How my boss was kidnapped, by driver

BY TOPE TEMPLER OLAIYA,
ASSISTANT LAGOS CITY EDITOR

Kehinde Bamigbetan at Bungalow, Jakande Estate during his tour of CDAs in Ejigbo LCDA on Monday evening

Kehinde Bamigbetan at Bungalow, Jakande Estate during his tour of CDAs in Ejigbo LCDA on Monday evening


THE middle-aged driver of Chairman of Ejigbo Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), Kehinde Bamigbetan, who was kidnapped on Monday night, Abiodun Olayiwola, said those who kidnapped his boss at about 11pm, were patiently waiting for his arrival at the junction to his street on Ona Iwa Mimo Street, Ori-Oke, Ejigbo.

He was with his driver in his black Ford Everest Jeep with special registration number KOK, without any police orderly, as the chairman was never known to use police escorts since assumption into office.

The suspected kidnappers made contact with the wife of the chairman, Fatima, a few hours after he was abducted, demanding $1 million dollars.

According to a source close to the family, while close associates of the chairman were consoling Fatima in the wee hours of the morning, “her phone rang and it was the chairman’s number calling her. Immediately she picked it up, she was told by a male voice that her husband was safe and would only be released to her if she cooperated with them by not informing the police.”

“Few minutes later, they called back with the same number that she should not attempt to play smart because their men are everywhere and that the ransom is $1 million.”

Bamigbetan's Jeep in the ditch

Bamigbetan’s Jeep in the ditch


According to the driver, who sustained minor injuries, the gunmen released several gunshots into the air to scare away residents before catching up with Bamigbetan.

“We were coming from Victoria Island on Monday night where we had gone to visit Hon. Dele Alake. From there, we went to Bourdillion to see the ACN national leader, Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu. When we left there, he said we should not pass through Third Mainland Bridge.”

He continued: “So, we went through Stadium, Ojuelegba to Agege Motor Road to Akowonjo, Egbeda and Ikotun. When we got to Ikotun, my boss got on the phone with a friend. Nobody followed us from Ikotun because I was always watching my rear mirror. We got to Ile-Epo bus-stop and I turned back towards Ori-Oke.”

“Even when we arrived Ona Iwa Mimo Street, there was no vehicle tailing us. Just a few metres to the chairman’s house, I saw a black saloon car, which I slowed down for and before I could know what was happening, the vehicle double-crossed me and they opened their doors and headed towards us.

“Immediately, I put on the jeep’s full light to blind them while I put the vehicle on reverse gear to escape but I accidentally hit a PHCN pole. On my next attempt to negotiate, I drove into a ditch. At that point they started shooting, at first into the air and later they directed the shot at the car.”

“A bullet entered through the bonnet to break the engine cover. It was at that point I ran out of the car into the darkness thinking the chairman would follow me. I left the car running just in case they were robbers, so they can make away with the vehicle.

“It was when I returned that I discovered my boss had been captured. They took his phone and laptop. It was only his shoes I saw on the floor. Throughout they never said a word, so I couldn’t know if they were Yorubas or Igbos,” he added.

Bamigbetan's dirver, Abiodun Olayiwola

Bamigbetan’s dirver, Abiodun Olayiwola


JANUS
The driver, fondly called Abbey, had been driving Bamigbetan since 2007. The council chairman had on Monday evening visited Bungalow in Jakande Estate for his ongoing tour of Community Development Associations (CDAs) before making a quick stopover at the secretariat. He eventually left his office around 8pm to head for Victoria Island.

He was on the phone with a friend (name withheld) when he was abducted. According to the friend, “we were deep in conversation for over 10 minutes when the communication started shaking and immediately I sensed something was wrong with the chairman. All I heard though were gunshots in the background and the chairman’s voice suddenly going silent.”

Continuing, his driver said: “Before I ran out, I saw him bend down to avoid being hit by the bullet and I whispered to him to get out that they would be blinded by the full light. But I didn’t know they were almost near the car. There was a young man they dropped from the car. The man told us that he had been abducted four days ago and was released at that spot after paying N500,000, but I was the one who said he should not be allowed to go.”

According to the young man in his 30s, who has since been detained at the Ejigbo police station, he was released at the spot by his captors after his family members paid a ransom of N500,000.

Bamigbetan's house at Ona Iwa Mimo street, Ori-Oke, Ejigbo, with members of Neighbourhood Watch and NSCDC on guard yesterday

Bamigbetan’s house at Ona Iwa Mimo street, Ori-Oke, Ejigbo, with members of Neighbourhood Watch and NSCDC on guard yesterday

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Celebrating Obahiagbon, master of bombast, at 53

Patrick Obahiagbon

Patrick Obahiagbon


By SUFUYAN OJEIFO
AT the twilight of the sixth session of the National Assembly, Patrick Obahiagbon (who represented Oredo Federal Constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP) switched platform in a bid to ensure his political survival.

He moved over to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in Edo State. It would appear, overall, a good move, but within the ACN enclave, he lost the bid for party nomination to a combination and conspiracy of factors.

The import of this “short-circuiting” was that Obahiagbon, the master of bombast, the sartorially elegant ambassador of the Bini culture (the royal Bini regalia), which was why he was always dressed in the attire, bowed out of the House of Representatives when his followers were just beginning to enjoy his interventions on the floor during debates. That marked the terminus of the verbal razzmatazz of the profoundly eventful gladiator. The House has since been missing Obahiagbon and his Obahiagbonese (his own peculiar coinages).

His defeat at the primaries of his party was not enough to stymie the flow of his usual bombasts in times of deep emotional outbursts. When asked to react to the development and the rejoicing in the camp of his opponent, he said: “This has made me suffused with emotional narcolepsy that the homo-sapiens in the metro-political geographical enclave of Edo have opted for owambe-ing over legislative quo modo dicis. Such a reckless display of narcissistic and flamboyant hedonism is capable of encumbering our nascent democracy with insidious, repercussive and cataclysmic exigencies.”

But while he was in the Lower Chamber, Obahiagbon defined a unique character for himself, using the instrumentality of his swanky outfits as well as esoteric grammar (his peculiar manner of speaking). This is the uniqueness of Obahiagbon, the self-styled “son of Igodomigodo”, a sobriquet he has adopted since 1999, when he was elected into the Edo State House of Assembly.

A lawyer and holder of two Master’s degrees once said: “I have deployed the nomenclature of Igodomigodo as a political sobriquet for ten years now, particularly as a vehicular nexus with my culturico-spiritual fons et origo and this emanated from an advertent primus mobilus to cosmopolitanise my genealogical matrix since it was not by accident that I originated from the land of Igodomigodo.”

According to him: “Igodomigodo was the original, first ever, and pristine name of the Binis. From Igodomigodo, we were known as Ile-Ubini before the transmogrification into modern day Bini or Benin. So, you can now see that when I togarise my identity with the Igodomigodo aura, I am invoking the visible and invisible gods of my progenitors and at the same time luxuriating in an ancestral aqua of pristine Risorgimento.”

Obahiagbon had become a phenomenon in the House of Representatives. He could titillate to no end with his fecundity, coupled with the razzmatazz that accompanied his submissions. Answering a question on his forceful contributions on the floor, he had said: “…You cannot succeed as a parliamentarian if you are not cosmopolitan. You must be prepared to immerse yourself in societal dialectics for you to be able to contribute efficaciously in a utilitarian modus. So, if you are a parliamentarian and you don’t go through the ritual of even reading newspapers, you don’t bathe yourself in the aqua of the political cross currents, then you are going to be deuced, you are going to be paralytic in your contributions…”.

His mode of dressing (traditional Bini attires) was also very unique. He was once asked why he was always clad in his traditional Benin dress with beads round his neck and wrists. His response: “I have dressed like this from 1999 without any hiatus. As a student of mysticism, I believe nothing happens in the life of a mystic by chance and I know it was not by accident that I was born a Bini man. I entered into a covenant with myself when I was seeking political visibility that if God gave me the visibility, I was going to propagate the Bini heritage and culture. When it pleased God to give that to me in 1999, I had to keep faith with that covenant and I have dressed in full panoply of the royal Bini regalia.”

Obahiagbon never ran short of big dictions or coinages that defined his peculiar style. Answering question on the need for his colleagues to up the ante of contributions on the floor, he had advised: “They must avoid regular big stouting, suyaing, and pepper-souping. Those are not the real issues. They must be prepared to immerse themselves in societal dialectics. They must put their nose to the grind stone. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Ikene philosopher, once said ‘the difference between my other colleagues and I, is that when my other colleagues are cavorting in the dark alleys, I am in my library working myself nineteen to the dozen’. You cannot succeed in life if you are not disciplined. You must be puritanical in your predisposition; you must engage in an exercise of self-purification and mortification; you must engage in an exercise of self-abnegation; you must engage in an exercise of spiritual emulation. You must discipline the flesh. You must conquer the flesh. You must allow the spiritual aspect of you preponderate the material aspect, especially when you have been chosen to represent the people, so that at the end of the day, you can really say: Vendi, vidi, vicki (I came; I saw; I conquered).”

On the achievement of the House of Representatives, Obahiagbon had once said: “…The House of Representatives has not fallen short of its vivacious commitment in acting as the moral policeman over agencies of government. We have taken our oversight functions very responsively and responsibly. The emotional, visceral commitments, the messianic zeal and the quixotic temper with which we have taken our oversight responsibilities had, to a large extent, assisted in cleansing the Augean Stable while a number of structural deficiencies have, through this parliamentary metamorphosis, been brought under focus…”.

Yes, there are so many other instances when this self-acclaimed verbal contortionist mesmerized his audience, which space cannot permit me to recall; even as the current Chief of Staff to the Governor of Edo State, Obahiagbon has, within the scope of his mandate, been speaking in his trademark “language” and dazzling all and sundry as usual, including yours sincerely. Is there, therefore, any other way that is better than this tribute to celebrate Obahiagbon, one of those who were born in 1960, on his birthday (April 12), the day (April 12) I married my heart-throb, Pat, in 1997? Happy birthday, my brother, and many happy returns!