Alleged procedural flaws in the manner in which the case of the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, slain aide to Governor Adams Oshiomhole is being
handled, led to a hot verbal exchanges between the latter and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Muhammad Bello Adoke on Tuesday.
Both men threw barbs at each other inside the Council Chambers, venue of Tuesday’s Council of States meeting shortly before the arrival of
President Goodluck Jonathan.
It took the timely intervention of Oshiomhole’s colleagues from Delta and Gombe, Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan and Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo as well as the Chief of Staff to the president, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, to avert fisticuff between the two personalities.
It all started when Oshiomhole moved around the chamber exchanging pleasantries with participants at the meeting. After greeting Adoke,
the AGF started pointing fingers at the governor, who became enraged and started to raise his voice, pointing back at him. This incident
quickly attracted the trio of Dankwambo, Uduaghan and Oghiadomhe, who stood between the two fuming persons.
After the meeting, Oshiomhole reluctantly told State House correspondents his own version of the story. He argued that contrary to Adoke’s assertion that Edo State Attorney-General has nothing to do with the receipt of the record of the investigation conducted by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, the offense was committed in a state and was thus under the purview of the state Attorney-General.
Visibly angry, the governor expressed his displeasure about how some public officials denigrate his status as a chief executive, insisting
that his had complained that the matter should have, from the beginning, been referred to the Edo State Director of Public
Prosecution (DPP) and not the Nigeria Police in Abuja. The governor was irked that he has been turned into a sacrificial ‘he-goat’ whose fate is gory whether in peace or in crises, emphasizing that his aide was killed in cold blood and instead of him getting justice, somebody is playing with the whole matter, refusing to allow justice take its natural course. “I don’t think it is an issue I want to talk about. This issue is that
he was saying my Attorney General should have known what to do, that he has nothing to do with the matter and I simply asked him who
referred the matter to him. Was it my Attorney General? The matter was referred to him by the deputy inspector general of police and I askedhim who should know better?,” he observed.
He added: “If the deputy inspector general of police referred a matter that he ought to have referred to the state, it used to refer it to
the Federal Attorney General who is the one dragging him into the matter, who is the one politicizing the matter. Should we assume that the DIG did not know that that offense of murder is a state offense? And if he knows it’s a state offense why did he refer it to the federal Attorney General, so ideas any complaints he should complain to the DIG who referred the case to him. The rest you witnessed.”
“The point is that some of these guys… I am a governor. I am elected.He had to respect my office even if he doesn’t respect my person. In
any event we are dealing with factual issues, if a case was wrongfully referred to the federal Attorney General by the Nigerian Police who is
to blame? In any event we also complained that this matter ought to have been referred to the Edo state DPP not federal, because it is a
state offense committed in Edo state,” he further noted.He urged those at the helm of affairs to be mindful of the transient
nature of political office, pointing out that if the right things are not done the country will the worse off for it. He reiterated that he will not just fold his arm and watch the wanton killing of his aide go scot free, invoking a conditional curse that “those who think they can compromise t we leave them in the hands of
God.” His words: “It is like the case of a he goat, when the family is happy they sacrifice the he goat to celebrate, when the child is sick the
native doctor says sacrifice he-goat so that the child will be well, so head or tail the he goat is in trouble. Here I am my Primary
Secretary is killed nobody seems to bother, am doing my best to raise the issue because that is the least I owe to someone who gave his life, and someone else who does not think life is important, for him it is a matter to trivialise and joke about.
“When it comes to life and death I don’t joke. You don’t joke with life and death. The essence of governance is to protect life and
property. That is fundamental. Even in poverty people need to feel safe and secured. Nobody has a right under our constitution to take
life of another, except if it has been confirmed by a court of competent jurisdiction,” he explained.
“I was surprised that for the Attorney General (of the Federation) it is something he can afford to joke with, telling me that my Attorney
General didn’t know what to do,” he stated. After about an hour after Oshiomhole talked to journalists Adoke, who was away in the president’s office later came out and said he has no disdain for the former’s person or his office. “I will not disregard
his office, he is my personal friend, I have the highest respect for him. He is a governor of this country but I will not join issues with him,” he said.
“I did not trivialise his office and I have no reason to trivialise his office. He is at liberty as a governor in this country to say whatever he wants to say but I will accord his office the highest respect and I will not join issues with him,” Adoke noted.