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Juju scare disrupts Island Club peace meeting

By Island News

About 27 top members of Island Club, including its principal officers recently met to resolve the club's lingering crisis. The high octane meeting was like a roller coaster ride, with tempers and emotions undulating intermittently, boiling over repeatedly. There were shouting matches, profuse apologies with the obligatory idobale (prostrations) as well as threats of using juju to settle scores. In the end, the well intentioned meeting, convened by elder statesman and business mogul Sir Molade Okoya-Thomas, came to an abrupt end…

Sir Molade Okoya-Thomas needs no introduction, at least among the elites in Lagos. At 75 years old, he appears to have been around for more than a lifetime. At the instance of the club's elders and board of trustees, Okoya-Thomas called the meeting to put paid the various infractions in Island Club. The meeting was attended by about 27 club members including its Chairman, Chief Adeniyi Wiliams, Vice Chairman, Akeem Awe and Chief Razaq Okoya, Chairman Eleganza Group. Others present at the meeting were the club's General Secretary, Oluwole Iyamu and Assistant General Secretary, Oladipupo Akerele, Justices Ajose Adeogun, Tajudeen Odunowo and Fatai Adeyinka, one of the warring parties, Prince Jide Sikudae and Muyiwa Aduroja, Chairman, Island Club Electoral Committee. The marathon meeting lasted close to six hours with a 30 minute recess in between. If there was any inkling as to how that day's event would unfold, Wole Iyamu's outburst at the beginning, surely offered a sneak preview. Iyamu who technically was still on suspension when the meeting began insisted on taking minutes as the club's secretary. He vehemently opposed the Acting Secretary, Bayo Alli to do same. In the midst of the argument, he (Iyamu) flared up, shouting and pointing at the club's chairman, Adeniyi-Williams. ''Oti fiya jemi to'', (you have punished me well enough) he screamed. It was a seemingly rude gesture.

At this point Okoya-Thomas called Iyamu to order. He spoke in both Yoruba and English. ''We at this club always respect our chairmen. It is not appropriate, the way you have behaved to our current chairman''. Okoya-Thomas pointed out that such conduct is responsible for the current state of affairs at the club. He harped on the need for all members to respect constituted authority. At this juncture, Iyamu got the message, and out of remorse, immediately knelt down with arms raised, apologizing to the chairman Femi Adeniyi-Williams for his outburst. He noted that he had allowed his emotions take control. The club's Vice Chairman, Akeem Awe was then mandated to take minutes of the meeting. The first item on the agenda was the issue of Iyamu and Akerele's suspension from the club. Both men were recently suspended for gross misconduct and the duo defied the suspension order when they arrived at the club in company of bodyguards. Okoya-Thomas noted that the parties need to bury their differences in order for peace to reign. Consequently, he pleaded with the chairman to forgive both of them, by recalling them. Adeniyi-Williams in his usual conciliatory posture forgave them. Consequently, Okoya-Thomas thanked him for his magnanimity. Members present, were asked to offer recommendations as to how the feuding in the club could be addressed. While some members noted that this could only be achieved if existing court cases concerning the club are discontinued and settled in-house; others were of the opinion that this was not necessary.

After all present expressed their views, Okoya-Thomas called out some of the feuding members including Prince Jide Sikuade and Banjo Oladapo. He bonded their hands together and pleaded with them to bury the hatchet. He then prayed on a glass of brandy and spilled the contents on their hands. At this point they took a thirty minute recess. The other half of the meeting kicked off on a bumpy note, when Muyiwa Aduroja, Chairman of the club's Electoral Committee was summoned to explain why his committee had refused to conduct elections, even after a legal dispute into the matter had been decided. Aduroja explained that his position was based on a letter written by the counsel to Prince Demola Dada. It would be recalled that Dada, a candidate for the post of Chairman, was disqualified from contesting the election by the Federal High Court, Ikoyi. But dissatisfied with the ruling, he headed to the Court of Appeal to seek redress. Though the Court of Appeal is yet to approve Dada's appeal, Aduroja noted that he was instructed in a letter by Dada's lawyer urging him not to conduct elections until the Court of Appeal decides on the application. Okoya-Thomas expressed dissatisfaction with Aduroja's explanation and wondered how an instruction by Dada's lawyer could override that of the club without legitimate backing from a court of law. Aduroja maintained that he was doing what was best in the interest of the club.

At this juncture, Chief Musiliu Anibaba an elder and trustee of the club told Aduroja he seemed to be biased and reminded him that he (Aduroja) must be seen to be neutral as head of the club's electoral committee. This comment irked Aduroja who lost his cool, insisting that he is neutral in the matter. In the midst of the ensuing commotion, some members including Moses Oniyo, Yemi Solarin, Banji Oladapo and Iyamu rose up to Aduroja's defense. They shouted down Anibaba, reigned insults on him and insisted that Aduroja's action was just. When the insults became too much for Anibaba to bear, he decided to walk out. As he stormed out of the meeting, he (Anibaba) told his accusers in Yoruba language 'bi e sen pariwo mo mi, awon omo to mbo lehin yin, ase irue fun yin,' meaning, ''As 'you all are yelling at me, so would the younger generation coming behind you do unto you''. His accusers didn't take this statement lightly. They regarded it as a curse. Before Anibaba left the hall, Oniyo allegedly threatened to use charms on him shouting in Yoruba language "Ma Kan lo ogun. Ma kan lo ogun. Mo ni ogun. " meaning, ''I will slam my juju on you. I have juju and will use them on you''. This prompted a response from Okoya-Thomas who mockingly in Yoruba said: 'eni toba ni ogun, ko kin pariwo pe owun ni ogun. Mo lo gun inu motor. Mo de ma lo mu ogun wa, ti e ba soro ju, ma kanyi lo ogun,' (someone with juju doesn't go about bragging about it. I've got juju in my vehicle and would go bring it and if you (Oniyo) talk too much I would use it on you). At this point, some notable members at the meeting discretely began to sneak out. Consequently, Okoya-Thomas appealed to members to remain calm promising another meeting would be convened to resolve the embarrassing impasse.