Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Saturday March 9, 2019, was another day that will not be forgotten easily in the history of Oyo State, especially in Ibadan, the state capital. It was the day residents voted and elected a new governor for the state.
On the fateful day, blood flowed freely in Ibadan during the conduct of the polls. A serving member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Temitope Olatoye, representing Lagelu/Akinyele Federal Constituency, was shot dead by yet to be identified assailants.
The lawmaker, as gathered, was shot at Lalupon, in Lagelu Local Govenment Area, which was the local government of his origin. But elections in the local government, Daily Sun gathered, have always been characterised by violence and the council has witnessed killings of its own illustrious sons.
Apart from Olatoye, fondly called Sugar, another distinguished son of Lagelu LGA that was murdered was Segun Oladimeji, fondly referred to as Segelu. At the time of his death, he too was serving in the House of Representatives, representing Akinyele/Lagelu Federal Constituency.
Oladimeji, who was killed on Friday, September 15, 2007, was shot in the leg at a local drinking joiint in Ejioku, which is about two kilometres from Lalupon, where Olatoye was shot. Oladimeji did not survive the gunshot. It has been rumoured that the person that shot Oladimeji dead is the same person that perhaps pulled the trigger that dispatched Olatoye to his early grave.
Then military Head of State, Gen. Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, and former military governor of the defunct Western Region, Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, were also assassinated in the same axis in July 1966 when Aguiyi-Ironsi was on a state visit to the Western Region and Fajuyi received him in Ibadan, the regional capital.
Lagelu LGA, with headquarters at Iyana Offa, was created in 1976. The council consists of over 1,076 towns and villages such as the principal towns of Lalupon, Lagun, Monatan, Ofa, Ejioku, Oyedeji, Kelebe, Sagbe, Elegbaada, Olowode, Wofun, Ogburo, Kutayi, Apatere, Olorunda, Ogunjawa, Ile-Igbon, Iyana Church, Odo Oba, Sukuru and Akinsawe.
Both Olatoye and Oladimeji were said to have worked with the late strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, during their lifetime. Olatoye reportedly served as a youth leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State between 2003 and 2011, before he relocated to his state of origin, and contested to represent Lagelu State Constituency on the platform of the Accord Party. He won.
Daily Sun further gathered that both Oladimeji and Olatoye were allegedly used for dirty jobs by politicians, and they were believed to have fortified themselves spiritually. That made many people doubt that they could ever be shot dead.
But different groups, according to sources, exist in Lagelu LGA that usually cause trouble. The bone of contention has always been agitation for political offices.
However, Olatoye, who was a member of Oyo State House of Assembly from 2011 to 2015, was shot in the head. The bullets hit his left eye, left upper jaw and forehead. He was a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, until he left the party in the last quarter of 2018 when he lost the Oyo Central senatorial ticket to former Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin, who is now a senator-elect. He defected to Action Democratic Party (ADP), where he picked the ticket, contested on February 23, 2019, and lost.
While in ADP, he was said to have worked against the electoral success of the APC in the local government, as he reportedly directed his teeming followers to vote for Mr. Seyi Makinde of the PDP during the guber election. Makinde was returned as winner of the poll.
The federal lawmaker reportedly ran into an ambush laid for him by his attackers when he was returning from his village, Alape, in Lagelu LGA, where he had gone to vote. As gathered, it was an epic battle between Olatoye, chairman, House Committee on Urban Development and Regional Planning, and his attackers during the encounter. Many people from both sides were reportedly killed.
After the incident, he was rushed to the University College Hospital (UCH), where he was admitted in the Accident and Emergency Unit of the teaching hospital. He was later said to have given up the ghost around 7:45pm in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.
The head of public relations at UCH, Mr.. Toye Akinrinlola, confirmed to journalists on Saturday that Olatoye died while medics battled to save his life.
One of Olatoye’s aides, who preferred anonymity, said: “Sugar was badly injured, though he was also courageous to defend himself very well. He was shot in the eye and was taken to the accident and emergency unit of UCH.”
The death of Olatoye heightened tension in the Ibadan on Saturday evening and Sunday. Gunshots were heard in many parts of Ibadan, including Moniya, Akinyele, Ojoo, Iwo Road, Iyana Church, Alakia, Adegbayi, and Orita-Aperin. Also, it was rumoured that a number of people in Ibadan were shot dead.
The rumour forced many residents of the state capital to stay indoors. Those that went outside quickly returned home, or stayed where they were until the shooting subsided.
However, the commissioner of police in Oyo State, Mr. Shina Olukolu, has described the stories on the social media that notable people were murdered in Ibadan as false, urging purveyors of fake news to desist from doing so and follow the ethics of journalism.
On the death of Olatoye, Olukolu said the police have launched an intensive investigation into the killing of Olatoye, as he urged the public, especially the bereaved family, to be calm. He assured them that the perpetrators of the killing would be arrested and prosecuted.