Al-Mustain Alade Abaniwonda, a former MD of Crystal Bank and Senatorial candidate of the PDP in the Lagos East Senatorial district in the last election died yesterday in circumstances that suggested suicide. He was one of the ten people from Lagos whose names were forwarded to the President for Ministerial consideration recently.
Street Journal’s findings revealed that the deceased and Wasiu, his driver were driving to his office from a bank on Lagos Island was coming from a bank on Lagos Island when he told the driver that he was pressed and would need to use the toilet.
Speaking after the incident, Wasiu disclosed that he tried all he could to persuade his boss to wait until till their arrival at the CSS Bookshop building in Broad Street but Abaniwonda refused. He told the driver to stop the Toyota Camry with registration number MU 555 AAA at the Leventis Bus Stop in Marina. .
According to his driver, “he ate his food after we left the bank and he told me he was going to use a toilet down there. That was all until I heard people shouting. He was still struggling to get out when I got there but he later went down inside the water.”
Wasiu, the deceased’s driver has since been arrested by police officers attached to the Marine Police Division which happens to be close to the scene of the incident. .
Eyewitnesses revealed to Street Journal that Abaniwonda jumped into the river but as at that time, he was still able to stand upright but he deliberately walked into a deeper portion of the lagoon..It was also found out that though he told his driver he wanted to use the toilet, he never actually did. According to some of the toilet operators who witnessed the event, they were still trying to get the keys and open one of the toilets for him when they noticed that he was walking towards the Lagoon.
Narrating how it happened, one of the toilet operators said “he took off his jacket, wristwatch, and wallet and he started walking towards the lagoon side. We were even telling him that is not the toilet, he insisted on going towards other direction. We called him again and he replied in Yoruba language saying Ani mo fe se ga”, (meaning I want to defecate). Before we knew what was happening, he was already in the lagoon.
We tried to help, we threw a floater and a tyre at him but he wouldn’t use them. Instead, he struggled to a deeper side of the river. He was still visible above the water for about three minutes and when we saw a flying boat, we waved at the boat to help rescue him at the point he was still floating but when the boat arrived, he swam and hid under the last pillar; when the people saw that they went there.”
Though some other accounts said the late politician slipped and fell into the lagoon while going to the toilet. But almost everybody at the scene agreed that he did not want to be rescued.
Abaniwonda’s family members got to the scene not long after the incident and according to his son, there was nothing to suggest that his father was unhappy or had any suicidal intention.
Some of the family members disclosed to Street Journal that “we celebrated his wife’s birthday yesterday and we were all happy”.
The 56 year old politician is a principal partner at Alade Abaniwonda & Partners, an investment company.
There are insinuations that he spent a lot of money during the electioneering campaign and that he had hoped he would get a ministerial slot as compensation. It however remains unknown whether that was why he made the fatal move that ended his life.