In a statement made available to Blank NEWS Online in Asaba, Governor Uduaghan said the gruesome murder of Oyerinde was shocking, wicked and in bad taste and condoled Governor Oshiomhole , Oyerinde’s family and the colleagues in the labour movement and prayed God to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.
“It is wicked, shocking and repulsive for a promising young man to be killed so ruthlessly in his prime,” and urged the security agencies not to leave any stone unturned in the bid to fish out the culprits and bring them to book.
Also, prominent Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), its counterpart, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as civil society groups in the country have condemned the assassination of Olaitan Oyerinde in his Benin City, Edo home by yet to be identified assassins.
Keyamo, who expressed shock at the incident, where the Governor’s aide was murdered in the presence of his wife and children, said “Since there is no report of items stolen from the house, it is clearly a case of political assassination. This frightening news comes a few days after there were attempts on the lives of the Comrade Governor and my friend and brother, his Commissioner for Information, Mr. Louis Odion.
“It was only a few weeks ago that Olaitan sent his personal driver to me at the Benin Airport to convey me all the way to Warri, my home town, as I was stranded at the Benin Airport late in the evening when my direct flight from Lagos to Warri was cancelled at the last minute. Such was the compassion with which Olaitan treated everybody around him.
“It is obvious that some elements in Edo State who want power at all cost and who are resistant to change have decided to deep their hands in blood rather than the ballot box.
“They will fail, they will fail and they will fail again and again just like they failed before,” he said while warning that Olaitan’s death must not be swept under the carpet.
“In the past, I have fought tooth and nail to bring such people to justice, just like the case of Bola Ige, eleven years ago, and this time I intend to do just that again.
“Those who kill by the sword deserve to die also by the sword,” he concluded.
The NLC on its part supported the opinion of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which claimed that the murder of the Governor’s aide was aimed at crippling the Governor and frustrating his bid for re-election.
In a statement issued by its President, Abdulwaheed Omar, the NLC called on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the killers are brought to book before the State re-enacts the wild-wild west of the 1960s.
“The gruesome assassination is baffling as Comrade Oyerinde was not a politician, held no high government appointment such as commissioner and was not even an indigene of Edo State.
“The NLC therefore calls on the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to arrest the criminals in Edo State and their pay masters. In any electoral contest such as that slated for Edo State, the electorate must be allowed to determine its outcome. Otherwise, the struggle for democracy will be lost and the country will descend into a state of anarchy. The NLC therefore calls on the Federal Government to thoroughly investigate Comrade Oyerinde’s assassination and bring the criminals to justice,” the Congress said.
The TUC in a statement titled: COMRADE OLAITAN OYERINDE: A GRUESOME CRIME, and signed by Comrade Peter Esele and Comrade John Kolawole, President- General and Secretary General respectively, said: “We were confronted with the shocking news of the gruesome, heart-wrenching and cold blooded murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde. The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) later confirmed this news to be unbelievably true. This occurred in the wee hours of today the 4th of May, 2012 in his residence in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
“Though the perpetrators of this heinous and wicked act have not been caught, every discerning watcher of recent events in Edo State would be deeply worried especially when the Governorship election Campaigns are revving up. This coming at this time when the Convoy of the Comrade Governor was hit by a Truck whose driver has remained unknown in mysterious circumstances leaves no one in doubt as to the motives behind these attempts and subsequent assassination of this illustrious son and comrade.
“Olaitan Oyerinde who is and indigene of Osun State had served under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the Executive Governor of Edo State, from his time as the President of the Nigeria labour Congress (NLC). He rose to the position of a Deputy General Secretary, a position he left on secondment from the NLC to serve as the Personal Assistant to the Governor of Edo State.
“It will be recalled that as a Labour activist before moving to the NLC, he had worked with the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association (an affiliate of TUC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC). This is one of the reasons this has left us with serious grief.
“We remember him as a prolific writer, a dogged but gentle activist, a loyal and dedicated worker who discharged his duties with thoroughness and dispatch, a great advocate of the peoples’ rights and a deep passion for the protection of the rights of Nigerian workers.
“We shall all miss him greatly and his murder makes our persistent call on the federal government to make the Safeguard and protection of the lives and properties of the Nigerian masses that are daily brutally killed by those whose hearts and souls have been sold to the devil, its priority more urgent. It is time for the federal government to move beyond mere mouthing of we condemn; we condemn to the realm of action to halt this mad descent to hell.
“We cannot condole ourselves sufficiently as his death in this manner is unacceptable to all of us. Nevertheless, we call on the Comrade Governor to take heart and do everything necessary to overcome all distractions and to stay alive. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife and children including his parents.
“The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) demands that this hewing down of a Nigerian worker per excellence be thoroughly investigated and all the culprits brought to book. We shall not accept any excuses why the perpetrators of this crime have not been arrested. Those who masterminded the killing of Olaitan Oyerinde will never have rest!”
A statement issued in Ibadan on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said: “Yes, there may not yet be any conclusive evidence linking anyone to these incidents, but there is a growing concern that they may not be unconnected with the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state, especially considering the desperation of the PDP to ‘reclaim’ the state at all costs.
“But we are bound to ask: Must everyone be killed and Edo state thrown into anarchy just because the PDP wants to rule the state at all costs? If the PDP is as popular in Edo state as it claims, why is it afraid of contesting a free and fair election in July? Or has the PDP just realised that since Governor Oshiomhole’s sterling performance has all but guaranteed his re-election, the only way the party (PDP) can return to the state house is by playing dirty?”
“Take the case of Chief Bola Ige who, as a sitting Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, was so easily mowed down, and yet the killers have not been brought to justice. Isn’t it clear that the only reason the assassination has yet to be resolved is because of the calibre of those who may have orchestrated the killing?
“Then of course the assassinations of Harry Marshall, Aminasoari Dikibo and Funsho Williams, just to name a few, have remained unresolved many years on. This is why we are compelled to cry out now, to warn those who are seemingly targeting Governor Oshiomhole to desist. After all, there is no indication yet that the ‘nest of killers’ has been dismantled.”