Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dis Generation: Youth as active Participants in development

Dis Generation: Youth as active Participants in development

My regrets on OBJ –IBB

Though the war of words between Nigeria’s former rulers, General Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida had left the nation gasping for breath, we may not have seen the last of the verbal missiles. Ex-military President Babangida, through his spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, is still smarting from the many ways Obasanjo betrayed him in his eight years in office. Below are excerpts from what he told the Sunday Sun.

Yes, IBB regrets supporting Obasanjo
Looking back now, it was obviously not the right step. In his eight years in office, the revenue that accrued to the nation surpassed what Nigeria ever received in all the years between 1960 and 1999. Under Obasanjo, the annual budget moved into the trillion digits. He had budgets that went all the way up to N2trillion but what has the country got to show for it?

There was no impact on the standard of living of Nigerians. The indices are there. Every Nigerian has seen and read of the Obasanjo years of wastage and plundering. We have all seen the can of worms open at the power sector probe. We are seeing the rot coming out at the privatization probe. 
Let it be understood that IBB is not fighting Obasanjo. We are just stating the facts as everyone knows it . The point of departure is on issues. While General Babangida was in government, Obasanjo was his greatest critic and IBB took it all in his stride. 

He never failed to accord the former President his due respect. He cultivated him in the ways of the military. That was the summary of what IBB said in his interview, that he managed poverty and achieved success while someone managed affluence and achieved failure. Everybody can see that. This fight is not about bad blood but about issues of performance as it affects Nigerians.
Nigerians have suffered for too long and IBB has been silent for too long, taking all the bashing. He has been out of government for 18 years, why focus on him when Obasanjo was the one in charge of the trillions and he’s been out of office barely four years ago. This is about facts everybody can see and we will never again allow history to be stood on its head by OBJ.

So in retrospect, there is reason for IBB to regret supporting Obasanjo to be president. The only good thing that came out of Obasanjo’s administration was that he kept the country together, and that in the first instance was the major reason why IBB supported his coming to power.

The problem with Obasanjo is that he likes to shift blame, unlike IBB who thinks the hallmark of leadership is ability to take responsibility for all your actions. Obasanjo will never own up to his ills and foibles. The issue here is why should anybody pay good with evil. IBB was Obasanjo’s benefactor and that is an all time factor that the former president ought to always consider.

Third term
When the issue of the third term project was brought up, General Babangida told the former President why he could not be party to it and the duo both know why and I believe they have ways of resolving their issues. However, everybody knows that Obasanjo is an unforgiving person. He is still nursing grudges

….And retired Generals step in
Mean while reliable source reveal that some concerned Generals are trying to make peace between the warring former rulers. Meetings were held on Thursday and Friday in Abuja to ensure the retired Generals sheath their swords.

‘The meetings are being coordinated by a few retired generals. They believe the verbal war has a potential to degenerate into something dangerous to the polity. They are reaching out to the loyalists and followers of both IBB and OBJ. The two generals have also been contacted, said our source.

Friday, 19 August 2011

IBB, a fool at 70 –Obasanjo •Defends his role in privatization

Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday responded to General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s dismissal of his eight-year rule as a failure, describing the former military president as a fool at 70.

Babangida had on Tuesday in Minna, Niger State on the occasion of his 70th birthday, described Obasanjo as lacking in foresight and imagination.
Barely 48 hours after, Obasanjo replied him. He had conducted a team from the United States (US) round the Olusegun Obasanjo Library in Abeokuta,Ogun State. He told reporters that Babangida’s description of him as a failure was not only the ranting of a drowning man, but that of a fool at 70.

The ex- president, who was dressed in a blue guinea brocade and a cap to match, was initially hesitant when journalists who learnt of the inspection few hours earlier, asked him to react to Babangida’s comment.
His words: “I did not believe my ears when the news came to me until I read it in some national dailies.”

Quoting from the book of Proverbs chapter 26 verses 4 and 5, Obasanjo justified his reason for referring to Babangida as a fool, adding that the statements ascribed to the ex-military president were not well thought-out.
He added: “Well, normally when I read these things I don’t believe them. Yesterday (Wednesday), when somebody phoned me and said this was said, I said don’t believe it. He said check all the papers and I said get me all the papers. They got me the papers and I read. It’s a little bit unlike Babangida.

“But if Babangida had decided on becoming a septuagenarian that will be a fool, I think one should probably do what the Bible says in Proverbs chapter 26, verse 4. It says: ‘don’t answer a fool because you may also become like him.’

“When you go to the same Proverbs chapter 26, verse 5, it says, answer a fool so that he will not think he’s a wise man. So, I am now torn between which of the two verses I should follow in this respect. Some of the things he said, unfortunately, were not well thought-out.” According to Obasanjo, no successive government after he left as military Head of State in 1979 built any new dam to complement the ones at Jebba and Shiroro built under him except the Egbin Plant that he initiated and was later completed by the Shehu Shagari-led government.

He wondered why Babangida would describe his eight-year rule as wasted, explaining that he (Babangida) had the opportunity to build more power plants and dams when he was President, considering the amount of money the nation had in its coffers then. “When I was the military Head of State, I built Jebba dam; built Shiroro dam, I prepared the foundation of Egbin Plant, which President Shagari completed and commissioned. That time the money we were making was not up to the money Babangida was making annually for his eight years and yet, we built two dams. Because it was important, you know that power is the driving force for development and for any developing country.

“But since the building of Egbin Power Plant, until I came back in 1999, there was not any generating plant for almost 20 years and Babangida spent eight years out of that. Now, he has the audacity to talk about anybody. I think that is unfortunate.” Obasanjo stressed that Babangida’s comment on his tenure as a civilian president between 1999 and 2007 was unfortunate, adding that rather than being angry, he felt the former military president deserved sympathy.

“I also read where he said in his time, he gave the dividends of democracy and at the same time he regretted. When I read that, well, I said, Babangida should be pitied and shown sympathy rather than anger or condemnation because the old saying which says a fool at 40 is a fool forever and I would say a regret at 70 is regret too late. Well, a regret at 70 is a regret to the grave.”

On el-Rufai’s allegations at the just-concluded probe of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Obasanjo confirmed that he actually blocked the privatization of the Nigeria Airways which he said was deliberate, considering the heavy burden the sale of the Airways would put on the country. Obasanjo recalled that during his regime as military ruler, Nigeria Airways had 32 aircraft, but had only one left by the time he returned as elected president, 20 years later.

His words: “I blocked the sale of Nigeria Airways, not that I attempted to block the sale of Nigeria Airways. When I was military Head of State, Nigeria Airways had 32 aircraft, by the time I came back as elected president, Nigeria Airways had only one aircraft. “ One of the 32 was a wide body, they have all gone and the report on which we worked is here, the amount of money we will have to pay if Nigeria Airways was sold, what we would get out of it is less than 10 per cent of the debt we have to pay. That will be the debt Nigeria taxpayers will have to pay; that will not be the way to run the affairs of this country.

“I won’t run my own affairs that way, so, I opted for liquidation. So, it was bankrupt, it was liquidated; in which case whatever you gain from liquidation which is also a form of sale, it means the burden will be shared by all the creditors and everybody. So, if I owe you 10 dollars and what I sell when I am liquidated is two. That’s what you get.

“I did not allow normal privatization or sale because it would have put a very heavy burden on Nigeria. So, Nigerians should know that and in fact, my administration should be commended for that. It’s not that I did not allow that sale because the law establishing its sale and liquidation is also a form of sale.” Asked whether he would honour any invitation from the panel that investigated the BPE, Obasanjo said he was ready to appear before any panel, adding jokingly:  “I’m available.”

The erratic power supply in the country also attracted the attention of the former president, assuring Nigerians that if the Goodluck Jonathan administration continued with the trend of building power plants as being done in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the country  by 2013, would be generating nothing less than 10,000 megawatts annually.
He said  that his civilian administration built Papalanto, Omotosho and two other power plants to boost power supply.

“Then as elected president, I built Papalanto, Omotosho and two others. I started five of what they called Independent Power Plants (IPP) which were stopped for two and a half years. Now the present administration has started building a new power project at Uyo.

“As a country, Nigeria should be adding nothing less than 1,500 megawatts annually. South Africa with a population of 50 million people generates 50,000 megawatts. Nigeria with a population of about 165 million, we are not generating. We, as at 1999 met 1,500 megawatts before we took it up to 4,000 megawatts. They have started building on what we initiated,” he concluded.

Culled from Sun onlinenews

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sam Loco Efe

Sam Loco Efe is one of the most talented actors of contemporary Nigerian theatre. He has for many years distinguished himself as a rare talent for both Television (TV) and stage drama. I am Sam Loco from Benin in Edo State. Many people misplace my surname for a Delta man. Efe is a Benin name although the Urhobo people popularised it. Efe means Wealth in Benin as it also means in Urhobo but it means Cloth in Ibo. My surname is fully pronounced   Efeeimwonkiyeke, meaning ‘wealth has no time limit.’ One can be wealthy at 90 when people must have lost hope. What actually happened was that my grandmother was having only female children and after so many years, she gave birth to my father at an old age and when he arrived, the name given to him is "you see now my wealth has finally arrived." I later inherited this from my father as I was the last of my parents’ children and the only male child.

The beginning
I was born here in Enugu, but I spent my childhood in Abakaliki and a modest attempt at becoming an actor was what triggered my passion for the stage. There was a time, Government College, Umuahia came to Abakaliki with a production. We all got so excited and I said to myself that if these men can stay on stage before a large audience and render their lines without looking into any book or script, there must be something magical about it.
A few bold ones among us asked them some questions after the production and they said it was a matter of training and perseverance. So, when they left, I attempted a play that was larger than our collegiate level. I decided to produce William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. I acted Caesar and also directed it without any formal training.

A different Ceasar
Finally, when my own Julius Ceasar was ready, I registered it for the provincial festival of arts. I was aware that other contestants came from institutions of higher learning like the Teachers Training Colleges. We participated as primary school pupils and took the last position in the competition but I was adjudged the best actor.
We were deeply influenced by the Roman films such that we presented how Caesar was stabbed by Brutus severally instead of one single fatal stab. We ended ours with a sword fight between Caesar and Brutus which lasted for about 20 minutes, Before Caesar eventually died, all the judges were laughing throughout the fight because they knew that we have gone beyond what Shakespeare wrote. From that point, I never looked back; having been launched into the theatre since 1960.

Going to school in the East then was tough. It was not like the Western Region where students got everything free. It was tough for us, so my nephew and I alternated street trading on a yearly basis to enable the other acquire education. But because of the staccato arrangement, I must confess that I had to attend so many primary schools.
I was a very good footballer and so I went to almost ten secondary schools playing football and getting scholarships here and there and I was stubborn as well. As I was being admitted into one, I was being expelled from another.

I would say that my popularity started in Benin around 1968 because when I arrived there, I formed the Overamwem National Theatre Group (ONTG). My group represented Mid-West (Area 2 division) in most National Arts festivals and we were into so many other things. I’ve already made my name before getting into the University of Ibadan. I just wanted to go and receive more training. My group won a lot of laurels and in 1969, I joined Michelin at Ijora and just as I’ve have always had it in schools, I was sacked from Michelin and I moved to Dunlop.

Hotel De Jordan
I was still in Dunlop when Hotel De Jordan series started (1970). I played one of the lead characters called Picado Suberu. From there, I was drafted into playing the only Ibo (Chief Ukata Biribiri) character in the play . Hotel De Jordan was never recorded, it was a live show and if we made mistakes, it would go into to the homes directly.

At that time, some few minutes before we take off, people would troop to NTA Benin to see us Live, while others stay glued to their television sets. Even when some Germans came to see us on set, they were baffled by the production of the serial. I remember the day they increased our fees to N15 - there was great joy among the cast. Hotel De Jordan was totally creative.

Village Headmaster Vs Hotel De Jordan
The powers that be did not allow Hotel De Jordan to enjoy national airtime because they felt it would open the eyes of the ordinary citizens. They kept promising us that it would go network and that promise lasted until the production was rested.

The play had entertainment value and all that. Even people on transit through Benin that saw the play wondered why it was not on the network belt of the NTA. But that is Nigeria because those who created their own programmes did not want other programmes to compete with theirs. 
Lead role in Langbodo, FESTAC ’77
There was an order by the federal government that all the states of the federation should bring their best actors to Ibadan for audition. I was not a staff of the then Bendel Art Council, but I received an invitation. However, on the day we were to make the trip, I got to the council’s office and one of them started calling names. I listened but I did not hear my name. So, I approached the man and lodged my complaint. He replied, " Oga abi you no see say your name no dey inside?".

The then Director of the Bendel Art Council, Aig Imoru saw me storming out and asked me what was going on. I showed him the the letter they sent to me and asked him why my name was dropped.

The man did not offer any tangible explanation. Fortunately, two of the people whose names were in the list did not show up, so the director said to me, " Sam Loco take your load in and find a seat." He therefore made a philosophical statement, which I would never forget as long as I live. He said, " this is a rejected stone but he will surprise you." We went to Ibadan and returned. Thereafter, we received a formal letter to report to camp

Picking a role in Langbodo
The personalities and the quality of actors in the camp were so intimidating. In the likes of Jimi Solanke, Femi Osofisan (Now Professor), Dr. Seinde Arigbede among others. So, I was on the look out for a role in which I would have few competitors. First, I started with the role of the Obong of Calabar. I read the lines on the first day and the Director was impressed. But during the second and final reading, I was told that I hadn’t the nuances of the Efiks. So, I lost the role.
I moved on to try the role of the Ostrich, which had only four lines. I read the script well but I was told that my neck was too stiff. I did not know that a small boy in Hotel De Jordan got that role. As soon as I lost the role, members of the Bendel Art Council were sarcastically re-echoing what their Oga said about me earlier. "See the man wey oga say na rejected stone oh (he is been rejected up and down)." So, I went to play the role of a tree but I was not flexible enough. After that, I went for beads making. We were making beads and from time to time, if any Artiste failed to show up, Professor Adelugba would shout, " Sam Loco, go and read those lines. At a point, he started calling me Roving Ambassador. One day, Jimi Solanke failed to show up. While I was busy making beads, I was called upon to read out the part which I did. 

Trouble in Langbodo
Out of the seven lead characters in the play six of them came from the old Bendel State. Then others started grumbling and protesting aloud. Some people felt that the best way to end the crisis was to drop Sam Loco. The production team went and brought somebody back from his study leave in England to play Akarogun (the role I won by merit). They toiled all night to make him play the role but at the end, he kept on fumbling and wobbling. John Ikwere asked sarcastically, if there is any other person from Germany?" I beg let Sam Loco play his role. That is how I ended up playing the role, which almost cost me my life. On the night of the performance I was attacked spiritually I would prefer to describe it as slightly. My legs suddenly swelled up. I couldn’t even perform but late Wale Ogunyemi who wrote the script threatened that he would withdraw his script if I did not play that role.
Competition for roles
Remember that all the states of the federation were represented. The drama turned out to be the best drama entry for FESTAC. Secondly, there were more players than positions. it was like having ten Okocha’s for a match, yet only one of them will wear jersey number 10. Nevertheless, it was a nice family and it was almost impossible to uncover the bad eggs in the camp. We thank God nobody died in camp.

Obasanjo did not watch Langbodo live
Nigeria had just two major entries for the Performative Arts in FESTAC. There was a dance, titled Children of Paradise, and Langbodo. OBJ as the Head of State was at the performance of the Dance entry. But as the story went then, at a particular point we learnt that he hissed and walked out. Remember that many African countries came with fantastic dances, but wanted to reflect our cultural diversity and that was what killed the entry. At the end of the day, it was like we had too many ingredients for one soup. So, Obasanjo walked out midway into the performance. So, when he was told that Nigeria was presenting a play, the ghost of the Children of Paradise was still haunting him, so he did not come to see Langbodo. But when he learnt about good impressions generated by the play; even among the Heads of States in attendance, he (OBJ) later came to visit us at our FESTAC Town camp and ordered the NTA to air the play every morning for the duration of the festival.

Why the Langbodo artistes ended up great
The Langbodo artistes are latent world beaters in their individual rights. The play became a medium through, which most of them were able to let out the steam in them and thereafter exploded. The same set of artistes hit the screen with Nigeria’s first serial drama on television Winds Against My Soul. Langbodo changed the focus and attitude of many people that took part in it. Today, many of those people are either alive and waxing stronger or are dead but left indelible marks behind.

Between the stage and screen
Basically, I am a one-man riot squad. Whatever I set my mind on I can accomplish. I have mastered the art of taking one step first and when the stream is not too wide then I take another step. My earlier training whether formal or informal was on the stage. The transition wasn’t what I would describe as difficult. When people were trying to transit from stage to the tube, some found it difficult because the demand was that you should be better off on stage physically but on tube, you need some mental inputs and all that. I was always involved in WNTV programmes. So, I started looking at these things as no more challenges but excitements you know. 

Home video
Cinema culture was coming into Nigeria gradually but many people did not realize it. I got to know this long ago. Somehow, I knew that movies would soon overthrow live theatre. I got to know that in Europe that was already happening and that only the true lovers of live theatre are sustaining it.
I took part in some of the first few Nigerian movies shot on celluloid. When the explosion took place I was already home and dry. I can say that I am a stage and screen artiste to the core and my interests had never clashed.

Sam Loco’s influence
I am always pleasantly surprised whenever I read some of the interviews of our young actors and many of them that I have not even met attribute their rise to my influence, I feel so fulfilled knowing that I have influenced so many people so positively.

Challenges in Nollywood
I can say that the movie industry began with genuine theatre and movie people. As soon as things started getting better, charlatans found their ways into it. In their legion now there are a mixture of purpose, some are in Nollywood not because of the urge to be a Thespian nor the willingness to learn but I believe that as time goes on, we shall flush such people out. This is a house I helped to build and it would be madness for me to allow people with no history to rubbish the much that has been achieved.

Marketers and some actors
I don’t buy the idea that he who pays the piper dictates the tune, I can agree half-way that he who pays the piper suggests the tune. If you dictate and I can’t play the exact tune, what then happens? So the marketers came in and started cornering the entire business to themselves by pumping in huge sums of money. When the elites or graduates came in with an alternative market, for four months, they produced four films and made some millions and suddenly became more Catholic than Pope. Before long, that experiment died. If they had succeeded with the alternative market there would have emerged a kind of healthy rivalry. After they failed, the trader-producer re-emerged full-force and now they are in full control and people are shouting. I will not just go and make a statement on the present problems because I want to be quoted as having said whatever I say. You see the marketers have the market, we have the tools, they don’t employ us, we employ ourselves. Nobody employs Sam Loco, no! They employ my services.

Parley with marketers
When I assumed the position of the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, the first thing I set out to do was to establish contacts with the marketers and invite them to a family meeting. The issues involved, I did not spell out but they knew it. “First and foremost, let us realign that word, ‘ban.’ It is no ban because you cannot ban a creative mind. You can say, you want to discontinue their services to you.” We slated a meeting of the AGN for February but because of the various states’ elections it has been impossible for us to meet. You’d remember that the state elections generated a lot of heat that could have ruined the image of the AGN. I believe that before we conduct the national election we must have held the meeting. I believe that the meeting should bring to an end this ugly trend that has done anyone no good. We shall tell ourselves the home truth and if there is any aspect of our behaviours that is not good, I will apologize for that and if there is any on their part I will also demand for an apology on behalf of my members.

Story lines of Nigerian movies
I would not say that I am satisfied but I would rather say that I am happy with the progress made so far. Critics in Nigeria like to jump the gun. How old is Nollywood? We cannot deny that the story lines are getting better, even as we cannot deny that the performers are also helping to make things get better. However, there is a need for continued training by the stakeholders in the industry. But we shouldn’t deny that progress is been made.

Best paid job
I think Langbodo was my first truly well paid job. Being a national production we were well paid. I was being treated like an egg because I played the lead role. On screen, I think it’s my best paid job.
How come you never thought of remarrying? {Oct 2007}

My wives died. I owe them one small honour. My youngest child is about 24. I am not used to old women; and if I go and marry a girl of 24 who will be the same age with my last son, my last son might be tempted to ‘chase’ the girl. It does not pay me at all. There will be no intra or inter family respect any more. You don’t expect my first son, who will be older than my new wife, to call her madam. But as long as she is the wife in the house, she should be respected. So you see, there is nothing I can do unless I want to create explosive situations: your family would be sitting on a powder keg, which requires only a matchstick to it ablaze.

But I have married o. I have six wives. My six children are my wives.

So what is your vision like, what do we expect?

I have told you that I am going back to farming. I am going to be as successful as I am as an actor right there on the farm.

And remember there is a role for everyone. Instead of making up a young boy who is 30 to act the role of a 100-year-old man, I can act that role. Still, we must leave the stage when the ovation is loudest.

Where is home for you now? Is it Enugu or Onitsha or Benin?

I am an actor plenipotentiary. I am the most Nigerian actor. I don’t believe in segmentation. I am from Benin like I told you, but I am one of the few prophets who have not visited home much but who are known in their home.

If I had been younger, if I had thought about it when I was younger, I would have taken wives from all the tribes in the country.

Culled from edoworld

Friday, 5 August 2011

Lagos Incessant Flood

Lagos is a very low lying State, relatively flat in topography, near the Coast (Atlantic Ocean) and is served by many Rivers as well as lagoons. Under normal circumstances, when water is to flow by natural means, (that is under the force of gravity), it does so from a higher level to a lower level. It is now no doubt that a heavy downpour of rain would cause flood. 
Nevertheless, Lagosians are the major cause of the present state they find themselves. You ask me why, that is because they never stop dumping refuse into the drains, which sometimes do not get cleared as often as they should. Also people construct buildings along natural drainage routes and on flood plains. 
More so, many Nigerian roads have challenges of poor materials utilised for construction, poor design as well as poor supervision of coordination. There is the need to let people know that they have to change their orientation towards waste disposal. There should be enlightenment campaign to this effect. Drainage design can be changed in some heavily built areas of the city to meet disposal needs of the people. There could be open drains and covered drains to serve different areas of the metropolis.
If proper steps are taken, i believe flood will reduce in Lagos.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Okonjo Iweala Still Absent As Weekly Meetings of FEC Kicks Off

 The first weekly meeting of Federal Executive Council, since the election of President Goodluck Jonathan kicked off on Wednesday morning with Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala still conspicuously absent. This followed the swearing in of the last batch of ministerial appointees by the President last Thursday.

Okonjo-Iweala had returned to Washington to finalise her disengagement from the World Bank where she was a managing director immediately after she was cleared by the Senate about three weeks ago.
She was also not among the last batch of nine ministers sworn in last Thursday by the President.
The presidency had earlier indicated that the former finance minister in the administration of ex President Olusegun Obasanjo had gone back to Washington to clear her desk before resuming her duties in the Nigerian cabinet.
Though it has not been officially announced, it is however open secret that Okonjo-Iweala will take the finance portfolio in the cabinet.
The President has already appointed a junior minister of finance while Olusegun Aganga, who was the senior minister in the finance ministry before the reconstitution of the cabinet, is now overseeing the newly created Trade and Investment ministry. She had during her screening at the Senate faulted the 2011 budget which she said is not targeting at development of the country with 74 percent allocated for recurrent spending. The World Bank managing director had also lamented Nigeria’s high unemployment rate, affirming that growth in the economy must lead to creation of jobs.
The World Bank managing director who got famous for leading the efforts that led to the payment of Nigerian foreign debt as member of former President Obasanjo’s cabinet, it was also believed, will be the head of the Economic Management Team of the present government.
It is however not yet clear when she will resume duties in the cabinet. But nearly all the other ministers were present at the cabinet meeting which kicked off at the 10am usual time and being presided over by President Jonathan.
No doubt, the star cabinet member at the maiden meeting of FEC is Emeka Wogu, Minister of Labour who received numerous warm handshakes and bear hugs from his colleagues for his feat in averting the planned three day national strike by the organized labour.

Carbon Fumes Drugged ACN Chieftains


Contrary to our story on Friday, that eight politicians were allegedly drugged and abducted in Lagos, the true story is that nobody was drugged or abducted.
The politicians, during a news conference at the Bariga Local Council Development Area of Lagos State at the weekend, said they were not kidnapped as was thought by the police and the public.
Speaking on behalf of the others, at the briefing, Mr. Jimoh Ajibola, Chairman Ward A, Bariga LCDA, said it was carbon monoxide from the exhaust pipe that was broken and kept inside the vehicle they were driving in that led to their drowsiness.
According to Ajibola, they had gone to AM To PM Hotel at Ibafo, Ogun State, where they were supposed to have a meeting with the Chairman of Bariga LCDA, Akeem Sulaimon, on the way forward for grassroots politics in the area.
He said the chairman was not aware of their coming to the hotel but that while they were there, they called him, but was then at a state meeting, adding that because of the bad road in the area, the exhaust pipe of their car got broken and they kept it in the vehicle, while the glasses were wound up and the carbon monoxide in the exhaust pipe circulated in the vehicle.
This, he said, caused their drowsiness and dizziness, adding that nobody drugged or abducted them.
He absolved the council chairman from blame over the incident, saying that since they had the same political affiliation with the politician, he could not have done them any harm.
Another victim, Taiwo Mustapha, the driver of the vehicle, said he was surprised when the police branded him a kidnapper and beat him after striping him.
“I was beaten and stripped naked, while a female police officer even said I should be chained in the cell because they believed I may disappear. I was also affected by the fumes,” he explained.
Contributing, the chaiman of Bariga LCDA, Mr. Sulaiman, said he never suspected any foul play and that the eight politicians were never drugged or abducted, noting that the exhaust pipe kept inside their vehicle led to their drowsiness, which made it to appear as if they had been drugged.
According to him, many people had lost their lives by inhaling carbon monoxide, saying this was capable of making them drowsy.
“When I got to the scene, I said the only thing that could have made hem drowsy was the carbon monoxide which they may have inhaled and this was confirmed.
“The driver is one of the ward chairmen in Bariga and not a kidnaper, while his colleagues were not drugged or poisoned.
According to their explaination, when they put the exhaust pipe in the vehicle, they noticed some itching in their eyes and some of them passed out,” he stated.
The chairman said he had no scores to settle with the victims as they were his political children and that they had been visiting the hotel several times before the day of the incident, adding tha he had given a standing order that any time they went there, they should be given free accommodation and food, among others, which, he said, has been happening for several years. “I did not know they were at the hotel because I was at a state meeting at Oriental Hotel. They said that as the local government election is around the corner and with several aspirants coming to seek their support, they needed to see me to know who they should give their support. That was why they wanted to see me,” the council chief, fondly called Oris, explained further.
Culled from PM News