By NBF News

Dipo Dina's murder
Leave OGD out of it - Sodimu
By Samuel Olatunji
Sunday, March 07, 2010


Yemi Sodimu is the Special Assistant to Governor Gbenga Daniel on protocol and communication. He is surprised over the level of politics trailing the alleged assassination of the 2007 governorship candidate of the Action Congress (AC) in Ogun State, Dipo Dina. For him, politics in the 'Gateway state is being taken to a ridiculous dimension. In this interview with Sunday Sun, he flays attempts to pin the assassination of Otunba Dipo Dina on the neck of the state government.

You work for Otunba Gbenga Daniel as protocols and communication officer, why is the governor having a bad press?

The things you read on the pages of some newspapers are probably the opposite of the things happening in Ogun State. The desperation of a small clique to undermine an administration in their quest for power is what you are seeing. Unfortunately too, that same clique seems to have hijacked the press.

The good thing about these is that, they are talking about Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a man that can face series of challenges because some others would have been derailed. You don't wake up one day and call a man a killer without having evidence. You don't say that man runs a killer's squad without thinking about the consequence.

They do these things to distract the focus of that administration and that is what you'll find everywhere. Let me zero it down to Otunba Dipo Dina's death. It is sad, but the fact remains, if you look at the trend, there is a deliberate effort by the leadership of the AC to pin it on the administration of Daniel. Look at the preliminary investigation as well as the eyewitness account of both the driver and the woman said to be in the car. What happened to Dina could have happened to anybody. It could have been robbery, it could have been anything, but why would you want to say that because that thing happened in Ogun State, it automatically becomes the state's fault?

They once alleged that they found the people responsible but where is the evidence? Police are still looking for answers. People get killed in Lagos almost every day, so because they are not known, they are not celebrated, because they are not known, it means the deaths are not political. Journalists have died and we haven't seen or heard about their killer. Who says that guy (Dipo Dina) couldn't have crossed the part of certain people?

All to no avail, nobody is saying it is political, nobody is saying it is government that orchestrated Funso Williams's death and we haven't heard anything concerning his death, who says he couldn't have been murdered by the people in Lagos, because he was an obvious threat. A chieftain of AC said the police shouldn't look far, they should look within the party because they have crisis. Dipo Dina left the meeting of the crisis resolution for that spiritual cleansing he went for. Who knew about his movement if not those that attended the meeting with him?

Are you saying PDP doesn't have a hand in Dina's death?

I will not sit here and exonerate anybody, but what I am saying is that as far as that situation is concerned, I am an insider in PDP, Ogun and I am telling you that, there was no reason for anybody to have wanted Dipo dead. There was no reason at all. When they had the funeral of Dipo Dina, the government delegates went there and hired thugs, bounced them out of the ceremony for the late man and the so-called elder statesmen were seated. What are they hiding?

Another question I ask is, these people are the democrats and part of the rule of law is allowing justice to take its full course. If it were to be the other way round that a PDP man was killed, they won't be making this kind of noise? If the police come out tomorrow and point accusing finger at PDP, so be it. Let whosoever is concerned answer for it but I see this as using the poor man's death as a weapon to achieve political power because I know that they are so desperate. It's so obvious how desperate they are.

Are you saying that those publications Dipo Dina raised in his lifetime were no issues?

They were not. How could they have been issues? Dipo Dina went about, practising his mode of democracy the way he wanted it done and what Daniel's administration did was to debunk the issues. Things were thrown into the court of public opinion and in between all these, he went to the tribunal, he lost; he went to the appeal court, he lost; so what else would you want from a man that is not a threat to you? What could have been an issue?

Some people alleged that the 2011 election was the cause of his assassination. The insinuation is that he is in possession of documents that could implicate Daniel; is that true?

He couldn't have implicated the governor because there was no issue. The governor is not running. These are people that had fragment of information. These are people that use tiny bit of what they have to want to blow into advantageous proportion so as to paint an administration black, yet all these things are written on the pages of newspaper. Why is anybody not talking about the wrangling within AC? Why is anybody not talking about the fact that there were people eyeing the same thing Dipo Dina was eying? And if he had an edge within that package, why are they not talking about people who want to get rid of him? Why must it be the opposition party?

Are you implicating the AC?
A member of AC is implicating AC. It is very sad that he died but people should allow law to do its thing and get to the roots of things and they should stop wandering around, disturbing those who are investigating this case, saying that, don't look at our own house, look at the next house. What's wrong in the police checking their house? What are they hiding? We have lost someone and we are all sad about it but what's AC hiding?

What do you mean they are hiding something?
They are hiding the fact that it could have been from their house that the man was killed. They are hiding that it could have been from another source. The driver and the woman that went with them said, the armed robbers ordered them to get into a car, for the two people that complied, they were not hurt, but unfortunately, Dipo Dina, started to disobey their instructions and in the process, they killed him. Who says, if the guy did not argue with them, he won't still be alive today?

The leadership of that party wants to gain political power because a man was killed because that's all they care for. They are not doing it for the sympathy of the family; it is for their own selfish interest.

Why does Daniel seem to have a propensity for trouble?

It would be very wrong to say that Daniel has problem with a lot of people. When you operate within the society, you'll have conflicts because you can't satisfy everybody. Daniel is a very principled man and that might account for what you call propensity for trouble. I know which paper those publications usually come from. I was too sure about them.

It is only two Senators, Iyabo Obasanjo and Sarafa that can publish in the newspaper that they knew why Dipo was killed. The reason is very simple; these people are obviously AC members operating within PDP. These two Senators because they lost the support of their people have already planned their exit from the party and they are not bold enough to leave; they will rather stay in the same party and forment trouble so as to disorganize the house. There are people in PDP that are staying there to disorganize the party.

What about the two commissioners that resigned in controversial circumstances?

You have to understand that we are dealing with human society; we are bound to disagree with ourselves. I can disagree on certain issues with Otunba Daniel but then we can always iron it out. One left because he has ambition and he believes that with his limited ability, both academic and professional and otherwise, he doesn't stand a chance to achieve what he would have loved to have in the party and the other also had issues with administration and he went back to his work because there is life outside government. There is nothing that says it is a do-or die-affair.

How true is the claim that Daniel wants a Yewa person to be the next governor of the state?

The root of all of these is justice, equity and fairness. The governor had not come out to say that everyone should support a Yewa man, he has only said, let's give every one an equal right and the Yewa loves it because if he didn't do it, nobody would even be thinking of them. As I speak, both the Yewa and Egbas are in contention. He once introduced an aspirant from both Yewa and Egba openly at rallies.

In your opinion, which part would you want to produce the next governor?

I will tell you Iyewa/Awori without thinking; let them do it too after all, we are all in the same state. Egba man has been there, Ijebu-man has been there and others but it is only people from that part that haven't been there. Naturally, I would prefer a person from Iyewa/Awori because they've naturally paid their dues.

Do you think Bankole is a blessing to Ogun state?
I think as a speaker of the House of Representatives, he could do a lot more; he could do a whole lot more for his state and am saying this with all sense of responsibility. We've had so many situations where unfortunately his name comes up in situations that have been anti-development and it is very unfortunate.

What about chief Obasanjo?
Leave 'Baba' alone. Baba has done his bit and one way or the other, he is still highly revered. We need men to look up to.