More facts have emerged in the circumstances that led to the remand in prison of Chief Bisi Ilaka, a senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo state.
An Iyaganku Chief Magistrates’ court sitting in Ibadan had on Wednesday ordered that Ilaka, 57 and his bodyguard, Temitayo Alamiyo, 45, be remanded at the Agodi Federal Prison for allegedly causing the death of three persons.
The Police Prosecutor, Mr Matthew Ojeah, had told the court that Ilaka and Alamiyo allegedly conspired to commit felony and attempted murder.
Ojeah said that Alamiyo, on September 8, attempted to cause the death of Toheeb Olanrewaju, 20, Modinat Adeyemi, 55, and Tijani Lateef, 35, by shooting them with pump action gun. The incident occurred at the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo.
The Director-General of the Ilaka campaign organization, Hon. Bola Akinyemi, has said that Ilaka’s travail was politically motivated. He explained why it is believed that the incident that led to the shooting was a trap set for his boss.
Akinyemi who spoke to a group of journalists at the Agodi prison premises on Friday stated that there was no conspiracy to kill because Ilaka was not aware that his bodyguard was carrying a gun and was not involved in the shooting.
Narrating how Ilaka, who is aspiring to represent Oyo Central Senatorial District, found himself at the palace of the Alafin, Akinyemi said: “He was attending a meeting at the state headquarters of the PDP. As he was attending the meeting, a call came from one of the chiefs in Oyo that his attention is needed at the palace, to come and play his role in the Oranmiyan festival that was ongoing. He initially didn’t want to go because he was fully engaged but a senior chief insisted that he heeded the call. So he went.
“First, he had to take off from his house in Oyo. When he got to Oyo, he didn’t enter the house, he just said people should go get his things. In 2011, his house was attacked in Oyo. That was when he got license to obtain a gun just for self protection. Since then I have never seen him with a gun. In fact he doesn’t go out with two cars. So he doesn’t go about with boys. In fact if you see him with two cars, the other one must be my own. He is not the kind of person that moves about with crowd, in fact he doesn’t like it.
Now, he left. He didn’t know that his bodyguard, who was among those that went into the house to get his things, had taken his gun and kept the gun in his car. He got to the palace of the Alafin and because he did not meet the other high chiefs there, he did not spend more than 30 minutes before he decided to leave. He didn’t go there for campaign, otherwise I would have been there.
“Ordinarily with Ilaka, anywhere he goes, people mill around him. As they were doing that, he was trying to dish out the little he could give to them. He was in the car when he heard there had been a gunshot. He didn’t even know. Someone came to tell him.
“Verily, I was told that when pandemonium broke out as a result of the gunshot, Ilaka was assisting to rescue one of the injured to the hospital. Within a twinkle of an eye, politics was introduced into it. It is as if a trap had been set and somebody had just fallen into the trap. Before he knew it, the person who shot was caught. The person was his bodyguard. The bodyguard even told the police that his boss did not even know he was carrying the gun. He confessed. He said it was another person that asked him to go and carry the gun. So, it could have been a planned thing. He just fell into the trap.
Akinyemi said his boss did not know he had gotten into trouble when “as a gentleman, he went to the police station to report the incident. Before we knew it, political dimension had been introduced to it.”
Stressing that Ilaka’s travail was political, Akinyemi said that the APC had severally made advances at the PDP politician to jump ship. According to him, he refused in 2014 and most recently when Senator Rashidi Ladoja left the PDP for the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
He recalled that Ilaka was attacked in 2011 in his house. He also said offers were made to him to join the then ACN but he refused.
He said: “I don’t think opposition should be like this. There was accidental discharge, that is the highest that we could go. The person who shot the gun has been caught. He didn’t deny it. And there is no link between Ilaka and the person who shot the gun other than the fact that he is his employee.”
Stressing further that the case was that of persecution, Akinyemi faulted the reason why the case was not handled at the magistrate court in Oyo where the incident happened. He said the police’ intention was to keep him away but since they knew they could not, they charged him to the magistrate court to keep him away for a while.
“We heard while at Iyaganku that some people wanted to stage a protest in Oyo. That why is Ilaka is being kept here when of course, he was not responsible for the shooting. People are surprised they are still holding him. Those holding him knew if they had gone to Oyo, there would have been a backlash. They were even reporting to people in Oyo that Chief Ilaka had been released. They were trying to protect their own. In fact, family of the deceased have even come to say, they are with Ilaka, who has also promised to take care of the hospital bill of the injured.”
He added: “May be they think they can cow him into rescinding his decision to remain in the PDP. But I want to tell you, he remains an aspirant, in fact, virtually a candidate in the PDP.
The campaign boss however insisted that no damage had been done to Ilaka’s senatorial campaign.
“The Ilaka campaign is still very much on stream. Supporters should keep the light aglow. No retreat, no surrender. No going back. If they feel they can cow us, they can’t.
Akinyemi debunked rumours that Ilaka had been released. He said he is still being held in prison and that the case was adjourned till September 18.