In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends – Martin Luther King.
Martin Luther King uttered the above statement at the peak of frustrations with many blacks not speaking up against segregation against blacks in racial America. You can guess what your enemies would say any time but the silence of your friends could be more troubling than it.
If MLK could put such weight on the muteness of friends in the 60s, you can then imagine the impact of the poisonous words of our own friends in 2019.
When I saw a message from Dr Debo Awosika-Olumo on 12th, July 2019, I thought it was just our usual exchanges. But I became numb on opening the message as it reads “Alagba, they have just killed Funke Olakunrin. Baba Fasoranti does not know yet”. I called his US mobile number immediately and he told me the younger brother of the deceased, Dr Taiwo Fasoranti relayed the news to him. There was nothing to doubt. I called my brother Taiwo and he confirmed the dastardly news. My next call was to the elder sister of Mrs Olakunrin, Sister Funmi. She was in some daze but she also said the worst had happened. I then placed a call to Chief Ayo Adebanjo who was broken-hearted and mute for some minutes. You know when an elder is crying. He led us to Akure the following day and broke into tears like a baby in the middle of his speech. Gloom descended over the room.
The father of the deceased and our Leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti was just sighing as a daughter he had expected to be one of those to bury him would now be lowered into the grave before his very eyes.
Mourners, visitors rather, started trooping in from all over. I chose to say visitors because not everyone who comes to see you when you are bereaved is a mourner. At least, the late Senator Abraham Adesanya taught us that lesson when he gave this one of the whole city trooping out to pretend to look for the King’s missing horse so his majesty would believe that all are in the search party.
But there are different columns in that search party. There are those who want the horse to be found so the King could be happy. There are those who hate the King inwardly and are praying the horse would not be found. The worst column among those “searching” for the horse are the ones that would chase the horse further if they found it and are not seen.
In the midst of the wailings came a leading Yoruba politician into the house of 94-year-old Fasoranti and chose to address a press conference at his premises after the “sympathy” call.
He brought out a ‘suya’ knife and thrusted it in the heart of the bereaved:
“Excuse me, I am extremely concerned about security and I don’t want a stigma. How many years ago have we faced insecurity and cases of kidnapping. Is Evans a herdsman? I don’t want to be political. But the question is where are the cows?”
The leader of Miyetti Allah could not have provoked us. Worse, he words brought further bitter tears from our hearts. It was meant to rubbish our charge that Funke was killed by herdsmen.
We didn’t make it up. We never said all Fulani natives are killers. The policemen who were at the scene of the crime told Mr Kehinde Fasoranti who went to collect the sister’s corpse that she was killed by herdsmen and that the operation followed their usual pattern in the area. Kehinde wrote their exact words in his statement and we have challenged the Ondo State Police Command to bring out his testimony which they have refused to do till date.
Instead the command has behaved like a party wanting the crime covered for reasons best known to them. The most prized evidence at the scene of crime was the car in which she was shot. The car was back in her father’s compound hours after the murder. It was after having words with my friend, Frank Mba, Police image maker that they came for the car about six days after, to purportedly do a forensic that we don’t have a report till date. They were not going to do an autopsy on the corpse until we followed the same route again.
In nine months that preceded the arrest of four suspects by Federal SARS, the Commissioner of Police in Ondo State never visited Pa Fasoranti once to tell him even some lies. But we asked Funke not to rest in peace yet until her killers are pursued to the temple of Justice. I recall when I read that out at our General Assembly in October last year, one gentleman asked “se anrookuyini? He was told we are Yoruba!
We were buoyed by powerful declarations from the thrones of Iku Baba Yeye and Oonirisa.
I recall visiting the Ooni last September and he said to me “Comrade, rest assured that no one comes to Yorubaland to hack down our jewel without consequences.”
The daughter of Fasoranti has been restless up there. She has pursued four of her killers into SARS nest and the rest are coming. She has also put the Ondo CP to shame as he was issuing statement denying the arrest of the four suspected killers even they had been taken to Lagosfrom Ondo. When we had honour in this country, that fellow should have thrown in his letter after the Inspector General (IG) confirmed what we already said. The police of the future should have no space for such a man as a DPO!
I have spoken for Afenifere for 19 years now and not once have I had to issue a statement to correct whatever we uttered. Those who don’t agree with our views cannot say we lied. We never said Funke was killed by cows but cow herders who do not have to bring their animals to where they killed her. If there is anyone who says they are metaphoric cows, here are the suspected killers in police net:
1 Lawal Mazaje from Felele in Kogi State.
2 Adamu Adamu from Jada area of Adamawa State.
3 Mohammed Shehu Usman from Ilella area of Sokoto State.
4 Auwal Abubakar from Shinkafi area of Zamfara State.
Tambaya, the leader of the gang who is at large, is said by the Police to speak “Hausa, Fulfude and Pidgin”. He definitely can’t be Evans.
Mrs Funke Olakunrin can at this stage have a deserving rest among our heroines like Moremi and Funmilayo-Ransome Kuti. You did not die in vain. Your death has birthed Amotekun, a guard formation that has given sleepless nights to the enemies of the Yoruba nation and an encouragement to its friends across Nigeria.
Your blood partly shed on the ground in Ore and inside the black jeep you were killed, has watered the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Keep an eye on all as we do all to follow the trial of your alleged murderers. Goodnight!