A Politician And The Legacy Bequeathed To The Society


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A Politician And The Legacy Bequeathed To The Society




Ibiyinka Solarin




January 6, 2006


President Olusegun Obasanjo is many things to those who admire him and many other things to those who do not. I think though, that both admirers and   critics/adversaries alike,  can agree on one thing, that the object of their adulation or ridicule is a self-important person.


Whether  a human being is self-important or not, he or she ought to  care about the image he will leave at the end of life. There is ample evidence, anecdotal and written,  that  the president does care about this, both for himself and in admonishing others.

Hear him,     ’Sir, at your age when you should be at home settling disputes, when people should be coming to you when they have problems, we are the ones settling disputes between you and people who are your sons...what legacy do you want to leave behind for future generation?" This is the president admonishing Chief Lamidi Ariyibi Akanbi Adedibu, in the course of an old reconciliatory meeting between Adedibu and Oyo state Governor Rashidi Adedoja as reported by ThisDay columnist, Olusegun Adeniyi in the paper’s Dec. 29th, 2005 edition. This was before the forces loyal to Adedibu , aided by acts of  commission and omission  by the Nigeria Police, broke into the Oyo state house of assembly and the governor’s office, ransacking and destroying property to the tune of N450,000.000 in Dec., 2005.

Two days AFTER this event, Adedibu rode triumphant on a horse into a local festive occasion where the president was present. Obasanjo permitted himself this dissembling, ‘I will just want to plead with you and others in the mainstream of Oyo state politics, to bear in mind these four items; peace, security, solidarity and loyalty’

Now Lamidi Adedibu may be a self-described illiterate, an election fixer, a social-political nuisance and scum bag, a menace to good government/governance, but he is Obasanjo’s scum bag and thus of utilitarian value. I do not know who this president is deceiving by allowing the above quote to come out of his mouth. Adedibu and peace; security; solidarity, and yes that loaded word again, loyalty!  By the end of  Dec. 2005, governmental activity had been  paralysed in Oyo state with civil servants afraid to come to work. Are the vandals who perpetrated the mayhem in the Oyo state seat of government in jail ?  No. Instead, Adedibu, the thug-in-chief was at Osun Radio the weekend of Dec.23rd, boasting for all to hear that he is in control of Oyo state and vowing to remove the governor of his state ‘I put him there and I know how to remove him’ . According to the Guardian of Dec. 24, Adedibu says that, ‘Adedoja has no moral justification to complain that ‘thugs and hoodlum’ were deployed against him because that was the system that brought governor in’

If,  God forbid, a stray bullet from the gun fire at the francas at  Oyo house of assembly were to hit and kill an innocent bystander [the bread winner of a family] or a child, far away from the scene, what will the president tell the family or parents? Will he not bear vicarious responsibility and liability since the violence was unleashed by the forces of ‘solidarity and loyalty’?

The president of the federal Republic of Nigeria is openly solicitous of , cultivates, coddles, cuddles, and toadies elements in our society that bring  the democratic system and culture we are yearning to build into disrepute, for his own short-term and unedifying political gain. Hear him lavishing lather on Adedibu ” We appreciate your coming. We appreciate not only your coming, we appreciate your coming in a special  style. Chief Adedibu, you have for a long time been a force to reckon with in the politics of Ibadan in particular and Oyo state in general.’ And since Alhadji Lamidi was made to disembark literally from his high horse, by the security agents before entering the arena of the festivities at Ibogun, our president felt called upon to further fawn, ‘There are times that the security people overrule us. This is one of such occasion. I was overruled. Infact, rudely overruled by my security experts and I have no choice but to keep my mouth shut’ Oh dear, this is the president and commander in chief of the federal Republic of Nigeria uttering this kind of malarkey, this kind of canard?.

Alhadji Lamidi, whose loyalists sacked the office of their state governor, was at the PDP national convention. According to Daily Independent Online, Dec.30,205, the Alhadji was asked why he assaulted [by slapping] the deputy Governor of Oyo state, Alao Alaka, at the PDP convention during his appearance on the Osun Radio personality program on Wed. 28th Dec. 2005. He offered his listeners this blunt riposte,  the deputy governor ‘failed to greet me’.  On this same program, Alhadji suggested Obasanjo should be allowed to rule for twenty years and urged all Yoruba to support him. Alhadji  Adedibu then proceeded to state the condition under which he would be placated over the crisis in Oyo state. One of his stated conditions is the release of a murder suspect in custody! And in case you are still wondering who is in charge in Oyo state, Dr Ahmadu Ali, the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party supplied this emphatic declaration, as reported by the Vanguard of Jan.6, 2006, “Ibadan is a military garrison. You must obey orders. If you are not going to take orders, don’t join forces.’ And then this, ‘Ladoja should be able to orders from him [Adedibu]’ And if you wondering what the feud with Adedoja is all about, Senator Yinka Omilani, who goes by the title of PDP vice-chairman for southwest said the root cause is the fact that the governor ‘reneged on promises made’  by ‘ not fulfilling the pledges he made to people around him when he came into office…if you join my campaign team, if I tell you that you will be my special Assistant [SA] if we win and eventually I got into office and I don’t even remember you…would you be happy?…those are the friction areas’ [ThisDay , Daily Sun Jan.4,  2006] This then is about Adedibu’s ‘dividend of democracy’, about the ‘free and fair’ election he helped procure in 2003. It is all about filthy lucre.  This then is the private appropriation of the state for the pecuniary aggrandizement of the few and privileged. Is this the political equivalent of the much talked about ‘privatisation’ process that our president says is the major plank of his economic policy?

This then is where we are in Nigeria, the socio-political abyss into which we have sunk , we are all seemingly helpless then in the face of this kind of political brigandage and looming anarchy while our president tells us he is ‘consolidating democracy’ As The Guardian columnist Reuben Abati put it on Dec 30, 205, ‘What kind of democracy is this?’ Meanwhile a committee to examine the allegation of ‘gross misconduct’ leveled against Ladoja by the Adedibu loyalists in the Oyo state house of assembly has been empanelled and is sitting. There are claims and counterclaims about the legality of the process. Examined against the balance of social forces within  and outside the state, the omens are foreboding  for the embattled governor. Meanwhile the master puppeteer is far away, removed from the scene but watching as his loyalists ‘consolidate’ democracy in Oyo state. This is not to say the governor himself is a choir boy, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. Adedibu showed his hands very early. In the first week of the Ladoja administration in 2003, Adedibu sent thugs to destroy Obafemi Awolowo’s statue in front of the house of assembly. This, according to Ladoja was Adedibu’s way of demonstrating that he could do whatever he wanted in Oyo state. Some of the boys owned up according to accounts in the Nigerian media. In 2005, in the heat of his fall-out with Adedibu,  Ladoja finally admitted  that the act was Adedibu’s handiwork. I recall the total asinine explanations he offered when the statue was destroyed in 2003; ranging from unknown soldiers and ranting about the cost of the statue. If you claim to have won an election, what is it you wish to prove by destroying the statue of a far-sighted dearly departed, who led a political party that set the pace of the cause of the  political, economic and social emancipation and transformation in Nigeria,  and was adjudged to have served well and meritoriously by friends and foe?

On Monday, Dec.5, 2005, Chief Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais addressed the All Nigerian Judges Conference in Abuja.  Justice Uwais spoke of ‘disobedience to court orders…those in authority cannot pick and choose what court order to obey. If they feel aggrieved, the only remedy they have is to appeal but in the mean time, the order must be obeyed’ Everybody in Nigeria knows to whom Justice Uwais words are directed. A society, whose principal can be so dismissive of the tenets of its constitution and impudently and flagrantly gives short shrift to court injunctions, makes a mockery of constitutional democracy. Any human being is entitled to his or her delusions, delusions of grandeur, as a self-designated elect-of-God. At the end of the day, the roll call will come. Life is transient, ephemeral and uncertain. Our president experienced this personally in 2005. What lesson does he think, an adolescent Nigerian watching what is going in today’s Nigeria, will draw?

The cant to Adedibu about ‘legacy’ is both mis-directed and  misplaced. The Nigerian history is unlikely to remember the Alhadji, it WILL remember Olusegun  Obasanjo.


Ibiyinka Solarin is a professor of Political Science at Texas College, Tyler, Texas.



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