By Wole Olujobi
After emerging from the humiliating rains of defeats in his political journeys that landed him in obscurity, he is back again to the temple of the PDP cult he had earlier desecrated, for relevance.
That is Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Governor of Osun State and member of the PDP and its hybrid nPDP led by Dr Abubakar Kawu Baraje before hopping to APC bed to reap the benefits he never worked for.
Oyinlola fought lost battles at the state and Federal levels of PDP, losing as Osun State Governor as well as the National Secretary of PDP, after which he bolted in and out of APC to rejoin the PDP behemoths for the prosecution of this month presidential election.
He is now desperate for relevance in PDP by accusing the police for alleged failure to produce the report on the alleged MTN call logs through which he alleged that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu manipulated Osun governorship tribunal in favour of Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola in the Appeal Court judgment delivered by Justice Clara Ogunbiyi on November 26, 2010.
Earlier before he was sacked, Osun PDP members had attacked Aregbesola and ACN members in what was regarded as one of the most degrading moments in the political history of Nigeria.
In the video of the attacks that became a movie of choice in every home in Nigeria, armed PDP youths were seen peeping about in search of ACN members across the state. In the same video, Oyinlola was seen asking the then Commissioner of Police in high pitch: “Where is Rauf (Aregbesola) now”, as guns boomed in a staccato of bullets fired by the rampaging PDP thugs in manhunt for ACN members.
Events happened rapidly and on November 26, 2010, Oyinlola was sacked by the Court of Appeal in a judgment delivered by Justice Clara Ogunbiyi. Aregbesola won back his mandate.
Soon, Oyinlola found himself in a supremacy battle with the PDP South West leadership over the struggle for the secretaryship of the party at the national level that pitched him against Wale Oladipo, who was supported by top national leaders of the party, to hold the position.
In the litigation over the squabble, Oyinlola was sacked on January 13, 2013 through the Federal High Court judgement in Abuja that ruled that Oyinlola be “put in prison for criminal disobedience of court order”, following a suit against him by the party chieftains in Osun State led by Adebayo Dayo and Semiu Sodipo over alleged “kangaroo process” they said was allegedly perfected by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former National Vice Chairman, PDP South West, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, to return Oyinlola as National Secretary of PDP.
Even though he had earlier watched helplessly as ACN members were being punished by his supporters in PDP, Oyinlola bolted to APC after his sack and was received into the party by Tinubu and the then APC National Chairman, David Odigie-Oyegun; Chief Bisi Akande and other top leaders of APC on August 5, 2014 at the mega rally for Aregbesola at the Osogbo Township Stadium ahead of the governorship election.
At the event, Oyinlola praised Tinubu and other leaders to high heavens, describing them as very honest to work with.
At that mega rally, Oyinlola said that President Goodluck Jonathan deceived former President Olusegun Obasanjo to get his backing to become the president in the 2011 election. He vowed that for the honesty of APC leaders, he would be loyal to APC to take the party to higher heights.
His ally and former Secretary to the Osun State Government, Kazeem Adio, in a press statement few months after the rally, reinforced Oyinlola’s commitment and loyalty to the party and its leaders, declaring that
“Prince Oyinlola’s major concern at the moment is how to strengthen the party, make it get closer to the people and continue to make their welfare a priority. The people of Osun State can get their interest better in APC.”
Tinubu provided sanctuary for Oyinlola for political rehabilitation as he was appointed member of the Board of Trustees of APC.
While the honeymoon lasted, Oyinlola never again thought or remembered about his squabbles with Tinubu over alleged manipulation of court judgement of November 26, 2010 when he was sacked by the Appeal Court, a month after the Appeal Court in Ilorin also restored Ekiti State election victory to Dr Kayode Fayemi on October 15, 2010.
It would be recalled that after Osun and Ekiti election verdicts, allegation of judgment manipulation was raised against the then President of the Appeal Court, Justice Ayo Salami, who was accused of exchanging text messages with Tinubu and ACN leaders to manipulate the court judgments in ACN’s favour.
But Salami swore his innocence and pleaded that NJC should probe the allegation, protesting that it was common at that time for criminals to use the phone numbers of innocent people to commit crimes.
NJC therefore set up a probe panel and hired an ICT expert in the employ of the Federal Government to demonstrate at the panel hearing that it is possible to clone a man’s phone number to call or send text messages to another man.
Right there at the panel sitting, the ICT expert cloned the phone number of panel chairman to send a text message to another Judge member sitting next to the chairman. When the phone beeped for a text messaging, the judge was shocked that the phone number of the chairman sitting beside him was used to send the text message to him.
That was what saved Salami in Ekiti and Osun cases.
During the time, Nigerian criminals had found a way round the use of another man’s phone number to call or send text messages to another man and the innocent owners of the cloned numbers would now become victims and objects of criminal investigations and prosecutions.
Media reports later indicated that the “Yahoo boys” were at work cloning MTN’s call logs that they sold in cash to desperate election petitioners in millions of naira to smile to their banks while the petitioners remained in the illusion that Salami sold the judgments to Tinubu and other APC leaders.
Salami himself expatiated on the matter on Thursday September 19, 2013 at the presentation of a book titled ‘Nigeria Judiciary: Contemporary Issues on Administration of Justice’ organised by Ilorin NBA in his honour to mark his retirement billed for October 15, 2013.
Salami had said: “You are aware of the calls log issue. None of them, not a single one, showed that I ever called Tinubu, Lai Mohammed and ACN leaders they were referring to.
“We went to the tribunal (probe panel) with witnesses (experts) who were able to show the NJC that you could use my phone in my pocket to call somebody. The expert demonstrated it at NJC. You could use my phone, which is in my pocket, to send text messages to another person. All these call logs are fake.”
Now, 13 years after the judgment sacking Oyinlola, PDP chiefs, including Oyinlola, are now calling for Tinubu’s head over a desperate power grab scheme at the Presidency, and Oyinlola is now back to his vomit in PDP, desperately trying to make his voice heard to enable him be part of the sharing of the cake by calling on the police to submit a purported 13-year-old investigation report on the alleged MTN call logs to make his contribution to the harassment of Tinubu ahead of the election.
Yet, this is the same Tinubu that Oyinlola slept with on the same political bed for 13 years of glitz, during which MTN call logs never existed in Oyinlola’s mind, and PDP leaders were the most dishonest elements on earth that should be avoided like a plague, but APC leaders the saints. A back to the vomit, you would say!
Oyinlola is not different from the America’s New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who criticised President Donald Trump for his excesses. Christie had said of Trump:
“We do not need reality TV in the Oval Office right now,” Christie said of Trump on the campaign trail, adding: “The Presidency of the United States is not a place for an entertainer.”
But after the New Jersey governor dropped out of the race, and reportedly began entertaining fantasies of a vice-presidential slot on the ticket, he sang a different song, saying: “I’ve gotten to know all the people on that stage and there is none who is better prepared to provide America with the strong leadership that it needs both at home and around the world than Donald Trump.”
Since then, the pugnacious Christie has been likened to an “ultimate lapdog”. Oyinlola cuts Christie’s image in his somersault after losing out in both ends of political rope in PDP and APC.
Oyinlola is now joining Atiku Abubakar, Dino Melaye and other leaders of PDP to mobilise public opinions against Tinubu ahead of the February 25, 2023 ballot.
But Nigerians are not deceived by their messianic pretensions, as they have spurned Oyinlola’s contraption out of their ways like a cur, because they understand that Atiku and his supporters, including members his family, are desperate for power to cater for themselves through SPV bogey while other Nigerians suffer, according to Atikugate tape.
Tinubu has demonstrated vision, capacity, commitment, energy, trust and confidence in Lagos, to transform the state to the fifth largest economy in Africa, same for the APC vice presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima, who has his footprints etched on Borno State’s development landmarks in an unprecedented tempo, which his successor, Governor Babagana Zulum, is building upon to make that arid zone of Nigeria an oasis of development.
As Tinubu did in Lagos, he will also lead Nigeria to prosperity. February 23 is close by for Nigerians to plot their paths to a new hope and prosperity as PDP leaders are desperate to “SPV” them to their early graves.
There is no call logs anywhere. No call logs stunt can derail Nigerians from their journey to redemption in Tinubu and Shettima’s caring hands.
* Olujobi is Deputy Director of Media and Publicity,
Ekiti State APC Presidential Election Committee