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DATKEM Plaza Destruction – Where Governor Abiodun Erred

On the 11th of September, 2023, the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun at a public function after inspecting the 8 kilometer Mowe Ofada Road in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of the State, was quoted to have said thus:

“Let me take you down memory lane. The purported owner of this property, when I assumed office in 2019, had a property in Abeokuta. It was meant to be a hotel. My predecessor had sealed that property for eight years. He had issued a stop order. He was going to demolish that building, but for my intervention, I pleaded with him. That building remained under lock and key until I resumed office. The first day I was sworn in was the very day the owner moved into that property for the first time in eight years. And today, the property is called Conference Hotel in Abeokuta.

“How do you now begin to accuse the same me that facilitated the completion of that project despite different court actions that were brought then, despite different charges by the EFCC that were hanging around the project? I actually commissioned that project alongside the former Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. You are now trying to use media, trying to attract unnecessary sympathy, playing the underdog and saying that I, Dapo Abiodun, demolished a property that first I didn’t know it was yours; your name is not on that property. You never came forward to say this property is yours.

“You expect that someone, who is a serving Senator, a former Governor of this state, would show a level of more responsibility. I have said it that I, Dapo Abiodun, if I have a building that violates the building code, bring it down.

“And by this, I am sending a strong warning to all of us across the State. There are many of you who have buildings without approvals. There are many of you who don’t even have C of O. If you have built without approval, the long arm of the law will soon be catching up with you. We will not tolerate lawlessness in this state. We will not be defined by lawlessness and half hazard development when you just build anyhow.”

I find it necessary to set the record straight by saying that what the Governor said is totally false. This position of mine is based on the fact that I am the legal officer of the Hotel and necessary documents at the disposal of the hotel points to the contrary. The issue on Conference Hotel Abeokuta was a subject of litigation during that period your predecessor was in office. The management of the hotel had taken the Government to court following a purported report issued by the Judicial Commission of inquiry to look into all land allocation, acquisition, sales concessions of government properties and administration of land policies, rules and regulation between Jan 2004 and May 2011.

Your predecessor at no time issued a stop order at least to the best of the knowledge of the Hotel Management. Your predecessor may have informed you that he was going to demolish the hotel. The issue of the demolition was also not known to the Management of the hotel. Had the then Governor done what you claimed he was to do by demolishing the hotel, you can be rest assured that Ogun State which you now have the privilege to be governing through the person whom you are referring to would have been in serous debt.

I will want to refresh your memory that on the 6th of March, 2019, you had visited Asoludero Court, residence of Otunba Gbenga Daniel in Sagamu. It was on that day that he declared his support for you, directing all his associates State-wide to cast all their votes on Saturday for you. He also rose up your hand at that occasion.

Mr. Governor, you claimed you facilitated the completion of Conference Hotel, however you forgot to mention the above fact which is that he, Otunba Gbenga Daniel facilitated your winning the election when your predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun frustrated your ambition. This is notwithstanding your claim of your closeness with your predecessor. Find attached a photograph of Otunba Gbenga Daniel raising your hand when you came to beg for his support.

Still on the Conference Hotel issue, which matter you have referred to and I have earlier said was a subject of litigation, I will like to bring to your attention once again that the High Court of Ogun State sitting in Abeokuta on the 11th of June, 2015, made the order below:

GOLF PLACE RESORT HOTELS LIMITED ​​​CLAIMANT/APPLICANT

And

1.​GOVERNOR OF OGUN STATE

2.​ATTORNEY-GENERAL & COMMISSIONER –DEFENDANTS/ RESPONDENTS

FOR JUSTICE, OGUN STATE

3.​COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, OGUN STATE

ENROLMENT OF ORDER

​“Motion on Notice on behalf of the Claimant /Applicant for:

1. AN ORDER of Mandatory Injunction compelling the Defendants/ Respondents to provide uninterrupted Security Service in the Claimant/ Applicant’s Hotel premises/complex (subject –matter of this suit) lying, being and situate at/along IBB Boulevard, Abeokuta, Ogun State pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

ALTERNATIVELY

2. AN ORDER enabling the Claimant/Applicant to provide uninterrupted security services in the Claimant/Applicant’s Hotel premises (subject– matter of this suit without disturbance by the Defendants/Respondents) situate, lying and being at IBB Boulevard, Abeokuta Ogun State pending the determination of the substantial suit.

AND for such order or such further orders as this Honorable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”

COMING UP FOR HEARING, Before His Lordship, The Honorable Justice O.O. Majekodunmi – Judge sitting at High Court No 5, Isabo , Abeokuta on Monday, the 11th Day of June, 2015 in the presence of Deji Enisenyin Esq. of Counsel for the Claimant/Applicant, and A.S. Omotola Esq. Chief State Counsel for the Defendants/Respondents,

AND THE COURT…

THEREAFTER ORDERED as follows:

“Accordingly this application succeeds in the alternative. Prayer (ii) of this motion is hereby granted as prayed.

It has become necessary to lay down this fact following your controversial position. (Golf Place Hotel Resort Limited was later renamed Conference Hotel)

You were elected Governor of Ogun State on the 9th of March, 2019. I would like you to verify this information from the Justice Department and Ogun State High Court that on the 4th of July, 2018, the State Counsel representing Ogun State Government informed the court that the Government is not averse to settling the matter out of court.

Also on the 26th of February, 2019, the management of the hotel and the State Government, headed by your predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, were already finalizing settlement.

From our record, Counsel from the ministry of justice informed the court that, the matter is for report of settlement. According to State counsel: “I have the instruction of the Attorney General to ask for another adjournment of the case to make us finalize the settlement agreement.” This was the situation until you assumed office.

Mr. Governor you also alluded to the case prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission. My immediate reaction is to refer Mr. Governor to the decision of the Court of Appeal in respect of the case. It will interest Mr. Governor to know that the Court of Appeal held among other things with respect to the EFCC case thus:

“the trial judge was wrong to have called upon the Appellant (OGD) to enter his defence when there is no evidence on the record that the Prosecution had made out a prima facie case on any of those counts for which the Appellant was ordered to enter his defence. It is only when the Prosecution has made out a prima facie case by establishing with credible evidence all ingredients of the offences for which the Defendant is charged that a Defendant will be required to enter his defence. See:ONAGORUWA v STATE (1993) 7 NWLR (Pt. 303) 49, per Tobi, JCA (as he then was).

It needs also to be stressed that the Prosecution of criminal offenses is not a fishing expedition. It is to be embarked only when criminal offences legally so defined have been committed, and there is sufficient evidence to justify the prosecution of a Defendant for such offences. Embarking on prosecutorial fishery for non-xistent offences or in the absence of necessary or sufficient evidence can only waste valuable time, waste scarce public resources, lower public confidence in the responsible public institutions and subject hitherto innocent Defendants to unnecessary and avoidable rigours of criminal litigation.

What is apparent in this appeal is that the Defendant was subjected to prosecution for non-existent offences and for offences for which there was clearly no evidence to substantiate. While lamenting this situation, I join in allowing this appeal and in discharging the Defendant, in total concurrence with all the detailed reasoning and conclusions contained in the lead judgment of my learned brother NIMPAR, JCA.”

I have always known that the decision of the Court of Appeal did not go down well with you. It is for the above reasons that all what you have said in relation to DATKEM are false.

ADETONA ADEJUMO Esq.

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