Afenifere Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, yesterday responded to the allegation by a former Governor of Ekiti State, Bisi Akande that he (Adebanjo) compelled a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Bola Tinubu to build a house for him in Lekki, Lagos.
In a statement he personally signed, the nonagenarian noted that the imputation by Akande in his recently released book, “My Participations,” that the former Lagos governor funded the Lekki home was baseless and false.
Also, in reaction to the new book, a former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, said he found it strange that Akande who boasted that he was prudent and honest as governor, awarded the construction of a Government House in his last days in office, “after he lost the election, and in advance, paid the contractors the entire contract sum of N800 million.”
Adebanjo stated that he decided to add Tinubu to the fray because his (Tinubu’s) refusal to refute the allegation after the launch of the autobiography meant the APC leader agreed with Akande.
While explaining how he financed his own building, Adebanjo urged both Akande and Tinubu to do likewise and tell Nigerians how they became stupendously rich.
Specifically, he called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to verify his statement as to how he funded the building and called on the former Lagos governor to explain how he allegedly financed the APC campaign in 2015.
“I hereby authorise the EFCC to verify the above facts. It is alleged that Chief Bisi Akande’s building at Ila-Orogun, which I understand is more than double in expanse of my house in Lekki and some other properties he has in Lagos and abroad were financed by Bola Tinubu.
“His house in Ibadan was also alleged to have been built by the contractor that built the secretariat in Oshogbo, when he was the governor of Osun state.
“I hereby challenge Chief Bisi Akande to clear the air by disclosing the source of financing these properties as I have done above.
“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the great philanthropist, should also disclose the source of his wealth with which he bankrolled the elections of APC in the south-west and that of Gen. Muhammad Buhari and his various properties in Lagos. He should also authorise the EFCC to verify such details as I have done above,” he said.
Akande reiterated that since Tinubu himself was present at the book presentation, he expected him within a few days to refute such a malicious falsehood about him, emanating from his “man Friday.”
He noted that it was shocking that Tinubu who just some three years ago at n the occasion of the presentation of Adebanjo’s auto-biography, “Saying It As It Is,” attested to the fact that if not for “My incorruptibility and strength of character he, Bola Tinubu would not have been Governor of Lagos State in 1999.”
Adebanjo wondered what Tinubu could be demanding from him after his two-term governorship to make him pressurise him to build a house for him, when he did not get a naira from Tinubu before he became the governor.
Describing Akande as a neophyte and a beneficiary of a struggle he never took part in, Akande averred that he owed himself a duty to put the record straight for posterity about the “big lie” that Tinubu built the house for him.
“I therefore deny categorically (sic) that my house at Lekki was built with my resources through the sale of three developed properties, loan from GTBank and the sale of undeveloped landed property given me by my late leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory,” he argued.
On the details of the properties he disposed to build the Lekki home, he listed a four-bedroom duplex with two bedroom flat enclosed with two undeveloped plots at plot four, block 14, Nuru Oniwo Street, Aguda Surulere, Lagos state, where he lived hitherto. He added that the house was commissioned in 1972 by Awolowo.
“A wing of the duplex was once occupied by a staff of the security outfit then known as “special branch” headed then by the late Alhaji M.D. Yussuf who later became Inspector General of Police when Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo was the Head of State.
“It was later occupied by one of the wives Chief Pius Akinyelure, who often visit his wife there in company of Senator Bola Tinubu.
“The gate of this property was forced open by Abacha security forces when NADECO was holding a sendoff party for American ambassador Walter Carrington in my house. I took the federal government to court for damages and I was awarded N1 million which has not been paid till today by the federal government, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), was my counsel,” he said.
In addition, he mentioned a two-storey building at Odedola Street, Surulere, Lagos state, which he bought through an estate agent by name Mr. Shiwoniku, who has since relocated to UK and has a brother who is a legal practitioner in Abuja.
“The house was sold to a Ghanaian by name Mr Akappo. He is still alive and he lives in one of the flat in the building,” Adebanjo noted.
He also mentioned a plot of 45X100 which he said he inherited from his mother Salamotu Anomo-Adebanjo, who built a bungalow on it.
“She bought the land when I was in primary school in 1940 from one Pa. Idowu Onitiri for £20, which she paid by instalment of £10, £7, £3. His son Akanbi Onitiri, executed the conveyance for me without extra payment after showing him the purchase receipts from his father, when I was developing it in 1976. Akanbi Onitiri is the father of Sumbo Onitiri, a well-known estate surveyor in Lagos.
“The building was sold to a woman through an estate agent. I then took a loan from GTBank to complete the house in Lekki where I am living now,” Adebanjo recalled.
He added that when the interest on the loan became unbearable, he was compelled to sell the undeveloped land given to him by Awolowo in Dide-Olu Estate in Maroko Victoria Island.
“One Mr. Ade Otusanya, a friend of my son, Femi Ayo-Adebanjo bought the land. The contractor who built my Lekki house is Hakeem Sulaiman, Senior Partner of Messrs HA associates.
“The Electrical and Mechanical Contractor is Tokunbo Oshokoya, Senior Partner of Messrs Oshea Projects. The Architect is Mr. Deji Johnson. The Quantity Surveyor is the late Otunba T.B Adebayo.
“The Lekki property, the house in my village, Isanya Ogbo, and three-bedroom flat in a town house, at Omorinre Street in Lekki are the properties I have in the whole world,” the Yoruba leader said.
Furthermore, Oyinlola who said his forthcoming autobiography had already taken care of all the issues raised in Akande’s book about him, however said he decided to make preliminary replies for the benefit of Nigerians who may be interested in hearing his own immediate side of the story.
The former Osun Governor stated: “Chief Akande said I wrongly accused him of corruption in the construction of the Governor’s Office (Bola Ige House). I did not level any false charges against him. I came into office in May 2003 and discovered that the Governor’s Office complex which Akande commissioned for use after he lost the election was really not completed.
“The state government asked the contractor to come back to site and complete the works, more so when evidence in government accounts showed that he had been paid. But the project consultant shocked everyone with his claim that part of the payment was taken back to finance the 2003 re-election bid of Chief Akande.
“The consultant said the contractor could not go back to work unless he was paid his full dues. One of Akande’s own appointees confessed collecting money from this contractor for Akande’s re-election. I consulted Chief Akande on this.
“He denied having any deal with the contractor and the consultant. Some people were subsequently taken to court on a seven-count criminal charge. Stakeholders in the state and Alhaji Arisekola Alao later intervened. I have the details of who collected how much in my forthcoming book.”
Continuing, Oyinlola wrote: “Akande wrote on the Government House that he wanted to build on a site on Ilesa road in Osogbo which I stopped. I found it strange that Chief Akande who boasted that he was prudent and honest as governor, awarded the construction of a Government House in his last days in office, after he lost the election, and in advance, paid the contractors the entire contract sum of N800million.
“Chief Akande confirmed this strange payment on page 393 of his book. This was a man who said there was no money to pay workers and pensioners but he had enough to pay a contractor in advance for a government house after losing his re-election.
“In any case, the state already had an ongoing Government House started by the military government which Akande refused to complete. I completed the project and added chalets plus a presidential lodge. Everything was completed and commissioned within my first year in office. “The state has continued to use the structures till date. Akande, in his book, condemned my decision to opt for that project instead of his own idea. Further details on this are in my forthcoming book.”