Femi Ajayi's Outlook

The battle between Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Chief Lamidi Adedibu is something Nigerians should take as a transition from Nigerian cultural set up to the new Nigerian political system....
Friday, January 20, 2006



Dr. Femi Ajayi

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NIGERIAN POLITICAL GODFATHERISM
IN THE WORLD OF BAALE MOLETE

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he battle between Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Chief Lamidi Adedibu is something Nigerians should take as a transition from Nigerian cultural set up to the new Nigerian political system. In addition, Nigerians should stand firmly for Justice in all its ramifications. We are familiar with the 'power' bestowed on the Traditional Rulers in Africa, especially in Nigeria. In Yorubaland we call the Kings "Igbakeji Orisa", second to lesser gods.


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Nigerians, before the advent of Europeans, believed in some deities, which we call by different names depending on where you come from. The names we call them connote the belief within that community which depends on the peoples' faith. However, we still belief that there is a Mighty God somewhere that lesser gods report to, and the Kings are their servants on earth. In that way people tend not to go against the Kings or Traditional Rulers because of the belief that they are second to lesser gods whom we have to obey.

Following that belief, we have some individuals or clans that have been designated as Kingmakers, whose family lineage has been traditionally endowed in choosing the Kings after a King passes on. The Kingmakers are believed to posse some power from the lesser gods that people could not challenge. In this current day Nigeria, we could consider such belief to be crude. But it worked in the community while peace and harmony exist.

Once the King has been selected, normally, the King has to go back and pay homage to the Kingmakers, from that point on the Kingmakers must publicly and traditionally respect the King.

Following that cultural background, the political process in Nigeria is experiencing the cultural hiccup of the impact of godfatherism, kingmakers, in the political process. We are familiar with the fact that, in every move we made, we want to be successful, so also if you are a businessman. When you invest your resources on a project you expect to make some profits. Nothing short of profit. If and when you made some investments and it is not yielding some dividends, you either withdraw from it or you pack it up completely.

The issue of godfather in the Nigerian political process is becoming very interesting and it will take a while before we could get over it. Senator Rashidi Ladoja was impeached because of the disagreement between him and his political godfather or investor. Unfortunately part of his sin was lack of respect for President Olusegun Obasanjo while he was mediating in the conflict between Adedibu and Ladoja. That is all right in a civilized society where we felt that there must be fair-play in the system, and adhering to the Constitutional responsibilities of both parties involved. On the other hand, we need to show some respects somehow, somewhere even though you were right.

According to Chief Lamidi Adedibu,

"he {Ladoja} deserves what he got". "The president sent for the two of us and when I got there and having waited for one hour, when it was 3 pm, President Obasanjo called him on phone and he told the President he was at a function and that he cannot come",
adding that in spite of this slight, President Obasanjo urged Adedibu to continue to prevail on the former governor and seek peace with him. Adedibu is of the opinion that he
"…deserve some level of respect from Ladoja and he has refused to give it" I agree with Pa Adedibu that "Whatever position a man finds himself; he should remember those who helped him actualise his dreams. This is the main offence of Governor Ladoja. He has completely ignored all those people who risked their lives during the campaign.''

The technocrats might say that Ladoja's impeachment is a jungle justice, for Adedibu to have coaxed the law makers to impeach the Governor. About 18 of them were able to fall to the whims of the godfather to do the injustice to the process. In other to get their two-thirds vote, seven members of the Oyo House of Assembly were suspended, leaving them with 25. Eighteen out of 25 is more than two thirds. The law makers might have some legitimate reasons to impeach Ladoja, but they have allowed themselves to be used, so to say.

Part of the allegation against Ladoja was corruption, the popular song in Nigeria today. Unfortunately Ladoja failed to file a defense to the various corruption leveled against him by the 18 Members of the Oyo State House of Assembly, especially count two, involving the alleged deposit of a sum of N1.9billion in a bank. Nigerians should be asking the innocence among the gathering of fowls, especially between Ladoja and Adedibu. Nigerians challenge a saint among the Nigerian public officials to step forward.

If you want to fire anyone from his or her job, you will have 'legitimate' reasons to fire the individual, at the snap of your finger. Unfortunately for Ladoja, he is the architect of his own fortune as far as this matter is concerned. He failed to honor many peace moves made with a view to ensuring that the crisis between Ladoja and Adedibu. Efforts were made to normalize relations between him and Adedibu while Ladoja wore a stoned attitude toward reconciliation.

That notwithstanding, he might have committed impeachable offences like Obasanjo did and Obasanjo successfully maneuvered his way through several impeachment moves in his first term and this time around. The listed impeachable offences in his second term were swept under the carpet, when every Nigerians, including this writer, believed that the National Assembly caught him hands down with Constitutional breaches. What happened with the impeachable offences, no one talked about it any more. Obasanjo did not ignore all the peace moves with the National Assembly.

The issue with godfathers in the Nigerian politics is something Nigerians should be very careful in condemning. As earlier on mentioned, Nigerian Political system is evolving from the Traditional method to the modern process. An individual is interested in a political office; he approached an individual whom he/she thinks could help him win the position, looking for a political godfather, which is all over the world.

In Nigeria, it comes with spending your personal resources to win an 'election', without any method of fundraising. The individual you approached would have to fund your election for you, at least make sure that he covers some grounds for you financially. The godfather, as we call it, would have to spend his money on you for you to win that position. After winning that position, common sense implies that you have to appreciate that individual in the Nigerian way, whatever that means to Nigerian political process. You cannot be at logger head with your mentor, your sponsor, or whatever you want to call it.

Ladoja failed to mend fences with Adedibu at least to let the sleeping dog lies. Governorship is not for ever, Governor comes, and Governor goes, your legacy matters. What have you established for the people that you govern? We are not over character assassination. He got the price of stubbornness.

Adedibu might want his son, Akeem, to be the Attorney General of the State, his cousin to be the Commissioner for Finance. Secretary of the PDP in Oyo, Ashimiyu Ado to head the Works Ministry possibly to get more road construction money, just some heavily loaded Ministries for the reasons best known to him for making his returns from his investment. Chief Lamidi Adedibu's choice of his Personal Assistance (PA), Hazeem Bolarunmi, who possess only a School Certificate, to become the new deputy governor, is an advantage for Baale Molete, the Oyo Politics godfather for someone with no education that could be manipulated and told what to do, outside his commonsense. Despite the opposition, Adedibu is said to have stuck to his guns, claiming that his choice of Bolarunmi was to ensure religious and ethnic balance. The current governor 'Judas Iscariot' is a Christian from Ogbomoso while Bolarunmi is a Muslim from Ibadan. Here we go again with ethnic and religious card that are ready to consume Nigeria today.

I wonder what Oyo Council of Elders are doing, or where they are looking at while Adedibu, who is expected to submit a list of nominees for political appointments to President Olusegun Obasanjo, should completely derailed the nascent political process in Oyo State. What has Obasanjo got to do with the political appointees in Oyo State? Another godfather clearance; Adedibu and Obasanjo, the custodian of Politics of yesteryears. Will Adedibu's son, Akeem Adedibu, be able to dig out who killed Bola Ige? Due process never applied to fish out who did it. Talk about transparency without being transparent. Can both of them, Adedibu and Ladoja, tell the world, the truth about the foundation of their feud, if they want to be transparent? Can the 18 law Breakers tell the world the 'deal' between them and Adedibu for them to impeach Ladoja?

As part of the ripple effect on the impeachment fever in Oyo State, it was reported that two local government councils' chairmen, who were loyal to Ladoja, have been removed from office by their councilors. They are Ademola Akeem Ige and Gbolagade Basiru Abiade of Ibadan South-East and Ibadan South-West respectively. According to the councilors, Akeem was guilty of "various allegations of misconduct and mismanagement of public funds." The loophole created in the Military Constitution that some sections in Nigeria are vowing not to change used to impeach Ladoja. The barometer used for Ladoja could be used for all political opponents in Oyo State today, if the method used was allowed to stay. Where are people's consciences?

According to Akeem, "It (impeachment) did not happen at all. No meeting was held yesterday. You can talk to my honourable members including the Majority Leader. All the councilors were with me throughout yesterday. The Clerk of the House was not there. They used Baba's (Chief Lamidi Adedibu) name to go and impeach me but I have talked with Baba and he said he did not say anything like that. The Chairman, House Committee on Information, has also dismissed their claim of impeachment."
This is uncalled for in the modern day Oyo State.

Are godfathers overdoing their patronage? We might answer this in affirmative, with the 'Tsunami' of Anambra Politics and now with Baale Molete. We don't expect an investor to loose his investments not making some profits. We do have so many of the greedy godfathers, like Uba who wanted to be the Governor for a couple of months because of the money he spent to get Ngige elected. We might ask why he wanted to be a Governor just for 90 days. Enquiry mind would like to know if not for his greed to possibly recuperate the money spent on him to win the election.

We have some of them that might not even know that when they installed someone at the Governorship level, the performance of such a Governor is a reflection on their person. Adedibu installed Ladoja; he was alleged to have mismanaged the public fund that is a reflection on Adedibu. The Ekiti elders installed Fayose, it was alleged that he was carrying public money under the barbed wire that is the reflection on the Ekiti leaders that preferred him to Adebayo who was the Governor before Fayose.

A typical example of a godfather that has been able be above the rest of them, possibly because of his education, a Medical Doctor, could be Pa Saraki of Kwara State. I urge my readers to read a couple of articles that I have written about Dr. Olusola Saraki on his silence responsibility in Kwara State, published on this site, April 11, 2003, titled "Kwara Election 2003: Unfolding Dr. Olusola Saraki's Unspecified Responsibilities", to bring my point home.

Kwarans complain then was that the Civilian Governors that Pa Saraki installed as Governors in Kwara State did not perform. Part of what Kwarans asked of him then was that if he successfully installed civilian Governors and none of them performed, then that was a reflection on him. Because no one knew the criterion he used to pick the individuals except him. When it beckoned on him, his son, Bukola, was installed as Kwara Governor. The challenge for Bukola then was to make or break the family name, a reflection on his father's name, for Kwara State to remain poor like the church mouse or for better services to Kwara State for improvement.

Basic Education is good if properly applied. It might have helped Pa Saraki's success in the godfatherism. Education matters in whatever we do. You see things differently from the stack illiterate person. What we have today (2006) in Kwara State is Bukola Saraki's records for public consumption. Dr. Bukola Saraki could even suspend his heavy campaign for second term, and allow the people to judge him by his records whether he is qualified for the second term. He is in another world where your records qualify you for a job. That is one, out of hundreds in the Nigerian politics.

Unfortunately, the whole thing with Adedibu and Ladoja stinks to the highest heaven. There were moves to get Obasanjo involved to stop the impeachment of which Ladoja did not appreciate. Obasanjo in his wisdom told the movers that it was too late to safe Ladoja.

The allegations against Ladoja were not properly investigated and concluded. But, why was the panel in such haste? It has three months as the maximum period within which to discharge its function under the 1999 Constitution. The Judge overruled the impeachment moves. The 18 law breakers, shameless Law Makers, The Law Makers, The true Law Makers, paid homage to Adedibu informing him that the message has been delivered. That's Incredible.

At the swearing in of the new Governor, the gate to the Secretariat was locked, no one has the key to open it. The gate was broken into by the Nigerian Police Officer on duty to gain entrance. Another crime! No staff was even around to witness the ceremony which lasted for only 3 minutes. There was neither Bible nor Quran, the officials forgot to get a copy of the holy book and kept the Acting Chief Justice, Justice Afolabi Adeniran, remained standing facing the Governor to be, delaying the swearing in ceremony. Why the rush?

After Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala was sworn in as the new Governor, he went to pay homage to Adedibu and flatly prostrated to Baale Molete as the Governor of Oyo State. What a Governor! Like in the Bible, Alao-Akala is a political stooge of Adedibu, selling his birthright for what an Ilorin popular 'dadakuada' Artist would say, "K'Olorun gbawa lowo atenuje. Atenuje ki jeki enia ologbon lori." Asking God to liberate us from what Americans cal "snow job"

Alakija's first statement was that

"I am in charge in Oyo State and anybody who may want to cause trouble in the state; I would deal with him according to the law of the land".
Speaking like an illiterate former Nigerian Police Officer eyeing the Oyo State treasury. We might ask him for how long? 'Judas Iscariot' (courtesy of Ladoja) Deputy Governor now turned against his former boss. Which means that he had an ulterior motive and right to refer him as another Judas Iscariot of the Oyo politics? So he has been waiting to be 'crowned' by the King Maker. Their days are numbered in the new political dispensation in Nigeria. One of the disloyal deputies! He is going to be ex-governor very soon. The man that has been attacked several times by Adedibu's thugs and the pay off for all the attacks he suffered for supporting Ladoja is to be crowned as the Governor of Oyo State. What it means is that Adedibu would be dictating to Alao-Akala what to do and how to spend the State money; otherwise the thugs are waiting to beat him up and strip him naked once again, like it was done to him at the PDP national convention in Abuja in 2005.

The legislature should know better, but no one should be too surprised on their action. They are the stooges of the executive across the country, and in this case with Ladoja-Adedibu, they did not act on common sense. They seldom misuse "IMPEACHMENT" unfortunately. They talk about Due Process without the understanding of what it means.

Before the commencement of the impeachment proceedings, seven members of the Oyo State House of Assembly were suspended, including the Speaker. It meant that those suspended remained suspended and could not in any way enjoy their privileges as members of the Assembly, particularly, but not limited to the issue of voting and being voted for.

Some of the loopholes in the Constitution that the 18-member of Adedibu House of Assembly used were in Section 188 (10) that

"No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the House of Assembly or any matter relating to such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court." And (b) "the holder of such office is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office,"
an open ticket for the godfathers which is one of the reasons to amend the Constitution that some section do not want to change. Refer to Section 188 of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution.

Nigerians should monitor the process in the Plateau State House of Assembly. There were some allegations against Dariye, who cleverly jumped bail in London; the Assembly is going through some process of detecting if the allegations against Dariye were true. The Assembly members are using their common sense to get to the bottom of the matter. Unfortunately, Dariye is getting agitated by asking EFCC Chairman to "shut up his mouth", of which the fearless Police Inspector General, Ribadu, cautioned Dariye to watch his mouth. What Dariye should do now is to cooperate with the State Legislature, and stop asking Nigerians to respect the Governors. I bet you, Nigerians would respect Governors that are respectable. Dariye should start thinking how to meet the State operations while the Plateau State Bank Accounts are being closed.

The case of the beautiful woman from Bayelsa State is an eye opener to the entire world, the offensive odor produced by some corrupt Nigerian officials. Nothing could be done about that rather than to impeach the Governor who practically jumped bail, and forged his traveling papers. Forget about other excuses.

We were told that five other Governors are on their way to the slaughter table. In essence their State Assemblies should apply common sense in this process.

I vehemently agree with Vice President Atiku, a man of few words loaded with wisdom, that the godfathers are gradually taking over the Nigerian political institutions parties and role of the electorate are diminishing. Nigerians, being stripped of their constitutional roles and made to become mere onlookers, should resist and stop the menace posed by godfathers. According to Atiku,

"The concept of godfathers as 'owners' of political parties or sections thereof is a threat to the development of democracy. Godfathers must not be allowed to substitute themselves for the members of political parties or indeed for the voting citizenry during elections by determining who gets nominated to contest for and who wins elections."
I do respect some of the utterances of Atiku, minus the alleged greed and his disloyalty to Balogun of Owu, in his public service.

The Oyo politics, Baale Molete, and other godfathers, should realize that their biological clock is tickling, their time is gradually diminishing, regardless the age, and age is seriously counting on most of them, but Nigeria remains. Where are the godfathers of yesteryears from Oyo State, such as Adegoke Adelabu, Penkelemesi, Chief Busari Adelakun, eruobodo? After Chief Adedibu, Baale Molete, who is next, possibly Mr. Two-thirds, Chief Richard Akinjide, or Chief Yekini Adeojo? Godfathers have to be thinking of the legacy they would leave behind after they were gone.

In the words of Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammadu Maccido,

"there is no short cut to greatness. Leaders must work hard for it …..in a multi-cultural and multi-religious country like Nigeria, leaders must be both sensitive and pragmatic. They must always seek for consultation, consensus through dialogue, the outcome of which must always be respected. They must also guide against unbecoming utterances and tame their unbridled ambitions. They must always remember that there is tomorrow and that Nigeria will outlive all of us. Above all, the wishes of the people must be respected and public policies must meet the challenges of daily life facing the citizens,"

Ladoja, take and swallow the impeachment pill honorably and await people's Justice. Pa Adedibu, please allow the process to work itself out. Your children could continue with their respective careers and the people of Oyo State could have peace and move on with their life. Be the storehouse of wisdom for the people of Oyo State and Nigeria in general. Other godfathers please reinvest your resources in a better environment. Allow the 'winners' from your camp to do their legitimate work. Nigerians should resist the injustice in the Nigerian political process.