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Prince Lukman Gbadegesin

07.10.2022 Featured Lukman Gbadegesin Is One of the Favourites To Become Alaafin of Oyo. But He Has a Multimillion Naira ‘Fraud’ Stain

Published 7th Oct, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

On September 13, Lukman Adelodun Gbadegesin was seen arriving the Palace of the Alaafin of Oyo for a kingmaking screening with the Oyomesi.

“The photographs obtained showed how the prince was warmly received by the people,” one of the blogs wrote. Many of the published pictures depicted Gbadegesin as a delightful centre of attention; the much-loved prince who is the cynosure of the event. 

Gbadegesin hails from the Gbadegesin family of the Agunloye Ruling House. He is a grandchild of Alaafin Gbadegesin Ladigbolu II, the predecessor of Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi III. Gbadegesin is among the contenders for the historical and highly venerated Yoruba traditional stool, which became vacant following the demise of Alaafin Adeyemi on April 22, 2022. 

READ MORE: Lamidi Adeyemi, Longest-Reigning Alaafin of Oyo, Is Dead

The Oyomesi, the Oyo traditional council, led by the Bashorun, started interviewing potential successors from an 86-man shortlist, including Gbadegesin, on September 5 at the Agbala Ogun Hall in the Alaafin’s Palace in Oyo. 

Gbadegesin was a former Personal Assistant to Alhaji Aruna Elewi, a minister of state for communication during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. He is also reported to have been an associate of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is also the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 general elections. He has been tipped to be the next Alaafin of Oyo.

But Gbadegesin isn’t loved by all. In fact, some persons claim that they have been forced to count their losses and live in fear after Gbadegesin swindled them of millions of naira in business deals he defaulted on. 

‘HE IS LIKE A YOUNGER BROTHER TO ME BUT HE IS A CRIMINAL

Akin Adejumo, an engineer, claims that Gbadegesin established contact with him in April 2014 and convinced him that he could help him purchase some agricultural equipment. 

Adejumo said that he had accepted Gbadegesin’s proposal and paid N64 million naira for the purchase and delivery of two hatchery equipment and other accessories by 2015. He further mentioned that Gbadegesin did not deliver the goods but held on to the money after he had paid in full.

Adejumo said that when he asked for a refund, Gbadegesin refused to send his money back to him. Gbadegesin eventually resorted to threatening to get rid of Adejumo if he continued to ask for his money. 

Adejumo, aware that the Oyomesi is in the middle of the Alaafin selection process, told FIJ that he could not divulge every detail concerning what happened between him and Gbadegesin. 

“I want to be very careful simply because there is an exercise going on and I wouldn’t want anybody to liken me to any failure of his ambition or his failure to see through the exercise,” Adejumo told FIJ. 

“As you have rightly said, he is a prince. So many of them are now jostling for the throne of their father and I wouldn’t want anybody to use anything that would emanate from me to work against him. That is why I may not be able to answer your questions now. You know, we are from the same place. I am not from the royal family but we are from the same Oyo Town. 

“He is a younger brother but he is a criminal. I wouldn’t want to say anything more than that.” 

READ ALSO: FACT CHECK: Is the Alaafin of Oyo Still Alive?

THE PETITION TO IGP AGAINST GBADEGESIN

FIJ had obtained a petition addressed to the Nigeria Police Force in 2019 and accusing Gbadegesin of holding on to Adejumo’s N64 million since 2015.

The police petition informed the Intelligence Response Team of the NPF of a fraud and threat to life.

“You should stop searching for me on this matter if you want to remain alive. And if you report this matter to anybody, you and that person will endanger yourselves and your entire family,” the petition quoted Gbadegesin as saying.

Petition to the police
Petition to the police
Petition to the police
Petition to the police
Petition to the police

Adejumo told FIJ that Gbadegesin had started to refund his money in 2021, after he involved the police. 

“I didn’t take the case to any law court, I only reported the case to the office of the Inspector General of Police. Truly, he has been able to refund some of the money. I think he started to pay back in July last year (2021). I cannot tell if he will pay up the rest soon; that, I cannot tell,” Adejumo said. 

READ ALSO: Iku Baba Yeye, ‘The Head of Yoruba Nation’

Adejumo also admitted that he had not met Gbadegesin recently because the prince had been avoiding him. “Anywhere I am, he won’t come there. Anywhere he is, and he hears that I am coming there, he won’t wait till I get there.” 

‘A MORTAL FEAR FOR GBADEGESIN’

Two other persons refused to say anything about Gbadegesin, even as they expressed disapproval of what he had done in the past.

One of the sources explained that Gbadegesin had threatened people in the past, so they live in fear of what he could do to them.

“Some people appear to have a mortal fear of Lukman Gbadegesin. You may have a hard time convincing them to talk, except in absolute confidentiality,” one of them said in a text.

The 2019 petition against Gbadegesin to the police supports this source’s claims.

GETTING GBADEGESIN TO RESPOND

Prince Lukman Gbadegesin
Prince Lukman Gbadegesin

FIJ called Gbadegesin on September 24 but he did not answer the phone call. A text message was therefore sent to him. When he eventually responded two days later via text, he claimed Adejumo was lying. He then offered to be interviewed on September 27.

Over the phone, Gbadegesin denied ever offering to help Adejumo or Jirade Ventures to purchase agricultural equipment. According to the prince, it was Adejumo who approached him and offered him money in exchange for political favours.

“I have known Engineer Adejumo a long time ago; he was a friend to my elder brother and family. In 2015, shortly after the election of President Buhari, Engineer Adejumo came to see me in my hotel in Oyo. I was the southwest coordinator for Atiku’s group during the election,” Gbadegesin said.

Gbadegesin said that after Adejumo’s first visit and an invitation, he went to Adejumo’s house in Ibadan.

“He told me that he just retired from the civil service a few months ago and needed me to help him with my Atiku platform. When I was leaving, he brought an envelope and gave me N500,000. I said that I can know how to help and discuss with the group in Abuja.

“When we got to Abuja, we were told to bring three names for possible appointments (into government). I told Engineer Adejumo that he would need to fund the group since he wanted to benefit from our goodwill. That was all.”

Yet, Gbadegesin told FIJ that he never asked Adejumo for anything in return. He said that Adejumo sent his credentials and occasionally sent a few millions of naira to “support the group”.

The political appointment plans fell through when Atiku’s faction missed out, Gbadegesin explained.

MINISTRY OF WORKS DEAL GONE WRONG

Gbadegesin also claimed that Adejumo asked for aid with a contract involving a road between Iseyin and Oke-Iho in Oyo state. According to Gbadegesin, the contract had a N90-million tag and Adejumo agreed to offer the group N15 million if he secured proceeds from the contract.

“After the contract was awarded, I called Engineer Adejumo and he refused to pay the N15 million. I told him that I didn’t want to have any embarrassing problem with the group that helped him. He stopped answering my phone calls afterwards,” Gbadegesin told FIJ.

Gbadegesin confirmed that he and Adejumo did not speak between December 2015 and 2019. According to Gbadegesin, it was Adejumo who was avoiding him.

The police received Adejumo’s petition in 2019 and froze Gbadegesin’s bank accounts.

“Sometime in 2019, I sent my driver to get some money from the bank and he was unable to do so. My accounts manager sent a message from the police indicating why funds in my bank account had been frozen. Engineer Adejumo had written a petition against me. All of the documents I have, I have given them to the Monitoring Unit of the police.

“I told them that there was nothing of the sort, I had no agricultural equipment deal with him. He wrote that petition after four years of no communication.

“He never sent any of the money through Jirade Ventures and there was no invoice to show that we agreed to buy those equipment. He sent some money to me from his own bank account, but it was just over N29 million. I don’t have any agric business deal with him. It’s this political appointment he requested and did not get.”

Gbadegesin told FIJ that he had refunded the money, about N30 million, including the initial N500,000.

After the September 27 phone call, Gbadegesin told FIJ he had supporting documents with the Monitoring Unit of the NPF. FIJ’s message to the Monitoring Unit proved abortive, but Gbadegesin, who said he would retrieve the said documents, could only redirect FIJ to the police.

When FIJ called the Monitoring Unit of the Nigeria Police Force for comments, the office did not answer. The Monitoring Unit had not responded to text messages at press time.

‘GBADEGESIN STILL HASN’T COMPLETED PAYMENT’

When asked if Adejumo asked for political favours from Gbadegesin, Henry Ejike Ugwu, Adejumo’s lawyer, said he was unaware.

“We are not aware of this,” he said.

“The most important thing is that, even at the police station, Gbadegesin admitted he collected money from Adejumo and he had started making refunds. If he is asked today, it would be if he did collect the money from my client.

“Our interest is that he refunds the money he collected from our client. Gbadegesin said he was not going to contest the petition when he was invited by the police, and that he was ready to pay. He wrote an undertaking and has started paying. He has paid about 70% of the refund, but has not completed payment.”

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Published 7th Oct, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

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