakeke.

In chapter 25

Akande narrates the death of Bola Ige, stressing that prior to his death, Bola Ige had planned to resign from the Obasanjo administration because he was not happy with the direction the country was heading.

He added that on the day Ige was killed he received a call from the President which sounded like Obasanjo was not interested in getting the killers of Bola Ige, but was more interested in calming nerves and tension among the people as a result of Ige’s death with the resultant deployment of soldiers and police across major towns and streets in the state.

According to him, “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 populace”.

Akande accuses President Obasanjo of not doing enough to protect Ige, citing an example when Ige’s cap was removed during Stella Obasanjo’s chieftaincy coronation in Ibadan.

He says he believes that Ige was killed because he was deemed too popular with the people of the SouthWest, while the PDP could not penetrate the region while he was alive. He added that Ige’s main motive after resigning from Obasanjo’s government was to help reorganise Afenifere.

In chapter 26

Akande says that the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo came to seek the support of the governors of the SouthWest to delay conducting the local government election in their respective states.

Obasanjo explained that the constitution of the PDP recognised local government chairmen as delegates to the national convention for the election of the presidential candidate.

He said if the AD went ahead to conduct the local government election the PDP would lose and this would be a big disadvantage for him, for he would be an aspirant rejected by his own people.

Akande stressed that after extensive lobbying by Obasanjo and his groups, the Southwest states controlled by AD, went ahead to postpone the conduct of the local government election after the PDP presidential primaries. Akande said unfortunately it was an attempt by Obasanjo and PDP to take control of the SouthWest ahead of the 2003 general elections.

Akande says during the 2003 election, there was heavy deployment of security agencies, massive financial flow to the region by the Federal Government, which eventually aided the rigging in the SouthWest States, except Lagos for the PDP.