Following allegations leveled against him by Mr. Gbenga Gbadesire that he sent hired assassins to his residence, Mr. Alaba Okupe now backs up his defense with evidence…
Is the Ikoyi Club really one filled with corrupt people as alleged by Mr. Gbadesire?
I vehemently deny that! Ikoyi Club which I am a trustee of is not filled with corrupt people as he alleged. That’s not to say
everyone there is an angel, but it’s not a club where corrupt people congregate – that’s wrong! Gbadesire is portraying himself as a holier than thou person with sanctimonious attitude. He was eventually expelled because he violated the club’s rule 38 which is on transparency and anti-corruption. Gbadesire did not join the club to fight corruption, he himself got involved in corrupt practices and that’s why he was referred to the disciplinary committee and expelled eventually. You cannot claim to be sanctimonious and say the club is full of corrupt people when you were disciplined for lack of transparency.
Mr. Gbadesire claimed you wrote with different ball pens on his form when he was running for secretary in 2013, how do you react to this?
Gbadesire was being economical with the truth when he said the other trustees must have told me to allow him run. I never used series of biros as he claimed and I was never persuaded. I signed that form; I corrected the incorrect particulars he gave as to the case in court with the club; in the form I said he would be allowed to contest pending the outcome of the case in court with the club. If he wins, fine; but if he loses, the whole purpose of running would be defeated – that was what I said in the form. In the form, he also agreed his company had been doing hiring/letting of space with the club since 2005. He became entertainment chairman in 2006 until 2008, when his tenure ended; and the evidence before the disciplinary committee was that while he was entertainment chairman, he was conducting site meetings.
Let’s talk about the charges currently against him…
Gbadesire kept sending text messages about me even after the November 19, 2014 incident at the Lagos High Court where he was raining curses on me, my children and my unborn grandchildren. So, I lodged a complaint with the commissioner of police telling him that despite that the case was in court, Gbadesire kept sending bulk text messages about me – uncivilized Okupe, smart alec, assassin lie are examples.
So, on February 6, 2015, the old three-count charge was amended to a six-count charge. Contrary to his claim, the case was not thrown out. It is adjourned till 11th and 13th May with charge number MIK/A/112A/2014 Commissioner of police versus Gbenga Gbadesire – so his claim is completely false, the case was not thrown out. He is still standing trial and he has pleaded not guilty to the new counts.
He was charged for violating the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Law number 11 of 2011 section 57 1 (B) following his publication.
According to the law, his resending of the text message he claimed he got with the caption By Okupe and Co. is forgery; in violation of section 360 (1B) criminal law of Lagos state.
The other one was his claim on April 13, 2014, that I sent assassins to kill him – those are what he’s standing trial for. It’s left for the court to decide whether he’s guilty or not. He’s saying it’s a civil matter of defamation, let him go and get competent legal advice. He has violated the law by publishing an offensive matter likely to breach the peace. My complaint is that by sending bulk text messages about me he is likely to provoke the breach of peace because those publications are offensive.
What about his claim that he prostrated to you and refused to get up until you asked him to at the club?
That’s a lie. Gbadesire came to me that he wanted to speak to me one on one. I told him there was no way I would speak to him without a witness who would be able to narrate what actually happened. We agreed and met at the club’s snooker section with Chief Dele Benson, who was the chairman of the section, as a witness. At no time did Gbadesire prostrate. The meeting did not last more than five minutes as Gbadesire didn’t have anything substantial to say. The very purpose for my not wanting to talk to him one on one is what is happening now. In spite of the witness, he is claiming he prostrated and refused to get up until I told him to – that’s a lie.
He also claimed I, through the chairman (Richard Osagie) and the general manager of the club, circulated letters discrediting him on the day of his election – that’s a lie. Can you imagine a whole chairman of the club and the general manager stand at the entrance and be distributing letters allegedly written by me?! What he is referring to is something that nobody in Ikoyi club would attempt because we have strict rules about electioneering.
He said two young men attacked him at his residence and he narrowly escaped. The State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) told him to bring his witnesses, up till today he hasn’t been able to do that.
One time we were with Supo Arutuore and he was asked of his witness; he then brought out his phone to call the witness and speak to the person through loud speaker – which I objected to.
Where in the world is such done! How do you verify the authenticity of the man at the other end! I insisted he brings the person to the station, which he is yet to till today. He said I phoned the dispatch rider of Ikoyi Club at midnight asking of his whereabouts. The dispatch rider was summoned and he gave his evidence. I’m sure if the dispatch rider had implicated me, I would have been arrested by now.
He claimed Mr. Yanju Scott told me that he didn’t infringe the club rules. Yanju Scott never wrote me any letter; at no time did he speak to me about Gbadesire. Chief Kuye whom he mentioned never told me anything. He is fond of dropping names and making accusations, but very short of proving those allegations.
What brought about the idea of a settlement which is where you are now?
DSP Ahirome of the X Squad suggested the idea. He told us with myself, Gbadesire and his lawyers present that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was going to write a report to the commissioner of police saying that Gbadesire’s allegations were against me unfounded. He is very fond of making wild allegations but never supports them with witnesses.
‘To the best of my knowledge, Gbadesire never prostrated to Alaba Okupe’ – CHIEF DELE BENSON
ENCOMIUM Weekly contacted Chief Dele Benson, former chairman of the Snooker Section of Ikoyi Club, who was a witness to the meeting between Gbenga Gbadesire and Alaba Okupe in which Gbadesire claimed he prostrated to Alaba Okupe. Here’s what he said.
How did you come to know both Mr. Gbadasire and Mr. Okupe?
Mr. Gbadasire and I served in the committee in Ikoyi Club. He was the entertainment chairman and I was the chairman of the Snooker Section, while Mr. Okupe is a trustee of the club and he comes to our section to play snooker.
Did Mr. Gbadasire actually prostrate to Mr. Okupe?
Not to my knowledge. He did not do that to the best of my knowledge. Besides, my observation is that Mr. Gbadesire is not being truthful to the club. He is unrepentant. He believes he can take an institution down.
He did something that is not allowed in the club. If you advertise as a committee member, the rule says it’s expulsion.
‘Gbadesire is a persistent liar. I was never asked to dissuade him from running’ – TUNDE ODUWOLE
Mr. Tunde Oduwole, who Mr. Gbadesire claimed tried to dissuade him from running for the office of secretary in 2013 because he would stop those at the top from eating, had this to say in his defense…
What is your relationship with both Mr. Okupe and Mr. Gbadesire?
I’ve known Mr. Okupe since childhood, that was even before I went to England. He’s my childhood friend. Apart from that, I’ve known him in Ikoyi Club since 1975, when I came back to Nigeria.
I met Mr. Gbadesire about five (5) years ago when he approached me to beg the trustees of Ikoyi Club 1938 to look at The Akpata Report vis-a-vis his case so that he can resign from the club instead of expulsion which is bad for his image.
I approached Messrs Laguda and Okupe (two of the trustees) on his behalf. They said he should withdraw his court case; then they can look at Akpata Report vis-a-vis his case.
Did you actually try to discourage Gbadesire from running for secretary in 2010, because you were told by Mr. Okupe not to do so?
No. let me tell you what happened. Gbenga Gbadesire came to my office to tell me he wanted to run. I told him not to run since he had a case with the club in court as at then. I told him to just carry on as he was. I tried talking to him like a brother, or rather like a son.
I’m 71, I can be his father. He said he’ll give me a response in two weeks. Two weeks after, he came to me and said he would run. So, he went ahead to run.
He claimed you were told to dissuade him from running…
(Cuts in) That man is a persistent liar. Not that I was asked to tell him not to run. No! I only advised him personally.
What do you think about his claims that those at the top in the club eat from the club’s coffers?
He is a dreamer. I think he has a warped brain. He also claimed Mr. Okupe sent hired killers to him. How did he know they were sent by Mr. Okupe? Did he arrest them? Did they tell him that? The address he gave as his resident doesn’t look like a place where a fit and proper member of Ikoyi Club would live. I am disgusted.
In fact, because of people like him, Ikoyi Club has now insisted they interview people before they join.
Last, on the Police Vs Gbadesire case, I have a paper from the court dated 18/9/14 notifying me that “you are likely to give oral evidence on November 19, 2014”. The case is still in court. I am following the proceedings to know when I will be called as a witness.
– MICHAEL NWOKIKE