By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Former member of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon. Joseph Adegbesan, has denied the allegations of gun-running and cultism levelledagainst him, saying they were politically motivating.
Adegbesan was arrested by the operatives of the Intelligence Response Team, Force Headquarters, Abuja, on September 23, 2021.
Two others were also arrested along with him over allegations bordering on cultism, breach of public peace, threat to life, and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms.
The arrest followed a petition by the lawmaker currently representing Ijebu North II State Constituency, Hon. Oludare Kadiri.
Kadiri had in the said petition, accused Adegbesan of sponsoring suspected cultists to attack and kill him, adding that some of the accomplices of the former lawmaker had sometimes confessed to killing two students of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye.
But speaking with reporters at the weekend, the ex – lawmaker who represented Ijebu North II State Constituency said all the allegations should be entirely discarded.
He also absolved the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tokunbo Talabi, of any blame in the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ijebu North Local Government Area of the state, insisting that Talabi was trying to unify party members in the area and not fueling disaffection.
He claimed that his ordeal and associated various media reports were orchestrated by those envious of his rising political profile, especially within the local government.
The former lawmaker stressed that during his previous political campaigns, he frowned at issues of cultism not to talk of promoting cult members.
“I don’t even like cultists to move near me, not to talk of promoting them. I can’t promote cultism. Even when I was campaigning, I would always say I don’t want any type of this thing, instead, let the police follow us,” he stated.
He specifically accused Kadiri of plotting against him because of his removal as Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly.
According to him, the crisis started in February, this year, when Kadiri led suspected thugs to attack and vandalise his house and those of the SSG and his sister identified as Mrs Oduwole in Oru-Ijebu.
Adegbesan explained that after the attacks were reported at the Awa Divisional Police Station, the case was first transferred to the Area Command and then to the police headquarters in Eleweran, Abeokuta, where the state Commissioner of Police took charge.
He said: “So, the Commissioner of Police invited both of us, we showed him the video and played the voice recording. Apart from reporting the case, we sent a petition to the House of Assembly too which also invited us. So, I think he (Kadiri) was detained on Friday and released on Saturday and they asked us to come back on Monday.
“When we got there on Monday, they said we are going to court. But during the process, I learnt he was with the governor trying to beg and so on and so forth. So all well and good, the court case didn’t take place.
“Then the CP asked us to come back on another date. On that date when we got there, his (Kadiri) doctor called that he was on the sick bed and wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting.
“During the process, he wrote a petition to IG or so, we just saw invitation that we should come and meet them at Alagbon.
“When we got to Alagbon, they asked us to state our own side of the story and we stated it by writing our own statement. So, the Assistant Commissioner of Police there brought the two of us together. We narrated our own side, we showed them the video and everything. They said they would look at it but up till now, we are still awaiting the result.
“So, I was just surprised about a week ago when I saw policemen. I knew it was from Maba (Kadiri). Nobody would write a petition except him. And when we got there, we stated our own story and we were released immediately.”
On the crisis rocking the APC in Ijebu North Local Government, Adegbesan said only two wards (Ward 9 and 11) where Kadiri came from “are where they are creating problems here and there.”
He said though the SSG is not seeking any elective office, he had been using his current position to promote peace and unity among the party leaders and members in the local government.
Adegbesan noted that before the advent of Talabi, different groups within the APC in Ijebu North had worked at cross-purposes and held separate ward meetings.
He said: “We actually came from PDP to join APC but we did election together. During the election, Maba came to my house begging me that I should assist him. Then I called our people and they voted for him.
“He came back again to appreciate me, even went to the extent of telling the governor that if not because of Hon. Adegbesan and God, he wouldn’t have won his election.
“So, when we came in, Kaka’s faction is there, Biyi (Durojaiye) faction is there, Ogunlana’s faction is there, Adesegun’s faction there. Even they were doing their ward meetings separately. But when SSG came in, he started bringing everybody together so that there can be relative peace in the local government. So, that’s what is happening.
“Before, Kaka and Adesegun don’t see eye to eye. And we thank God that today, they are together. They can even hold meetings with SSG. There was a time the SSG called a meeting, all of them attended the meeting and we are very happy.
“So, I can say relatively all of us are together as at now, except his (Kadiri) own camp.”