October 23, 1962
On this day, a witness, 37-year old former minister of Lands and Housing in the suspended Western Government, Mr. J. O. Adigun, told the Coker Commission of Inquiry in Lagos, that ministers of the suspended government made a total of 37 allocations of Crowns land to themselves between 1960 and 1962.
Mr. Adigun, then a UPP leader, was being cross-examined by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, leader of the Action Group and Premier of the Region between 1957 and 1959, then appearing for himself before the Commission. Mr. Adigun said that the preceding government, however, made seven allocations of Crowns lands to its ministers up till 1959.
He admitted that Chief Awolowo sternly opposed the acquisition of Crowns lands by ministers because they were trustees of Crowns property. He said further that Chief Awolowo was not, however, opposed to acquisition of such lands by civil servants and that, in fact, he advised the ministers to vacate Government Reservation for the civil servants.
Mr. Adigun told the Commission that when he was minister of Health and Social Welfare in 1958, Chief Awolowo, then Premier, asked all ministers to surrender Crowns lands in their possession. He said Chief Awolowo aṣọ advised them to build their private houses and quit Government Reservation in order to live among the people.
Names of ministers contained in the list of those whom Crowns lands were allocated in 1960 – 1962 and read out on this day included Chief J. A. Odebiyi, minister of Finance; Dr. J. O. Omitowoju, minister of Chieftaincy Affairs; Chief D. O. Onogie, Mr. D. K. Olumofin, Mr. Duro Ogundiran, minister of Education; Chief J. O. Oshuntokun, minister of Health and Social Welfare; Chief A. O. Adeyi, minister of Trade and Industry; Alhaji D. S. Adegbenro, minister of Local Government; Mr. J. O. Adigun, minister of Lands and Housing; Mr. S. O. Sogbein, minister of Transport and Works; Mr. J. E. Babatola, minister of State in the ministry of Justice; and Chief S. O. Ighodaro, minister of Justice.
Others were Mr. Kessington Momoh, minister of Labour; Chief E. A. Fadairo, minister of Information; Prince Adeleke Adedoyin, Speaker of the suspended Western House of Assembly; Mr. A. Akinsanya, Mr. Alfred Rewane (rejected allocation), Chief G. E. Ekwuejunor Etchie, minister of State in the ministry of Trade and Industry.
Under cross-examination by Chief S. L. Akintola, UPP leader, Mr. Adigun read out other names from the list – – – those to whom Crowns lands were allocated in 1952 to 1959, Mr. E. O. Fakayode, a prominent leader of the NCNC; Dr. S. Biobaku, Mr. A. Majekodunmi, Mr. N.O. George Taylor, Mr. Moyosore Akinloye Aboderin, the Olowo of Owo; Chief Anthony Enahoro, Mr. Adeleke Ademiluyi (then commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources and Parliamentary Secretary in 1959); Chief S. O. Lanlehin and Dr. S. D. Onabamiro who was then in the NCNC.