Soka: Farce and fallacies in service of politics (Opinion)
By Ayilara, a human rights activist based in Ibadan.
Mr. Ayodele Adigun, in the usual Nigerian parlance, is a man you can refer to as an ex-this, ex-that. Civil Servant, Permanent secretary for several years, Commissioner and Secretary to the Oyo State Government, he is a name in the state. He understands the terrain of the state like the back of his hands. This lofty pedigree, however, comes with a converse: the noticeable rot and decadence of decades that the state wallows in cannot be divorced from this retired civil servant who preens himself with the knowledge of the past. On not a few occasions, Mr. Adigun preens himself of this ‘knowledge’ like a turtle-dove and flaunts it at will while seeking to arrest his audience. The Achilles’ hill of this parade of feathers is, however, that Mr. Adigun brandishes ‘knowledge’ only to massage personal ego or in pursuit of self and his agenda. Immediately he left the service, his first port of call was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where he worked under Rashidi Ladoja and Bayo Akala. When Akala’s government ended, Adigun took flight to Ladoja’s Accord Party, at the prompting of promises that the old age of the party’s own Chairman Mao would make it cede the party’s flag to him. So Adigun avails the world of his ‘knowledge’ of Oyo State through periodic interventions in the media. A content analysis of these interventions nonetheless reveals them as self-serving. His views are never above politics and base personal sentiments. The March 24, 2014 discovery of a ritual den in Ibadan where scores of human skulls and decomposing body parts were discovered is Adigun’s latest beef. As usual, the Normadic Perm Sec, in a piece entitled Ibadan ritual den: facts, fiction, propaganda, did not disappoint those who understand his gravitation towards self and political interest. It was so steeped in perverted lies and falsehood that its most fitting headline should have read: A pot-pourri of fiction, farce and fallacies in the service of Rashidi Ladoja’s Accord Party.
This writer would not bother a highly perceptive reading audience with details of Adigun’s journey of faction in the piece. The summation of the said article was that the Oyo State Government, as against the perception of the whole world, should be held responsible for the Ibadan Soka human parts discovery. As I would hold presently, Adigun merely went on a junket of lies, hiding behind the proverbial one finger, in pursuit of a political party’s unwritten motto of using crude lies in the service of political propaganda.
What the piece written by Mr. Adigun has succeeded in doing was to make the whole world a liar, especially the crop of energetic and painstaking journalists who make up the Nigerian media who have feasted on the news since it broke, as well as the inhabitants of the Soka area who witnessed live man’s inhumanity to man in this regard. Let me go into details piecemeal. On a recent Ibadan radio programme anchored by Mr. Edmund Obillo, one of the respondents interviewed by him, a woman acquaintance of Mr. Lanre Salami, a motorcyclist whose disappearance and the rescue team in search of him led to the discovery of the den, the woman related how the team, bent on finding Salami, had stumbled on the den and heard harrowing cries of captives inside a shack at Soka shouting “please give us water/food, we are not mad people.” It was relayed to the world.
Virtually all Nigerian and foreign newspapers, including the Mail of London, as well as radio and television houses, have done features, interviews and on-the-spot assessments of the Soka area. Indeed, the resilient men and women of the pen fraternity, who churned out news daily from the horror scene, gave graphic accounts from released captives, interviewed the community members and wrote gripping stories of fresh blood spillages, gallows where captives were slaughtered and sundry other revelations from the horror scene. Unfortunately, either out of oversight or a deliberate attempt to walk the known route of the Accord Party of tar-brushing the party’s captives preparatory to their being roasted alive on the wire gauze of political expediency, Mr. Adigun never made reference to the globally-condemned acts of these evil merchants who trade in human parts. His beef was with the Oyo State Government whom he, in his own solo world, believes must have taken mad men to the forest.
Apart from the above discoveries at Soka, the media have shown us pictures of baby wears, shoes, garments, school children’s uniforms, identity cards and bank account statements that were found at Soka. We would need Mr. Adigun to tell us that these were his imaginary mad men and women whom he claimed that the government shepherded to the expansive land. Why would anyone play politics this brazenly and unmindful of the souls of the murdered at Soka?
The ‘Super Perm Sec’ also went on a history of the expansive land of Soka and sought to absolve the government of his principal, Mr. Ladoja, from complicity in the abandonment of the land by successive governments but he made a very shoddy job of this. He told the story of revenue that accrued to government during Ladoja’s rule from the said area and that government of the time was using it for oxidation. However, the converse of this is that this information is a deliberately robed falsehood told from one side, a pitfall in argument which comes when an interlocutor argues a part to presuppose the whole.
The truth is that, Soka area spans over 11,000 hectares of land and the so-called oxidation took place on a negligible, if minute part of the land.
Indeed, from information available to this writer, a brewing company giant whom Adigun claimed was using the land, abandoned it in 2010. Callers on another Ibadan-based radio programme upbraided Adigun to stop politicizing the fates of the dead and own up that Soka is a microcosm of abandonment that successive governments in Oyo State cannot acquit selves from.
Adigun made so many libelous and callous allegations against the Oyo State government that only someone starved of blood in his veins would tread on such illogical path, all in the name of politics. The question to ask the super-knowledgeable Perm Sec is: Why is the world on the side of truth and he chose to queue by the side of partisan politics? This attempt to railroad the world from the path of sanctity and sanity, is it out of love for the people, love for the dead at Soka or love for a place in the Agodi Government House?
The Oyo State Government never hid its love for the uplift of the aesthetics of the state, from the word go. Its urban renewal exercise and zero tolerance for insecurity are the lingo of the administration. This was why, from what I gathered, at a Security Council meeting sometime in 2012, when members of the council which comprised army, police, SSS and other security agencies’ top brass, expressed disavowal with the upsurge in the number of destitute in the state capital, a service provider who had been engaged in picking destitute from the streets and re-uniting them with their families was chosen for the exercise. Cases abound of supposed lunatics who beheaded innocent bystanders. The Oyo State government is said to have evidences of the service provider having united many of the destitute with their families, especially a letter from the Lagos State Government thanking its Oyo counterpart for its fraternal intervention. Oyo also said it never had an agreement with the service provider to provide a transit camp for the destitute and as such, it is illogical and self-serving to allege such as Adigun did.
My appeal is to politicians to stick to politics and not turn political profiteers from the calamity of the people. Mr. Adigun should for once stand on the side of the masses who are accusing politicians of patronising human parts sellers for political advantage. Why was there no empathy for the people who are victims of kidnappers in Adigun’s piece? Was he trying to shift the attention of the world from the truth to a base sentiment? How come he knows this much about Soka and never volunteered it to the police? Human rights organisations and police must ask this Super Perm Sec questions on the fates of the dead at Soka.