OLAITAN OYERINDE, THE LATE PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO GOVERNOR ADAMS OSHIOMHOLE OF EDO STATE WAS ASSASSINATED OVER A YEAR AGO. THE NATION’S SECURITY AGENCIES say THEY ARE STILL BATTLING TO FIND THE KILLERS. OLAITAN’S FATHER, ALHAJI OYERINDE, A VETERAN JOURNALIST REMAINS DEVASTATED, NOT ONLY BY HIS SON’S ASSASSINATION, BUT BY THE POLICE’S failure TO FIND HIS KILLERS. HE SHARES HIS GRIEF WITH HAMMED SHITTU IN HIS RESIDENCE IN ILORIN, KWARA STATE
How have you been coping since the killing of your son?
Naturally, one would miss one’s favourite among his children. He was not my only child and was not the only one taking good care of me but his own contributions were more than any of his siblings. To God be the glory. There’s no problem. I want Nigerians to help me praise Governor Oshiomhole of Edo State. He has been nice to me, not on financial aspect, but he is very caring. He often asks after my well-being all the time. He does this all the time and I appreciate him very much. He is behaving as if I am his father. He is doing very well to me.
How will you describe the killing of your son by the yet to be identified gun men?
For those that killed my son, Olaitan, God will use their deeds to judge them accordingly. If arrested, their arrest won’t bring my son back to life. God is the only God of justice. He will get justice for my son. My people share all the struggles and problems of Governor Oshiomhole as he continues the search for justice for Olaitan. He has become very dear to my entire family. They say they’ve never seen any leader as caring as he does. I am not flattering him. He’s behaving as if Olaitan and himself were born by the same father and mother. That’s how he has been behaving. There’s no one that such calamity will befall and won’t want to know those behind the dastardly act.
What is your opinion about the ongoing investigations into the killing of Olaitan by security agencies in the country?
For me, I don’t know of any reason why the police and the SSS will be at loggerheads over same objective they should both uphold. They are law enforcement agencies. So, I don’t see any reason why they should disagree on the issue. It’s uncalled for. Their goal is to dig out the assassins, those who killed my son. That’s why they were established as law enforcement agencies. We thank Oshiomhole greatly for all he’s been doing on the matter. He wanted those who killed Olaitan brought to book and that’s what every reasonable person wants; that the wicked should be punished before his death. That’s all.
What’s your view on amnesty for members of Boko Haram?
You see, whatever can bring peace should be pursued. Government has a duty to ensure that peace reigns supreme in the country. They would use whatever means to achieve that; whether through amnesty or other means. They have to do it. It’s a must for the government. If amnesty will bring peace, everyone should support it. It was done in the Niger Delta. I don’t think Boko Haram is all about religion. I don’t think so. Islam, Christianity or traditional religion does not support killing. They should show me the part of the Quran where it is said that other human beings should be killed. Also, MEND should stop threatening Nigerians. It can’t solve the problem at hand. MEND will only allow it to boomerang and destroy the country.
All that’s happening now didn’t happen during our days. Unemployment is our major problem now and population growth brings about unemployment. Government should tackle unemployment. We have lots of waste in government in this country, particularly among our leaders. They embezzle public fund now on a larger scale. A good example is the pension fund fraud. It’s most unfortunate. It was not so in the First Republic. I think population is our major problem. We are too many and the plans of our planners are not matching the population explosion.
What’s your view on the recent and arraignment of some journalists in the country?
You journalists are even doing well now. During our time, they put us in detention too. I was detained on several occasions, particularly during the tax riot in Ilorin. I was imprisoned during a military rule. It’s part of the hazards of journalism. And more so, anyone that upholds honesty, truth, justice among a society of dishonest people will not be popular. The present government is even tolerating journalists better than during our days. You know that thieves won’t want to be called thieves. But what we see and read in newspapers saddens me. Imagine someone that should effect the payment of pension now engaged in embezzling billions of naira. It’s not good. I pray God should change their minds. That’s why some people are calling for a revolution. So, when a child is spoilt, he should be thoroughly caned. Those perpetrating corruption should be dealt with. This is where we see a bicycle repairer becoming a councilor and building two houses within three years. Kidnapping is happening here and there.
So, I charge Nigerian politicians to embrace peace and shun corrupt practices as 2015 beckons. If they do well naturally, the people will give them support.
Can we know more about your journalism background?
I started with Southern Nigeria Defender which was founded by the then NCNC to antagonize Tribune. From there, I moved to the Tribune newspapers for a while. I later joined Sketch newspapers and served for about 18 years. I introduced Sketch newspapers to Kwara State and virtually to all northern parts of the country. During that period, Sketch was the leading newspaper around this area among all other existing ones. There is no gainsaying about that.