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Why I appointed Oyerinde Principal Private Secretary, by Oshiomhole

Governor Oshiomhole flanked on the left by the widow, Labake and Elder the burial
Governor Oshiomhole flanked on the left by the widow, Labake and Elder Akinwusi…at the burial

By Adesoji Adeniyi, Osogbo and Osagie Otabor, Benin

EDO State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, yesteday explained why he appointed the late Olaitan Oyerinde his Principal Private Secretary.

He was addressing a crowd of human rights actvists, civil society groups, labour movement and students, who thronged the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp, Ede, venue of the lying-in-state and burial service.

Oshiomhole told his audience that the late Oyerinde understood him more than anyone else.

The late Oyerinde, he said was invited to join his administration to remind him of his principles and to caution him anytime he was drifting from his ideology.

“Olaitan had the gift to play with words and can easily read my lips and put to paper exactly what is in my mind,” the comrade-governor said.

He described the deceased as a fearless and dogged fighter, who proved himself a dependable ally.

His words: “When I was considering to run for governorship, I called him and asked for his opinion. He was my confidant. When I was appointing him, I never bothered about the town where he came from. No primordial sentiments featured in his appointment at all. It will be difficult to find someone who could capture my mind on issues like Olaitan.

“Those who killed him really got me where it hurts most. They knew that if they could not get the king, they would get the son. I know we will use the day light to get the cowards, who used the night to kill Olaitan.

“The cowards only wasted their bullets because they only killed the flesh but not the spirit of Olaitan because he has children and he will forever be in our hearts. They have succeeded in killing Olaitan but not the fighting in me.”

Oshiomhole, who said a street has been renamed Olaitan Oyerinde Crescent in Edo State to immortalise him, assured that his family would not be allowed all to suffer anything in his absence.

He sent his condolence to his aged parents, the Osun State Government and the people of the state.

There were speeches from many labour leaders and notable activists, including Lagos lawyer Femi Falana, amid wailings and tears the remains of Oyerinde were buried.

Oshiomhole, who arrived in a chartered helicopter at about 1.55 p.m., was received by the Osun State Head of Service, Elder Segun Akinwusi, who represented Governor Rauf  Aregbesola.

Akinwusi was accompanied by top government officials, including commissioners, special advisers and local government chairmen to give  the deceased a befitting burial.

Expressing regret over the gruesome killing of Oyerinde, Aregbesola  urged security agents to find his killers and bring them to justice.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade AdulWaheed Omar and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart Peter Esele had a hectic time delivering their farewell messages.

Their presentations were interrupted by students, who used the platform to berate them over the role they played in the January anti-fuel subsidy removal protest.

The students pelted the labour leaders with satchets of pure water.

Former Secretary of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Lagos State chapter, Omotaje Olawale St. Jericho, paid a glowing tribute to the late Olaitan for his sterling leadership qualities from the students’ unionism days.

According to him, the deceased rallied support for the labour struggle against injustices.

He recalled his active role during 1989 anti-Structural Adjustment Programme protest under military president General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd).

He recalled the late Oyerinde led the peaceful protest without compromise, adding that he coordinated all the campuses and ensured the protest was successful.

The Special Adviser to Governor Aregbesola on Environmental Matters,  Mr. Bola Ilori, also a  student-activist in his university days, described Oyerinde’s death as a wake-call to all on security issues.

Falana, challenged the students to emulate the good spirit of the late Oyerinde, whom he said proved himself a selfless and dedicated activist.

The activist-lawyer,  who enjoined the students to always take responsibility for their actions, urged them to ask if they are on the side of justice.

Recalling that he spoke with the deceased four weeks ago, Falana said the late Oyerinde planned to return to activism to re-organise the youth movement.

He challenged the youths to work hard and fight for justice, saying that the fate of the people should not be left in the hands of the “reckless political class.”

The hearse bearing Oyerinde’s remains,  accompanied top government functionaries, left Benin City at about 6:15am.

At a service of songs held Wednesday evening at the Government House for the late Oyerinde, officiating Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, said God and time will reveal those who killed Oyerinde.

The cleric described Oyerinde as a lover of freedom and a man who devoted himself for a better Nigeria.

He said: “He was quiet, unassuming, friendly, firm and focus. A man who will not a hurt a fly. Why did they kill him? What was his offence?

“An innocent man has been killed in his private residence. They wanted to make sure that he was dead. Those were not armed robbers or kidnappers. This is not the best way to settle dispute.

“It will not be well with Oyerinde’s killers. Today we call the blood of heaven that those who took Oyerinde’s life will die a terrible death.”

Pastor Ize-Iyamu recalled how the late Oyerinde felt indifferent when they received security report. He said many of them took extra measures to protect themselves but that late Oyerinde never believed anybody could harm him.

In his tribute entitled: “We shared the dream of a new Edo State”, Oshiomhole said he picked Oyerinde because he needed a companion who operated on the same intellectual frequency.

The governor noted he was not in doubt that Oyerinde was killed to weaken his resolve to fight for the people.

He said: “It was immaterial that Oyerinde did not hail from Edo State insofar he was most resourceful, creative and could work under severe pressure.

“In the last three and half years of my stewardship in Edo State, I attest that Comrade Oyerinde proved most supportive, to say nothing of his terrific sense of humour which often provided comic relief during moments of tension.”

Source: The Nation Newspaper

Oshiomhole: They Can’t Kill My Fighting Spirit

Adams-Oshiomhole-0405.jpg - Adams-Oshiomhole-0405.jpg

Governor Adams Oshiomhole
– As Gunmen Shoot Dead Edo Governor’s Aide

By  Adibe Emenyonu

Six days ago his convoy was presumably attacked along Warrake-Auchi road in Edo State by a truck that curiously veered off its track and headed straight for the staff car, missing it by the whiskers.

Three journalists were killed while others including security details, sustained various degree of injuries.

The following day, at about 2.45 am, the home of his information commissioner, Mr. Louis Odion, was invaded by four gunmen who also missed him because he opted to pass the night at a friend’s house located in another part of the city.

And in the early hours of Friday, his Principal Private Secretary who was on secondment from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, was shot dead by unknown gunmen.

But a traumatised Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has said nobody can kill his fighting spirit.

NLC Deputy National Secretary, Oyerinde, 44, was shot dead by four gunmen who invaded his house located in Ugbor area, Benin City around 1.00 am.

THISDAY gathered that shortly after the gunmen stormed the compound, they tied up the security guard while two of them forced their way through the front door and made straight for his bedroom.

On realising it was Mr. Oyerinde’s brother-in-law who was actually sleeping on the bed and not Oyerinde, they immediately left him and went for the wife, Funke, asking her to lead them to the husband who, unknown to them, was sleeping in the living room.

On sighting him, they instantly fired four shots, one to the head, chest, abdomen and hip, killing Oyerinde instantly. The gunmen later fled without taking anything from the house.
Oshiomhole has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the police to conclude investigation and bring to justice Oyerinde’s killers.

He gave the directive to a group of protesters who demonstrated in solidarity with the state government over Oyerinde’s killing. He advised them to resist all temptations to resort to violence.

Oshiomhole said: “We have written a petition to the state commissioner of police in which we informed him of the meeting held at the residence of the godfather where they took a typical evaluation of the forthcoming election. They agreed it is impossible for them to win, but they also resolved at that meeting presided over by the godfather that they will take series of actions to intimidate my person and if possible to eliminate me.
“At that meeting they said they will kill under the guise of armed robbery, they will kidnap some people, many of my personal staff and some of our key leaders to pretend as if they are victims of kidnapping.”

The governor said he also informed the police that at the meeting they resolved that weeks before the election they would detonate bombs in parts of the state in order to scare people from going to vote.

He asked rhetorically: “What is our crime? Our crime is that we have mobilized our people, we have deployed public resources for public good and the godfather is angry. We have no apology for the stand we have taken and we will not slow down. The blood of these young men will fire me on to fight and defeat the godfather as there is no going back. They have killed my son, they have killed my brother, they have killed my people, but they cannot kill my spirit.”

Oshiomhole said: “If the police do not find the killers, if they do not do proper investigation on the killing of those journalists and Olaitan, as governor of Edo State, I will provide the leadership to the people to find solution.

“They must not fight like cowards; they should come and let us engage face to face. Like cowards they shot Olaitan on the head, they shot him on the chest, they shot him on the belly, to make sure he never survives. Why will a man in his eighties preside over the death of young children, why will an old man who has children, great grand children, supervise the killing of young people? Why will Airhiavbere (PDP governorship candidate in the state) who wishes to lead Edo State be only talking about tribalism? They are planning violence and planning killing.

“I want to serve them notice. We have the capacity, we have the men, we have the people and if they do not behave we can stop them from coming to Edo State. I have no cause to cry today, rather than cry, the blood of those young men will whet my appetite for justice.

That is why today, because their plan is to make us postpone again for the second time our campaign. We will go ahead because Olaitan in his lifetime was a fighter. I ask you not to be afraid, don’t be intimidated, don’t give up, if anything we should be more resolved. The godfather is finished and no one can rescue him and any old man that kills will have death awaiting his own children, brother and himself and when he dies he will be in perpetual fire.

“In the name of politics, these people are bringing violence to the state, they are killing, maiming and they are planning more. You will recall that in 2007 we lost three young men. You will recall that at the state House of Assembly they planted a bomb which was meant to kill our members in the Action Congress of Nigeria in the House of Assembly. Thank God the bomb did not detonate. You will also recall that they used machet cuts and tear gas to attempt to kill our members in the House of Assembly and in all of these the police have not done justice, those who tried to kill those honourable members, nothing has happened to them.”

Oyerinde read mass communication at the University of Lagos. He was deputy National Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and was seconded to work with the governor in November 2007.

He is survived by his wife, Funke, four children and aged father and mother.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media to the governor, Mr. Tony Iyare, said the sequence of sordid events coming each time on the eve of the flag-off of Oshiomhole’s campaign raises grave concern and therefore demands thorough investigation by the security forces.

Before Oyerinde’s murder, a member of the state House of Assembly, Hon Johnson Oghuma, was also similarly attacked by gunmen.
Oghuma who represents Etsako Central had his car riddled with bullets as he was on his way to Fugar, his hometown.

Odion had, at a press briefing last Sunday, raised fears that top government functionaries were being targeted for elimination.

Reactions to Oyerinde’s killing came in torrents last night.

Benin Monarch, Omo ‘N’ Oba ‘N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, expressed shock at unfolding events in the state.

Speaking when he granted audience to Oshiomhole in his palace, the traditional ruler said, “when I heard the news of the death of your private secretary, Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, on Independent Television, I was shocked. We leave everything in the hands of God. We will keep on praying”.

He appealed to the political actors to play the game according to the rules.
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka also deplored the murder, saying “the agents of darkness and retrogression will not triumph”.

Soyinka said in a text message: “The hand of the assassin is clear as day. It reaches all the way back to the killing of Bola Ige. Please convey my deepest condolences to his (Oyerinde’s) widow, children and colleagues.

“Tell Oshiomhole we all stand by him against the agents of darkness and retrogression. They shall not triumph,” he said.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) also condemned Oyerinde’s murder, saying it raises a lot of questions, especially coming shortly after the yet-to-be-resolved ramming of the Governor’s convoy by a tipper truck that claimed the lives of three journalists and a driver.

In a statement issued in Ibadan on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the killing of Comrade Oyerinde is also another indication of the growing state of anarchy across the country, to which the PDP-federal government has no answer.

It said if someone as close to the Governor as his private secretary can be so mindlessly killed in cold blood, shortly after what now seems to be a failed attempt on the governor’s life when the truck rammed into his convoy, it’s logical to be concerned about the safety of the Governor himself.

”Yes, there may not yet be any conclusive evidence linking anyone to these incidents, but there is a growing concern that they may not be unconnected with the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state, especially considering the desperation of the PDP to ‘reclaim’ the state at all costs.”

Source; Thisday

NLC demands probe of Oshiomhole’s convoy crash

•Edo State Governer Adams Oshiomhle discussing with (from left) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Chief Bisi Akande, Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo during the visit to the Government House, B •Edo State Governer Adams Oshiomhle discussing with (from left) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Chief Bisi Akande, Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo during the visit to the Government House, B

•ACN leaders visit governor, accident victims •NUJ declares one-week mourning •Fayemi, Alaafin condole with reporters


ORGANISED Labour yesterday condemned last Saturday’s ‘attack’ on the convoy of Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

The Labour’s call came on a day Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) leaders, including former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, visited the governor.

Three reporters in the travelling party were killed and several others injured.

In a statement in Kaduna by its Vice President, Issa Aremu, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called for an investigation into the incident.

Aremu said the ‘attack’ on the convoy is coming after what he called “cyber-orchestrated personal attack” on the governor as well as open threat to him by the opposition party in the state.

The statement entitled: “Attack on Comrade Oshiomhole: We must de-militiarise our polity” reads: “We read with great shock an unprovoked seeming orchestrated attack on Governor Oshiomhole.

“His convoy was attacked on the Warrake–Auchi road. Three reporters were reportedly killed with many others injured, including security details.

“We condemn personalisation of political discourse.  We need contestation on policies and issues rather than attack on persons.

“In a related development, there was also alleged threat by former Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Iyiola Omisore,  to “attack, stop and disarm” the convoy of the Osun State Governor , Rauf Aregbesola.

“All these call for urgent and thorough investigation by the security agencies.

“We call on all political actors to play to the rule.  We need battle of ideas and not personal attacks.”

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Edo State has declared a week of mourning for its three members.

It directed its members to wear a customised wrist-band throughout the period.

Besides the three reporters who died in the accident, another reporter, Chukwudi Ogu, was killed by unknown gunmen three weeks ago.

The victims are: Olatunji Jacob and George Okosun both of the Independent Television and Radio Benin and Fidelis Ohani, a camera man with the Africa Independent Television (AIT).

A statement  by the chairman of the council yesterday, Friday Obanor, said a mass will be conducted by Rev. Angel Nwankwo today at the NUJ Press Centre.

Prayers will also be offered for the protection of reporters in the state.

At the NUJ Press Centre,  sympathisers called yesterday to condole with the union.

Those who visited  included a member of the House of Representatives, Rasaq Belo-Osagie, Speaker of the House of Assembly Uyi Igbe and the Coalition of Save Nigeria and Youth Coalition Bodies for Oshiomhole.

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi commiserated with his Edo counterpart,  over the accident  in which some reporters died.

Fayemi in a condolence letter issued in Ado-Ekiti, urged Oshiomole not to lose faith in God or be discouraged by the incidence.

The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III,  also commiserated with Oshiomhole and the NUJ.

A statement by his Media Assistant, Azeez Fehintola, quoted the monarch as describing  the incident as unfortunate and a big blow to the government of Edo and the NUJ.

The Alaafin said: “I use this medium to commiserate with the governor and the NUJ on the unfortunate auto crash.

In the ACN team were former governors of Ogun and Ekiti states, Chief Segun Osoba and Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo as well as the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. They were conducted round the wards at the Central Hospital, Benin City, where some of the victims are being treated.

Oshiomhole and the ACN leaders asked the medical personnel doctors and nurses on the state of health of the victims. Other patients, who were elated at the visit of the governor used the opportunity to present their own litany of demands.

The governor thanked his guests and told them the incident smacks of foul play and a premeditated plan to harm him.

His words: “Just a little over eight minutes after leaving the Afuze venue of the rally, where many PDP members joined ACN, a lorry suddenly emerged, heading straight for my car.

“Only providence saved me from being hit. The lorry hit the vehicle conveying security details, which immediately somersaulted and then hit the bus conveying the press crew.

“It’s unfortunate that we have lost three young men with young families. We are determined to get to the root of the matter. Our opponents will expect that we’ll be frightened by this incident but we’ll take our report card to every village and every hamlet to ensure that the reporters do not die in vain”, he said.

Akande said: “We see democracy as a thing of joy but we now see that the other side is resorting to killing and maiming. We pray that the good work you are doing in Edo State is not allowed to come to nought”.


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