He was loved by all who knew him. He loved humanity and was full of life. As a consummate journalist and writer, he sacrificed his comfort and held governments accountable.
Some Nigerians thought it was why he was assassinated in cold blood on the day that I would never forget, the day my life came to a temporary halt, when a bomb was delivered to him in the house.
Investigation into his death has been handled the same way issues are treated in Nigeria, pursuing the shadow, leaving reality in the cloud, and matters unresolved.
One major achievement in the sand of time in his professional life, apart from being a fine writer and fearless reporter was that he rallied his colleagues and made MKO Abiola, the publisher dropped out of politics, enhanced their professional credence and the newspapers' position in the market. Ironically, some of these colleagues later conspired against him, told Abiola a tale he hated about the finest journalist in his employment, but which he wanted to hear set a barrier between him and the publisher. After Dele's assassination, the publisher stepped back into politics, the vomit he had abandoned with Dele's advise,vied for the presidency and won. But the military guys disallowed him from assuming power for a reason they didn't disclose. He fought for the power, and was resultantly consumed.
Back to my unforgettable day that my brother was given a letter bomb. The envelope the bomb was concealed reportedly had the country's Coats of Arms, and the name of the military president of Nigeria as the sender. It was saying that the government of Nigeria, with the approval of the military president masterminded the assassination. I couldn't believe that Nigeria had arrived at a juncture when a government would kill its own citizen who had committed no crime and boldly declare it was responsible. It had never damned on me that it was possible for a government to have done what not only damaged its image, but gave the head of state away as a murderer. I couldn't believe it and watched as a spectator, investigations that led nowhere.
I knew my brother's trouble began with the publisher who kicked him from the editorship of his Sunday paper, because he said my brother took his girlfriend. The ugly matter between Dele and Abiola was worsened by tale bearers in the persons of Duro Onabule, Frank Shyngle and Sina Adedipe, whose evil messages to the publisher against my brother in connection with the woman completely made the publisher my brother's lifetime sworn enemy. My brother and the woman got married irrespective of the publisher's claim on her; abandoned the publisher and his paper and began (along with three other professional colleagues) a magazine called NEWSWATCH.
My brother was assassinated less than two years after he left the Concord Press, without reconciliation between him and Abiola.
Halilu Akilu head of Directorate of Military Intelligence invited Dele for questioning over allegations that he planned to ferment a socialist revolution, that he was involved in gun running and wanted to employ Alex Ogugbuaja-who had problem with his employers. Dele denied the first two allegations, and said that whoever gave government such information against him wanted him dead. His reaction was informed by the fact that a senior military officer in the State Security Service, SSS, had called his house at night a week before the time, and told him that someone had given deadly information against him to the government, and he should move to render them harmless.
A week after the senior officer called his house and gave him the information that someone had given the government a deadly information against him, Dele received an invitation for interrogation from the Directorate of Military Intelligence; upon which he visited the head of the DMI's office accompanied by RayEkpu, his deputy. There was an altercation between Dele and Akilu, over Dele's exhibition of sense of outrage about the deadly allegations made against him. There were interactions between DMI and Dele's house by Akilu, who said he wanted to tell Dele the matter of the allegations against him had been closed. The following weekend a bomb was delivered to Dele's house that claimed his life.
What Nigeria investigators weren't told was who gave government the evil information against DELE. Ray Ekpu, Dele's deputy who Dele called the night the officer gave him the information didn't mention it in any of his statements in the press. Like other deluge number of journalists in Abiola's employment at the time Abiola kicked Dele over the woman's affair, Ekpu also didn't mention there was any problem between Abiola and Dele. If Ekpu didn't mention this, how could one have expected Doyin Abiola who was editor-in-chief of Concord Press, and other journalists who worked under her to speak out?
BEFORE THE TROUBLE
Eight months before his assassination, before he got an invitation from the Military Intelligence, I had sent him a letter (co-signed with my immediate elder brother), intimated him about developments around his home and the need for him to be vigilant, to avoid becoming a victim of untimely death, as such would be too disastrous for our mother, his children, and (us) his siblings. He investigated the ssues in the letter, and found his wife an arrowhead and interrogated her. He told me in his office in what became our last intimate discussion that if he should end the marriage, people would say he was incapable of managing a home.
The fact that I sent him the letter with someone in the family he questioned having the knowledge about my warnngs to him before the assassination marked the beginning of my own trouble.
Gani Fawehinmi, a lawyer Dele had visited, whom he told about his trouble on his way back from DMI the day he was interrogated by Akilu over the deadly allegations against him wasn't without the knowledge of the crisis in the family, and my experience after the assassination. Although the chamber had invited the family to assist in the setting up of an estate without fees,I brought the issues in the family to the lawyers attention. Fawehinmi objected to what he described as cold relationship between Dele's mother and his wife. He decided to intervene, but Dele's wife worked against the lawyer's intention. The lawyer asked why she failed to show up for a meeting they both agreed uopn with Dele's mother, she kept mum. The lawyer nonetheless moved ahead with management of Dele's estate. Along the line Dele's wife accused the chamber of supporting a wish to have me represent the family for protection of Dele's interest in the Newswatch. The chamber resultatly pulled out of the estate management to maintain its neutrality.
One major reason I raised the issue in the family before the lawyers in the chamber was to bring Fawehinmi's attention to a need that as much as he was investigating the military based on its interrogation of Dele, the deadly allegations brought against him, the DMI contacts with Dele's home and Dele's request for the lawyer to save his life before the assassination, there was also a need to investigate the family and Dele's private life before his problem with the military. But only the lawyer's chamber could explain why Fawehinmi (now deceased) chose the military and the former head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, as his only target in the investigations. The result what seemed like Babangida's blockade of investigations targeted against him and his government. The public wasn't áware that Babangida's best friend in the person of Abiola also had a tango with Dele that needed investigation upon Dele's assassiantion.