By Tunde Oladunjoye
I woke up to the circulation in the social media (the unserious ones anyway) of a report suggesting that I was indicted by Justice Kayode Somolu Panel and therefore “unfit to hold any public office”.
The colleague, who alerted me, added that it was an “insider’s job” and that I should just ignore and remain focused. Of course, I was very amused with the recycled report because when you feel certain things have passed and you have moved on, some lickspittle elements spurred by envy, incurable jealousy and unimaginable complex, continue to raise issues as if, and most probably so, their lives and living depend on it.
I was never indicted by any panel wherever and whatsoever. It was true that the then governor, His Excellency, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, set up the Justice Kayode Somolu –led Panel to investigate the December 5, 2009 riot at Ijebu Ife, which led to the unfortunate death of my friend and fellow club member at Ijebu Ode Club, ACP Omolodun.
Once we got reliable reports on the intent to which the panel was to be used, we challenged the setting up of the panel, because a state governor has no power under the Constitution to investigate the issue of weapons; sources and uses of weapons. That power resides with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) under the Police Act.
Justice Umar Garba, then of Court Five, Federal High Court, Abuja, on December 31, 2010 gave an order restraining the Somolu-led Panel from proceeding and the Governor from dissolving our council administration or carrying out any action that could be injurious to our rights until the final determination of our case. I and my elected councilollors were represented in the Suit by Mr. Olakunle Fakunle SAN, while the then Governor was represented by Chief Gbenga Awomolo, SAN.
The same “indictment petition” was sponsored and submitted to INEC in 2011 when I was fielded as the gubernatorial running-mate to Chief Tunji Olurin on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I made my response to INEC and attached the said Court Order. INEC dismissed the sponsored petition and I contested as the deputy governorship candidate of PDP in Ogun State in 2011. The author of the petition later apologised to me along with his Ijebu Ode-based lawyer who wrote the petition on his behalf (both are still alive), when I said I will sue him for N150 million. I knew he was used. He is my boy and good friend till date.
If I could contest as a deputy governorship candidate in 2011, it then should be clear to the discerning that those who now say I cannot occupy any public office are either barely educated, or mischievous, or both.
The joke was and is still actually on Justice Kayode Somolu. He had served as Chairman of the Nigerian Law Reforms Commission, where he was probed for monumental fraud, found guilty and the probe panel recommended his compulsory retirement with a verdict that he must not occupy any public office in his life again.
We published the Nigerian Law Reform Commission Probe Report as a newspaper advertorial in 2010 to the utter chagrin and embarrassment of Justice Somolu who was so embarrassed that there was no record of his submission of the so-called report, publicly or privately. I had the option of asking for state prosecution of Justice Somolu for accepting the job of what I called “Somolu-Bariga Panel”, after his indictment and ban from serving in public office by the Nigerian Law Reforms Commission Probe Panel, but I considered his age, his children and the embarrassment he already caused himself by making us to publish his hitherto unknown indictment, I decided to let go. More so, when God had already exposed him.
As a veteran of political struggles and one trained in strategic communications, I know, very clearly, that the recent attacks are not coming from the camp of His Excellency, Otunba Gbenga Daniel or his supporters. I was reconciled with OGD about four months ago by the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, His Royal Majesty Alayeluwa Oba S.K. Adetona CFR, JP, Ogbagba II.
I challenge these faceless and cowardly errands boys and their sore-loser sponsors to proceed to court if they are sure of the purported indictment. Till then, their sulking has just commenced.