TEN YEARS AFTER: BOLA IGE REMAINS IRREPLACEABLE - FORMER ASSOCIATES
TEN years after the murder of former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, his associates in Afenifere and the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) are sad that his killers have not been unmasked.
They are also missing the Cicero of Esa Oke, whom they said left a large vacuum that has not been filled. Among those, who eulogised the former deputy leader of Afenifere in separate chats with Vanguard are Chiefs Ayo Adebanjo, Segun Osoba and Supo Shonibare.
Ige left a vacuum that hasn't been filled - Osoba
Asked his views on what Bola Ige represented and the inability to unmask his killers 10 years after, former Ogun State Governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, said: 'The vacuum created by the exit of Chief Bola Ige has not been filled.
Until his death, he was the leader of what I will call the progressives and young elements of the Afenifere group. Since his death, it has ben difficult to have a replacement and what became an albatross for Afenifere started with his death and we are yet to recover fully from it. I mean the Afenifere has been unable to recover from the shock.
Among many other tributes, Osoba said that Bola Ige would be missed for 'his rendition, his progressiveness, his open mindedness and love particularly to those of us that are younger than him.'
*Late Bola Ige
Osoba also decried the haphazard manner the investigation of the murder had been handled. 'It is clear that the investigation up till today has not been anything concrete. Aside Bola Ige, there are still many unresolved murder cases like Harry Marshal, Dokubo and if not for Sergeant Rogers, we would not have heard anything about Chief Kudirat Abiola's death. There are so many of these murder cases that government has not found the culprits.'
Ige's murder mocks our security system - Adebanjo
On his part, Chief Adebanjo said the manner Ige was killed and the failure to fish out the culprits 10 years after showed that the country had little or no value for human life.
'It is a painful reality that Nigeria as a nation put little or no value on human life. A situation whereby the number one Law officer of the country, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice was cheaply hacked down in his personal house whereby the entire security apparatus assigned to him just dropped their ammunition and allegedly went to have lunch, makes a mockery of security of life and the entire country. It is sad because if the Attorney General could not be spared, then no one is safe.
'I also want to state that such assassinations could not be carried out by ordinary robbers on the street, it must have been thoroughly rehearsed by the powers that be in the country and that was why I accepted the first line of the speech of Professor Wole Soyinka at the Liberty Stadium in Ibadan that the killers were present at the funeral ceremony in Ibadan on that date.
'Let me say that up till today, they have not found the killers of some other people, which include Aminasoari Dikibo, Harry Marshall, Alhaja Suliat Adedeji, Funsho Williams and many others. And the government of the day under President Olusegun Obasanjo came out forcefully to promise Nigerians that it was going to be the last assassination that they would unravel the killers behind those assassinations but none had been unraveled till today.
'This has shown there is a deficit of intellectual capacity, deficit moral authority to govern the country by successive political operators in this country. I also want to put on notice that for the fact they have done what they have done to a public figure like that and no result found after 10 years, it means we have no governance.
We have been so overwhelmingly subtracted as a people that our government has been failing and will continue to fail in providing security to the citizens of this country. Finally, the perpetrators of the assassination of Bola Ige will never know peace, their end result will be calamitous.
On what Bola Ige would be remembered for, Adebanjo said the Second Republic governor of old Oyo State would be missed for 'his capacity to rally round the young people around him. He will be greatly missed for that.'
His murder is a disgrace to this country - Balarabe Musa
'Well! First of all, may he rest in perfect peace. His murder is a disgrace to this country. The murder itself, murder of a minister is a disgrace to the country. Secondly, the way the murder was committed when he was supposed to be protected by security is a disgrace for the country.
Then the third, for ten years now nobody has been successfully prosecuted for the murder and so many things remain unanswered about the murder. It remains a tragedy for the country. And the sum total of all these is that it is true, the state of the nation neglected.
It is true that there is virtually no security in the country and that nobody, from his murder till date, nobody can say that he- a Nigerian feels secured. Not even the president!'
'He was Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the country, yet he was murdered, he was killed just like an ant. Even his friend, who he joined the government to support, Obasanjo, could not do anything about it. It's a disgrace and it is a calamity.'
Ige would 've brought vibrancy to fuel subsidy, other debates - Shonibare
To Chief Supo Shonibare, the former Yoruba deputy leader was an irreplaceable icon, whose views would have enlivened on going debates on removal of fuel subsidy, constitution amendment, etc.
'Uncle Bola as he is fondly called was my mentor and a political leader, who in 1998, invited me to be inducted into the Afenifere Leadership caucus meetings. He was a politician, who encouraged younger members to participate in politics and always endeavoured to also have a personal relationship with ones' nuclear family.
My son and my daughter, who both met him still remember his enchanting discussion with them on diverse topics including their careers. He would have brought vibrancy and poetic superlatives into the live issues in the polity like National Conference and the economic management discourse particularly the fuel subsidy issue. He is an irreplaceable iconic figure.'
On the inability of the government to successfully unravel the murder, he said: 'The pitiable ineffective nature of our criminal justice investigative system and enforcement cannot be more apparent than the inability of our law enforcement agencies to prosecute anyone successfully for the murder of our revered late Deputy Leader and former Attorney General and Minister for Justice.
We are yet to see the investigation of any of these politically motivated murders handled in any diligent and professional manner, which behavioural pattern gives rise to ruling government conspiracy theories.'