Ekiti 2014: Who is Afraid of Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
Who is afraid of MOB? This is a million dollar question agitating minds of keen watchers of recent happenings in the political space of young Ekiti State. Those afraid of him may have their reasons no matter how illogical and self-serving. But permit me to say also that it is interestingly ironical that Michael Opeyemi Bamidele's repeated persecution these days is unwarranted.
After all, an African adage says that “The outing of an unpopular masquerade does not give villagers sleepless night”. But to my mind, this so-called unpopular masquerade is giving untold worries.
Hence, it simply implies that someone somewhere is afraid about something, someday. Of a truth, the attacks believed to have been orchestrated by those in charge of the state apparatus today is uncalled for. This assertion defies contrary postulation the media is abashed with.
Since September 2013 till date, physical attacks have continued unabated on Bamidele's supporters and those who share in the spirit of his “Ekiti Bibiire Coalition” – the engine room of his campaign network. In an unprecedented dangerous trend unknown to Ekiti politics, they want to kill both the message and the messenger.
Despite this, his detractors are quick to jump out saying that he is not a force to reckon with in the hot race to the June 21st election where he daily gathers momentum for Labour Party. Those afraid of Bamidele know within themselves what he can do if given a slight opportunity to pilot affairs of Ekiti as a governor. They know he will surpass whatever record they may have claimed to set in the last three and half years. They are aware that having been a foundation member of the party that metamorphosed into APC, they are apprehensive of what harm his political sagacity could cause their mediocrity. A sagacity that once propelled them to their current political relevance but was paid back with evil.
In the face of all these attacks without provocation, those afraid of MOB have gone to town with penchant for propaganda. They are in the habit of a quick rush to tell the world that Bamidele is the one behind this orgy of violence. In no fewer than eighteen times, at Ilupeju, Ipole Iloro, Egbe, Itaji, Iyin, Ilawe, Efon Alaaye etc The story is the same, APC clamping down on LP. For instance, on the night of 2nd of May, 2014 APC thugs backed by policemen openly wrecked havoc on Iyin Ekiti, Bamidele's hometown arresting scores of his supporters and hounding them into detention.
There were countless of such occasions where residents wearing MOB's branded shirts have been manhandled especially under the cover of darkness. An instance that shocked everyone was a story of one Mrs Aduke Adelaja who was traced to her neighbourhood by some APC thugs. Having seen her alighting from a Labour Party's bus that fateful evening of the 19th of May around Adebayo Street in the state capital; these hoodlums traced her down on her way home, axed her severally, made away with her phones and money after giving her warnings to stay away from the Labour Party and MOB.
An okada rider in Ilawe Ekiti also told of how he was deceived to carry two APC boys to a far distance outskirts of the town supposedly on a chatter. The middle-age Akinwale Thomas who was later beaten to a pulp and now still nursing his wounds said his attackers identified him immediately they saw him wearing MOB's branded T-shirt and a faze cap. Same warning that went to Mrs Adelaja was eventually handled over to her “Stay away from Labour Party and MOB”. Similar jungle attacks on MOB's supporters have gone unreported while others had led to death like the case of late Folusho Ogundare fell by APC bullets at Emure Ekiti September 2013. As I write this, Ogundare's body is still lying in the morgue while certain Ekiti APC “leaders” and Governor Kayode Fayemi's aides are still in the dock, trying to explain their involvement in the death of a citizen they were elected to protect, as a government.
Then at Ikere Ekiti on the 24th of May, 2014 heavens were again let loose. Attack dogs of Fayemi went to town destroying everything in sight. This happened while a campaign rally organised by the Labour Party chapter of Ikere Ekiti local government was rounding up. LP members in the town were openly manhandled, vehicles damaged and equipment stolen. One Saliu, an aide to the APC senator who is also from the town has been fingered as the one who drove a truck load of APC thugs to the arena, yet nothing has happened to him. The police are watching helplessly, pretending they are on top of the situation. Transmission equipment of African Independent Television AIT who did a live broadcast of the event were destroyed. Its staff were wounded.
Four days after, there has been no response from our distinguished Senator Anthony Adeniyi, what a progressive indeed?. This is the APC that will lead Nigeria out of the woods someday. “Sorry Sorry O … I sorry Nigeria” — Fela Kuiti. Could all these be indicators that some people are actually afraid of Bamidele but are acting a pretence game about it? While all these were still going on, APC in about 30mins after ditched out a press statement claiming that there was a clash between its boys and those of LP. In it, they claimed that LP youths provoked them to action in the first place. Indeed, no doubting that this position could be forced down the throats of some gullible countrymen, but I refuse it. I have a question for Ekiti APC, what was an APC-branded bus loaded with about twenty thugs and dangerous weapons doing in the arena of Labour Party's campaign rally?
According to John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” From the foregoing, it is obvious that those afraid of MOB are also afraid of the truth. It may not set them free. That's why they will stop at nothing in their desperate bid to deter Bamidele and all agents of change in Ekiti from taking advantage of the June 21st race. Ekiti as it is today is likened to a slave camp, where a few enjoy on the hard labour of the rest. JKF as the camp commandant is surrounded by a few eye-service men whose loyalty resides in a plate of porridge. And they have been doing anything dirty including bloodshed to please “Oga @ the top” in order to sustain their porridge.
Stephen the first Christian martyr according to bible records was like MOB. His preaching offended the Jewish authorities because of its effectiveness. Few minutes before he was killed, Stephen asked the Jews, “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers.” (Acts 7:52). To those who are afraid of the truth, if you hate the messenger, you should not hate the message. The truth is that Bamidele is the just one. He is that man the God has chosen to lead Ekiti people out of this four years APC wilderness and no amount of violence can stop him.
(Julius Toba Jegede
A Public Affairs Commentator
Writes from Abuja)