Aremo Olusegun Osoba, former governor of Ogun State has explained why Senator Femi Okurounmu, one of the leaders of Afenifere, is after him, saying that his relentless attacks on him are borne out of “jealousy, envy, and wickedness.”
Osoba, who was responding to Okurounmu’s claim that he was a traitor, a double agent and one of the Yoruba leaders who betrayed the late MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, also described the senator, as a “frustrated and unfulfilled politician” who also failed in his chosen profession.
Speaking in an interview with journalists at his Ikoyi residence, the former governor, who said he would not descend into using uncouth, insulting and gutter languages like Senator Okurounmu did by referring to him as a traitor, a security agent and a double dealer, further said despite the attacks on his person in the last two weeks, he remains unruffled and unmoved.
“On the day I launched my book, I showed a series of pictures and one was me as a boxer at the age of 10. I also titled by book ‘Battlelines’ to show a lot of the blackmail that I suffered in both my professional and political life. As for Okurounmu,
“Yoruba language is highly proverbial and Yoruba will describe Okurounmu’s situation as somebody suffering from a proverb that says ‘Ija ilara kii tan boro, Anjuwon ko see wi l’ejo’ which means ‘when you are envious you carry that burden almost forever and an envious character cannot easily say the reason why he is envious; perhaps God has been too kind and generous to the person he is envious of.’ That is the situation between Okurounmu and I,” Osoba said.
On the claim that he collaborated with the government of the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha while claiming to be a member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Osoba, said: “My answer to that is I pray to God in heaven and our heroes, many who died in the cause of the struggle, particularly those unsung, too many people that suffered that are unsung, but I will be specific with our leaders that wherever they are in heaven, I appeal to them to forgive Okurounmu at 80 because of insinuation that the military government was after me because I was an agent is false.
“Sergeant Rogers was categorical when he was cross-examined by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a renowned authority in the Law of Evidence who was then the Attorney-General of Lagos State. He mentioned names of those of us who were marked down and they were instructed to assassinate.
“I appeal to the spirit of Kudirat Abiola, Alfred Rewane, the spirit of Bola Ige who died in the hands of assassins, the spirit of Olu Onagoruwa , the spirit of those who were hit and a lot of them died in the cause which include Papa Abraham Adesanya, my brother, good friend and soul mate Alex Ibru. I can go and mention names of those who were marked down by the evidence given in court.
“I am still alive. If they were after me as a security collaborator and agent, then Okurounmu destroyed the spirit of these people who died in the cause that all of us who were marked down as stated in the evidence recorded in court that we were all agents. May the spirit of those who died in the cause forgive Okurounmu. May their souls continue to rest in peace but what he has done is making all of them turn in their graves.”
On the allegation that his governorship election was funded by the military president, Ibrahim Babangida, describing Okurounmu as a poor student of History, Osoba said he needed no money from the then military junta as the two registered political parties, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC) were funded solely and fully by the military government.
“I’m shocked and disappointed at the lack of knowledge and intellectualism displayed by Okurounmu who claimed to be a Ph.D. holder. If you are a student of History, the two-party system – a little to the right and a little to the left – in my time, were well and openly funded by President Babangida’s government.
“We hadn’t arrived at the garrison command politics of Obasanjo, the politics of do-or-die of today. At that time, voting system was open ballot. You queue openly behind the photograph of your candidate at all levels.
“Votes at that time were not monetised. In our time, we didn’t need much money to run our campaign because the parties were funded; we didn’t need to fund the party or buy votes because voting was by open ballot. You queue in the open behind the photographs. What evidence has he that I collected money when the party has already been funded? What do I need the money for when voting was by open ballot?” he asked.