January 1, 2006
Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu is someone I have known from my elementary school days. My elementary school, St John’s Anglican School is directly opposite his former house in Molete, Ibadan. The old man has remained the same person I have known since 1973 when I was in 3rd grade. I can say so, because I began to piece a lot of events together correctly from then. I knew him then as the leader of Area Boys (National Union of Road Transport Workers). Then, we are used to seeing touts, making noise and fighting on my school’s street. Adedibu was also known for land racketeering. Besides the Area boys coordination, land racketeering was his major occupation. Selling one piece of land to more than five people, thereby causing chaos and getting away with it since he has the Area boys to intimidate his buyers.
By 1979 when General Olusegun Obasanjo lifted ban on partisan politics, with the formation of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Nigeria People’s Party (NPP) People’s Redemption Party(PRP) and the Great Nigeria People’s party (GNPP), Lamidi Adedibu joined the NPN with Pa Adisa Akinloye as National Chairman, Chief Richard Akinjide (My baba back home. I met chief Akinjide in 1999 and our relationship grew so rapidly until we lost touch in 2002, but I must say that I gained a lot from the old man. This is for another day. I save that for my forthcoming book-Owners of Nigeria). Adedibu was the coordinator of the NPN militant group. He was not really a bigwig in the party but a political thug used by the party leadership then.
As a young boy, I still remember the role he played in attacking members of the UPN, he was actually leading most of the attacks and he got away with it, because the ruling party was in control of the Police.
Adedibu then graduated from the political thug level to political bigwig after the ouster of Shagari’s government by the Buhari-led military junta in a military coup in December 1983. Chiefs Akinloye and Akinjide were in exile then and Adedibu automatically assumed the dual position of Political thug and bigwig. He makes anything possible for anybody as long as they pay the price. I will rather say that he assumed the role of a political jobber. To-date the Septuagenarian does not have any known job that brings him income except politics.
In the General Ibrahim Babangida transition-to-nothing program, Adedibu played very prominent role; particularly in delivering the south west to the late Major-General Shehu Yar’Adua. Yar’Adua contested the Presidential Primary election as a member of the Babangida formed Political Party-Social Democratic Party (SDP); he surprisingly defeated Yoruba candidates- Chief Olu Falae, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Otunba Olabiyi Durojaiye. The Primary elections was adjudged unfair and was canceled by Babangida. After the disqualification of Yar’Adua, Adedibu switched to Late M.K.O Abiola until the annulment of the 1993 presidential elections. He made it possible for Kolapo Ishola to become the governor of Oyo State. He went out to kill a very serious medical report that would have marred Ishola ambition and that was what gave the then Secretary to the Government the job as a medical doctor.
Adedibu, as the king maker became the connection any contractor needed in Oyo State to get contract. He was actually in charge of the Oyo State government while Kolapo Ishola was reduced to rubber stamp governor. And after the sacking of the government by late General Sani Abacha, Adedibu with Alhaji Azeez Arisekola became Abacha’s marabouts’ recruiters. I remember one incident that happened under Abacha, when some students of the University of Ibadan went to him for money to organize pro-Abacha rally, Adedibu responded thus: “Eyin omo yi, e le tan mi, e fe gbowo pro, ke lo mafi se anti.” Meaning “You boys can not deceive me; you want to use my money to organize anti-Abacha rally.” He became so influential during Abacha era that he does whatever he likes, says anything and gets away with it.
Sources still believe that he has hands in the assassination of late Alhaja Sulia Adedeji, though this has not been proved but the information I have remain sketchy. He lost favor with Abacha just after his house and that of his wife were razed in May 1998 after he had escaped death at the Adamasingba Stadium, Ibadan, where he was rescued by the crew of African Independent Television (AIT) in their van. Abacha compensated him and Arisekola for the loss they suffered from the razing of their property. Arisekola’s Office in Ring road was razed, his gas station at Idi-Ape was torched, and he narrowly escaped attack. Adedibu’s house was torched too; his wife’s house at Ososami, Ibadan was razed. But Arisekola did not remit what he was to give to Adedibu as part of the 100 Million Naira Abacha gave them as compensation.
Since he has no known job but political jobbing, he sold the information that led to the death of Abacha to the landlord of Minna Hilltop.
He tried to align with the Alliance for Democracy but he was rejected in 1998, he went to All People’s Party and eventually ended up with the People’s Democratic Party. Because of his role in the Abacha’s ignoble government, he was not able to pull any string in the 1998 transition program, but he came back in 2003 to do what he knows best.
He forced Rasheed Ladoja an apolitical governorship candidate on the people and ensured that he became the governor of Oyo State. Two factors helped Adedibu to achieve this feat in the 2003 elections. The people of Oyo State had no choice because Alhaji Lam Adesina who won the 1999 election against Alhaji Yekini Adeojo had the backings of late Chief Bola Ige, but he did not perform for 4 years. His performance was for his own immediate family development and upliftment from poverty level. His children were transferred from their schools in Nigeria to schools outside the country.
The failure of the ruling Alliance for Democracy in terms of good governance and to provide a more credible candidate left the Oyo people with no other choice than to vote for Ladoja, Adedibu’s political son. One of the candidates from Alliance for Democracy, Senator Lekan Balogun left the party to join People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and he lost the primary election to Ladoja.
It is insultive to found the lives of well meaning Oyo State people being determined by one man who has devoted his life to living on the people without regard for the smooth running of the state. Adedibu is now asking for a murder suspect to be released from detention and retractions of interviews granted against him. It is funny that a State governor with full executive powers could be reduced to nothingness and one common citizen of the state will take laws into his hands and hold the whole state hostage. Whether Ladoja rigged the 2003 election or not, he has been sworn in as the Executive governor of the state and the power to govern resides in him.
It is now becoming so clear that members of House of Assembly are now used as pawns in these dirty games. They have abandoned their role of law making to using impeachments as weapons to negotiate for goodies. It shows clearly that Ladoja knows too much about marine business than politics, if he knew well, he would have had his boys at the House of Assembly. He failed to learn from what led to Chief M.K.O Abiola's loss of the 1993 mandate.
After he won the ticket of the SDP at the Jos convention, Chief Abiola did not bother to consolidate his victory by ensuring that he controlled the National Executive Council of the Party. Rather, he allowed the late Yar'Adua to put his men at the helm of affairs of the party. Tony Anenih, a Yar'Adua man became the party chairman, and that was why it was easy for the SDP National Executive Council to accept the Interim government arrangement and ditch the 1993 election victory of its candidate. Abiola was expected to pick Alhaji Abubarka Atiku as his running mate for the presidential election but he instead, picked Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe. This did not go down well with Yar’Adua. The result was that though Abiola won the election, he never got to the office.
To make the case worst, president Obasanjo claimed that Adedibu is a force to reckon with in Oyo state. This statement credited to him was very unfortunate but Nigerians should know that president Obasanjo does not care if you are not in his camp as he knew the role Adedibu played in the rigging of the 2003 elections for him in Oyo State.
How long can this go? No one knows, the people hold the right to say to no to all these nonsense. This is a sign that the 2007 elections would be bloody and events in this year will not be that easy. We should expect more. What we have been seeing have been intra-party crisis. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party has been fighting against itself.
The president and his Vice are at war, in Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel is at war not with opposition, but with his own party members over second term bid, Oyinlola of Osun state has Omisore (Bola Ige murder suspect) as his problem against 2007. The Ekiti state case is also there. It is a good sign that the Peoples Democratic Party is not a party designed at managing success, especially a stolen one. It is party filled with strange bed-fellows. People with just one agenda, looting, stealing and lack of good sense of leadership.
It is clear that this government has lost control; it is totally off the hook. We have a president who is biased, taking sides in disputes, making provocative statements and seems to be concerned with just one thing, making Nigerian ungovernable after he left in 2007. We have seen the crisis in Anambra state and the role president Obasanjo played in it, the impeachment of Alamieyeseigha and now the Marwa case with Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
One thing is sure and that is the fact that we do not have any political party in Nigeria as of now. Nigeria is in a state of anarchy. We have people in power though through various political parties, but using their own agenda to rule because they have broken away from their source. The sources of their mandate have been destroyed. I will not be surprised, therefore if we begin to see alliance of looters later this year.
It is strange to see Obasanjo taking over the leadership of the party he never helped founded. If I can recollect, the PDP was formed without Obasanjo, he joined like other members did, but was invited by some elements who hijacked the party from the founding fathers. So Solomon Lar, Sunday Awoniyi and others became sacrificial lambs for some people’s selfish political gains. Now a mercenary invited to use the platform of the party for election has driven the landlords away, evicted them from their own house and took over the house. I do not know where the presidential candidate of a party takes charge and pushes aside the National Chairman of the party. But since Ahmadu Ali was a former Federal Commissioner for Education under Obasanjo in 1976-1979, we may as well assume that this is a continuation of that era. Ali’s in 1978 addressed the nation after the 1978 “Ali Must Go “ protest and announced the banning of the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS), a union he was once its Secretary. Or do we want to talk about Ojo Maduekwe, former Abacha campaigner, who is now Obasanjo campaigner?
I remember Maduekwe when he was first appointed as Obasanjo’s Culture and Tourism minister in 1999. He was honored in his hometown with a chieftaincy title and he approached George Eneh, the Managing Director of Nigerian Maritime Authority (NMA) for favor as he was broke. In December 1999, Eneh awarded a contract to Maduekwe’s company ‘Numero Uno Enterprises’ to supply Five Alive Orange juice, Ragolis water, tyres, and beverages to the NMA for 3.6 Million Naira. According to my source, Maduekwe spent 600,000 Naira to supply the goods and made a profit of 3 million Naira. I confirmed from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and discovered that Numero Uno was personally owned by Ojo Maduekwe. He is infact, a long time contractor of the NMA. Now he is the General Secretary of PDP.
The latest news on the Marwa link with Abacha’s loot is not exciting at all, even if Marwa denies that a few of us know that he actually benefited not only from Abacha, but also from Babangida. Marwa shot himself in the leg by coming out to contest election. There is no doubt that Marwa is not clean, not at all. The crisis between Governor Tinubu and his former Deputy Kofoworola Buknor was caused by the contract Marwa awarded to Buknor at the eve of Tinubu’s take over in Lagos State. Marwa did not and has never denied his close association with Abacha family. This almost got him in trouble with General Ishaya Bamaiyi who saw Marwa as his threat then. Marwa then used the Source Magazine as a weapon to fight Bamaiyi in association with Brig-Gen Ibrahim Sabo (rtd) (former Director of Military Intelligence under Abacha). Source magazine his owned by Marwa’s former sister-in-law. Marwa’s former wife Zainab is a sister to Comfort Obi the publisher of Source Magazine a former defense reporter with The Sunday Magazine (TSM). But Marwa left the United States in July or August 1996 to become the governor of Lagos, replacing Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who is now the Osun State government. Why did Marwa have to leave the Defense Attaché job in New York to become a military governor in Lagos State? Let us leave that for now.
The point is we have only been hearing about loot recovered from Abacha, what about Babangida? IS Abacha the only one that has looted the treasury in Nigeria? Marwa should refund whatever he has taken but this should not be politically motivated. It is a pity that the EFCC boss and his team have been reduced to political instruments used at haunting those Obasanjo does not want to see in government in 2007. While Marwa should be investigated, one can give reasons for his recent ordeal. Why is he being haunted? What role did he play here in the US during the Abacha era and why did he leave US in 1996? Who is the beneficiary of this?
Happy New Year!!!