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|My Politics, My Life, My Joy, By Lamidi Adedibu by Orobert: 7:45pm On Jun 14, 2008|
My politics, my life, my joy, by Lamidi Adedibu
Friday, 13 June 2008
(Edited Version of His Last Major Exclusive Interview)
How do you describe Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu? Some say he is the Alaafin Molete. National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, described him as Garrison Commander. He has many other aliases.
But Adedibu, who has become synonymous with Ibadan politics (and, need we say, the thuggery within) is a man who loves life. He not only loves life but he lives it to the fullest. And he says that’s the only way to live; that people should make every soul around them happy.
For a man who is reputed to feed 1,000 mouths every day, he should know.
A visit to Molete, specifically, Adedibu’s residence two weeks ago, though planned, still suffered some hiccups.
Not because Adedibu would not see the Vanguard team which went for the interview, but because the crowd around needed to be attended to.
Even the 'brunch' which he ate, he did not eat alone. The living room was crammed with supporters and other PDP stalwarts.
In fact, just before we commenced the interview, two gentlemen were ushered into the VIP visitors’ room where the interview was to be conducted. All they came to do was pay obeisance. One came all the way from Dublin while the other came from Chicago. They said they only came in a night before and that they just wanted to see him, greet him and receive blessings from him. They were sons of Ibadanland who, as they said, appreciate what Baba has been doing and what he stands for.
Doing a head count, after the interview, there were 479 persons waiting to see him. They had come as others too, to make one request or the other. Just a day before, another set had come, and they would all probably eat and drink before leaving.
Political meetings of various types are held on the premises every day. Even the Deputy Governor, Arapaja, came in that Saturday morning to pay homage.’
But, after four hours on the premises and 80 minutes of interview, Adedibu had touched on various issues ranging from the Ibadan Peoples Party, IPP, to the AG, NCNC and NPC, the politics of the First and Second Republic, his politics, Afenifere and many others.
We are surprised to see the number of people waiting outside to see you. What can you say created this kind of environment which you relish?
Those people you see know me for what I am. They know the kind of person I am. They know I am always in the midst of my people My people always love to be around me. I cannot eat or sleep without my people. 1 can’t sit down and eat alone, 1 eat with my people. That started a very long ago.
When was that sir?
It started when I was in school in the , 1940s. Even before I come out of the classroom, many of my friends would be waiting for me outside the classroom. Whenever I wanted to have my breakfast or lunch, they would be waiting for me.
That presupposes that leadership qualities are inherent in you?
Well! That is how God wants it. I always attribute every success or failure to God. Nothing can be done without the consent of God.
This is a direct contrast to the opinion many Nigerians have of you?
People like Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Lateef Jakande, we all started together.
Those are the people 1 can make reference to. Particularly Jakande who was an officer, in fact, he was the president of the Action Group Youths Congress.
We all started together, some of them can testify to my ability. We also had Chief Femi Fani-Kayode. We all started together.
You mentioned Chief Fani-Kayode, what led to his defection to the NCNC ?
We formed the Action Group with him. He even went to Britain when the party was being formed. He had a uniform and his own symbol, which was .mosquito. The symbol of the Action Group was the palm tree. Fani-Kayode was so powerful that he set up a parallel group. Then, he would make an order and Chief Awolowo would make his own. We had our own power separate from Awolowo and Awolowo never took offense in that. Fani-Kayode contested in the 1954 general elections to the House of Representatives, which he won.
From 1956, Fani-Kayode started quarrelling with the Ooni of Ife (late Sir Adesoji Aderemi). We all tried to persuade him to stop fighting the late Oba since he (Sir Aderemi) was our father. By 1959, he put himself up for the ticket of the Action Group and Sir Aderemi sponsored another candidate against him for the same ticket. The man sponsored by the Ooni got the upper hand and, on that night, Fani-Kayode decided to join the NCNC. That was how he left the party. That was in the year 1959.
As somebody involved in the politics of that time, would you say the resultant crisis provided the fertile ground for the eventual military take over?
Yes! The collapse of the First Republic started here (in the South West). Interference of outsiders in the affairs of the South West is the principal cause of what happened. Crisis is normal in politics and there was crisis between Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Ladoke Akintola.
The NPC threw its weight behind Akintola. If the NCNC and the NFC had left us alone to settle the problems ourselves, what happened would not have happened. What led to the collapse was what we were discussing before and I told you that the interference from both Zik and the Sardauna in the internal affairs of the Western Region led to the collapse of the First Republic. Chief K.O Mbadiwe and Azikiwe had problems with one another. When their leaders called them and appealed to them, they settled their differences.
There was quarrel between Sir Ahmadu Bello and late Kashim Ibrahim, yet, they settled their problems. Interference from the Sardauna and Azikiwe caused the problems that led to the collapse of the First Republic.
Have you ever contested an election before?
I contested in 1954 and I lost.
Was it the one you lost to the father of former Governor Rasheed Ladoja?
Yes! His father contested on the platform of the NCNC and I contested on the platform of the AG.
Since then, have you lost any election again? What lessons did you learn from the loss that became useful to you later?
I am always happy because my party always wins. They would say the NCNC had won in the night, but. in the morning, I would be jubilating when they declare the AG as the overall winner.
Is it possible to remove violence from /politics?
There has not been violence in Oyo State, it is you journalists who are accusing me of fostering thuggery in the state.
In fact, Baba, people say you are the thug-in-chief of Nigeria’s politics.
Me a thug (Laughter). Let them say.
Another round of laughter.
You have been nicknamed severally as Chief Thug,
(Cuts in) Particularly you, the media. It was Babangida who gave me the nickname strongman of Ibadan polities’. The late Kanmi Osobu gave me the name ‘Alaafin Molete’ and it has been sanctioned by the Alaafin himself, The national chairman of our party, gave me the name ‘garrison commander’.
Do you see yourself as controversial?
I like controversy. Controversy doesn’t mean anything to me. If you trace the history of Ibadan very well, there is no way you won’t attach thuggery and controversy to it.
Does that explain why a leader, a controversial one at that, usually emerges at . different times in Ibadan politics?
Adeibu was my senior brother Busari Adelakun was my junior brother . I brought him up politically. He served under me during the First Republic.
People heard more of him in the Sec Republic than you.
That was because he was in the party that was accepted by the people at that time
What is your relationship with Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala? Was there an attempt by you to remove him from office?
I swear by the Almighty God, there is nothing like that. The governor had been loyal and obedient. He gives me my respect and dues. He takes counseling, he listens. All of us are working for the good of the state.
When people come to give you gift and money, the speed at which the gifts disappear to the hands of other people is very amazing. Why is it so?
People who love me will say that. People who don’t like me would say I collect money from people. I have come to this level in life when people say if you give Papa Adedibu money, what is he going to do with it’. Governor Alao-Akala once told some people that '‘1 cannot do what Baba does with money. I can’t feed 1,000 mouths everyday.’ The governor knows what 1’m worth before saying it. He understands I like him for that.
If you have anything to say to Nigeria what are you going to say?
I would say they should emulate me, should emulate my lifestyle. We are going beyond life. What we are going to meet hereafter is what we should work for. My philosophy of life is live and let’s live.
|Re: My Politics, My Life, My Joy, By Lamidi Adedibu by bilymuse: 3:59pm On Jun 17, 2008|
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