It was strange and emotional. A would-be minister was asked to say what he felt the Senate should know about him that was not stated in his CV.
His eyes suddenly turned red, releasing a flood of tears.
“I did not kill Chief Bola Ige,” Alhaji Abduljelili Oyewale Adesiyan sobbed as he laboured to clear his name of the accusation that he had a hand in the death of Chief Ige.
The former Attorney-General and Justice Minister was assassinated in his Bodija, Ibadan home on December 23, 2001.
The Senate resumed the screening of ministerial nominees, which it began on Wednesday.
Former Adamawa State Governor Boni Haruna was the first to be screened.
When Adesiyan took his turn, Senate President David Mark, as usual, asked him to make a personal explanation, especially on those things that were not in his curriculum vitae .
Adesiyan, who was nominated by President Goodluck Jonathan from Osun State, thanked senators for the opportunity offered him to stand before them to speak as a ministerial nominee.
He noted that he was one of those wrongly accused to have had a hand in the death of Chief Bola Ige.
He said: “It may interest you, Distinguished Senators, to know that I am one of those wrongly accused of having a hand in the death of my mentor, Chief Bola Ige. It was all political blackmail because I knew nothing about the death of Chief Ige.
“I was detained for three and half years for something I knew nothing about. I stand here to say that I knew nothing about the death of Chief Bola Ige.”
Adesiyan described the late Ige as his political mentor whom he had no reason whatsoever to kill.
There was sustained murmuring in the chamber as Adesiyan appeared to be emotional in his conduct.
Senator Ehigie Uzamere (Edo South) raised his hand and was recognised by Mark.
Uzamere said: “Mr. nominee, you mentioned in the course of your speech the death of Chief Bola Ige. Can you swear by the Quran that you do not know anything about the death of Bola Ige?”
Some senators protested and shouted that the Senate chamber is not a place of worship or a shrine. Others said that there was no Quran in the chamber.
Uzamere was not intimidated by the protest of some of his colleagues.
The Edo State lawmaker continued: “You said that you did not kill Bola Ige, that you were accused wrongly and detained for three and half years. We are in the same boat because I was also detained.
“The question I want you to answer is did
you kill Bola Ige? Did you have anything to do with the death of Bola Ige? If the Holy Quran is not here as some senators said, I want to ask you, did you kill Bola Ige. What do you know about the death of Bola Ige?”
As the protest in chamber continued, Uzamere insisted that Adesiyan should answer the questions.
Mark asked Adesiyan to respond.
Adesiyan thanked Uzamere for the questions.
He said: “I thank Senator Uzamere for his questions. I do not know whether I can be availed with a copy of the Holy Quran. But I maintain and say that I did not kill Chief Bola Ige.
“I did not have any reason to kill Chief Bola Ige, but I was wrongly fingered to have killed him.
“Chief Bola Ige sent me to United States for education; he was my mentor. I am saying it today if Chief Bola Ige gave money to anybody, it is my family and I.
“The reason I was fingered was because as Assistant Secretary of AD, I changed to PDP. Because of that, I was fingered and punished as having something to do with the assassination of Chief Bola Ige.
“When I was in detention, I used to pinch myself whether I was dreaming because I had nothing to do with the death of Chief Bola Ige. It was all calculated political blackmail.”
Haruna told the Senate that he was subjected to the most harrowing inquisition by anti-graft agencies.
He said he was happy that a judgment had been given in his favour over allegations of corruption.
The judgment, he said, vindicated him that “you can go to public office and come out clean”.
On how to achieve peace in the Northeast, the former governor said the peace project should be everybody’s project.
On corruption, he said the problem is attitudinal.
According to him, the best way to fight corruption is to always ensure honesty of purpose.
Haruna, who was praised by the three senators from his state for uncommon achievements during his tenure as governor, told the Senate that for eight years he was governor he did not take security vote.
Apart from Haruna and Adesiyan, the Senate screened two other nominees – Dr. Khaliru Alhassan (Sokoto) and Dr. T.W. Danagogo (Rivers).
Hadjia Jamilla Salik (Kano) and Asabe Asmau Ahmed (Niger) did not appear.
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