By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
The controversy trailing the book authored by former Osun State Governor Chief Bisi Akande is far from over, with the revelation made by the leader of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, regarding how he built his Lekki, Lagos home.
Akande, who is also a former Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in his book “My Participations”, claimed that Adebanjo pestered APC National Leader Bola Tinubu to build the Lekki house for him.
Adebanjo, however, denied the allegation in a press statement on Thursday, giving his account of how he built his house located at Ayo Adebanjo Close, Off Adebayo Doherty Street, Lekki Phase 1.
The Afenifere leader refuted the claims of Akande in his book regarding how he became a homeowner in Lekki, saying all he used to acquire the property was from the proceeds of his personal property that he sold and a loan.
He stated that Tinubu did not finance his Lekki home, instead, Adebanjo alleged, Tinubu built a house for Akande.
The 93-year-old Afenifere leader asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the sources of the wealth of Tinubu and Akande.
While giving an account of how he sold his property, Adebanjo said one of the lands sold was given to him by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
He said it was shocking that Tinubu had yet to set the record straight on the allegation made by Akande despite the former Lagos governor once praising him (Adebanjo) for his ‘incorruptibility and strength of character.’
The statement read:
‘About a week ago, last Thursday, December 7 to be exact, at the presentation of the book, ‘MY PARTICIPATION’, by Chief Bisi Akande, it was said that Chief Bisi Akande stated in the book that I brought pressure on Bola Tinubu to build a house for me.
‘But since Bola Tinubu himself was present at the presentation, I expect him within a few days to refute such a malicious falsehood about me emanating from his man.
‘I hold this view because Bola Tinubu just some three years ago on the occasion of the presentation of my autobiography, ‘SAYING IT AS IT IS’, that for my incorruptibility and strength of character, he, Bola Tinubu, would not have been Governor of Lagos State in 1999. What then could he be demanding from me after his two-term governorship to make me pressurise him to build a house for me when I did not get a naira from him before he became the governor?
‘There has been a lot of pressure on me not to react to Chief Bisi Akande’s tantrums; he is a neophyte, a beneficiary of a struggle he never took part in. I have been urged to keep to the adage not to ‘Answer a fool lest you reduce yourself to his level’, but there is also an adage that says, ‘Answer a fool lest he thinks he is wise’. A lot has been said in the press and the social media to demolish tantrums.
‘But I owe a duty to myself and to put the record straight for posterity about the big lie that Bola Tinubu built my house in Lekki for me. I, therefore, deny categorically that my house at Lekki was built with my resources through the sale of three developed properties, loan from GTBank and the sale of undeveloped landed property given (to) me by my late leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, of the blessed memory.
‘The details are as follows: A 4-bedroom duplex with 2-bedroom flat enclosed with two undeveloped plots at Plot 4, Block 14 Nuru Oniwo Street, Aguda Surulere, Lagos State; this is where I was living before moving to Lekki. The house was inaugurated in 1972 by Chief Obafemi Awolowo. A wing of the duplex was once occupied by a staff of the security outfit then known as “Special Branch” headed then by the late Alhaji MD Yussuf who later became Inspector General of Police when General Olusegun Obasanjo was the Head of State.
‘It was later occupied by one of the wives of Chief Pius Akinyelure, who often visited his wife there in the company with Senator Bola Tinubu. The gate of this property was forced open by (Sani) Abacha security forces when NADECO was holding a send-off party for American ambassador, Walter Carrington, in my house. I took the Federal Government to court for damages and I was awarded N1million which has not been paid till today by the Federal Government. Mr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, was my counsel.
‘The house was sold to St Baths Anglican Church, Aguda, Surulere. Two storey building at Odedola Street, Surulere, Lagos State. I bought it through an estate agent by the name Mr Shiwoniku who has relocated to the UK; he has a brother who is a legal practitioner in Abuja. The house was sold to a Ghanaian by the name Mr Akappo.
‘He is still alive and he lives in one of the flats in the building. Four storey buildings with a warehouse on the ground floor and six flats on top. It was inaugurated by Chief Awolowo in 1977. I inherited the plot of 45’X100’ from my mother, Salamotu Anomo-Adebanjo, who built a bungalow on it.
‘She bought the land when I was in primary school in 1940 from one Pa Idowu Onitiri for £20, which she paid by instalment of £10, £7, £3. His son Akanbi Onitiri, executed the conveyance for me without extra payment after showing him the purchase receipts from his father, when I was developing it in 1976. Akanbi Onitiri is the father of Sumbo Onitiri, a well-known estate surveyor in Lagos.The building was sold to a woman through an estate agent. I then took a loan from GTBank to complete the house in Lekki where I am living now.
‘When the interest on the loan became unbearable, I was compelled to sell the undeveloped land given to me by Chief Awolowo in Dide-Olu Estate in Maroko, Victoria Island. One Mr Ade Otusanya, a friend of my son, Femi Ayo-Adebanjo, bought the land. The contractor who built my Lekki house is Engr Hakeem Sulaiman, Senior Partner of Messrs HA associates. The electrical and mechanical contractor is Engr. Tokunbo Oshokoya, Senior Partner of Messrs Oshea Projects. The architect is Mr Deji Johnson. The Quantity Surveyor is the late Otunba TB Adebayo.
‘The Lekki property, the house in my village, Isanya Ogbo, and three bedroom flat in a townhouse at Omorinre Street in Lekki are the properties I have in the whole world.’