Ojochenemi: The story of a ‘Bello Ambassador’ killed over suspected thuggery in Anyigba on election day
By Daniel Adaji
The story of Akaiba Ojochenemi who was killed for allegedly snatching ballot boxes at a polling unit in Dekina area of Kogi State has gone viral on the social media and other media platforms.
The incidence which took place on 25 February 2023 has received cold reactions from the appropriate quarters. The young man who was until his death an active member of the Bello Ambassadors Network (BAN) and an active participant in the 2019 general elections for the All Progressive Congress was said to be a noble and despite his involvement in politics was industrious at his trade as a mason.
Some indigenes of Anyigba in Dekina local government who were familiar with Ojochenemi claimed that he was of a noble character, in spite of his involvement in politics.
One Aaron Abuh, one of the indigenes described Ojochenemi as a young man he had known for several years, having hailed from the same community with Ojochenemi.
Abu said, “Ojochenemi was just a young hustler, trying to make ends meet. He was the first graduate of his family and just completed the National Youth Service Corp, NYSC.
“His active participation in Kogi State politics started about five years ago. He was fully involved in student unionism at Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba, Kogi State and that, no doubt, must have motivated him to continue on a bigger platform.”
Ojochenemi was just a young hustler, trying to make ends meet
Aaron further claimed that the young man was never associated with political thuggery and/or violence and lamented that he must have been misrepresented at the scene of incidence that led to his death.
According to him, “I have not known him to be violent at all. However, as an active participant in the election process and a party member, Ojochenemi must have been misrepresented on the day of his death,” he said.
Aaron further explained that his three days Islamic prayer for the dead was attended by top politicians in the state.
Another indigene of Anyigba, Attaja Husseini, told The Insight that he believed Ojochenemi was not killed for ballot box snatching.
Narrating his experience with the deceased, Attaja said, “I know the young man so well. In fact, we were together on the day of election until we went to our polling units. As youth under my watch, I have always warned him and other youths around me not to go out with any form of incriminating element on Election Day and shun violence which he always complied to. I was at my polling unit when I received a distress call that Akaiba was being held by some men in military uniform.
“Unfortunately all efforts to reach the scene immediately proved abortive, as movement was restricted; there was no immediate means of mobility. I, however, managed to get a motorcycle, but before my arrival, he was hatched to death and deserted by onlookers. He was searched and nothing criminal was found on him and no statement from the police or military has been made concerning the incidence yet” he said.
Akaiba was a party agent at one of the polling units in Anyigba
Attaja noted that Akaiba was a party agent at one of the polling units in Anyigba and that when he noticed the poll was being disrupted, he decided to, along with the INEC officials, return the materials to the INEC office while he returned home.
“Akaiba had noticed that the election at his polling unit was being disrupted so he and the INEC officials decided to return the materials to the INEC office while he returned home. Unfortunately, he went out to a community behind the Prince Abubakar Audu University, where he was killed. I was told that before his arrival, there was crisis there and a civil defence officer called the military, but while others were running for safety, he fell into the hands of soldiers. His scary look must have given him away, but certainly not ballot box snatching as claimed” Ataja said.
His scary look must have given him away, but certainly not ballot box snatching as claimed
It is on record that Anyigba in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, where Ojochenemi was gunned down by security operatives, is infamous for political thuggery. Over the last decade the Dekina as well as Ejule in Ofu Local Government Area, has been the hotbed of violent politics, from where politicians in Kogi State recruited thugs who carried out daring bloody assignments.