Jebba: An Open Letter to the Deputy Speaker, KWHA. By Zulqurnain Ajedayo

Date: 2016-07-19

The Honorable Deputy-Speaker,
Kwara State House of Assembly,
Asa-Dam Road,
Ilorin, Kwara State

Dear Hon Mathew Okedare Jebba,

IT MUST NOT BE SWEPT UNDER THE CARPET

Your Honour, I write to you today with a heavy heart. Heavy heart because I am not happy; as my country home, Jebba, is presently in total disarray. This is not unconnected with the fracas that claimed lives of three promising youths and properties worth millions. Like all other towns, Wednesday, 6th, July 2016, being a Sallah day was meant to be a happy day for the people of the ancient town. Lives were lost and properties destroyed  for reasons well known to Your Honour and all of us. So sad was the day marking the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan that the law abiding residents of the town were thrown into sorrow by the dastardly acts of some hoodlums alleged to have been hired by some members of your family. These hoodlums were equipped with such dangerous weapons as arrows, daggers, machetes, arms and ammunitions and other dangerous weapons to assassinate the Oba of Jebba.

Truly, I was not in Jebba at the material time as I stayed back in Ilorin to celebrate Eid-el-Fitr. I stayed away too close to avoid any form of distractions that usually characterize the festive period at home. But then, who knows If I had gone home, maybe I would have been among the three promising youths who lost their lives to the attack. May their souls rest in peace. (Amin)

Your Honour, until proven otherwise, I am tempted to believe the story narrated to me by some eye-witnesses and some concerned citizens on how the killings were carried out with total impunity. It may interest your honour to note that my own elder brother was among the twelve other persons who sustained serious injuries as a result of gun shots. However, I wish to state that this letter is not meant to appeal partisan considerations to make case for either Adebara family or your family, Okedare family or trade blame on anyone. My purpose is to tug at the strings of your heart as a Honorable member representing my constituency of which Jebba is part. Perhaps I can pour out my heart to you in a manner that will help suggest a path that will restore peace in Jebba community, put things in proper perspective.

Sir, let me draw your attention to two important things without necessarily dwelling on how the bloody events occurred and who is responsible. Since investigation is already on going, I will not heat up the polity any further.

Firstly, on the allegation that you, in connivance with your family members acting on a written script given onto you from the State capital, co-sponsored the foiled assassination attempt that resulted into the loss of three lives and leaving many others seriously injured. Your Honour, much as I carry the heavy burden of believing what elders of the community and my parents alleged you of, I however believe you are innocent until the contrary is proven. This is the right you enjoyed under section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution. But you must prove the elders and my parents wrong. You will prove them wrong If only you will use your good office to help investigate and identify the perpetrators of this evil act. This, you can achieve by making moves in the State House of Assembly towards setting up a committee to work in collaboration with other security agencies in the state with the sole aim of bringing the perpetrators to book.

 Your Honour,, this is the only way you can vindicate yourself and perhaps myself too since I insist you are innocent and believing that as a Honourable legislator you could not have masterminded the killing of an octogeneraian traditional ruler of your own town or hired unknown hoodlums to kill your own very people who gave you their collective mandate to represent them. Who would you represent if we were all killed? Your Honour, you must not disappoint me and indeed the entire community in your quest to indentify the killers, If truly you are innocent. May the perpetrators never know peace until justice is done.

Secondly Sir, the statement made by you yesterday in your broadcast message to debunk the allegation made against you by one Engr. S. A Adebara reminds me of a Supreme Court decision in the case of Okedare v. Adebara (1994) 4 NWLR (Pt. 349) in which the ownership tussle of the entire land in Jebba town was settled. In your statement, while you struggled to debunk the allegation, you also alleged that the Adebara family started the fracas when they removed beacons of land allocated to persons by your family. I leave that to you and security agents to unravel the actual perpetrators as I hold the conviction to be fair in my write-up. Once again, I also pray that the blood of innocent lives will hunt the killers and their co- sponsors until justice prevails. In view of this, I wish to remind you that, Supreme Court has made it emphatically clear that no community or family owns the entire land in Jebba as your family had claimed before the court and still continue to claim till today. It was decided that each and every 33 villages that made up of Jebba town owns their respective land. Sir, I wish to state further that the peace and tranquility we have enjoyed over a century is what is paramount to me and not necessarily who owns a land or not.  But owing to the settlement of this land dispute many decades ago. I urge you and your family to desist from encrouching on other communities land in order for peace to reign.  Sir, I also urge you to reflect on this Supreme court decision and start to chart a new course for the development of the town that will as well foster peace and unity. Since the title over who is the allodia land owner, I believe, is also part of the crux of the age-long rivalry between your family and Adebara family. But If truly you are a progressive, remember that united we stand and divided we fall. Development can only foster where peace and unity domicile.

Your Honour, I'm also aware your family is laying claim to the traditional stool in Jebba. If you believe your family is entitled to Oba's stool in Jebba, I urge you to please approach a court laying claim to it, but only through civil or chieftaincy matter. The practice of using State machinary to institute criminal matter against Adebara family will not fetch your family any good. Worst case is to get conviction for the state and Adebara family will still install another prince from their family as the new Oba. Your Honour, as an honourable man, I implore you and your family to fight for your rights within the limit the law permits you.

Lastly Your Honour, when the chips are down, you must remember the Yoruba adage that says, "Ti o ba ko iwaju si o, ko ta, ti o ba ko eyin si o, ko ta, Ti o ba ku iwo nikan, ki o tun ero ara re pa" meaning when you are alone turn back to reflect. My advice for you Sir is that you must not allow position you hold today becloud you into believing that you are indispensable. Remember that someone was there yesterday and he is no more there today. You will also not be there tomorrow. You will recall Honorable Yusuf Amuda Ibn Muhammed from Jebba was a member of the National House of Assembly during the second Republic. Today he is no more, but the legacy and virtue he stood for stand him out today among politicians in Jebba. Every peace loving person in Jebba admire him today for his leadership style. Your Honour, you must ask yourself this question; what would people say about me years after I have transited to the world eternal? How do you wish posterity to judge you? Would you like to be remembered for helping to bring the perpetrators of the gruesome murderers of the three young promising youths to book, If ever you are not among the perpetrators. Or you wish to be remembered for shielding the killers in case you found any Adebara or Okedare as the perpetrator. You must also remember that you have no place to call a home except Jebba. So, I believe  what should be paramount to you now is how to restore peace back in Jebba and most importantly how to bring the perpetrators to book.

The case must not be swept under the carpet; no matter what the status of the culprits is. YouHonour, be a peace ambassador and live up to your status as an honorable member of Kwara State House of Assembly. I advise you thread with care. A word is enough for the wise.

Yours sincerely

Zulqurnain Ajedayo

Zulqurnain Ajedayo writes from Ilorin. You can follow me on Twitter @Ajedayo. Email me @ Aje4dayo@mail.com

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