The Preferred Evil

by Sam Kargbo

There is an on-going coup against Rashid Ladoja and the people of Oyo State by Lamidi Adedibu in connivance with the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), using a treacherous rebel group within the House of Assembly of Oyo State and a judicial thug. The effort here is to highlight the dangers of that political banditry and to warn that such political adventurism will resonate across the land as long as the PDP continues to be in power.

For the records, the fable around town is that Ladoja was sponsored into the office of the Governor of Oyo State by Adedibu who for that reason was called Ladoja’s political godfather. The dictionary meaning of that sponsorship is that it was not the votes of the electorate of Oyo State that took Ladoja to Government Office in Ibadan. It was Adedibu who single-handedly crowned Ladoja as Governor of Oyo State.

In the words of Adedibu, Ladoja reciprocated in the first six months by regularly prostrating before him. But they parted ways when Ladoja remained independent-minded and refused to rule Oyo State in the manner he (Adedibu) had prescribed and decreed. The vulgar interference with Ladoja’s business as the Governor and Chief Executive of Oyo State on Thursday, January 12, 2006, just a day after President Olusegun Obasanjo visited the state, was to make Ladoja know that his political life is at his (Adedibu’s) mercy and therefore a clear demonstration of the fact that political power in the state does not belong to the people as envisaged by the constitution but to the 76- year old Adedibu.

In a word, the long arm of political corruption has caught up with Oyo State. The evils of the politics of one man are now playing themselves out. What I am worried about is its dire consequences, which I believe are crucial to the evolution of the political norms of the state. For centuries now humanity has accepted the concept of democracy that allows the citizenry to retain popular sovereignty and control the legal sovereignty it delegates to political office holders. It is therefore worrisome that in this twenty first century, Nigeria, the main subject of the evolutionary index of the black race and a thickly populated country can surrender the fate of any or some part of its territory to a thug like Adedibu. In other words, if an uneducated and near senile old man could be the sole blacksmith with the anvil for the shaping of the entire political life of a state: a state with a long and virile political history like Oyo, then the black race should not be surprised if it remains the butt and cesspit of the other races for another century.

Remember that when the politics of Western Nigeria (which in the books is supposed to be the most sophisticated and developed rejoin of Nigeria) is discussed; Oyo State’s statistical contributions would always be weighty and highly regarded. The Adedibu phenomenon is therefore not only dumbfounding but also scandalous and spiteful of the enormous efforts of the generality of the citizenry of this country to standup and be counted among the civilized species of the human race.

Yes, the Ladoja tragedy is similar to what Chris Ngigie prevented in Anambra State. The speed with which it was executed could be likened to how Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the Governor- General of the Ijaw nation was removed from Government House in Yenogoa but its peculiarities is obvious and worth revisiting. In this wise I will not want to bother myself with the fact that Adedibu got the active support of the Presidency and the hierarchy of the PDP in the coup against Ladoja. It has become a settled fact no Governor can be guilty of gross misconduct, which the constitution singles out as an impeachable offence, until he falls out of favour with Aso Rock. It has become axiomatic that the political dictionary and constitutional reference books of the Houses of Assembly are in Aso Rock. But I do not believe that Nigerians are aware of the irreparable harm that the Adedibu’s are inflicting on the polity. Hopefully, Nigerians would reflect upon it and know why the country is ranking so highly in the corruption index of the world. But in a more immediate sense, how would children watching the naked display of raw power by elders imbibe a culture of law and order? How would parents and guardians teach their children and wards the need to obey constituted authorities when they are now made to believe that what matters most in political and social relations is power, which in this sense means the capability and ability to foist ones will on others? With what magic wand would school and university authorities eradicate cultism in their environments when cultism is holding sway in the larger society? What would caution the average Nigerian from endeavouring to get rich by all means necessary when riches cannot only buy one political power but will also buy one the life of an entire state? When and how can we have free and fair elections when winning an election means winning the utmost and absolute power to determine what is to happen to those affected by that particular election? How and when would political office holders be accountable to the people when the people are not the source of their offices and positions? When can politics be the tool for the efficient and prudent management of the resources of the country? When can the citizenry rely on political office holders for the just and fair resolution or settlement of societal and economic conflicts when gods like Adedibu still have the power to tug a Governor from office for stopping to prostrate before him? These questions may sound rhetorical and naïve but they highlight issues concerning why we are what we are in the human chart: poor and wretched.

In a concrete sense, we are going to respond to the travesty in Oyo State by examining the three unbelievable stories that aggregated to the charade that happened in Oyo State on Thursday, January 12, 2006. The first story is that of Lamidi Adedibu and the second is that of Rashidi Ladoja. The third story that complements the first two is that of Afolabi Adeniran.

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