The special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on political matters, Babafemi Ojudu on Monday, January 25, recalled how Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), held a secret meeting with Sunday Igboho in 2009.
1st News had reported that Igboho (real name: Sunday Adeyemo), had issued an eviction notice to herdsmen in the Ibarapa local government area of Oyo state due to the escalating insecurity.
In his essay, Ojudu stated how Tinubu persuaded Igboho not to interfere with the 2009 rerun election in Ekiti state.
Segun Oni of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had defeated Kayode Fayemi of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2007 gubernatorial election.
However, Fayemi challenged the electoral results, through the support of Tinubu.
In February 2009, an appeal court sitting in Ilorin ordered that a rerun be held in some polling units.
In his piece, Ojudu said Tinubu summoned him after the now-defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) got wind of information that the PDP was planning to recruit thugs to rig the election.
Ojudu said he suggested that they should invite and dissuade the PDP thugs from disrupting the election.
“A few days to the election, we got an intelligence report that the PDP big wigs had perfected a plan to unleash thugs recruited from across Yoruba land on Ekiti. The plan was to kill and maim as many as possible, snatch ballot boxes and win by any means possible,” he wrote.
“Tinubu summoned me to Lagos and said Femi, “I have conducted a scientific opinion poll. You people can win this election. The only snag however is they are deploying state security as well as thugs against you. State security men we can handle ( and he did creatively handled them ) but how do you handle thugs?”
“I then suggested we dissuade them by engagement and inducements. After all, they are in the business only for the money and not for ideological reasons.
“The biggest headache for us then was Sunday Igboho who we learnt has been hired and paid by a Senator from Osun to come and cause mayhem in Ekiti. Tinubu instructed we must get him at all cost.
“Six days to the election we began our search for him. Eventually, we met someone who had his number. I put a call through to him and he agreed to meet with me in Ibadan.
He explained that they were able to convince Igboho to ditch any plans of interfering with the electoral process after a meeting with Tinubu in Ondo state.
“He agreed to a meeting on Thursday preceding the election. I reported back to Tinubu who then relocated from his base in Lagos to Sunview Hotel in Akure. Igboho drove down alone at about 10.00 pm. I and Tinubu had a dialogue with him,” he wrote.
“Tinubu went on and on lecturing him on the beauty of democracy and the unencumbered electoral process. By the time Tinubu finished with him, he became sober and contrite. “ Baba”, he said, “I have heard you and I am pleased with what you have said. Whatever you want me to do I will do even though I have collected money from the other side.”