Oyo State House of Assembly member on the platform of the Labour Party, Honourable Gideon Aremu, who was on Friday night killed by gunmen, in Ibadan, Oyo State, was already making preparations for his doctoral degree graduation from the University of Ilorin.
Honourable Aremu, 42, holder of a Master of Science degree and ex-soldier from Oorelope State Constituency, was shot dead by the assailants who trailed him to his Alakia house, at about 9:00 p.m.
Sunday Tribune gathered that the assailants rode in motorcycles and only took the lawmaker’s two phones, leaving his car and the N65,000 he had with him.
The Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Musah Abdul-Wasi, who made the doctoral preparations of the slain lawmaker public to newsmen, said Aremu was already looking forward to his convoction in the university in October.
“It is regrettable he is not going to see that future. He was supposed to be conferred with a Ph.D. by the University of Ilorin,” he said.
It was gathered that the gunmen threatened to kill his wife, Bukola, who attempted to open the gate of the house for her husband to drive in.
The wife was said to have been terrified by the incident and went upstairs, watching and praying that the assailants would spare her husband.
It was gathered that the assailants waited for a few minutes to confirm that their target was dead before leaving on their okada.
Sunday Tribune gathered that Honourable Aremu’s wife was watching from the house how the three men on a bike accosted her husband to the street, ordering him to come down.
His wife was said to have heard her husband asking the assailants “what do you want?” but could not help.
He was later rushed to Toun Hospital where he was confirmed “Brought In Dead.” His corpse has since been deposited at the morgue of Adeoyo Hospital, Yemetu.
At the scene of the incident, which was a few metres to his house, the victim’s sandals and blood were still the ground as of Saturday morning when Sunday Tribune visited.
Family members were said to have called his telephone lines around 3:00 a.m., disclosing that though the calls went through, there was no response. The phones were later reported switched off after subsequent trails.
Honourable Aremu was the only opposition lawmaker in the Oke Ogun area, as his other nine colleagues are from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
There were conflicting accounts about whether the slain lawmaker attended the breaking of fast event held at the residence of former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala on Friday evening.
A text message was sent to all the 32 lawmakers inviting them to assemble at the car park of the Assembly complex on Friday where they would join Governor Abiola Ajimobi onward to Alao-Akala’s Bodija residence.
But speaking with Sunday Tribune, Chief Alao-Akala said although lawmakers accompanied Governor Abiola Ajimobi to his residence, Honourable Aremu was not among those who came.
The former governor said: “I was told the assailants did not take his car after they killed him. So, why was he killed? It is sad if politics has degenerated to the level where people have to kill to achieve their aim.
“It was a rude shock to me when I heard of his murder. He was cut at his prime. I am saddened by this development,” Alao-Akala said.
His unfulfilled wish
Sunday Tribune gathered exclusively that the slain lawmaker planned to celebrate his wife’s 40th birthday in grand style whenever she clocked the landmark.
His colleague from Ibadan North I Constituency, Honourable Olusegun Olayele, who disclosed this to Sunday Tribune from the United States, on Saturday, said the late lawmaker came up with the plan during his (Olaleye’s) wife’s 40th birthday.
“He told me he would celebrate his wife’s 40th birthday because he was impressed with how I celebrated my wife at 40. He said it was if though we were re-marrying.
Full weight of law on perpetrators —Ajimobi
Governor Ajimobi has expressed shock and consternation over the incident, describing it as not only tragic but condemnable.
A statement by Mr YomiLayinka, his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, said: “As soon as news of the sad event filtered into the knowledge of the governor last night, the governor immediately got into contact with heads of all relevant security agencies including the police, state security services and the army to ensure that any and every one connected with the dastardly act is promptly apprehended and made to face the full weight of the judicial consequences of such sins against humanity.
“The security chiefs have consequently thrown their dragnets wide open to immediately investigate, arrest and prosecute all the antisocial elements who connived to snuff out the promising life of such a compatriot and public officer.
“While commiserating with the wife, children and family of the deceased who was a ranking member of the Oyo State House of Assembly, the governor assured them and all the people of Orelope State Constituency that justice would not only be seen to be done, but will be done swiftly and thoroughly to ensure the repose of the soul of the good and committed patriot.
Ajimobi reiterated his government’s commitment to sustaining peace and security that the people of the state currently enjoy, warning anyone or group not to test his resolve in this direction.
LP, APC, PDP call for investigation
The state chair of LP, Honourable Gbenga Olayemi, has described as barbaric and cruel, the assassination of Aremu, saying that his murder had political undertone.
Olayemi, who described Aremu as a gentleman whose murder came to the party as a painful loss, said the incident had shown that security of lives of people in the country had become endangered.
He called on security operatives and the state government to get to unravel the murder and bring culprits to justice, warning that the incident must not be swept under the carpet like other assassination cases in the state and the country.
Similarly, Oyo APC has called for thorough investigation into the incident.
In a statement by its publicity secretary, Mr Olawale Sadare, the party condemned the murder of the lawmaker.
“This is in view of the fact that such nasty development and political violence have become history in the state since 2011 when the current administration took the mantle of leadership.
Also reacting, the Oyo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), called the federal, state governments and the police to unravel the killers.
The PDP, in a statement signed by the party’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Honourable Kehinde Salawu, said “it is high time the government both at the state and federal level put a stop to political killings by finding the killers of Honourable Aremu.”
We are investigating —Police
When contacted, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Leye Oyebade, who visited the scene on Saturday, said he had ordered thorough investigation into the case.
Stating that the case was that of suspected murder, Oyebade added that the police would leave it open for investigation to determine whether it was assassination or not.
He confirmed that the phone of the deceased which had two sim cards were taken away by his killers, but said that it would not hinder police investigation.
The police commissioner also disclosed that the state command would invite some people for questioning based on information gathered.
He said he had also deployed human and material resources to carry out a manhunt for the culprits, while he enjoined members of the public who have useful information that would aid investigation are encouraged to avail the police of such.
Kwara speaker condoles Oyo House, Ajimobi
Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Honourable Ali Ahmad, has described the killing of the lawmaker as shocking and unfortunate.
In a message by his media aide, Shuaib Abdulkadir, the speaker lamented the murder of the lawmaker whom he described as an active member of the Oyo Assembly.
Dr Ahmad, who commiserated with Governor Ajimobi and his colleague in the state, Honourable Michael Adeyemo and the family of the slain lawmaker, prayed that God should give them the strength to bear the loss.
Speaker, LG chairman eulogise him
The Speaker of the House, Adeyemo, has described Aremu as an energetic, intelligent and peace-loving man, saying that the news of his murder was shocking, confusing and sad.
“We are all short of words. There are no words to describe this sad and shocking occurrence. We never thought such thing could happen again in Oyo State, having enjoyed peace for so long.
“We never thought that a vibrant, brilliant, energetic and unassuming Honourable Aremu would be cut down. He was a tree that bore fruits. We are still confused. It is beyond our understanding.
“We pray that God will continue to be with his family and the children who are very young. He is like someone who worked so hard but was not allowed to live to enjoy the fruits of his hard work.
Similarly, the Caretaker Chairman of Oorelope Local Government, Honourable Samuel Okunlade, eulogised the late lawmaker, describing him as a hero and a good man who served his country when duty demanded it.
Aremu as soldier
Aremu, who was enlisted into Nigerian Army in May 1996 as part of the 42 Regular Intake, was deployed to Sierra Leone as an Infantry Soldier in 1997, Sunday Tribune was informed by his friend and colleague in the military, Mr Amos Kunle Atitebi.
According to Atitebi, “When he joined the Army, he was posted to the 26th Battalion and from there; he was deployed to Liberia, where he worked with other security forces for Charles Taylor’s election.