‘We Are From The Presidency’, Armed Men Who Invaded My Household Proclaimed – High Chief Sola Ogunsanya, Regent Of Iloko
High Chief Sola Ogunsanya is the regent of Iloko-Ijesa, in Oriade Local Government Area. A businessman and veteran politician, the High Chief equally shoulders the responsibility of Liaison Officer to the Governor for the LGA. No wonder why his presence around during the August 2014 governorship election, was seen as a threat by the opposition. He was subsequently removed from circulation in the wee hours of the E-Day by security operatives who claimed to be carrying out orders from the Presidency. He, here, tells the story in his own words:
I am High Chief Joel Olusola Ogunsanya. I am the Risa of Iloko-Ijesa and also the Regent of Iloko-Ijesa. We are in Ward 11 of Oriade Local Government of Osun State. I had very nasty experience during the August 2014 Governorship election. I was asleep with my two wives in their rooms, making three of us in the house, and a night guard outside.
Around 4 a.m., in the wee hours of the Election Saturday, August 9, I heard the noise of some vehicles moving in front of the house. I woke up. Later, I peeped through my window and I saw these armed people jumping over the fence into my premises. I could count up to about 20 of them and, just like in a movie, they surrounded the house. They picked up the night guard, directing him to go and call me. He did, saying ‘Oga, Oga.’ I did not answer and nobody answered. I just heard one of them shouting: ‘If they doesn’t open the door, break the door.’ It was then I started to hear ‘gba! gba! gba!’ I kept my cool. I also enjoined my wives to remain calm in their rooms and keep praying.
The invaders could not gain entry into the building until about twenty to five, because they are iron doors. As I sat beside the window, I saw them passing through, here and there, moving round. I just kept quiet. They got to my room eventually after breaking so many rooms; the rooms of my children who were not at home; virtually everywhere. It’s a big house quite right, but it was only three of us that were in, with the night guard. They used very thick iron rod and were banging at the iron doors as if heaven should fall. Then, they started going to all the rooms one by one; the ones that were locked, they broke them until when they got to my own room. They broke into it and they now met me where I was seated in the toilet. They then retorted: ‘We’ve been knocking since morning, why did you not open?’ I quickly responded saying ‘I thought you are armed robbers.’ And they said: ‘We are not armed robbers. We are from the Presidency. We are security people.’ I then got up, put off my pajamas, put on my dress. They asked me to follow them as they left my house around three minutes to five. When I got outside, I saw seven vehicles. FRSC vehicle was there, Civil Defence was there as well as that of the Army.
They now dragged me into one of the vehicles and headed for the DSS office, Osogbo. We got to the DSS office after 6 o’clock in the morning. There, I saw many of our people who I later identified to have been picked up from different parts of the state. They were there in the DSS premises lying flat on the ground. The man who brought me said ‘If you like, stand up; if you like, sit down on the floor.’ I decided to sit down. I could not stand up. Whilst I was in the DSS office, they did not ask me anything. Nobody took any statement from me. They just took my entry, that is, ‘What is your name? What do you have on you? Took my phone, the money in my pocket. They bound it together and wrote my name on it. That’s all.
Around 8 a.m., when one of their bosses at the DSS office came in, I think he asked ‘What has that old man done?’ They said ‘Nothing’. And he said ‘Take him to that room there’. As I was ushered into the room, I met the Attorney General of the state as well as the Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Wale Adedoyin. I also met some others like that sitting in there. We were together inside the room, chatting until about 11.30 to 12 noon. It was at about that time that a woman, whom I think is their Director, came in and asked us to go, on the recognition of the Attorney General. She merely asked us to go. But I queried: ‘How do we go back? And what have we done?’ When she observed that I was becoming too vocal, she then said ‘Just go.’ She then released our phones and arranged a car to take me to Ilesa. She specifically charged the driver: ‘Don’t go beyond Ilesa. Wherever you can stay there, stay there.’ And eventually, I got to Ilesa. From there, I called one of my boys, who is in the security patrol, who assisted me to Iloko.
Before I got home, the news of my arrest had seriously spread across the land like wildfire. And by the time the crowd saw me returning into their midst, it was jubilation galore and the other people, the PDP, were sad because they had used their mouth to mess themselves, not me, all about wishing that I would die in detention.
The PDP people were actually after me because of the fact that I am the leader of APC in Oriade Local Government Area. I am the Governor’s Liasion Officer in Oriade Local Government Area. You should also take notice of the fact that I am a well known politician in the local government area before this Regency thing came up. So, they thought that if they are able to pick me up, they will be able to destabilize my party men and put them in disarray. But they were erroneous in their thinking as I had an equally good politician who took over in my absence.
Mind you, the party leadership had made it even clear during the campaign that if anybody threatens to pick you up, don’t run away from them. The most important thing is the vote of the people. Our belief is that there must be some risk in life. If the risk comes, all well and good. It was only last week, after my return, that I repaired all the damaged doors of my house. I bought new keys. I think it cost about seventy something thousand naira to put them back in shape.
When I look back at my experience in the hands of these security operatives, I think it is not good for democracy. It is sad that people can organize themselves in this way. People covering their faces with masks, invading your household in the dead of the night like that, to pick you up. Anybody can, in the guise of security, build on that to perpetrate havoc in the society. It is not ideal.
One of my wives, who is not a politician, had momentary shock. But the other one, because we have been in politics together, know what could happen. She had heard that ‘If they pick me, continue.’ So, she went out, and when our people saw her, they could not feel too much distressed. Another thing about the experience was that it could have sent out many people into not voting. If I was around, definitely, my presence would have influenced many people positively.
My Message to Nigerians over future polls
First of all, I congratulate Osun people for their ruggedness and for standing by the truth. If not for their boldness, they (the opposition) could have rigged the election. They (the opposition) had ballot papers which they had planned to dump and exchange. But people were so vigilant everywhere. And people came out in their numbers to show their grievances against victimization and harassment. So, for Nigerians, we need to stand up together and do not allow election to be in that form. We should not allow soldiers at all. If security men should be around, let them only block the road for necessary checks, and that’s all; so that there won’t be vehicular movement. But when it comes to carrying guns to polling booths, it is not ideal for democracy; it is intimidating… it can scare the people. And I can now see very well what happened in Ekiti. If it had been Osun earlier, we would have been caught hands down as well.
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