Author : Ayo Ajanaku
Victory seemed unlikely as political affiliations and partisanship as ousted the era of peaceful co-existence among the Ibadan people. Since the days of the establishment of the Oyo state during the 1976 state creation and the emergence of Ibadan as the largest city in West Africa violence had taken a full ground in there as a sovereign dynasty where power is used, played and upheld by the few political gladiators.
In as much as each team rode on the wings of liberating the Oyo Empire and the city of Ibadan, their rivalry and contest have always been characterised by violence, assassination, bloodshed and death. Each of the evil perpetuated will solely hide under the pretence of several communal crises such as land, chieftaincy tussles etc, with its principal initiator as politics and power play.
One would not have understood the intrigues and antics of the Ibadan politics if one does not explore the first and second republic political dispensations. These republics breezed in political bigwits like late Chief Lamidi Adedibu, late Lam Adesina, late Chief Bola Ige, The Penkelemes Dynasty, late Busari Adelakun and host of others which till date had birthed several other political godsons even after their demise.
Their political start off points were from the days of the Action group(Ag) under the then Premier of the Western region late Chief Obafemi Awolowo but with the AG crisis and the fall of the Unity Party of Nigeria(UPN) , most of them later joined the National party of Nigeria(NPN) while some still held onto the fragments of UPN.
The UPN then remained a strong opposition to NPN as at the first and second republic before this political dispensation was truncated by the then 1983 military coup but before the Chief Bola Ige had won the governorship election and he was therefore running for a rerun in 1983 when he was defeated by Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo of the NPN whose administration only lasted three months as a result of the 1983 military coup. However, all actors in this political tussle had to be on the lookout for another era of democratic process which never surfaced until 1999.
It was this 1999 democratic new dawn that reactivated Oyo state politics again. The NPN metamorphosed in the new party called the People’s Democratic party, which is still in existence till date while the UPN members who were staunch follower of the Awolowo’s tenets during the days of Action group created an alliance which birthed alliance for democracy (AD), which later moved on to become Action Congress (AC) then, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and in 2013, All Progressives congress (APC) surfaced with several other merger from minor and major political parties.
During the days of political silence, mentors had begun to groom political godsons while some who believed in a radical approach to seize power through coercive means had begun to groom warlords and thugs as a tool to threaten opposition so that the dawn of the new political era will take its full course without fear. Ideological machinery where in place for the likes of late Chief Bola Ige who was a trained as a Lawyer, this saw him through 1999 democratic process where he was appointed as the Minister of power and steel from 1999-2000, and later he became the Minister of Justice 2000-2001 before he met with his death on the 23rd of December 2001. One would have questioned the reason why he was assassinated, then the lacer light indicates that the Ibadan politics and it accomplice of stern rivalry can take it full course even after a long period of silence, till date his murder was one of the unresolved murder cases in Nigeria.
On the other hand, the opposing gladiators who lacked ideas and administrative processes believed in the take it by force ideology, their ideological clan were advocates of ‘silence with the steel’, most of them were not educated, they were Touts and Thugs that were mainly empowered through their possession of arms and ammunitions, One could as well describe their brand of politics as a fusion of populism and raw, undiluted thuggery that often compel violence and violent loyalty.
As described above, each gladiator had their styles and as a result, some though late now left their marks and foot prints in kind politics being played in Ibadan of today.
The happenings of the 1979 -1983 political era and dispensation birthed the stern rivalry between the UPN and the NPN, as such, it has now polluted the new-dawn politics, as the emergence of these new parties PDP and APC respectively did not survived this bitterness. Late Alhaji Olasope and few others who moved on with the late Bola Ige movement where on faced with stern threat even after the demise of the mentor late Chief Bola Ige and on the other hand, the likes of Sunday Adeyemo AKA Igboho, late Lateef Salako AKA Eleweomo and Sodiq Omotosho AKA Jaspa who were mere bus terminal administrators (Touts) peached their tent with late Chief Lamidi Adedibu, A man known for his radical, violent and notorious approach to politics. That was why he was dreaded among his cohorts who most referred to him as a villain. Even after his demise, the likes of Sunday Igboho and Sodiq Omotosho Jaspa are still a force to be dreaded in the Ibadan political terrain.
THE WARRING PARIOTS
The circuses of some high profiled politics motivated killings are inexhaustive with few alignments with persons who were not politicians. Although, all obviously were politically motivated but pretentiously hidden under siege of either activism, clash of supporters, unresolved land issues, political rivalry, chieftaincy tussle and others.
For instance, the reason for the killing of the gubernatorial candidate of Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos Engr. Funsho Williams in 2006 was rumoured to be as a result of the position he occupied as the Chairman board of Directors of Nigeria Maritime Academy by close associates who vied the same position. However, the reason for his death was obviously politically motivated.
In the same vein, assassinations of mentors and mentees who only were believers of the tenets of their mentors, who sees their mentor’s ideologies as the ideal one to better the nation, they support from behind, they were not politicians. They were victims not because they were politicians but because they were close to a politician who maybe on business grounds or philanthropic deeds. Late Alhaji Fatai Olasope was a suitable example for this, he was a close ally of late Bola Ige , who on several occasions had support his course during his arrests by the military men and political campaigns, Alhaji Olasope was actively interested in politics, though he died as a result of an undisclosed ailment but the gruesome murder of his wife Alhaja Basirat on 15th of April ,2017 must have escaped the lenses of the few high profiled Nigerians who was killed as a result of political partisanship. However, her death was wrapped up under the disguise of a land tussle.
It was gathered that her late husband had sold the parcel of land to a business associate turned friend one Mr Olakunle Jimmy Adekola who also funded the medical treatment of late Alhaji by purchasing the said land. Before this time, Mr. Olakunle Jimmy Adekola was an architect who was helping Alhaji Olasope out on some of his projects, the business relationship grew into a father-son relationship and obviously he was perceived as a political godson by the opposition despite his absence in the fore front of politics.
Summarily, where two elephants fight, the grasses suffer the most, the genesis of the whole upheaval was a result of the political affinity they had with the then UPN,AD and till the era of APC, with the rise and collapse of the UPN,AD etc,late Alhaji Olasope moved alongside Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu AKA Jagaban and others to the All progressives Congress till upholding doctrines of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo,Bola Ige et al and this led to the assassination of his wife by the opposing tyrant Jaspa and the eventual and rather continuous trailing of Mr Olakunle Jimmy Adekola who till date was perceived to be his political mentee
Before the March 2015 general elections, Mr. Olakunle Jimmy Adekola was summoned by the Late Alhaji to assist some of his political godsons like Hon. Olatoye Temitope Sugar,Dapo Lam-Adesina, Abiodun Owoeye,Fijabi Akinade et al who were running for different offices politically in the 2015 general elections and at that time were running out of ideas, funds and mobilization, the intervention of Mr Olakunle Jimmy Adekola through his generous provision of funds from friends he mobilised and mobilisation of electorates through his link with the grassroots as a building contractor yielded success as all the candidates emerged beating the opposing parties in the March 2015 general elections in Ibadan, with this intervention and APC’s stunning victory, Mr Olakunle Jimmy Adekola suddenly became an household name in the political sphere despite his absence in the political field, Hence, creating an unprecedented enmity between him and the opposing force (PDP).
The tendency for Nigerians and warlords to get away with assassinations is as a result of their connection with men at the corridors of power because most murder cases were never resolved.
In conclusion, it is expedient to note that the killings of innocent people can as well be pegged to the permanent grip on power syndrome that has been induced into the politics of Nigeria since time immemorial; the emergence of political classification also plays a crucial role in denting the political image of the country.