Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Breaking News: APC Woman Leader, Ojugbele reacts to SSS arrest over INEC materials | Says “I was sleeping in my house when SSS arrested me on the street”


By on 06:55
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The APC Woman leader in the heat of the chat with us
 One information that shattered a lot of minds especially lovers of the major opposition party, All Progressive Congress (APC) in Lagos state in the early hours of Saturday March 28 (Election Day) was the news of the arrest by officials of the State Security Services (SSS) of one of the political leaders of the party, Chief (Mrs.) Basirat Olayinka Ojugbele (APC Woman Leader in Ojokoro LCDA of Lagos) in the early hours of the Election Day with INEC voting materials in her car.
The information which went viral on the  social media alleged that the very influential business woman turned politicians was ferrying the INEC materials from one point in Lagos to another point before she was apprehended by the SSS and taken to their gulag at Shangisha. A picture of a woman that looked like her in a car and some INEC materials were equally attached to the picture in the story. The information was so strong that everyone that knew the very influential woman started making calls to her various phone lines. For us at Asabeafrika, it was a big story on the human angle aspect of journalism and we started working our phones to get Chief (Mrs.) Ojugbele to react to the story. For good four hours we tried her MTN line in our care and it didn’t go until later in the day when one of her female aides called to reacts to our text message. She promised that “Alhaja” as she is fondly called will talk to us later in the day and true to her word, the woman in the middle of the crisis called us later in the evening and with a hearty laughter she said “Gbenga, I hope you are not disturbed already?. I dey kampe o” We later agreed to have the interview the next day at one of her abodes at the Ojokoro area of Lagos. Despite the heavy down pour of the day, we managed to reach Mrs. Ojugbele’s place at 6pm and we met her amidst a conglomerate of female aides and well-wishers who came to sympathize with her over the very damaging report on the internet. She was in her best mood despite what the report must have done to her reputation. We met her in company of a senior journalist from The Nation Newspaper who was equally invited for same purpose. For the first time, Chief (Mrs.) Basirat Olayinka Ojugbele broke her silence first to Africa’s number 1 celebrity encounter blog Asabeafrika on what really “transpired” between her and the State security service officials. Enjoy the excerpts first on Asabeafrika.
Chief (Mrs.) Basirat Ojugbele to Asabeafrika....'It is very ridiculous for people to say i was arrested by the SSS when i was actually sleeping on my bed'
Good evening madam, during the Saturday March 28th general election, Nigerians were greeted with a breaking news on the social media that you were arrested with INEC material by the State Security Services, how true is this story?
Let me start by thanking you for coming around to ask me about the true nature of the story. I think you have taken the right step. Honestly I don’t know how the entire story came about. I think the whole thing sprang out of envy by some funny elements. It is common sense, I am not an INEC staff, and so what will I be doing with INEC materials?. I don’t know where they saw me carrying ballot papers. A Yoruba axiom says “Eni to gbe Kaakaki Oba ni, nibo loti ma fu’un?”(He who steals a King’s trumpet in a village, where will he blow the trumpet?, So, if I carry INEC materials where will I utilize them? I am not an INEC staff and I don’t work with INEC so what am I doing with INEC materials?
“I was in my house sleeping when at the same time some people claim to see me being arrested by the SSS. It is the biggest pre-election propaganda”.
But there was a photograph of someone that looks like you in a car with some of the INEC materials at the back of the vehicle?
The picture is not mine, just take a critical look at the picture and you will discover that I am not the one, you will also see a bus in that picture, that bus is a dirty Danfo bus that I think was merged with a Photo Shop Technology and the entire scenario is just ridiculous.
Chief (Mrs.) Basirat Ojugbele with The Nation Newspaper's Paul Ukpabio and Asabeafrika's Gbenga Dan Asabe
But there was a plate number tag that was also pictured during the arrest?
It is not my plate number, like I said the entire scenario was totally ridiculous. I am surprised that people could go to this length to try to tarnish one’s reputation. I am quite surprised and I want to believe God will unravel the purpose behind this drama.
“Yes, initially I was surprised, it could be so scandalous for you to wake up to hear such news about yourself; that you were arrested over such a dastard act but by nature I am a philosophical person, I derive my strength from God. The thing later made me to feel strong and I said to myself ‘maybe I am being productive, that is why this people are fighting me”.
So, how did the information get to you that you were arrested by the SSS?
It all began around 7 am yesterday when calls started trooping in from loyalists and party stalwarts, they said “Ah, ah, Alhaja how can you go and steal ballot paper, we heard that you stole ballot paper and that you were arrested by the State Security Services” and I said ‘I am not the one o, you can see that you people are the one who woke me this morning. If I am with the State Security Services would I be speaking with you now? I mean I am here in my house and you are just calling me now…
(Cuts in) The report said you were arrested at some minutes after 12 midnight?
It is a big lie, how can that be true? Somebody that was caught in the early hours of the morning or midnight am I supposed to be sleeping in my house? Is that really possible? Some people woke me up that very morning telling me that they saw the news on twitter and face book that I was arrested by the State Security Services for being in possession of INEC material but I can tell you now that it is a big lie.
At the time of the report were you at your Victoria Island apartment or the Ojokoro apartment?
Of course here at my Ojokoro house. I was in my house sleeping when at the same time some people claim to see me being arrested by the SSS. It is the biggest pre-election propaganda.
“In fact like I said earlier, I am thanking them for even hyping me the more. They have only succeeded in making us more popular. They made us loud for a purpose because they might have intended to destroy APC but they have only succeeded in making APC more popular in Ojokoro land. I am grateful for their indiscretion”.
So how did you feel when the deluge of calls started coming in?
I was just laughing because I know it was a lie. It is the work of my political detractors and I know they had a free day for that moment but right now the truth has caught up with their drama. Of course there was an element of surprise at first but later it dawned on me that it was just a ridiculous matter. So, I started laughing. I laughed because It is just too ridiculous (Laughs heartily)
Chief (Mrs.) Basirat Olayinka Ojugbele with Gbenga Dan Asabe at the beginning of the encounter
So, how did you handle the matter after you saw the story on the internet?
Because of the level of people that were calling from various parts of the world including party chieftains and the level of the awareness of that story, I decided to report the matter to the Nigeria Police before I went to vote. I had to go down to Alakuko Police station to document the matter and after the police saw the report they said I should not bother myself on it and that if such a thing happened at all, they are the first people that will be informed by the SSS to come and search my house and take decision. So, after I reported to the police I moved on to my pooling unit to cast my vote. So, the whole thing does not affect me, they have only succeeded in promoting me the more. They have promoted my party and they have been able to tell the world that we are doing something important to warrant such a reaction from them. I am not bothered at all. I got calls from all across the world; from London, America and Ghana. In fact my brother in Brazil called me to find out what really happened and my sisters in London called me and all of them were very concerned but I told them to overlook the entire drama and that I am free and fair. I didn’t carry any INEC material and I was never arrested by any security agent or agency.
“If those children were your children, would you let them get lost just like that?; the minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala’s mum was kidnapped and Government rescued her within a week yet children who are the future of your country, you couldn’t rescue them for ten months now. Sad! So sad!”
Chief (Mrs.) Basirat Olayinka Ojugbele to the Media.....'Those who did that to me have only succeeded in hyping my good works in APC'
So, after you casted your vote what happened next, did the accident affected you psychologically?
I came back home of course. Yes, initially I was surprised, it could be so scandalous for you to wake up to hear such news about yourself; that you were arrested over such a dastard act but by nature I am a philosophical person, I derive my strength from God. The thing later made me to feel strong and I said to myself ‘maybe I am being productive, that is why this people are fighting me’. Of course I laughed over it and people who saw me at the pooling booth were quite surprised because many felt I was in the SSS gulag.
So, what do you think should be done to such people who staged such a false report on you to hurt your integrity?
I leave them to God to judge; Government cannot do anything about it, they have succeeded in raising a false alarm about me but that is by gone. I am a real Muslim and I will pray to my God to judge them appropriately because I don’t know what they want from me. I sincerely don’t know what I have done to warrant this. Even before they chose me as woman leader in Ojokoro land, I have been doing quite a lot of things to better the lives of people around me. And the moment I was chosen as their women leader, I think you were there last year, the first thing I did in the month of November (Sunday November 17th) was to organize a Youth empowerment program where God helped me to train hundred young entrepreneurs in Ojokoro land and we celebrated them at a big event and even gave them a starting capital to begin their trade. It was a huge event and very successful one as the media covered it and a lot of political big wig came including our state woman leader Chief (Mrs.) Kemi Nelson. I didn’t collect a dime from anyone, I raised those monies from my investment and associates who share my dream and I didn’t see anything wrong in that because I believe politics is a platform to reach the ordinary people and do so many things that you would have loved to do as a private individual. I think some of our people didn’t like what we did but life itself is challenging not everyone will like what you do, especially if you do it right.
The APC Woman Leader with the GDA
Did you get calls from top APC leaders on the matter?
Yes, they called but I told them nothing happened. It was indeed a big drama but I thank God for His mercy.
At a time people said they couldn’t get across to you on phone and they felt your phone was confiscated by the security agents?
As I am speaking to you now I have a strain neck, yesterday was a busy day for me on phone even as I cast my vote I was busy replying calls not just from Nigeria alone but from across the world. So, what next? My phone went flat and I had to re-charge at a time. It was then people started nursing fears that maybe I was behind bar but I can tell you that I was as free as a flying bird. Nothing actually happened to me.
Asabeafrika's Gbenga Dan Asabe asking a quetsion from Chief (Mrs.) Ojugbele
Who are the people you have in mind that could have done this to you, do you have anybody in mind at all?
Not at all, I don’t keep malice with people and I don’t believe anyone is my enemy. So, how do I say I suspect this person or that person? What I believe is this, my God is with me and nobody can destroy me if God is with me. God is my strength and they cannot do anything to harm my pedigree because I stand for the truth and development of humanity. In fact like I said earlier, I am thanking them for even hyping me the more. They have only succeeded in making us more popular. They made us loud for a purpose because they might have intended to destroy APC but they have only succeeded in making APC more popular in Ojokoro land. I am grateful for their indiscretion.
With the magnanimity of the issue at hand, would you quit politics and return to business?
Haba! Why should I quit? That is too small an issue to dissuade me from service to humanity. They cannot divert me from serving my people; I am there, nothing can remove me from politics. I am there for a purpose. I am there for development of humanity, to take care of the women, even the poverty alleviation I did last year, I will do another one, and it is a continuous process. Like I said earlier on, I didn’t take money from anybody when I did the program, it was my God given wealth and with the assistance of business partners and people who share my opinion on charity and human development.
So, you are telling us now that you were not the person in that picture shown on the internet?
You are seeing me right away and you are equally taking the pictures as you conduct this interview, do I look like the lady in that picture? No, it was a young lady they used and it was a photo trick. It cannot be me.
Do you think this scandal has dented your image in anyway?
No! I have repeatedly told you that they have given me promotion; even my leaders know I am here in Ojokoro land and that the opinion of APC counts. I am rest assured that this incident has brought us more goodies in terms of political mileage. They didn’t rubbish me in any way at all.
I know some of your children to be so disciplined with good works at various level of the society home and abroad, how did they take the entire accident?
My children are biased because they have consistently warned me against going into politics. They said ‘what do I want that I don’t have? Is it property? Is it wealth? I am comfortable within my reach. But I look beyond wealth or success or whatever you call it? I just want to be close to people, to be close to humanity. It is my hobby to see people living happily. It gives me a sense of relief and I think that is the kick for my long live. So, what should I do? I just feel that a time will come they will understand what I have chosen for myself. I want to contribute my quota to humanity. Yes, they called me and I said ‘please, children, I am not guilty of what they wrote about me. I am not the only one that will be a victim of political victimization’. All successful leaders in history have been victimized at one time or the other. So, I will never be the first and I will never be the last.
So, what is your opinion about the general election across the country?
I am very, very impressed with the way the election is going; I really congratulate Professor Atahiru Jega for his maturity and great wisdom. He did very well; he is steadfast and humble in the face of persecution from all manners of mundane associations. I am very proud of him. Concerning the conduct of the election, from our various political campaign up to the pooling units I can see that people are already tired of this regime, people are tired of failed promises, people are tired of impunity, people are tired of leadership failure at the center and you can see the determination on their faces and in their conduct. They called unto God and God has answered them with the desired CHANGE. Because for the first time in political history of this country, leaders at the national level have been busy stealing, looting and sharing money. When President Obasanjo was leaving I learnt he left about N69 billion naira or more in the treasury but today, this government have spent everything and the treasury is in red and it is we the masses that are direct victims of this crisis and for us, we have been praying to God to set us free from this misfortune because it is a big problem and I thank God that God has answered our prayer. People trooped out yesterday to vote and despite the heavy rains, people stood their ground and didn’t leave until the votes were counted and signed by the respective agents of the parties. Some people left their pooling unit at 2am in Alakuko here, it was a decisive moment for Nigerians and I can see that Nigerians are ready for change. General Buhari has an antecedent that is very unique and that is what is working for him. Today, people can not eat three square meals yet people in government are flushing food off. You earmarked such a huge sum of money for yourself for food and refreshment. You are such a callous regime with no affection, no plan and no dedication to the eradication of poverty among Nigerians and development of the people. Nigerians have decided to use this election to change their own destiny.
Chief (Mrs.) Ojugbele to Asabeafrika....'This election is a revolutionary election. People are in need of CHANGE
When you were appointed the woman leader of your party last year, one of your cardinal points was to lead women to pray for the release of the missing Chibok girls?
(Cuts in) So, where are the girls now? If you pray and you don’t act along with it, how is your prayer going to work? We have a government that played to the gallery in the face of a very serious problem. A government that couldn’t face and conquer Boko Haram and flush them out in the entire six years of his reign until six weeks to election. You seized that six weeks for yourself and promised to flush out Boko Haram, were you sleeping before? Do you want everybody to die before you take action? Now that you want Nigeria to vote for you, you started running around that you will crush Boko Haram, after a lot of souls have perished? Oh, my God? So, you took us for a ride for such a long time? That means this man knows what he is doing? If not for election he wouldn’t have done anything? That is terribly bad. That is not fair. If you want to be a leader at all, you must consider people you are going to lead. If you are a good leader, you won’t be selfish and dishonest. If those children were your children, would you let them get lost just like that?; the minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala’s mum was kidnapped and Government rescued her within a week yet children who are the future of your country, you couldn’t rescue them for ten months now. Sad! So sad!
In a recent interview in Sun Newspaper you equally condemned the action of the First lady for talking anyhow without conducting herself with respect?
I thought I spoke too much then but look at today, if Mr. President fails politically, his wife’s action contributed 80% to his fall. They said this woman has acquired so much wealth beyond what she needs and I ask ‘where are you taking all that wealth to?’ Can you imagine what she said about the north just few days to election? She said the north does not take care of their children and that they are not good family planers and you want the same north to vote for your husband? You are talking like that on the eve of a popular election? You must be a totally uncharitable person to have opened your husband to such dangers on the eve of an election. I am very disappointed with her as a woman leader and if by any reason Jonathan loses this election, he should hold Patience responsible for the entire failure.
What do you have for your fans all over the world?
Not just to my fans but my friends, political leaders and Nigerians who called from home and Diaspora to sympathize with me. I thank you all; I pray that they will never be a victim of what happened to me. God will crown their efforts with success. However, I have left the action of my detractors to God to judge them. But for my fans and lovers of progressive politics; may God continue to bless them all. I am also grateful to you media men for being fair to me by finding out the truth. Thank you.

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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