“Ladoja is too greedy. He is collecting N65 million as security vote every month. You know that governors don’t account for security votes. He was to give me N15 million of that every month. He reneged. Later, it was reduced to N10 million, yet he did not give me.”
— Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu on TV.
“President Olusegun Obasanjo knelt down for me more than six times, I swear in the name of God, begging me on behalf of Ladoja. Mr. President gave him directive to come and ‘see’ me. Now, I ask the question: did he need to wait for me to ask before he gave me money? I am putting this question to the whole country. Don’t I deserve to get money from him?”
—Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, (an interview with Saturday SUN, January 21, 2006).
“I support the emergence of Lamidi Adedibu. [I subscribe to his leadership] 100 percent. Why not? He is my leader.”
—Richard Akinjide, former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (Sunday SUN January 22, 2006)
Adedibu is a “force to reckon with in Ibadan politics”
—President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Somewhere in Molete, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, there is a man called Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, who lives, speaks and acts as if there are no laws in the land, and enjoys hearing himself being referred to as “the Strongman of Ibadan Politics.” From what is regularly reported about this man, and the comments credited to him in the media, he should either be in jail now or facing trial in a properly constituted court. Indeed, such a man should have no place within the confines of civilized ambience.
But because this hapless nation is yet yoked with an uncivilized, lawless and unrefined leadership, madly obsessed with cave-age political and ethical preferences, a regime that could stoop so low to hobnob with and lionize the likes of Adedibu, the man they call the “Strongman of Ibadan Politics,” is today a free and proud man in Ibadan, noisily celebrating his recent victory over democracy and civilization.
Adedibu may be a man of modest insight, but he was able to realize quite early that if he could remain a real “grassroots man,” maintaining a very loyal and fierce army of thugs, there would always be crude, unscrupulous and bred-in-the-jungle politicians who would come knocking on his door on election day. Evidently, this man does not subscribe to any ennobling ideals. Blissfully scornful of all laws that govern well-ordered society, a total stranger to all that constitute civilized and decent conducts, he brazenly prosecutes his “Amala politics”– the crude, revolting political ideology reportedly invented by him — as a full-time engagement. In his calculation, laws freeze and lose their potency once they see his face.
Adedibu speaks with the confidence and bravado of one who has let it sink into his head that he could wield, (and he, indeed, wields) boundless powers, and wallow in lawlessness in a society that ought to be governed by laws. Only last Sunday (January 29, 2006), THISDAY quoted him as stating with chilling certainty: “Ladoja’s political life started here and ends here.I put him there [as Governor]. But when I started seeing the way he was behaving, I told him he would leave. Ladoja gave our group no patronage.”
Now, what this statement demonstrates clearly is that no matter the amount of money and efforts deployed to organize elections, as long as Adedibu reigns in Molete, both the electorate and the votes they cast are totally useless in deciding who occupies “elective” offices in Oyo State! Also, from what he has continued to say about several past and present office holders in Oyo State, it is gradually being accepted that whoever Baba Adedibu decides to “make” Governor or lawmaker in Oyo State, that person will automatically “win” at the polls. Elections are therefore lost and won in Adedibu’s lair in Molete. And the man has never bothered to hide his mouth as he continues to clearly and repeatedly make this point each time occasion presents itself.
Indeed, Nigerians are thoroughly sickened and embarrassed that, for totally base, self-serving considerations, the likes of Adedibu are continually being propped up by the Presidency to make us a laughing stock before the outside world. Only last Sunday, (January 29, 2006) former Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, could not hide his disgust and exasperation in an interview with the SUN. Said Rimi: ”Adedibu, a confessed thug, is getting the support of our president. On several occasions, the president has come out to support the thuggery Adedibu is doing. Everybody knows what Adedibu is doing is unconstitutional, it is illegal. But instead of Adedibu being dealt with by the government, Adedibu is being praised by the president. And that shows you the extent of corruption and disregard for constitutionality on the part of the government because nobody will support what Adedibu is doing. Just imagine, a private person collecting security money and EFCC is not after him? And
he is saying it to the world, loud and clear and EFCC has not asked him to come and explain how and why he collects security money from the state government being an individual who has no official status. What qualifies him to be getting the money from the governor of Oyo State?”
Now, that is not all the most inexplicable and revolting absurdities being b
razenly advertised in Obasanjo’s Nigeria in the twenty-first century! Adedibu is not occupying any public office. He is not the Inspector-General of the Police, yet, the officers and men of the Nigeria Police appear to forget their brief once they see him in action. When his “boys” unleashed mayhem in Ibadan recently, leaving deaths and massive destruction in their wake, the police observed them with supportive passivity. To Adedibu’s “boys”, no place was sacred, not even the Governor’s office. They had descended on the office of the Oyo State Governor (who incidentally doubles as the Chief Security Officer of the state) and destroyed anything that caught their fancy. While the destruction and violence lasted, the police did nothing to stop them. Despite reports that lives were lost in the fracas, till now, no arrests have been made.
A few hours after the bloody destructions in Ibadan, a triumphant Adedibu, obviously basking in the vulgar euphoria of the “successful” and bloody operation his boys had just enacted in Ibadan, rode into a traditional ceremony in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s homestead in Ibogun, Ogun State, on a white horse and was not only warmly received by the President, but was praised by him as a “force to reckon with in Ibadan politics.” How unlucky can a country be!
Indeed, what bother me so much these days are not just the immediate implications of what President Olusegun Obasanjo does and represents, but the very tantalizing and insidious precedent most of those attitudes and preoccupations constitute to those who would take over from him, assuming he truly goes in 2007. And it does seem, judging from the way he carries himself, that he is totally unperturbed by it all. In fact, daily, he leaves no one in doubt that he has no qualms embarking on even much more damaging adventures before the speculated terminal date of his administration. And for a nation whose political class is clearly distinguished by its unduly large appetite for unwholesome paradigms, it would, no doubt, require decades to totally purge future Nigerian leaders of all the unhealthy strains of Obasanjo’s peculiar leadership agenda and style, and gratify the deep yearning of the citizenry for a new, refreshing era of patriotic and selfless leadership, totally healed of all the festering sores of the disastrous Obasanjo leadership accident, where the likes of Adedibu and Chris Ubah would not be strategic and prominent players in our polity.
What is becoming clear is that Obasanjo appears to have boxed himself into a helpless situation, where he is now prepared to sacrifice anything, and pamper the likes of Adedibu to hold on to power. Widely isolated by decent, well-meaning and respectable Nigerians who are unreservedly opposed to his obnoxious self-succession agenda, Obasanjo is now left with the Hobson’s choice of clinging desperately on the Adedibus of this world, whose strongest point remains their perpetual distaste for every idea of political morality. That is why the President of Nigeria, the immediate past Chair of the African Union (AU), the darling of democracy-crazy Western world, and the Chief Promoter and Grand Installer of democracy in Africa, would find the presence of mind to applaud in public a man who has never ceased to announce to the world the kind of retrogressive and destructive politics he plays in Ibadan.
But the nation is left wondering: where is the “zealous” and “righteous” Nuhu Ribadu and his Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions (EFCC) as Adedibu’s astounding confessions and exploits are being rehearsed by him in broad daylight? Is anyone trying to investigate how just one man called Adedibu is able to stay in his house in Molete and make and unmake Governors for the people of Oyo State? What is the secret behind this self-debasing loyalty to Adedibu by a whole eighteen members of the Oyo State House of Assembly? What does Adedibu possess that makes the entire political class in Oyo State cringe before him, so much so, that former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Richard Akinjide, could, in the face of the brazen lawlessness displayed by Adedibu in these past few weeks, declare boldly and openly that he supports the emergence Adedibu 100 percent , and that Adedibu is his leader?
Adedibu’s politics does not edify. He has no particular attachment to any party or regime. He appears to believe in nothing except his “Amala politics,” and would only belong to any political party that would not find this crude and repelling politics unacceptable. He is available to both the military and civilians. He claims to have supported MKO Abiola and his June 12 mandate, but he would always be remembered in that era for his unedifying role as late General Sani Abacha’s “strongman” in Ibadan. So long as jungle politics remains attractive to our politicians, Adedibu will remain relevant, and speak and act like some god. His likes are always available to help irresponsible politicians to drag Nigeria away from civilization to the thick jungle.
He walks about today in Molete a happy man. He has, perhaps, at last installed a “Governor” in Ibadan who would ensure he got the one-third of the security vote Ladoja had refused to give him. And in order not take any chances, his barely literate Personal Assistant had to become his “eye’ in the Government House as the Deputy Governor. Adedibu is already declaring that the usurper-Governor, Mr. Akala, is very “obedient”, unlike Ladoja. And we can all guess what that means! He would be trusted to do all that Ladoja had refused to do!
But in all these, where is the interest of the people of Oyo State being given even a scant consideration? Was Ladoja being brutalized with Federal might because of what he did not do for the masses of Oyo? Daily, PDP stalwarts were ordering Ladoja to “settle” Adedibu. In other words, neglect the people and empty the treasury into one man’s pocket! And for refusing to do that, he has been booted out! We can now appreciate the kind of battle Ngige fought and won in Anambra.
Obasanjo and the kind of politicians he is breeding must be told that it is more in their interest (because they have accumulated so much) that anarchy is not let loose in this country. As they c
ontinue to provoke the grossly impoverished and long suffering masses of Nigeria by their unhealthy conducts, they should realize that the people’s patience cannot be infinite.