One of Nigeria’s most cerebral monarchs, His Royal Highness, Dr. Appolus Chu, Egbere Emere Okori Eleme, celebrated his 50th birthday anniversary on Saturday, January 18, 2020, in Okori-Ogale, Eleme, Rivers state.
Although HRH Appolus Chu joined the golden age precisely on January 15, 2020, he opted to shift the celebration to Saturday, January 18, 2020. The very grand event took place at the palace of the Egbere Emere Okori Eleme located at Okori-Ogale, Nchia, Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State.
The birthday celebration, which turned out to be a carnival of sort, had friends, colleagues, well-wishers and family members from every part of the nation, as well as neighbouring countries in attendance.
“As you know, attaining the age of 50 is such a remarkable milestone in life. It is one I look forward to celebrating. I therefore ask that you come rejoice with me as I thank God for His mercies upon me through these 50years of my journey on earth”, HRH Chu had noted in a letter of invitation issued out to all the guests.
Meanwhile tributes and congratulatory messages have started rolling in long ago from the east, south, west and north of the country to commemorate a great king at 50.
An exemplary monarch and accomplished businessman, HRH Chu has contributed immensely to the growth and development of his kingdom, his community as a whole and the nation in general. His unique sense of honour and duty to his people, state and his colleagues nationwide, is unparalleled.
Since his ascension to the throne at a tender age many years ago, HRH Chu has always shown abiding love and faith in his people and colleagues. He has endeavoured to promote a sense of unity and cooperation amongst his people and also respect to constituted authority of the land.
HRH Chu has encouraged love, loyalty and service from the people in his domain and has served his community so well. His extraordinary philanthropy, leadership, prowess and most of all, his free spirit, stands him out.
Quite a number of people, within and beyond his domain will testify to his philanthropic activities, especially through empowerment of widows, youths and students.
He has been described as a “detribalised Nigerian”, “a great supporter of the Next Level Change Agenda of President Mohammadu Buhari,”, “a Unifier”, “a man full of love for humanity”, “a great Mobiliser of Nigeria’s political space”, “a great Philanthropist”, “a lover of peace”, “a man of Integrity”, “a gentleman and an example of a traditional ruler.”
King Appolus Chu, has not only been the glory to the people of Okori, but he is the pride of the entire Eleme kingdom as he has spread his magnanimity, generosity and compassion to every part of Eleme and its environs. He does not only live among his people but also knows their pains, plights and sufferings.
A number of Eleme sons and daughters are graduates today because they have benefited from HRH Chu’s scholarship scheme. The artisans have become self-employed and employers of labour while widows, had given up hope are rescued from poverty due to his benevolence.
HRH Chu is well known for his knack for breathing vitality and vibrancy into whatever he shows interest in. Indeed, he is an icon of integrity, hard work and a great philanthropist with a Midas touch, while the landmark of his achievements and leadership quality stand him out as a beacon and a point of reference for generations to come.
Bauchi State Governor Mohammed Bala has reacted to the Supreme Court’s judgement which affirmed his victory in the 2019 governorship election.
Speaking to newsmen in Bauchi, Bala disclosed that he had fears of being sacked just like Emeka Ihedioha by the apex court. He added that his fear was heightened by the confidence his opponents showed before the court judgement. Bala said; “The Imo incident is one of such incidents that is a manifestation of a judicial process. It was a very painful outcome for me as a PDP member and as a friend to the former governor who was affected”. “It was something unexpected and I knew what happened to him could happen to anybody. “Certainly it gave me some fears for the first time, thinking that maybe, the confidence expressed by my competitors had something to do with some assurances in some quarters somewhere, but I still had faith in God.”
Says Nigeria’s Fabric Not at Risk with SW Security Outfit
All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has called for private discussion between the Governors of the South-west and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, over Amotekun.
He said the foundation of the country had not been put at risk with the South-west regional security outfit launched by the governors of the zone in a bit to confront the insecurity in their states.
The former Lagos governor, however, warned that, that fabric could be torn by what he called the “dangerous rhetoric of those who should know better.”
In his first intervention in the controversy surrounding Amotekun, Asiwaju Tinubu said: “Those claiming that this limited, inoffensive addition to security threatens the Republic have taken themselves upon a madcap excursion.
“Those claiming that the Federal Government seeks to terribly suppress the Southwest have also lost their compass. Those who occupy these two extremes have sunken into the dark recesses of fear and political paranoia that can undo a nation if such sentiments are allowed to gestate”.
Titled “The Public Discourse Over Amotekun,” the statement personally signed by him reads: “Amotekun. This issue has dominated recent discourse and media headlines. Distilled to its basics, it concerns how best state governments can assist with the safety and security of their residents. This is a matter of serious concern entitled to sober thought. However, it has been turned into a political tug-of-war. Fierce, often unthinking rhetoric, for and against, has crossed the lips of too many Nigerians. More subjective talking than objective thinking has been the fuel of this outburst.
“Question those in favour of Amotekun. Most have but the vaguest notion about it. They know few details yet vigorously attribute to its opponents the most negative intentions. Ask those who oppose Amotekun. They are equally ignorant of its provisions. They oppose the initiative not on its merits but merely because it was proposed by their political opponents or because they don’t see an avenue for personal gain from it.
“While colourful, the rhetoric has been disconcerting. How people have mishandled this matter demonstrates that we still have far to go in perfecting this democracy. Too much energy has been spent distorting this issue instead of seeking a resolution that supports local enhancement of security while keeping the constitution intact. If this becomes the standard for how we handle disagreements then we will obscure Nigeria’s path forward with our own rubbish.
“In this matter, I do not see malign intent in the differences of opinion between the SW Governors as authors of Amotekun and the Attorney-General as the primary law enforcement officer of the Federal Government. Shorn of the overly dramatic language, what lies before us is but a step in the evolution of our federalism. This is an opportunity to more clearly define that federalism; but one cannot attain this better, more functional definition through overblown, emotional language. Objectivity and calmness are required. To a significant degree, the enduring quality of our republic will be established by the sagacity with which we handle disagreements regarding the division of power between federal and state governments. Such disagreements are inevitable. This is not the first. Nor will it be the last. We must devote our energies more toward solving problems rather than amplifying them.
“Seeking to fulfil their mandates by helping protect their people, the governors of the Southwest collectively established a program to buttress existing security mechanisms. Seeking to protect the constitution as best he could, the Attorney-General offered his opinion on what he believed the governors have sought to do. No one can blame either party for seeking to fulfil what they genuinely see as their public duty.
“Until now, I have deliberately maintained a studied silence regarding Amotekun. Many have tried to goad my swift public reaction. Those who have taken this road did so not because they care about Amotekun or even the people it intends to help protect. They did so knowing this had become a delicate and emotional issue for many. These cynics did so with the adversarial hope that, in haste, I might misspeak or misstep in a manner they could twist to their political advantage.
“Such people are possessed of a mercenary aspect that permits them to sacrifice almost anything, even jeopardize the very foundations of our political unity, if they might exact personal gain from the upheaval. In that they know no nobler purpose than their own appetites, we should feel sorry for them. However, we must not allow our sympathies for their barren condition to persuade us that there is worth in their destructive misconduct. They must be left to the consequences of their own devices.
“If truly I am a political leader as I am often described, then I have not the luxury of hasty, ill-conceived utterances. There are those who will use inflamed words to spark the passions of others. This may bring transient applause. But when the cheers fade, we shall only have further descended because their words were never inclined toward resolution and long-term improvement but toward short-term popularity and perpetual confrontation.
“I believe in this nation and its benign prospects. I dearly love its people, all of them. Over the years of our existence, they have suffered much. Yet they still hold forth with heroic patience and an extraordinary optimism born of strong faith. To these people I owe my best. I shall not treat them cheaply or bandy their emotions like some errant football. The welfare of this good and decent people is my overriding concern.
“Equally, I do not cow to the demands of those who press for me to make a premature statement on an important issue. Again, that is a game devised by those who care more about political cleverness than the quality of governance. I chose to talk when my position has been made ripe by a collection of the facts and a reasonable assessment of those facts.
“As I view it, this matter can be divided in three major parts: 1) Substantive merits of Amotekun, 2) Decision-making and consultative process and 3) Recommendations on the way forward.
AMOTEKUN, GOVERNORS AND SECURITY
“As the highest elected official in his state and thus the individual embodiment of the will of the people, a governor must view safety and security as a foremost priority, integral to his mandate. To turn a blind eye to these concerns would be a grave dereliction. That the SW Governors seek to work together to complement the extant security architecture is, in principle, a commendable undertaking. In embracing this concept, they have acted in consonance with spirit of their offices for the better interests of their people.
“As Governor of Lagos State, I confronted a burgeoning criminal menace. I could not sit idly in the face of the violence and property destruction that struck genuine fear in the hearts of the people. The police tried as best they could; but their coverage was thin. They simply did not have the personnel or material wherewithal to be everywhere at once. We formed Neighbourhood Watch to help fill the gap.
“Our aim was not to replace existing structures but to complement and augment them. The mission of Neighbourhood Watch was to monitor the wards and neighbourhoods of the state. The group would gather information and intelligence to pass to the police and security authorities. The Neighbourhood Watch also provided an early warning system to keep citizens from harm’s way. The idea worked. Crime and violence reduced significantly. Even the overreaching Obasanjo government did not contend against Neighbourhood Watch.
“Judging from the public statements of the governors, Amotekun is meant to be structured along similar lines. As I understand it, Amotekun is to be another set of eyes and ears to assist the police. As such, it is but the second generation of Neighbourhood Watch expanded to a regional scale. Conceptually, there is nothing wrong with this. It does not appear to insult the constitution. However, my position regarding Amotekun is not blind or uncritical; there are several organisational and functional aspects of the proposal that could cause some problems if left unresolved.
“First, the stated mission is information gathering by civilians. Such tasks are always and everywhere best done in low-key fashion. Some aspects of Amotekun seem to undermine rather than enhance this function.
Second, equipping Amotekun with showy paraphernalia may cause the public to misconstrue the role of Amotekun, incorrectly believing its mandate is more expansive than it is. This possible disconnect could impede the good aims of the program.
“We also should consider that the Buhari administration has approved implementation of a policy of community policing wherein additional recruits from all 774 local government areas will be added to the force to help protect their own communities. As the Federal Government emphasizes grassroots policing it is uncertain how well Amotekun can complement the police force as the force moves toward greater decentralisation when Amotekun is organisationally leaning in the opposite way.
“We have been fighting for local and decentralised policing for a long time because we know that too much centralisation impedes performance. In regard to actual performance of its appointed tasks, Amotekun should have focused on grassroots local organisation at the state level without a regional command hierarchy. The regional approach may undermine efficiency. There is no compelling logic why the same personnel providing security & informational assistance in Ado-Ekiti should be under the same functional and operational leadership as those providing assistance in Lekki or Akure. This will not lead to optimal performance.
“The regional approach has only limited benefit with regard to the procurement and maintenance of vehicles and communications equipment because this wider approach allows for economies of scale. The regional approach also helps tackle the growing incidences of interstate criminal activity. Some things need to be corrected before Amotekun becomes operational. If not, it will not live up to expectations. Thus, the current formulation of Amotekun is in need of repair before it takes to the road only to quickly slip into a ditch.
CONSULTATIVE PROCESS BREAKS DOWN
“The governors state that they consulted regularly with the police and security agencies. This was the right thing to do. However, their failure to include the office of the Attorney-General in these discussions is the fount of the current public uproar. This was an unfortunate omission the governors should regret and seek to remedy. However, the conceptual merits and positive functional aspects of Amotekun should not be tainted by this procedural defect.
“While the Attorney-General is a conscientious public servant, he is also human. Not having been consulted, he was suddenly faced with an unexpected public announcement regarding a matter within his official ambit. He likely feared the failure to consult him meant that federal prerogatives were being encroached. To blame him for this conclusion would be to blame human nature itself. Though his negative reaction was understandable it was also unhelpful.
“The Attorney-General acted hastily in rendering a public statement that was more inaccurate than it should have been. Amotekun was never proposed as a “defence” agency; the Attorney-General erred in using this description. The use of uniforms and brightly coloured vehicles may not be the best ideas but they do not render Amotekun a defence agency or paramilitary group any more than a designated school van carrying uniformed students constitutes a paramilitary deployment.
“Believing the governors had crossed the line, the Attorney-General should have reached out to them. Before going public, he should have sought a private meeting so that he could have a better factual understanding of Amotekun. This would have enabled him to give the governors any specific constitutional or other objectives he might have. In this way, the two sides would have engaged in private consultations to reach agreement on the way forward. This cooperative process might have helped to correct some of the organisational lapses above identified.Such a diplomatic and wise step also would have prevented the current public acrimony now surrounding the issue.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RESOLUTION
“This matter cannot be resolved on the pages of newspapers or by attributing negative motives to either side. The best way to resolve this is still for the two sides to enter private discussions. Either the governors should seek an official but private meeting with the Attorney-General, or the Attorney-General can initiate the contact. Since Amotekun is their initiative, the governors bear the greater onus in seeking the meeting.
“The meeting will initiate further discussion on how to resolve what appears to be a misunderstanding caused by an unfortunate lack of communication. Remedy the gap in communication and the misunderstanding will begin to disappear.
Last, I again stress to well-intentioned Nigerians to shun those who employ heated language to inflame emotions. It does us no good to rush toward exaggerated statements that suggest calamity of the highest order. Don’t allow yourselves to be fodder for those who seek to divide us.
“The fabric of the Republic has not been put at stake by Amotekun. However, that fabric could be torn by the dangerous rhetoric of those who should know better. Those claiming that this limited, inoffensive addition to security threatens the Republic have taken themselves upon a madcap excursion. Those claiming that the Federal Government seeks to terribly suppress the Southwest have also lost their compass. Those who occupy these two extremes have sunken into the dark recesses of fear and political paranoia that can undo a nation if such sentiments are allowed to gestate.
“We are one nation, 200 million strong with 36 states and a great complex of federal authority residing in dozens of federal ministries and agencies. If everyone is allowed their democratic expression, there are bound to be disagreements. This is inherent in the federal structure. Nations that have practiced federalism much longer than us still frequently debate over where the line between state and federal power is to be drawn. They have hundreds of court cases each year on this very issue. Yet they do not attack each other as we do. We must all learn to be more restrained and judicious in our reactions when such disagreements arise.
“Before leaping from our seats to lift our voice to the high rafters in profound indignation, we first would be wise to properly discern the situation. We must ascertain whether it merely is a tempest in a teapot or whether our house and all its teapots are swirling in a real tempest. Despite the ominous headlines and heated talk, an objective analysis points more clearly to the former than the latter. The resolution of this matter is not beyond us if only we allow ourselves to be the democrats that our better conscience and the very documents of our national existence call us to be.
“In trying to help resolve this matter, I have initiated communication with the Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, with a view to meeting the South West governors to explore amicable solutions to the avoidable controversy. I am sure that, at the end of it all, peace, security, and progress shall reign in our nation. Thank you.”
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that the asset forfeiture suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had already been decided by the Supreme Court in 2018.
Recall that the EFCC in the suit had claimed that the Plots No. 10 and No. 11 belonging to Mr Saraki in Ilorin, Kwara State were acquired with corruption proceeds while the former senate-president was Kwara State Governor between 2003 and 2011.
Mr Saraki, through his counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, SAN, told Justice Rilwan Aikawa that the suit is an abuse of court processes intended to scandalise him.
According to Mr Saraki, the Supreme Court judgment discharged him “from culpability arising from the same money and houses which are the subject matter of this action.”
Mr Ogunwumiju added the new suit by the EFCC was an abuse of court processes because it was filed at a time when a suit on the same subject matter was still pending at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
According to him, in the Abuja suit, Justice Taiwo Taiwo had on May 14, 2019 made an order for parties to stay action on the subject matter pending the determination of an originating motion on notice.
“Despite the pendency of the above-captioned suit, service of the originating processes and the subsistence of the aforesaid order of this court, the respondent surreptitiously commenced Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1867/2019 between the EFCC v Dr Bukola Saraki on 14th October 2019 in this court where it seeks orders aimed at neutralising the order of the Abuja Division of this court,” he said.
The ex-Kwara governor said the EFCC’s new suit was meant to “irritate, annoy and scandalise” him and urged Justice Aikawa to dismiss it.
The judge adjourned till February 5 to take arguments on Mr Saraki’s objection.
A few days after the Supreme Court affirmed the election of Abdullahi Ganduje as governor of Kano and dismissed the appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate, Abba Yusuf, the Kano State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi, dumped his longtime political associate, Rabiu Kwankwaso.
DAILY NIGERIAN reliably gathered that Mr Bichi, who served as Secretary to Kano State Government between 2011 and 2016, will formally announce his decision to join the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, alongside his supporters on Wednesday afternoon. Mr Bichi had also served as managing director of Kano Urban Planning and Development Authority, KNUPDA and later commissioner during Mr Kwankwaso’s first term in office between 1999 and 2003. Sources close to the party chairman said he took the decision to leave the party long before the judgement of the Supreme Court. “The decision of Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi was not related to the outcome of the Supreme Court judgement. It was purely based on principles and personal conviction,” a close political associate who preferred not to be named said. “In the affairs of Kwankwasiyya, Rabiu Bichi has been lately rendered irrelevant, ostracised and sidelined from the decision-making of the Kwankwasiyya movement. Despite his commitment to the cause, he was looked down upon as a saboteur.” This is the latest crack in the Kwankwasiyya movement since the exit of former deputy governor Hafiz Abubakar; former managing director of NPA, Aminu Dabo, among others in the runup to the 2019 general elections.
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has decried the refusal of the United Kingdom (UK), to extradite former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to face trial for alleged money laundering in Nigeria.
Magu stated this on Monday, January 20, 2020, while receiving the “Institution of the Decade” award on behalf of the EFCC at the awards ceremony organised by Thisday Newspaper to mark its 25th anniversary at the Eko Hotels and Suits , Victoria Island, Lagos.
The EFCC boss disclosed that the Commission had sufficient evidence to prosecute Allison-Madueke for the alleged financial malfeasance she committed while in office.
The looted funds, traced to Allison-Madueke and others, he noted, could be used to keep the wheel of the nation’s economy rolling if recovered.
The Chairman, United Bank for Africa(UBA), and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu has advocated massive private capital investment as well as increased support to youth development as catalysts for driving the much needed economic growth on the continent.
Elumelu said this while speaking on a panel at the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020, in London. He stressed the need to invest in critical sectors of the economy such as electricity and human resources, noting that this will galvanise the continent, taking into consideration the huge population which Africa currently boasts of.
l-r: President Muhammadu Buhari(2nd left); flanked from left by Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation(TEF), Mrs. Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu; Chairman of United Bank For Africa(UBA) Plc and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu(3ed left); and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the ongoing UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020, where Elumelu Spoke during Panel Session on Africa Growth Opportunity, in London on Monday
According to Elumelu, “Africa needs massive private capital investment to enable us drive the sectors that will develop the economy, especially sectors like power. Access to electricity is very critical if we are to develop our continent. We have a huge youth population in Africa and I think that is our biggest resource as a continent. So, in order to talk about the development of our continent, we must prioritise this segment and focus on how to empower them.
“Empowering the youths will help us create jobs and alleviate poverty and I think that this empowerment must start from creating an enabling environment, from making sure we have roads, mass transportation systems and most importantly, fixing the problem of shortage of electricity on the continent. If we do all of this, we will unleash the enormous potential that resides in Africa and in these young people.”
Through his foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, (TEF), in the past 5 years, over 9,600 youths have been empowered across the continent with seed capital, mentoring and networking to grow their businesses and enable them contribute to economic development.
Throwing more light on what TEF has been able to achieve, he said, “During lunch, I interacted with some alumni of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme who said they were beneficiaries of $5,000 support in 2015 from the TEF, and today, they have just completed raising U$3million becoming one of the biggest food chain providers in Rwanda. These are some examples of what such interventions can do. We support, give them an enabling environment, provide a platform and think of our prosperity in a sustainable fashion,” Elumelu explained.
Other speakers on the panel include the President of the World Bank Group, Mr. David Malpass; the Chief Executive Officer, Development Partners International, Ms Runa Alam; and the Group Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone Group, Mr Nick Read.
On his part, the World Bank President, Malpass, spoke of more focus on digital financial services, stating that investing in Africa will help to take the continent to another level, adding that there is need for more availability of electricity and good trade policies that will boost businesses on the continent.
The UK Africa Investment summit 2020 which was opened by the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, for the first time ever, brought together African heads of states, business leaders and investors, to discuss future partnerships between the UK and African nations. Africa has many suitors he posited. ’The United Kingdom is who you should be doing business with. We have no divine right to this business, it is a competitive world but look at what the UK has to offer. We are the partner of choice, of today, tomorrow and decades to come’ said Johnson as he addressed the African presidents and business leaders.
The Trump administration is planning to add seven countries – Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania – to its travel ban list, US media reports said on Tuesday.
Some countries will face bans only on some visa categories, the Wall Street Journal reported.The list of countries was not final and could yet change, website Politico said. US President Donald Trump said in an interview with the Journal that he was considering adding countries to the travel ban, but declined to state which ones. Politico said an announcement was expected as early as Monday. The move is likely to sour ties between the United States and the countries affected under the expanded ban. Nigeria, for example, Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, is a US anti-terrorism partner and has a large diaspora residing in the United States. A senior Trump administration official said that countries that failed to comply with security requirements, including biometrics, information-sharing and counter-terrorism measures, faced the risk of limitations on US immigration.The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The State Department declined to comment.Under the current version of the ban, citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as some Venezuelan officials and their relatives are blocked from obtaining a large range of US immigrant and non-immigrant visas.Chad was previously covered under the ban but was removed in April 2018. Citizens of the countries can apply for waivers to the ban, but they are exceedingly rare.
A 42-year-old Medical Doctor, Daniel Ibeaji, has told police how he lured Chief Ignatius Odunukwe to his hotel room with the pretence that he wanted to buy a property from him.Three other suspects identified as Arinze Igwe (26), hotel worker; Solomon Cletus (30); and Israel Obigaremu, a Uber driver (35), were arrested by the detectives attached to Zonal Intervention Squad of the Zone 2 Command, Onikan, Lagos State after painstaking investigation.According to Ibeaji, he went to Abuja for a function and saw the property at Katampe Estate and then approached the security guard that he is interested in buying it.The guard introduced him to Chief Odunukwe via phone and they both exchange phone numbers.He said after he left Abuja and came to Lagos, he contacted Chief Odunukwe that he was the one interested in buying the building and they both fixed a price of N900 million for the property.The Doctor said: “We met in Lagos before the incident to discussed some modalities. We then fixed another date for December 1, 2019 and before then I had my plan of what to do because he promised to come along with the original documents of the building. On the fateful day my boys were already within the hotel premises and told them to be on alert.“I was at beach resort when he came to meet me. It was on Sunday. There was a lot party going on in the hotel. Immediately he arrived, I walked him straight into my room where he sat on the sofa and we started discussing the business. After I drew I bag containing some money to show him that I am committed in buying the property. As he was bowing down to check the content inside the bag, I went behind him and hit him with axe twice on the head and he fell down.“Immediately, Chief Odunukwe fell down, he was still struggling on the ground, I called Cletus and we dragged him into the toilet, where we injected him with a poisonous substance. The he was confirmed dead.“I and Cletus forced his body into a carton, but the carton tore in the process. I then sent Cletus to get a Ghana Must Go bag, which we later used and then cellotaped the bag, after which we were planning on how to dump his body in the bush or expressway.”Ibeaji said Cletus then went into the hotel with the hope to survey the area, adding: “Fortunately, one of the hotel workers, one Arinze, promised to help and we also promised to loan him N2 million if we are able to move it out of the hotel.”Cletus on his own said when he saw Arinze, he lied to him that they have something they wanted to dispose and he doesn’t know where to dump it, adding: “When Ibeaji then came in and promised to loan Arinze N2 million, it was then he agreed to show us where to dump it.“We were able to move the deceased’s remains out of the hotel through the laundry section because there was a serious noise at the hotel as a result of the party on the fateful day. When we got to Ogombo, we chopped the body into pieces and then threw the remains of the Chief into the swamp and went back to the hotel.“I met Ibeaji in the prison at Abuja. It was there Ibeaji told me he has a business he wanted me to help him execute in Lagos last year. When I came out of the prison in September, we contacted each other through phone and we meet in Lagos. It was then he told me about the deal and promise to loan me N2 million to start a business of my own. I fell for the money because I don’t have hope to start my life afresh.”
The year was 1974. We only moved to Ibadan a mere year earlier. I remember our first apartment at 15, Faderera Street in the Elewura area of Challenge, Ibadan. Small, but lovely. I still remember the love I felt there and the one I tragically lost. That’s where I met my first bosom friend – Isreal Ogungbemi. I lost him to a stupid game of dare. He dove into a deep well behind the house because we wanted to know who was the toughest. He never made it out. He’s gone. I am here. May his soul rest on in peace.
I was already aware of Sunny Ade from years earlier. My dad and his much older sister were Osogbo buddies. I was equally aware of his court palava with the late Chief Bolarinwa Abioro. So it was with great joy that we all sat around that old Grundig Hi-fi Stereo to play his first record after his court victory. It was the hit album “Ẹ Kilọ F’ọmọdẹ.”
I believe Ẹ Kilọ F’ọmọdẹ was the biggest release that year in Ibadan. You just couldn’t avoid it. Everyone that had a beef with someone else had it. For instead of the aggrieved parties to start lobbying verbal jabs at their adversaries, Sunny gladly did it for them, melodiously and for free too!
I think by far, in my not too modest opinion that that album remains one of Sunny’s best! The damn thing ought to be archived!
However “Ẹ Ṣù Biribiri,” the flip side was and still my best. The guitar riffs in four spatial chords that announced the song and the smooth welcome of the bass by Sarafa Bello is still something I marvel over. Even back then I had a huge sense that Sunny was going to be huge. For his uncanny understanding of melody stood him apart from the rest. And that in part perhaps gave him the confidence to take on Bolarinwa Abioro.
Asides the music itself, the imageries he deployed in full, on that track are just too powerful! His voice was confident and compelling as he paid homage to the phantom forces behind the scene:
“à mọ́ mo ti ṣ’èbà Èdùmàrè Ọba tó láyé, mo ti seba gbogbo àgbà tí nbẹ niwaju mi o dede ọmọ àwo ó, mo ṣ’èbà àwọn ìyá mi ọ̀pàké ọ̀làké, aké ruru a là ruru…”
a discerning listener with that very powerful line would surmise that Sunny, then at just 28 – a damn young man was nobody’s Mugun. He evidently just blew out one of the biggest force in the industry at the time in court.
“… nítorí ọ̀wọ̀ ikókó la fí n’wọ ‘gi. Ọ̀wọ̀ òrìṣà la fí n’wọ àfín. Ẹnikan kii bá idà lọ́run eṣinṣin…ẹnikan kii bá ṣẹkẹ́ṣẹkẹ̀ pàdé lẹsẹ eṣinṣin láyé nbi…ó ṣèè’wọ̀!”
The bass just kept on in a funky, smooth, bluesy roll.
“…àní won lọ para wọn pọ ó jàre ó, wọn ní wón fẹ́ẹ́ bá t’ẹyẹ agbe jẹ, wọn ṣe’ṣi wọn lọ t’ìyẹ́ ẹyẹ agbe b’aró…”
And his voice: cool, calm, young, assured, commanding, confident with an unmistakable tinge of victory mixed with relief, without missing a beat kept on delivering those powerful, poetic imageries – we, the Yorubas beautifully refer to as Ọfọ̀, or Àyájọ́ or simply – incantations. Of course the specific message the young music star was sending out was direct as it was coded: “Go ahead and mess with me at your peril!”
The rhythm section stay steadily on point. Alhaji Tiamiyu in the background was doing his thing. The lone question I may have for the King peradventure we meet is: “What was the mood like in the studio the day the album was recorded?”
“…wọn ní kí n má ṣu s’épo, mo ṣu sepo wọn o bá mi wí rárá. Wọn ní kí nma tọ s’aala mo tọ̀ s’aala wọn o bá mi wí rárá…”
My most favorite line ever!
Well…this is one of the reasons the King is forever the King! It is not by chance he is the King of Juju. He is indeed the Chairman!