"You this stupid minister, u are going to loose your job, this is your last assignment. You commissioned the project in my absence am going to deal wit u . To daniel he said, "who the hell do u think u are?" Credited to Speaker Dimeji Bankole. (Unverified)
"He dragged the key of the bus with the driver injuring him in the process and forcefully switched of the engine of the coaster bus carrying the Governor, Minister and other Exco members of Ogun State. For close to 15 minutes he held them hostage and pour invectives on them. OGD, the Minister of works, Sanusi Daggash, the Minister of state for works, engr Osa Ogemwonyin, info com kawonise and other exco members were all inside d bus . The ADC and CSO to OGD shielded OGD as Bankole charged towards him. In all these OGD ,Dagash and others were speechless as d power drunk speaker charged out of d bus."
"Among those who fled for their lives was the traditional ruler of Ota town, Alani Oloyede. The royal father had to tuck in his flowing gown, or agbada, as he fled the scene in the midst of his chiefs." 234next.com
Chief Kayode Odunaro, (Special Adviser (Communication) to the Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole via Niger Politics on-line platform:
I Just got to my house in Abuja (11.30 pm) as our flight from Lagos was delayed. It's been a long day and I read one or two account of Speaker Dimeji Bankole assaulting Governor Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Mohammed Daggash, the minister for works and some other person(s).
Let me state outright that I witnessed the whole incident and commonsense will out rightly indicate that Bankole could not have assaulted a minimum of three persons in a bus as alleged by persons giving second or third hand report of hearsay.
But for the benefit of all I think it will be appropriate to start from the beginning. Five days ago, Minister of Work called Speaker Bankole and intimated him that the Ota Bridge is to be commissioned on Thursday 29, July, 2010. He requested the Speaker to do the commissioning considering his role in resuscitating the project which was abandoned for over two years since 2007. The Speaker agreed on the condition that the minister will shift the timing from 10am to 3pm so that he can preside over the plenary session of the House before coming for the event. This was agreed to by the minister.
Unfortunately Speaker Bankole could not even preside over the House as a courtesy call on him by Nigerians in Diaspora (USA, Canada, Europe, Malaysia, Singapore, Africa) turned out to be a brainstorming session and the Bankole asked his deputy to preside so that he can fully brief our brothers and sisters from abroad on some issues they raised.
At the end of the session, Bankole in company of Hon. Onyema Chukwuma, Chairman House Committee on Works and 4 other members went to the airport in Abuja and arrived Lagos around 2.30 pm. While at the airport and en route Ota, the minister of work called severally to inquire about Speaker Bankole's progress towards the commissioning event. We arrived at the foot of the bridge towards the Lagos end at about 2.55pm while the event was schedule for the other end. Our route was blocked by parked vehicles of TRACE and other vehicles. It took a while to clear the vehicles parked on the bridge for us to get to the event venue proper amidst cheering crowd hailing Bankole for the role they know he played in seeing the bridge project to fruition. Traditional rulers and chiefs came and welcome the Speaker midway and led him toward the High table. On citing our approach, The minister with the Governor in tow stood up and proceeded toward where they want to cut the tape for the commissioning. In the thick of the crowd Speaker Bankole and his entourage made attempt to join the minister and governor apparently to know what is going on having been invited to do what apparently they were about to do. In a most hurried manner Daggash and the governor may have commissioned the bridge but I was a bit way off to see what they did as they abruptly turn back and the Governor headed for a completely black tinted Coaster Bus with the minister chaperoned along by a handful of security aides (Body Guards). At a point somebody called the minister attention to the presence of the Speaker( he knew apparently with the crowds cheering the Speaker and all the siren alarm) but he was virtually muscled into the bus or played along(only himself can say which.
At this point the Speaker approach the bus and entered to inquire from the minister why he brought him all the way from Abuja only virtually run away on citing him. The Chairman of House Works Hon. Onyema also enter the bus after being roughen up by the Governor’s security aides and he confirmed to me that they only entered the bus to get explanation from the minister. As aforesaid the window of the bus was heavily tinted and only those inside can account to what happened and the only other witness I noted was Ogun Commissioner for Agric Mr. Akinosi but he was busy trying to prevent Hon Rasaq Adewusi from entering the bus and may not really have an accurate account of what transpired. The scuffle that I noticed was outside the bus when the ADC and CSO of Speaker try to gain entrance into the bus as their duty demands to be with their principal at all times. They were, against protocol, prevented from doing so peacefully by security aides of the governor and had to force their way in to perform their duty the Speaker. The whole bus episode could not have lasted more than 4 minutes as the Speaker came down and we left the venue back to the airport where the Speaker addressed the press that wanted to know where the minister behaved the way he did. Bankole told them that the important thing for him is that the bridge was completed and is now being used by the people. He equally denied that he allegedly threatened to sack Daggash as he said neither himself or the House of Reps have any role to play in the hiring and firing of minister.
To the best of my eye witness knowledge this was what happened. I know the spin doctors led by the one they call Kawonise or is it Comical Ali would hallucinate on alleged assault. They are free to exercise their imagination but forumites are equally free to base their comment and contributions on facts and eye witness account not some hearsay by those always on standby to misinform and mislead for selfish end.
Thank to all as we see how the minister explain his treatment of Speaker Bankole wasting tax payers’ money in the process. We can comment on the politics of Ota Bridge later but for now this is for those who called on me to get the facts as much as possible not some propaganda.
Chief Kayode Odunaro JP
PHOTO EVENT: THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE
Bankole, Daniel exchange words at inauguration of Ota bridge
A fracas almost broke out at the inauguration of the Ota Bridge section of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway on Thursday as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, and the Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, engaged each other in a war of words.
Trouble started when Bankole, who arrived about an hour after Daniel and the Minister of Works, Senator Sanusi Daggash, complained that the minister had inaugurated the bridge before his arrival.
The Speaker, on arrival, started inspecting the project when Daniel and Daggash were making their speeches at the venue of the project inauguration.
The minister, after his address, moved in company with the governor, the Minister of State for Works, Mr. Chris Ogienwoyi; and the Olota of Ota, Oba Alani Oyede, to cut the tape, thereby formally declaring the bridge open.
Bankole, who noticed that the tape had been cut while he was still inspecting the bridge made for a coaster bus in which Daniel, Daggash, two Ogun commissioners and a few Special Advisers were seated.
One of our correspondents said that while it was difficult to hear what transpired among the men, it was obvious to those close to the bus that they were exchanging words.
Two of the passengers in the bus, who pleaded anonymity because of the volatile nature of the incident, said that Bankole questioned Daggash on why he had invited him to Ota to “embarrass him.”
The sources claimed that the Speaker thereafter turned to Daniel and lambasted him
Another source said that at that point, Daniel too got angry and responded. The governor then demanded to know why the Speaker was insulting the minister and the other personalities in the bus.
Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Sina Kawonise, who was in the bus, said that the governor, on seing Bankole approach them, co directed the driver to open the door of the bus so that he could greet him ( Bankole).
The Special Adviser to the Speaker on Communication, Chief Kayode Odunaro, later said that his boss would address the journalists on the incident at the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
At the airport, Bankole said that he was only interested in Sango Ota Bridge being inaugurated, and not in any drama that took place at its inauguration.
He denied that he threatened to sack the minister, saying, “I have no power, to sack a minister.”
Below is the excerpts of the interview he granted airport journalists:
What is your reaction to the drama that played out at the opening of the Otta bridge?
No! No! No! I was not locked out of anywhere; The bridge is commissioned, and that is about what I would love to say.
How about the fracas between your supporters and the supporters of Governor Daniel.
No ! No! No ! there was no fracas among the supporters, that one I can assure you.
How about the drama that happened in the coaster bus?
Oh! I had a discussion with the minister and the governor in the bus.
Were you late for the programme?
No, I was not late.
What is your interest in the project?
My interest, as an indigene of Ogun State, is to make sure that there is federal presence in Ogun State; and that we have managed to do by Federal Government completing Otta Bridge, which is commissioned today (Thursday). Apart from that, I am not interested in any other thing that went on there.
But Kawonise, who later arrived at the airport, said that it was not the duty of the speaker to inaugurate the bridge since it was not a constituency project.
He said, “ We left Abeokuta in a coaster bus and got to Ota where the inauguation was slated for 2pm. When we got there, the governor made a speech and the minister also made his speech thanking the President (Dr. Goodluck Jonathan) for the bridge.
“He also thanked former President Olusegun Obasanjo and acknowledged the Speaker for his contribution in facilitating the projects completion.
“The minister later cut the tape. The governor was sitting there because it is not a state project, so specifically it is the minister that should cut the tape he did.
“We should state very clearly that the commissioning is an executive job because this is not a constituency for the legislature or anybody.”
“When we started moving out, we got information that the speaker had arrived and the governor asked the driver to stop and instructed all of us to welcome him. But to everybody’s surprise, Bankole started abusing the minister, calling him all sort of names .
“ He also faced the governor saying that ‘you this governor, what do you think you are?; you the minister, you are going to be sacked; I am assuring you that this will be your lasting outing, so you can commission this project without my presence.’
“He then went into the driver’s side and pulled him out of the vehicle. He struggled for the car key and wounded the driver in his hand.”
Our correspondent in Abeaokuta reported that some street urchins took advantage of the incident at the inauguration of the bridge to harrass guests and residents of the area.
The confusion compelled the Olota to flee the vicinity while other traditional rulers followed the monarch as the situation of the place became tense.
The governor, in his address, had told the crowd that the Ota Bridge was the “good work” of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Daggash, in his address, said another history had been made in Ogun as the project had been pending for eight years, saying the third phase of the project would be completed in the next 15 months.
He promised that the next phase would not suffer the hiccups that delayed the project.