Japheth Odesanya, a former Secretary to the Local Government (SLG) of Ikorodu, one of the divisions in Lagos state, has explained his ordeal in the hands of kidnappers who held him in captive for four days.
The young activist, who is popularly known in Ikorodu for his strong agitations against anomalies, was kidnapped on Sunday, November 1, 2015, by unknown abductors, whose only demand throughout his stay with them was that he denounces his intention to run for the chairmanship of the division for which he was yet to officially indicate interest.
Japhetism, as he is fondly called by friends, informed Naij.com and a few other journalists, that it was not the first time that suspicious moves were made around him whenever it was obvious that he was vying for a political post.
Mr Odesanya, who also publishes a magazine in Ikorodu, explained sadly, that the incident may have laid a very bad precedent in the annals of the division’s politics, which had hitherto been very peaceful and coordinated.
Japhet Odesanya narrating his kidnap ordeal to fellow journalists on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. Photo: Damilare Okunola
“Sunday, November 1, 2015 will eternally be etched on my mind as a day of reckoning with cruel fate,” he began.
“At 2pm or thereabouts, I rose from a meeting with some of fellow like minds in Ikorodu, whom I had to excuse for the inaugural meeting of CHANGE NIGERIA at Gbagada, where my mentor, leader and the national legal adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Muiz Banier (SAN), was to be a guest speaker.
“I left the meeting venue, headed to the Ikorodu garage to board a bus. I could not drive to my destination because my wife needed to take our son back to school with our only car; so, I felt I would be okay with a public bus.
“While I waited for a bus (this was still around 2pm), some voices in an ivory-coloured Lexus Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) drew my attention by calling, ‘my SLG’ in reference to my recently served appointment as the Secretary, Ikorodu Local Government.
“Where I stood, I had responded to many pleasantries, and since I often meet people whom I do not personally know, but who know me very well, I immediately felt they had to be people who know me very well.
“Headed in the Lagos direction, they offered me a lift. Unsuspectingly, I obliged and joined a lone lady at the back seat.
“There were three persons in the car; the lady, while the driver with another young man was at the front of the vehicle. No suspicions on my part, I was comfortable with the kind gesture from fellow citizens.
“However, my simple trust in their kind gesture of a ride out of Ikorodu turned out to be near-fatal.
“What I can recall is that before I could even settle down, the lady stretched her hands towards my face. That was all I saw.
Japhet Odesanya narrating his ordeal to journalists on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. Photo: Damilare Okunola
“The next scene was an unknown destination, very quiet. This was where I gained consciousness,” Odesanya explained.
On what the abductors may have wanted, he noted that it was when he was at the place that he got to know that his kidnap was in connection to the yet-to-be-fixed chairmanship polls for local governments in the state.
He narrated further: “Blindfolded, I understood that I had been abducted for reasons connected with the yet-to-be-fixed polls for chairmanship of local governments in Lagos state.
“Three men who were masked made me understand that, unless I renounced my interest in the polls, they would do the ultimate: kill me!
“I was starved, left in solitary confinement for days with just a meal of coke and bread.
“My surprise, however, was that they accorded me respect when they saw the Ifa beads on my wrist.
“But the warning came sternly from them that I bury any aspiration to contest, to which I later agreed because of the intricacies at the time.”
Speaking on how he was released, the former SLG offered that he was simply dropped by a bush path and asked not to open the blinds on his eyes.
With serious chagrin, the radical politician says the chairmanship post is not as glamorous that one would want to occupy it, rather, a place where one is expected to work for the good of the people and the division which he claimed has been put in a serious mess.
He therefore counselled politicians in the region to “steer clear of desperation and paranoia for power.”
Asked whether he would officially declare his intention after his terrible experience, he retorted: “For me, I can NEVER be desperate for power, which belongs to the people. My passion for the service of all Ikorodu and her people must not be misconstrued for desperation for power.”
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