Barely one month after he was shot several times by a killer squad, one allegedly sponsored by the senator representing Delta North in the National Assembly, Mr. Sunny Okonye, an Agbor-based Hotelier, has made a U-turn to exonerate Senator Ifeanyi Okowa of sponsorship of a killer squad that shot him.
It was a dispute, or misunderstanding, between Mr. Sunny Okonye, and Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, for reportedly burning down one of Okowa’s 2015 governorship billboards at Agbor.
Okonye, owner of the Sunny Guest House, in Boji Boji-Agbor, the Ika South local government area of Delta state, had made the legal U-turn Sunday. The U-Turn came about during a press briefing in Asaba, where he confessed that he was actually ‘brainwashed’ by the caretaker committee chairman of Ika South, Engr. Andrew Obiazi and the former presidential adviser, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh. The ‘brainwashed’ Okonye said was geared to implicate Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, and his aides, shortly after the incident in which he was shot several times with a pump action gun at close range.
Okonye, who was still on bandages, alleged that the council boss who took up his medical bills, among other responsibilities, had promised to ‘empower him’, and other sundry gratifications, as far he could, to implicate the senator and his supporters.
“Of the truth during my first press briefing, I accused Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, and his Personal Assistant, but the fact was that as at that time, when I was shot, the place I ran to was the local government chairman, the person of Engr. Andrew Obiaze. It was he who helped me when we got to the station. He helped me a lot, and I must thank God that God used him to help me, and I pray let God continue to protect him, and uplift his life. But the truth must be said, that is the fact. Because today, I am a born again Christian. The people that asked me to mention the senator, and his PA, Hillary’s name, and Alika called Perere, and the rest, is the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Engr. Andrew Obiaze.
“He was the one that told me and he was always calling Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, who was instructing him what to do. And he was telling me, but because as at that time, the wounds on me, they were the persons treating me, carrying me and doing all sorts of things, whatever they tell me as of that time. I must say, because I want to save my own life. Everything they asked me to say, I was saying it. But of a truth, Hillary Ibegbulem, was not there at all in the picture. Anything that concerns Okowa, was not there in the picture, they asked me to say all that. That they will empower me, they will do a lot of things for me, and they will give me a councilor.”
Okonye, however, stated that after several days his conscience started pricking, and judging him and as a result, he decided to open up.
Reacting to the allegations, former House of Representatives, and one time Presidential Adviser, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, who spoke through his Personal Assistant, Mr. Aliekwue Simon Onyeka, had denied ever coaxing, or forcing anybody to implicate anyone, as far as the shooting of Mr. Sunny Okonye is concerned.
According to Ojougboh, ‘he cannot remember’ ever speaking with the victim, whom he said has been allegedly induced with money, by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
“Has the victim ever spoken to me, who shot him, did I shoot him, did the council chairman shoot him, I wonder how the World could be so wicked? After been bribed, you turn against the person who saved your life? He is saying all this nonsense because he has been induced, (and) given money. That has been the way of Okowa; he is always bribing people to sell their conscience for a pot of porridge. Okowa, is always finding a way to cover up his atrocities. This is how Boko Haram started, after being sponsored by persons, sponsored, and today the reverse is the case. The issue now is who shot Sunny Okonye? Okowa, in his usual way, has given the boy a bribe, and unless Okowa changes his ways, and demobilizes his killer squad in Agbor, we might be witnessing another set of Boko Haram in the area,” said Ojougboh through his personal assistant.
Also reacting to the allegations, the Ika South Transition Committee chairman, Mr. Andrew Obiaze, debunked all the allegations, describing it as ‘an inducement and cooked up’ story.
“On the 18th, or thereabouts of May, in the afternoon on Sunday, this very Sunny Okonye who was (then the) Chairman of Sanitation task force of Ika South, drove in one hand in the pool of his blood. He came out of the vehicle almost collapsing, and I wondered about the strength that took him to my house, driving with one hand with the pool of blood. I saw him, I was touched, and very surprised. And I asked him, what is the problem? And he said, ‘Senator Ifeanyi Okowa’s boys shot him.’ That before they shot him, they asked him, ‘you are the one that burnt (down) Senator Okowa’s billboard?’” Obiaze had said.
“And after which they shot him and there and then. I didn’t waste one minute because I was afraid if I could waste more than one minute, he may give up. I asked him to enter my Hillux because, we were driving out. We drove to the police station to get (a) police report, in order to go to the hospital, and when the DPO saw his state, the DPO was equally touched, and was afraid for his life. He detailed a police officer to us, to go the hospital while preparing the report that would enable him to get treatment, and there and then, he was telling everybody that what has he done, that Senator Okowa’s boys want to take his life,” Obiaze explained.
According to the council chairman, he ‘does not know’ how insane such a matured man could be coaxed, or forced, to implicate the senator and his aide when he was not under duress. “Even the boy and some of the people he mentioned their names, were taken to the police station and that very day, he said he can identify the boys, and all of a sudden he has started dancing to the tune of Okowa after receiving bribes. No wonder. He was always saying after the incident that they are transferring his children to South Africa, or Ghana, for safety purposes. And I asked him where do you get (the) money from? He said, ‘his brother will sponsor him,’ this one will sponsor him,” said the council chairman.
“To my greatest surprise, he said he wants to go to his father’s house. That they want to sell the place, and in the evening, they called me that Sunny Okonye addressed the press, alleging that I induced him. I forced him to say what he said. He is a family man. He is in his late 30s to his 40s with two kids. So how would I have induced such a man? His elder brother is an aide to Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. His name is Chidi Okonye, who has before now been prevailing on Sunny to exonerate his boss, and his aide, so I am not surprised at all with the U-Turn of Sunny Okonye.”
According to Sahara Reporters’ investigation, the family of the victim, Mr. Sunny Okonye, are currently in Ghana, and in a short while he will be joining them there, as part of ‘the bargain’ that necessitated his sudden ‘U-Turn.’