Ramon Adedoyin: Our Governors, Time To Sign Death Warrants - 9japarrot


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Thursday 1 June 2023

Ramon Adedoyin: Our Governors, Time To Sign Death Warrants

By Otitoju Samuel

"Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil".
Ecclesiastes 8:11

He was a man in his prime, bubbling with the zeal and energy of youth. His future lay ahead of him, bright and dazzling. He had paid his dues in his younger days - he went to primary school and then to secondary school and then proceeded to the university to obtain a first degree. He later became a chartered accountant. The late Timothy Adegoke achieved all these feat in his early thirties. Nobel Laureate, professor Wole Soyinka titled one of his memoirs YOU MUST SET FORTH AT DAWN.

Timothy Adegoke was a man who set forth at dawn. He seemed to have dreamt of a long route he intended to travel in life and therefore set out early enough. Lofty as his vision was, the wicked people of this world did not allow his dream to materialize. His flame, burning bright and luminous, was extinguished at the a time it was supposed to light his way to earthly fame and glory. What a wicked world! 

Timothy Adegoke from Eruwa, Oyo state, son to his parents, husband to his wife, father to his three children and the breadwinner of his family, was cut down at a very young age of only thirty seven years.

Timothy Adegoke was an MBA student of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He had a well-paying job as a director of finance at the multinational firm where he worked in Abuja. With such accomplishment, especially having become a chartered accountant, which is no mean feat at his age, many would have expected Timothy Adegoke to have relented. No, he did not. His quest for knowledge, and to further burnish his academic credentials led him into enrolling for an MBA at OAU. He had often shuttled between Abuja his workplace and Ife his school as he pursued his dream of going higher in life. 

As a short-term visitor in Ife he had had to pass the nights in hotels, chiefly the now-notorious Hilton Honours Hotel. That is the same hotel where he was murdered in cold blood in the year 2021, between November 5th when he checked in and November 7th when he was declared missing. The Hilton Honours Hotel was supposed to be a sanctuary but it turned out to be a butchery. We hear of people dying in hotels through the sin of adultery or fornication when they exhaust themselves in sexual romps flamed by the toxic combination of drugs and booze. Sometimes it happens that a lodger kills his/her philandering mate because of pecuniary benefits. It however beats the imagination when a lodger is killed by the hoteliers themselves with the active connivance of the top management, all in a bid to satisfy the lust for fleeting, ephemeral worldly positions or possessions.

The Ramon Adedoyin gang of murderers did not stop at killing Timothy Adegoke, they tried to make his body disappear; they destroyed evidence that would ever link him with Hilton Honours Hotel. He would have been declared missing and an perpetual, never-ending, futile search declared. My people say that it is better to declare that a child is dead than to declare that a child is lost. What a callous gang of devil-inspired, macabre, maniacal murderers!

The Hilton Honours Hotel where Timothy Adegoke had lodged is/was owned by one Ramon Adedoyin, an Ife prince. My first encounter with him was on a day when by coincidence I stumbled upon a national television programme which happened to be an advertorial of Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu. On that programme, Ramon Adedoyin was regal and resplendent in royal robes. With swashbuckling sway and swagger, he advertised his Oduduwa University. Any parent or admission seeker would be impressed. In my further search on the internet, I came to know that he as well owns The Polytechnic, Ile-Ife. It is worthy of note that these three big investments- the hotel, the university and the polytechnic are all domiciled in his native Osun state. On the surface, it would appear that this man is a great lover of his people.

For a man to have these to his name, apart from other businesses and ventures that we know not, speaks to the fact that he is a man of means; a man of immense wealth. No wonder why he contested the stool of the Ooni of Ife after Ooni Okunade Sijuade 'climbed the rafters'. When a man has made money, he looks around and sees a void, then he realizes he needs power. Arising from the conviction of Ramon Adedoyin for the murder of Timothy Adegoke, ostensibly for ritual purposes, and with the benefit of hindsight, we can only imagine what would be if such a despicable character ascended the throne. Ramon Adedoyin wears beautiful clothes, he decks himself with expensive jewelry, he lives a lavish lifestyle in the grandeur of his palatial mansions, he rides in luxurious cars, he sits atop the board of coveted institutions and lives a generally enviable life. People who do not see beyond the surface have described him as a devoted religionist; religious but not righteous. 

The murder of Timothy Adegoke in his hotel and the drama that followed, as well as his eventual conviction has clearly shown to the world that he is the opposite of what people think he is. Outwardly, he manifests pulchritude but inwardly he is a sepulchre oozing out malodorous stench of putrefaction. He is the malevolent man that pulls down another man's house in order to erect his own palace of fraud.

Now that Ramon Adedoyin has been sentenced to the gallows, we must praise the judiciary for standing tall and living up to its billing as the last hope of the common man. The family of Adegoke is poor, they could not have flexed muscles with the powerful and wealthy Adedoyin. At the outset of the trial, he must have convinced himself that he would buy justice with his filthy and cursed money. The chief Judge of Osun state, Adepele Ojo who convicted and passed judgement on Ramon Adedoyin and his co-travellers is to be commended. She reminds us of  Justice Faderin in Olu Adegoke's play THE INCORRUPTIBLE JUDGE. It is almost guaranteed that Adedoyin will appeal this judgement even up to the supreme court. Yes, he has the right of appeal and it will be good that he exercise that right so that justice will be truly served. The death verdict is a grievous one and it would not be good that guiltless souls be hanged; it is also not good that guilty souls be spared while the family of the victim are left to sulk in subdued silenced. Justice is served only when the guilty gets his recompense and the wronged gets a closure. This is all we can pray the courts to do. If the judiciary is upright and both the poor and the rich are made to be equal before the law, we would have a just society for all. 

Peter Tosh, the late Jamaican Reggae star and Rastafarian who was himself cut down in a hail of bullets in 1987 sang thus: "everyone is crying out for peace, none is crying for justice".

A peaceful and egalitarian society is only possible where justice is precedent. The importance of justice is emphasized in our national anthem: ".....to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign". If the rich know they will not get away with blue murder, they will not want to roast the poor for supper just like Ramon has done!

If, and when the convicted have exhausted all ground of appeal and the death sentence is upheld even at the highest court, the state governor will still have to sign the death warrants for the condemned to be executed. This is where the main problem lies as it has become a burden for governors to carry out this task. What do they fear? Former governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, while responding to a question in an interview with Trust TV on 20th September, 2021, said they were wary of quickly signing the death warrants because the judicial process is “suspicious.” Really? Even if there is a miscarriage of justice, then the burden lies not on the governor but on the Judge who has examined all the pieces of evidence presented before giving verdict. The former minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had while inaugurating the Osun State Command Headquarters complex of the Nigerian Correctional Service in Osogbo said of the 68,747 inmates in Nigerian correctional centres at that time, 3008 were on death row. These are the numbers that contribute to prison congestion. The last time a death warrant was signed in Nigeria was in 2012 when the former Edo State governor and later APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, signed the death warrant for two condemned prisoners, who were eventually executed by hanging. Before Oshiomole, ex Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State had signed death warrants of seven condemned criminals in 2006. 

Civil Society Organizations and Human Right Groups may mount pressure on governors not to sign death warrants, but where is justice when the family of the victim are left in perpetual sorrow of the loss of their dear one in the most horrendous manner while the perpetrator lives. The manner in which some of these crimes are committed leaves one in bewilderment of how desperately wicked the hearts of some people are. Do you still remember Abdulmalik Tanko, the self-confessed killer of Hanifa Abubakar, a five-year-old girl?  He was sentenced to death by a high court in Kano state. Do you remember the lady who confessed to have killed her lover, a philandering TV station owner? Do you still remember.......how many shall I mention? Now we have Ramon Adedoyin and his convicted hotel workers Adeniyi Aderogba and Oyetunde Kazeem. Those who derive pleasure in dispatching fellow human beings to their early graves so that they may expand their empires on earth ought to be taught that all lives are equal before God. Human laws derive from divine laws and God allows for the death penalty. Governors, it is time to act. Failure to act is tantamount to an abdication of responsibility.

Otitoju Samuel, former radio presenter, active poet and writer, lives in Ilorin.

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