Mr. Alaba Okupe, a legal practitioner, who Gbenga Gbadesire accused, among other things, to have sent hired assassins to his residence, tells his own side of the story…
How did all this controversy with Mr. Gbenga Gbadesire at the Ikoyi Club start?
He was a member of Ikoyi Club, until he was expelled in 2008, for violating the club rules about doing business with the club. That’s how I knew him. I didn’t have any personal relationship with him. First, he was suspended for one year by the general committee.
He then petitioned the trustees saying the general committee was wrong in suspending him. So, we the three trustees reviewed the decision and came to a conclusion that they were wrong and were not fulfilling their obligation under the rules. He was tried.
He brought his witnesses who testified against him. Once the disciplinary committee found him liable under the rules the penalty is expulsion, not suspension. So, we wrote back to Gbadesire pointing out to him his appeal to us is unfounded, because he was by due process found liable under the rules which was the same rule he was invoking against Mr. Kole Jagun, the badminton chairman.
The committee didn’t find Kole Jagun liable, but found him liable. We the three trustees signed, it wasn’t just me, Alaba Okupe alone. That’s how I would say the whole thing started; it was never on a personal basis.
What does the rule he supposedly violated say and how did he infringe the rule?
He first petitioned against Kole Jagun that he was infringing the rule which states that any general or sectional committee member must not have any business transaction with the club. Gbadesire petitioned the club’s chairman that Jagun was violating rule 38 (c), the penalty for which is expulsion.
Kole Jagun in his response accused Gbadesire of violating the club rules because Gbadesire’s company bought an advertising space in the badminton section of which Kole Jagun was then chairman; and all the site meetings that were held between the club and Gbadesire’s company were attended by Gbadesire in person while he was chairman, entertainment of the club.
What he was doing is that he was paying paltry sum to hire advertising space from the club and then get customers from outside to advertise in Ikoyi Club, charging millions. He would charge his customers millions and then pay paltry sum to Ikoyi Club. If that’s not transacting business, I don’t know what else. The impression he gave you was that he was paying money to the club. Of course he would pay money if he hired a space, which he should not do as a member of the general committee.
He said he received a couched Yoruba text message. You received it too?
Yes. The message was sent to me by Gbadesire. He forwarded the message he claimed to receive in Yoruba under the caption By Okupe and Co. He sent it via bulk SMS to thousands of Ikoyi Club members. The number he claimed he received the text from was not my number.
When we were at the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB), Ikeja, Lagos, he emphatically told the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) the number belonged to me. They investigated and found out that it was not my number. On the contrary, he sent that message to me and I reported to the police.
He’s standing trial in court now for forgery, among other things. Even though he received the message, he shouldn’t forward it to other people and tagging it By Okupe and Co; giving the impression that I was the one sending it. Okupe and Co is my name as a legal practitioner. SIB investigated and found it was a lie.
Mr. Gbadesire also claimed that in 2013 when he wanted to run for secretary of the club, you and some top ranking members of the club didn’t want him because he would stop you from eating from the club’s coffers…
That’s a lie. I have a letter signed by him in which he denied ever saying so. He even alleged that on that day I circulated letters telling people not to vote for him, discrediting him – that’s a lie. It is a very serious offense in Ikoyi to circulate manifestos, letters or things like that for electioneering purpose. Nobody in Ikoyi Club would do that; it would attract serious disciplinary action.
He equally claimed you sent assassins to his residence…
He claimed assassins targeted him. The SIB has asked him to bring his witnesses since January 2014, since he alleged that Mr. Okupe sent assassins to his 21, Okesuna Street residence. Police investigation revealed Gbadesire never lived in that place; and he never had any business there.
In fact, it was his brother that had a business centre there. It wasn’t a residence – and this is according to the findings of X Squad, SARS and SIB. I have never and will never send hired killers to anybody. What would be my motive? On the contrary, he’s the one that has been sending criminal bulk messages about me; and on the last occasion he was threatening my life.
On November 19, 2014, he was shouting, cursing and threatening my life, my children, and those of my grandchildren. I have witnesses who have made statements. He finds it easy to concoct stories. While we were at SIB, he told them he had witnesses from the Lagos High Court that there was one day he was at the court and the court clerk told him to run for his dear life.
They told him to produce the court clerk, but as we speak, he cannot produce the court clerk. He has no witness. If he mentioned any witness and the witness turns up, the witness would say something contrary and he would start quarreling with them.