By James Ikhide
Recently, who killed Bola Ige question propped up during the screening of ministers by the Senate. As the ministerial nominee from Osun State appeared before the upper legislative chamber, the question was asked from the most unexpected quarter. Senator Uzamere who had just defected from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had to fight to put the poser to the nominee. He wanted to know what role Jelili Adesiyan played in the sensational murder. He wanted to know why the man had been linked with Ige’s murder. He wanted to know why the man was detained for more than three years for allegedly enlisting the men who pumped hot lead into the Cicero of EsaOke.
Some PDP Senators, in sympathy with the man and invoking party solidarity, tried to shield the nominee from answering the billion dollar question. The more they tried to do so, the more Uzamere insisted. Adesiyan, as could be expected, denied. His supporters in the Senate said he could not be sworn on the Quran, but he said he would not mind if one could be found. He said he had no reason to kill Ige who was his mentor. He said Ige had sponsored his education and was a benefactor to his entire family. He then gave way to emotion. The man cried.
The point here is not whether he was actually guilty as charged. Uzamere probably knew that could not be achieved at that point. His objective must have been to tell the world that the matter would not die until the criminals are apprehended and put through the mill of justice. The Senator wanted the world to know that Adesiyan had, at a point, been linked with the high-profile assassination of the former Attorney General of the Federation. He probably wanted to remind the security forces that the matter could never be swept under the carpet; that it is one case whose file should never be closed until the killers are found. And he achieved that much.
Some of us who believe in justice and believe that injustice to one is injustice to all, owe Uzamere gratitude for bringing up the matter. Does it really matter if Adesiyan sails through? In any case, having been freed by the law, unless there is fresh evidence linking him to the death, he cannot be stopped on that score. However, it is not only in the interest of Ige’s political associates and the general public that the murderers be unveiled. It is in the interest of all those mentioned and detained for the murder, too.
Until the killers are unmasked, they remain suspects in the eyes of the public. One of the unresolved murders probably masterminded by political considerations, the most prominent figure whose assassination was cited was the late Chief Bola Ige. He was an ebullient politician, an orator, a redoubtable debater and perhaps the most colourful politician in the South West at the time he was killed. Today, as was the refrain then, the question remains: who killed Bola Ige?
More than a decade after, the assassins must be thinking it is all over. They are now occupying important offices in the land. They are preparing for even more important ones at different levels. We may not know who killed Ige; at least for now. The courts may not be in position to pronounce anyone guilty. The Police may be unwilling to arrest and arraign the real killers again. Osun state, in view of the masterminds and backers of the crime may be unable to institute thorough probe into the matter.
But, it must be observed that what man cannot see, God does. Who man cannot apprehend, God, the ultimate judge, will. Only a myopic person would believe that the matter is over. It is not. Ige fought all through life. Even now, he continues to fight. And, victory is certain. Who killed Ige? To what avail? Who was so desperate to ensure that Ige did not mount the soap box to campaign against the PDP in 2014? Why and on whose instruction did the police arrest some men alongside strong suspects perhaps to discredit the entire investigation process and set the stage for setting all suspects free? Did the Oyo State government diligently handle the case? Given the fact that he was still a top official of the federal government at the time, did the Obasanjo administration do enough to get to the root of the matter?
Only in Nigeria could a serving attorney general and minister of justice be killed and those suspected of the dastardly act free to go about their daily lives as if nothing egregious happened.
Erasmus Ikhide is on linkedIn