The god in Ibadan: Responding to Remi Oyeyemi

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

Anyone who has not read Okey Ndibe’s This god called Adedibu and Reuben Abati’s One state, two Governors should please find time to do so. Both essays are profoundly insightful. In addition, please read Remi Oyeyemi’s instructive response: re: This god called Adedibu. Anyone who is conversant with great essays knows or should know the work of these three intellectuals. These essays, at least the first two, are not just about Chief Adedibu; they are about the hideous trend of modern Nigerian politics: the rise of mini-gods, the lack of viable institutions, and the stinging indictment of President Obasanjo vis-à-vis his role in the bastardization of the Nigerian political system.

I agree with the basic and larger arguments made by Mr. Abati and Mr. Ndibe. However, it is Mr. Oyeyemi’s castigation of Abati and Ndibe — and his support for Adedibu — that raised my eyebrows. In other words, I vehemently disagree, not just with Remi’s take on Abati and Ndibe, I also disagree with his larger arguments because, to think that Adedibu is acting within the dictates of the rules governing political game, is not only untrue, it is a misreading of Adedibu’s insatiable appetite for power, money and rascality. Like all gods before him, he plays by his own rules; and like his namesakes his appetite and ego is too large to be satisfied by mere mortals.

No one who has read the Chief’s interviews or listened to him on the radio or television or watched him closely will fail to come to the same conclusion: that he is bad news, a raging bull, a peculiar mess! Adedibu is making mockery of our political system and our laws. And in this regard, there is no difference between him and Chris Uba — both of whom are political thugs. Adedibu has been at it for at least four decades. He found ways to bring successive governments and governors to their knees, make them bow before him, demanded and received sacrifices.

And all those who challenged him have had their “heads and balls chopped off.” That is the manner of man this man is. But for the first time in his political life, he met his equal in the person of Governor Rasheed Adewolu Ladoja, who has refused to bend, refused to bow, refused to offer sacrifices, refused to offer libation, refused to compromise, and refused to dance or be puppetized.

True, Harold Lasswell said politics is primarily about “who gets what, when and how.” And Tip O’Neil said, “All politics is local.” In all, there are no ways to avoid the “patronage system,” the “spoils system,” or “political clientelism” as these are “built” into all political systems. But there are rules. What is repugnant and most galling is the way Chief Adedibu has gone or going about playing the game. He has no respect for law & order, or for institutions that guide political behavior.

In a country where the courts lack independence, and the parliament a mere rubber-stamp, the police and security services at the mercy of the executive branch, and the media bowing to the wishes of the government; he has found a way to hedge his bets and get away with all types of nonsense. For four decades he has been making mockery of the system. You get the Adedibus, the Ubas and their kind when you don’t have viable and independent institutions to moderate pronouncements and behaviors, and to check the greed and excesses of private and public individuals.

Frank Hague, Charles Walker, Theodore Bilbo, George Parr, Richard J. Daley, and a dozen others were noted “party bosses” in the United States. But even with their rascality and antics, most played by or pretended to play by the rules. But no so with Adedibu and Chris Uba who are acting as though they are above all mortals and above the law (making them inimical to our national culture, institutions and national survival).

I am hoping that Thomas J. Pendergast of Kansas City was/is not Chief Adedibu’s role model. I hope not. Pendergast, like Huey P. Long, William M. Tweed, George Berham Parr, James M. Curley, and some so-called party-bosses and godfathers all lived the last days of their lives in miserable conditions: in jail, suicide or worse.

Under what sane political system would an Adedibu sack the House of Assembly and hold the Governor ransom? Under what sensible political system would a man like Chris Uba make an elected governor run around naked begging for his life? Under what reasonable political system would Adedibu and Uba commit criminality and still be invited to wine and dine with the president of the country? Isn’t the president the chief security officer of the nation? Yet, he welcomes Adedibu and Uba with open arm and heart! My goodness, this is heresy! In a way, I am not surprised because this is a president who himself condones and abet sacrileges and high crimes and misdemeanors.

Remi Oyeyemi claims Okey Ndibe and Reuben Abati were in error with their assertions.

Where are the errors? Where are the fallacies? What is the difference between Adedibu and Uba? I can see no difference, discern no difference. I can’t because there are no differences. Both men helped rigged elections. Both men sponsored protégés. Both Uba and Adedibu resorted to extralegalisms when their “boys refused to play and pay up.” Both men held their respective State House of Assembly and Courts hostage. Both men

caused damages, injuries and lose of lives. Adedibu is Uba, and Uba is Adedibu.

Chief Adedibu wanted the governor out. And he wants the governor out now! His actions and pronouncements in this regard are classic Ubanism: impeachment through extralegal and extrajudicial means. That Adedibu is a threat to peace and order is beyond question. The man has been spewing fire and brimstone; threatening this and threatening that and was not going to take a breather until Ladoja is illegally forced out.

In a sane and constitutionally guided country, Lamidi Adedibu’s outburst, criminality and shenanigans would not stand. And in fact, his shenanigans, criminalities and outburst should not be allowed to stand in Ibadan, or anywhere else in Nigeria. Why is Lamidi Adedibu all worked up? It’s all about money, money and more money — and not about service to his people and to country. It’s about his ego, ego and inflated ego, and not about what’s good for Oyo State.

The Chief has the right to engage in “Amala Politics,” “kitchen table politics” or “meat and potato politics.” He may even engage in bolekaja politics. It’s all politics. However, he must do so within the dictates of the law. He must play the game the way the Jakandes, the Awolowos, the Iges and a great many others played the game. And if the Oyo House of Assembly wants to impeach Governor Ladoja, that’s fine; but they must do so within the confines of the constitution — and not because they are being intimidated, held hostage or had Gatling guns to their head.

As fine and brilliant a writer as Mr. Remi Oyeyemi is, on this particular issue, he is wrong. Dead wrong! He should advise Chief Lamidi Adedibu to shield his sword, shake hands with the governor, apologize to the people of Oyo State and wait…wait until the next round of elections. By the way, where are people like Chief Richard Akinjide and other noted and eminent Ibadan and Oyo State indigenes in all of this? Why the deafening silence?

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Anonymous January 15, 2006 - 4:23 am

Spot-on. Spoken without fear, and with objectivity. Remi Oyeyemi's position is not only unjustifiable, but it's alarming as it's disgraceful. Shame on him!

Anonymous January 10, 2006 - 4:22 am

I have read Okey Ndibe, Rueben Abatis comments and Remi Oyeyemi's reponse. And yours too. I wouldnt say the two writers comments are wrong and neither would i say Oyeyemis response was baseless. It is a question of when these writers are varyingly right in their assertions. We may dislike the like of Chief Adedibu but what do you expect to happen when these inadequate governors have stolen the mandates to govern. Writers may try to be objective but the inherent tendency of being subjective will always be there. Yomi Dawotola.

Anonymous January 8, 2006 - 11:41 pm

Thank you my broda…Adedibu indeed is a peculiar mess. I am not in sympathy with Ladoja however, he like Ngigie earned power through corruption and he who lives by the sword shall die by it. In my opinion we have not yet heard the last, because a cursory look at the constitution is that Adedibu still does not have 2/3 rd of 31 electors, he really needs 18 plus 1 , he lacks it: chikena! That he why he has retorted to thuggery. Nonsense

Anonymous January 5, 2006 - 3:18 pm

It was Anambra yesterday. Most people, including respected columnists, branded it the Igbo problem. Now it's in Ibadan. Who knows where next Where are all the "enlightened and civilized" people of Western Nigeria Where are all the good men in Nigeria

Goddy January 5, 2006 - 2:41 pm

This is good!

The problem with Remi Oyeyemi and some other writers from the good old days of the nigeriaworld web site is that they have not only run out of ideas but also are confused and self-contradictory.

Personally, I was one of the few readers who were really not surprised by Remi Oyeyemi's ignorant applause of Adedibu's nonsense. Going by his antecedents, this is one guy who, (a couple of years back), could never put up a good argument in his articles without a shameful recourse to indecent, uncouth and gutter languages. He was so rude and childish in his commentaries as to easily pass for an area boy. So, now that he is fervently in support of an area father, this can only mean that a hen has come home to roost!

And to say this same guy who has dedicated his career in internet journalism to branding our political leaders as illiterate, ugly etc would now turn around to heap praises on some one like Adedibu is nothing but a bundle of confusion and mental derangement.

Anonymous January 4, 2006 - 1:20 pm

Thank you O jare , so Adedibu has become the electorate and the entire legislature of Oyo State!!! In their bid to be tribalistic people like Remi forget that the ideals they so dearly supported in other communities is eating up the fabrics of their immediate communities . God bless you for the excellent piece .


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