Sura the Tailor and tragedy averted

The Supreme Court on Thursday sacked the former Governor-elect and the Deputy Governor-elect of Bayelsa State on the technical grounds of their ticket being unqualified for the last governorship election in the state.

The deputy governor was found culpable of serial certificate fraud. Here is the life of the deputy governor:

1.1976 Primary school certificate as Degi Biobaragha.

  1. 1984 WAEC school certificate as Adegi Biobakumo.
  2. In 1990 university first degree certificate as Degi Biobarakuma.
  3. In the 2002 university MBA as Degi Biobarakuma Wangagha.
  4. In 2018 and 2019 INEC Forms CF001 as Biobarakuma Degi-Eremiwenyo.
  5. In the newspaper publication and the affidavits sworn to by Degi before two different Notary Public, the names of Degi were conflicting and varied.

Then came up ‘Sura the Tailor’ who was doing more of solidarity with a comrade (remember the Iyamoh School) than carrying out the function required of a responsible office of the Chairman of a governing party.

In the most reckless manner, he  declared that no one would be sworn in on Friday as the candidate  of the PDP did not meet the constitutional spread required to be declared a winner. He constituted himself a privy council over the apex court.

He was using  a tailor’s mind to interpret the law. I would have loaned him the mind of my tailor, Vanskere, who finished from the Law School in 2003 before veering into fashion business. There is no cloth he makes that you wouldn’t have people asking you “who made this for you?”

Before you could say “Oshio Baba”, the plebeians had set  bonfires  all over Bayelsa and torching properties. The homes of the governor and that of the governor-elect were vandalised. In decent countries, the man who incited these actions should be behind bars by now. But he is still blabbing his mouth against INEC.

The streets of Bayelsa would be flowing with blood by now but for the responsible role of INEC under Professor Mahmood Yakubu.They made use of the “Independent” in their name, showed they were not under the control of a party chair behaving like “Up Road’” people.  The pronouncement of INEC showed the end of the road for the thugs.

“The margin of lead between the candidates of the PDP and the Accord party is 141,833 votes. With this outcome, the election is conclusive at first ballot.

“Consequently, Senator Douye Diri and Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of the PDP are hereby declared winners and returned elected as governor and deputy governor of Bayelsa State respectively,” he declared.

This is the point Sura the Tailor did not get: that once a candidate is declared unqualified in an election, all the votes recorded for him or her go to waste.

INEC must continue to improve on its performance henceforth. It should not be lost on it that not one of the demonstrations that have been going on over Imo State is against it. It shows Nigerians would not condemn the body if it does well.

The APC on its part would appear an irresponsible organisation if it cannot get a more rational  person among its members to lead it after this disaster.

And for my brother, Honourable Seriake Dickson, the God who gave you four children in a day after many years of waiting has smiled at you again. I was in great pain when I saw you being hooted 48 hours before this. Now that your palm kernel has been cracked by the gods, don’t take this as your personal  victory. Go out there to mend broken fences. Sincere advice  from a brother who loves you. Bayelsa shouldn’t have gone through all these if things were done differently.

Re: Amotekun and matters arising

I read through your article Voice of Courage — Yinka Odumakin, Sunday Tribune of February 2, 2020 — Amotekun and matters miscellaneous. I was pleasantly enjoying your write up when I suddenly saw my name and your commentaries as follows:

“…By the following day, they asked my wife to bring a mattress for me. But the top was still under Abuja pressure, DCP Yinka Balogun, who was head of Panti then, disappeared (Emphasis mine) after my lawyer, Mr Kola Awodehin (SAN) visited him. He had to go to Court to enforce my rights. This wonderful lady judge whose name escape my memory now granted an ex parte order for my release. For three days after the order, my lawyer could not see Balogun to serve. When it was clear that it was a ploy to still keep me illegally, we had to show we were wiser than them. Mr Balogun who absconded from work, surfaced and was frantically looking for who to sign my bail (emphasis mine). This did not stop me to condemn his controversial compulsory retirement from the police years later.”

Now let us straighten the records, you did not state when you were detained in Panti SCID which contained all my above actions. I wish to therefore state as follows:

  1. I was posted to Panti State SCID on 2nd July, 2005 and I left for Special Fraud Unit, Milverton Road, Ikoyi on 18th June, 2007
  2. I do not have the habit of disappearing whenever Court papers are being served (being a lawyer myself. I was called to Bar in 1989).

iii. I have never absconded from my work all through my service in the police, no cause for such as that is indiscpline, ask those who know me.

  1. I would want to know who was that person I eventually looked for to sign your bail and by the way, what was your offence?
  2. I was not compulsorily retired from the Police. I left SCID on promotion/posting to Special Fraud Unit where I left remarkable footprints (in fact I was the O/C that was instrumental to massive reformation structural and intellectual and renaming the new outfit Sunday Adewusi House).
  3. I was moved from Adewusi House (18th June 2007 to August 2008), to attend a Senior Intelligence/Security Course at the National Institute for Security Studies, Abuja (2008-2009).

vii. I was thereafter posted as Commissioner of Police, Ekiti State where I served meritoriously with Governor Kayode Fayemi (2010-2011).

viii. I was eventually moved to Edo State as Commissioner of Police from where I honourably retired on October 31st, 2012. I was never compulsorily retired. I have even collected my benefits and as a pensioner currently a Legal Practitioner in Lagos.

I therefore keep on wondering if I am the same DC Yinka Balogun you were referring to soo graphically in your sid article. Please crosscheck your facts with dates and make appropriate public corrections. In fact I should be very much obliged if you can publish this as my right of response.

  • CP Olayinka Balogun (retd)

Re: Amotekun and matters arising

My comment: I was arrested in September 2005 and taken to Panti in Lagos. About 30 minutes after arrival, I was taken before DCP Olayinka Balogun who appeared nice to me in his French suit. He asked that I should be taken into one of the offices to make a statement. My friend. Mr Sola Lawal was with me.

When night came, his men asked me to follow them until they led me downstairs,  until they opened their dreaded cell for me. I spent dreadful hours there until Chief Segun Osoba and Otunba Niyi Adebayo visited me around 2 am and the jailers lost the conviction to continue to treat me cruelly. I was not a stranger to Panti, especially in Abacha days. On one occasion, I spent four days with Chief Gani Fawehinmi. And not once was I locked with criminals.

My lawyer, Mr Kola Awodein(SAN), came the following day to meet Mr Balogun to effect my bail but he told him to come back. He was there intermittently but the cop was not in the office.

He thereafter proceeded to a Lagos High Court to enforce my right. The court granted an order but for 48 hours we could not see Mr Balogun to serve.

On the third day after the court order, I told the police I was sick and needed to see my doctor. As they took me out of the main building to go to the clinic in the right building, I slumped. Within minutes there was a big crowd around Panti  chanting war songs thinking I was dead.

Mr Balogun came back to the office and was now ready to let me go. That was how Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, who was then ACN Chairman and later Deputy Governor, came for the task.

Do I bear grudges against Mr Balogun? I would have long been dead if God did not endow me with the capacity to rise above such. I had the benefit of telephone link with this kind officer. I got to know that a former governor called the IGP and the IGP  told him [ex-governor] that only the president could do anything about my case. What would I then expect of a DCP under authority in the circumstance?  Even a sitting governor called the president and he slammed the phone when he heard my name. But I have a very good relationship with him today. I learnt one thing from Nelson Mandela who pursued reconciliation instead of vengeance.

My mentioning the incident was just in the book of remembrance like Paul the Apostle of many virtues, including forgiveness, who said  “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm.”

By the way, Mr Olayinka Balogun was demoted (and not retired) and I condemned what happened to him, Ribadu and others in a statement I issued later.

I am so glad you are not proud of what happened if you are the same person in the narrative.    —Odumakin

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