Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.comand NigeriaCentral.com

Fryo and Omisore: Some troublingthoughts

By Dr. Ibiyinka Solarin

Mymission is my column, this week, is not about the probableculpability or otherwise of the duo above on the assassination of theformer attorney general and minister of justice of the FederalRepublic of Nigeria, Ajibola Idowu Ige. The legal process willunravel that and I have to confess the wound of this heinous act isstill too raw for me to attempt a semblance of any objectiveanalysis. What is agitating my mind is how these two come to bethrown up in the socio-political discourse of the Nigerian society. Ihave read and re-read the interview grantedby Iyiola Omisore, deputy governor of Osun state, to the December2001 edition of the Tempo magazine.

I implore the readers of this article to please get a copy of theedition of magazine to read for themselves. The December 29 2001online edition of the Newswatch magazine reproduced it, in case onedoes not have access to the original. Reading Iyiola Omisore in theinterview made me sick and I dare say it will make many sick. I askedmy self over and over again, 'how could a character such as thisindividual this be the deputy governor of a state?' The unrestrainedlanguage, the venom and vitrol directed towards both Ige and GovernorBisi Akande would make one's skin crawl.

Here are Omisore's exact words speaking about his Governor(Akande): "He is a nonentity. There were facts that he was at onetime mad. He is an 'alawoku' [literally translated to meanan unredeemed psychiatric patient] and there is no way he can betotally cured of the madness in him." On the assassinated attorneygeneral and minister of justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,Ajibola Ige, Iyiola Omisore had this to say. 'Recently too, Ige cameon the radio here to insult me and my family. THAT IS HIS LAST ONE.[emphasis mine]. He was beaten yesterday, the people of Ifebeat him up and he was crying like a baby as they removed him cap andhis glasses……we had to beg the mob to freehim……if he insults me, he has insulted my people and theyhave the right to react….I had to beg them because WHAT THEPEOPLE WANTED TO DO WAS MORE THAN THAT. IF HE IS WISE, HE MUST NOTCOME TO IFE AGAIN'

Thedesperation that drives Nigeria's contractor-politicians is great andthe murderous ferocity with which they pursue public office in searchof lucre is a veritable indictment of our society. In the interviewreferenced above, Omisore also said he could make the state where isthe deputy governor 'ungovernable'. But with the death of Ige, thearrest of his [Omisore's] and Ige's security aides and thesearch light beamed on him, Omisore in effect did a volte face. Hisexcellency now says, in the Newswatch Jan 18, 2002, sans theexuberance, the glee and triumph evident in the Tempo interview, thathe had ' already walked into the palace [of the Ooni] beforeI realized Bola Ige's cap was removed at all....When we got to thecar park, I was asking my chief detail what happenend?"

Of course this contrasts with the Tempo interview which hederisively and gleefully described Ige as crying like a baby and he[Omisore] had to beg the mob to free him. He denied everknowing Fryo and the chief suspect's allegation that it was Omisorewho instructed his brother Kola Omisore to remove and obtain Ige'scap for him. Omisore says in the Guardian of Jan 17th, 2002 , 'I willnever plan the killing of anybody. I have never in my life conceivedthe idea of killing anybody. I have never even conceived the idea ofthuggery. I don't even know how to harass anybody'. Well, we do notknow for a fact yet what Iyiola Omisore did or did not do withregards to the murder of Ajibola Ige. All we have so far areallegations of his probable involvement from a suspect. If theinvestigation leads to him and his guilt is established, and we speaknot of vicarious guilt here, he ought to be made to rue the day anddamn the hour he conceived of homicide as a weapon of electoralpolitics.

With respect to Olugbenga Damola Adebayo, a.k.a.Fryo, the questionthat comes to mind is how did a product of a Nigerian universitybecome a hired gun, a political hack, hatchet man and a thug? He wasby his account hired to rent a mob to disrupt the proceedings at theOsun state house of assembly, to rent a mob to embarrass andphysically assault the attorney general and minister of justice ofthe Federal Republic of Nigeria and he was present at the'celebration' of the success of the assault where an assignment tomurder Ige was proposed to him by Iyiola Omisore. Students ofNigerian universities are available as hired guns, thugs and partyhacks? Fryo mentioned being given various sums of money by Omisore togo to Abuja and to pay for the merriment to celebrate the assault onIge.

He was told to move into the Peoples Democratic Party from theAlliance for Democracy, preparatory to the chief financier Omisorefollowing suit. All this he said he did at the instance andinstigation of Omisore. Fryo in ThisDay Sat Jan 19th 2002, describedhimself as a 'small fly' who is being offered as a scape goat. Heappears not to see himself as responsible for his actions. Nowheredid he suggest that he was coerced or pressured , he was a willingand paid hack, masquerading as a student of Obafemi AwolowoUniverstity. He said he 'mobilised ' his fellow students for theseactivities on behalf of Omisore. Obviously his confederates were paidtoo.

Iyiola Omisore and Damola Adebayo represent the reality of thepolitical praxis of our electoral politics. These two individuals canpoint to no animating impulse or ideas that drive them into seekingpublic office beyond the search for lucre.

We do not know yet if investigation will reveal that that theirdesperation drove them to homicide but we know that their conduct andutterances are no way aberrant .There are many like them in all thepolitical parties as well as the tiers of government in our societyas the politically inspired killings in many other states [ i. e,Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Abia, Bornu ] have shown.

If the investigation establishes a case of conspiracy to commitmurder as well as murder is established ; and their guilt proven, anexample ought to be made of them. That will help in putting people oftheir ilk on notice that Nigerian democracy is about contestation ofideas and the promotion of the belief in popular consent. That wayour society would have made it clear to all, regardless of how highlyplaced, that violent methods have no place in the democratic Nigeriawe are trying to build.
Solarin, apolitical scientist and university lecturer at Texas College inTyler, is a contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com and USAfricaThe Newspaper where his columns appear.

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