POPULAR TV and radio presenter cum entertainment promoter, Olusoji Omotayo, better known as SOJ, has every reason to be thankful to God as it could have been a different story if the plan of his hitherto bosom friend and client, Kunle Kushimo, a.k.a Agarawu, to machete him to death on Sunday, August 23, 2015, has come to fruition.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an encounter with the brilliant media practitioner on Sunday, September 6, 2015, when we visited him in a private hospital in Ibafo, Ogun State, where he is responding to treatment.
On Friday, September 4, 2015, news was all over that you’re almost murdered by someone you thought is your close friend and client, Mr. Kunle Kushimo, popularly known as Agarawu. Can you please, narrate the near death ordeal?
I am still in shock but I need to give God the glory for making me live till today because without God on my side, it would have been a different story now.
How did it all happen?
On Friday, August 21, 2015, I anchored an event all night. I was with my crew. So, after the event, I came back home in the morning. Thank God, my wife was in town. She and my children are based in the UK but she is around now. I was just sleeping all through that Saturday, when I woke up, my Personal Assistant (PA), Bukola Abdul told me Agarawu had called her like four times and she now returned the call. I asked her if there was anything. She said Agarawu said he needed to talk to me that he had something for me. And I asked her if he was particular on why he wanted to talk to me, my PA said he didn’t tell her anything. But one thing is that everybody knows I do publicity for so many of them. Even, I have done a commercial for him on his yet to be completed hotel. And for you to know the kind of relationship I have with them. I don’t collect money from them because one of them, Morufu Alagbe, is like a big brother to Agarawu, he gave me a plot of land which I just paid a token.
So, I now asked my PA to put a call through to his mobile phone, telling him I wanted to speak to him. And immediately she got through to him, I collected the phone and he greeted me, “Omotayo, how are you?” I replied, “Fine, Agarawu.” He now told me he had a job for me. He said he wanted me to do publicity for somebody. He asked if we could see between 6 and 6.30 a.m tomorrow which was Sunday, August 23, 2015, the day the incident happened. I now said, I doubt it because for three weeks I have not been to church. I said two weeks ago, I was in Akure, Ondo State. The week that followed, I was in Ibadan, Oyo State, to anchor an event. I was with Remi Aluko. I told him this is the only Sunday I don’t have any job. So, I must go to church. He said I can come early since I will be going to church by 9 o’clock. And as soon as you’re through with me, you will be going to church. I stay in Ijaiye area while he stays at Oju Oore, Sango, Ogun State. I now said okay, I will try. But Bukola is a Muslim, she doesn’t go to church, she had to stay behind. She lives in Abaranje in Ikotun area of Lagos State, but she had to wait behind so that she can accompany me to Agarawu’s house on Sunday morning. And as early as 6 a.m on Sunday, I heard my phone ringing. I don’t pick calls in the morning until I finish praying. And when I was through with my prayer, I now called him back. He asked if I was on my way, I told him I just woke up but I would be on my way soon. I drove my ML Mercedes Benz that day. And on my way to his house, before we got to Sango, this guy had called me up to four times, asking of where I was, ‘Where exactly are you?’ I replied him there was traffic on the road because of the people going to Winners Chapel that day. And when we got to Oju Oore, I didn’t even know how to locate his house again. But I asked an okada rider to lead me to the house and three of them volunteered to lead me to the house. When I got to Agarawu’s house, I called him to open the gate for me which he did, not the one for cars but the small gate.
Immediately he saw me, we greeted each other. He said I should have got to his place early because he wanted to leave home early and I told him it was due to the heavy traffic that actually delayed me. I was with my PA right inside his compound, I was wearing a T-shirt and jeans trousers. I even saw his daughter, Bidemi and I waved to her, ‘My daughter, how are you? You’re a very big girl now.’ Just as her father’s friend and it’s been long I saw the girl, maybe seven or eight years ago. As he was ushering us into his sitting room, he locked the gate and put the key in his pocket. As we were about entering his sitting room, we saw his wife and we greeted, ‘Long time o, madam,’ she also replied the same way because it’s long ago I saw her last. Then, we entered the sitting room, my PA was with my three phones and a diary. He just asked me, “SOJ, is Mama Okiki in town?” He was referring to my wife because he knows my wife doesn’t stay in Nigeria. I said she is in town. Then, he asked me to call her so that he could say hello to her, and I called her. Immediately my wife picked the call, the first thing she asked was whether I was already coming back but I told her I just got there and Agarawu wanted to greet her. And I handed the phone over to Agarawu. That’s when I heard the most shocking news of my life. He just said, “Mama Okiki, good morning and welcome to Nigeria. Mama Okiki today will be the last day you will see your husband, I just lured your husband to this place so that I can kill him. After killing him, I will send his flesh to you. I heard your husband is dating my wife, Iya Bidemi.”
I don’t know what my wife told him on the phone but immediately I heard that, I was shocked and reacted furiously, ‘Eedi n di e ni?’ (Are you hypnotized?). Are you normal? What kind of rubbish are you talking? Or what do you mean by that? Immediately, he cut the call and put my phone in his jean’s pocket. He just raised up his top and brought out a very sharp cutlass. And he was comfortable walking with it. Definitely, he has been doing it for long.
Didn’t you notice he had something strange under his top?
Not at all, I didn’t notice he was hiding a cutlass there. I was just free with him being my long time friend and client. I didn’t suspect anything evil at all. He was even walking very well with the cutlass. That was what surprised me and my PA. Even when he sat down, I never knew how the cutlass didn’t injure him. So definitely, he is used to that style. Before I knew it he had brought out the cutlass and said, ‘Do you think I am joking with you? Today is your last day on earth.’ He now commanded me to kneel down and I said boldly, ‘Kneel down for what? That’s when he struck me with the cutlass and I blocked it with my hand. His target was to hit me on the head but I blocked it. He struck again and said to me, ‘Do you think I am joking with you? I will kill you like Tunji Alaso.’ He said he will cut me into pieces just like they slaughtered Tunji Alaso. I now said, ‘Agarawu, you will kill me?’ He said, ‘Yes, I will.’ That’s how we’re dragging the cutlass with each other but he held the handle and started matcheting me, hitting me in my belly. He hit my belly more than three times. But I was trying to avoid being hit in the head and leg. The first time he hit me, my PA screamed, ‘Eedi ree o! Don’t kill my boss. Why do you want to kill him?’ As she was shouting, screaming, he just threw the cutlass at the girl and the cutlass hit her on the leg. He now pushed the girl and hit her head at the burglary proof of the entrance to his living room. As he pushed the girl out of the sitting room, I was now left alone with him in the sitting room, dragging the cutlass with him. He now locked the door. I was still hearing my PA screaming, ‘E gba wa o. Somebody help, help! Agarawu wants to kill my boss o! Please, help! But there was no way anybody could enter the living room. His wife and daughter were also within the compound shouting, ‘Help! Help! But the main entrance to the house had been locked. Some people even wanted to come in through the fence but they were afraid of being electrocuted. At the end he was able to get me in the head. As I noticed that he had hit me in the head, and blood started gushing out, I just summoned courage and held the cutlass strongly with my last strength. That’s why I had a cut on my palm. Both of us now fell on the ground. He now took an electric wire to electrocute me but thanks to Almighty God, I couldn’t feel anything. All the time he was hitting me with the cutlass, he was saying, “So, the cutlass is not effective. That means you’re spiritually fortified, is that not it? I will show you.”
As he was using the wire on me, he wanted to be in full possession of the cutlass again but I resisted that with my strength and I just pushed him outside the living room just the way he pushed my PA out. Then, I quickly locked the gate. But I was still panicking because I didn’t know whether there was another entrance to the sitting room because he’s the one that knows his house very well. Later, I discovered there was no other door to that sitting room. My PA and his wife and daughter were still screaming, crying within the premises. He was still pursuing my PA in the compound while she was shouting for help. I was already soaked in my blood. But all of a sudden I just saw people through the window, coming in. I didn’t know how they gained entry into the compound. More than 50 people came in. But the only person I could identify was one Alhaji Moruf Alagbe who I got to know through Agarawu. Immediately, I saw Alagbe, I came out. I heard Alagbe saying, “There are lots of this guy’s fans outside the gate now. Why did you do this to him? Did you act under the influence of charm or what? He just called the police. I didn’t know the police station he called.
Not quite long, I just saw a team of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). But thank God, the man that led the team, Mr. Ajobiewe identified me immediately he saw me. He said, ‘Ha, this is Baaroyin Apede Ara.’ He said the best thing is to take us to the police station. And I said I must be taken to the hospital quickly. By that time, I was feeling dizzy already because I had lost a lot of blood. The police now put me in one of their cars. They wrapped my body to cover the deep cuts so that I would not lose more blood.
My PA told me later that they took the cutlass from him and kept it on top of the roof. Since they believe they’re the powers that be, they own Ogun State, he told them nothing will happen. Even all the time he was matcheting me, he was saying he would kill me and nothing would happen. One Inspector Liasu and one other person now took me to the General Hospital behind the station. They stitched all the areas I was deeply injured, including my head and belly. I remember the doctor asking the police who was responsible for all the injuries on me, the Inspector now told the doctor, it’s the powerful people in this place. But nobody is above the law. That’s the best I heard from the Inspector. The DPO of that station wasn’t there that morning. So, after I was treated at the hospital, the police called me back to the station. It was there they told me they have put Agarawu in the cell. But I don’t really know where they kept him at the station whether behind the counter or inside the cell.
But we learnt he escaped. How?
That’s the most surprising aspect of it all.
Were you allowed to make any statement at all?
Yes, I did. They said I should say my side of the story. I told them I haven’t even seen his wife for years. And I don’t have anything to do with her whatsoever. I am not a smuggler, I don’t belong to their club. I don’t have anything to do with his wife. Even if it’s an allegation, and you truly heard it from somebody, is that the way to go about it? I deal in investigative reporting. So, I believe he should have done his investigation properly before jumping into conclusion that I am dating his wife. He doesn’t have anything that links me to his wife. Does he have any photograph of his wife and myself? Did he catch me with his wife? Does he have any text message that links me to his wife? Does he have anything at all that shows that I have any dalliance with his wife? He just wanted to find undue excuse to kill me.
The incident happened on Sunday, August 23, 2015, why are you just talking about it now?
The truth is that I wasn’t myself throughout the first three days or thereabout. But one other thing that shocked me, was that the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in charge of the case called me that the other party is waiting for me for an amicable settlement. Also, his brother, Moruf Alagbe, who I said I knew him through had told me they’re ready to give me anything I want. He said if I want to go and treat myself abroad, they’re ready to foot the bill. He said I should just allow the whole thing die down because both of us are popular. I should see it as a mistake on Agarawu’s part. Inspector now sent a text message to me, “SOJ, please, they are waiting for you. Let me know your position.” His brothers have also been calling me but he himself hasn’t. I was so shocked that Agarawu was released that same day when I left the station. And they’re sending text to me that he was coming from home to the station for an attempted murder case. I was shocked. Immediately, they came to pick me up to Panti where I took photographs of all the injuries on my body. From there, they took me to Zone II, Onikan, Lagos, where I wrote a petition. I really give God the glory. And I thank the Assistant Commissioner, Sole Labour for a good job. Even when I was in Zone II, they called me, saying they’re waiting for me. They said they will bring me on Wednesday that I was just trying to get better. So, on that Wednesday, when we went there, they said the DPO had gone to see the Commissioner of Police, so they can’t call them. I never gave them the chance that this is what I had done until when the signal came from Zone II that the Onipanu DPO must produce Agarawu and bring him tomorrow, Monday, September 7, 2015, and that they should come with the case file for attempted murder.
But we learnt you also claim you knew Agarawu’s wife before you met her husband. Can you shed light on that?
I happened to know Agarawu’s wife when I was in Yotomi Television years back when I was presenting Ariya ta won yo. There was a time a friend of mine went to buy plastic in her shop, and when she was coming with her friend that year, we saw and greeted. So, that’s all. Then, I now got to know the husband. There was a day myself and my wife went to his office, and his wife drove in. Immediately she entered, she said my face looked familiar. She now said okay, from Yotomi Television. Then, my wife also said, she also knew Agarawu, that they went to Egbado College together. We just said it is a small world, and we all laughed. Since then I have been relating with Agarawu, even when he had his second child, I was the MC.
– TADE ASIFAT