by Hakeem Babalola
Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu almost broke my spine with his purported obedience to the new Olubadan of Ibadan’s order that none of his chiefs should participate in active politics. The Garrison Commander of Ibadan politics sounded unlike himself when he retorted, "I will not say a word that will contradict or run contrary to the Olubadan’s order..."
For those who do not know who Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu is? He is 80 years old or so. He is the son of the soil whose Molete palace in Ibadan has become Mecca of polieatics. He is the god who often anoint governors, even presidents. Public officers including law enforcement agents and high ranking traditional rulers prostrate and, or cringe before him. He is the Ekerin or Ekarun Olubadan and may soon be the Olubadan of Ibadan. He has been in active but poisonous hate politics since the age of 25.
Lamidi Adedibu knows how politics works in his country and he doesn’t hide his enthusiasm in this regard. He is a man who passionately believes in polieatics. He has seen it all – right from the days of Balewa and Adelabu and Awolowo and Akintola and Zik. He radiates in winning elections without people’s votes. He knows what wins elections: dishonesty, swearing in vain, stolen and stuffing ballot boxes, instigating violence etc. It’s the purpose by which he stole to stardom, hence loved by Princes, Maharajahs and other potentates.
However, I do not know for certain if he has ever killed in his life. After all, he seems to be a devoted Muslim. The recent arrest of Lateef Akinsola a.k.a Tokyo and thirteen others for alleged murder and attempted murder not withstanding. It is obvious these notorious fourteen men enjoyed the backing of this political warlord who also enjoyed the backing of the immediate past Aso rock emperor. There’s no Adedibu without Obasanjo.
Adedibu violently believes in the axiom: end justifies the means. Like a river, he can roll turbulently boiling against his enemies. He stormily wants the cake they had promised him when he helped them cajole and conjure the ghosts who would terrorise the minds of voters on the D-Day. He does not want them to renege on the promise voluntarily made as candidates when they secretly crawled to his Molete palace.
He needs them to need him to need them for a bombing mission. It is them who have angered the god; mould him to be aggressive and defiant. They must have bitten the finger that feeds them. Adedibu forbids any governor whom he had single-handedly anointed to exhibit independence in running the affairs of the State, especially when it comes to appointing commissioners, special advisers, minister etc. And that’s where the trouble would always lie, for the candidate is now the governor and wants to be seen as one in total control.
For Lamidi Adedibu, it’s betrayal and the punishment is either impeachment and, or devastation or death. The man abhors cheating even though his healthy economy life has centred on that region. He wants his share of the treasury otherwise the effects of the struggle will be violent and disruptive. He is well known for the wilderness of his generosity under the disguise of catering for the poor. And his healthy scepticism has won him many supporters, although most of them are hooligans or area boys in local parlance.
Therefore it’s shocking to hear that a man of quiet dignity like Pa Adedibu would soon quit the job he has worked resolutely to master. It becomes ironic when soldiers love peace and Bishops or Imams love war. It is suspicious when a Garrison Commander takes order from a recruit. It doesn’t augur well, even unwise for Mighty Adedibu to listen to Olubadan of Ibadan, a position that has been indiscriminately used to dish out chieftain titles to every thug and thief. Adedibu’s reputation as Ekerin or Ekarun Olubadan added to the irony of the situation.
I don’t buy Adedibu’s implausible excuse for complying with Olubadan designate’s order. "I am an Ibadan man and as the Olubadan of Ibadan land, he is my father and I cannot disobey him," says this septuagenarian who once boasted that Ibadan could be peaceful only if he Adedibu wanted. Did Adedibu respect Pa Alayande when the latter was alive? So why is Adedibu reasoning like this now? Or haven’t we had Olubadan before now?
Adedibu must not let the Olubadan intimidate or harass him. How dare he give order to the master of the game! What is life without politics? Does the Olubadan know what it takes to single-handedly destroy Ibadan? Because Adedibu is on the verge of accomplishing a mission, a virtuous mission of the end – certain conspiracy theory now stands his way. The new Olubadan should know that it was less hard for his predecessors to accommodate Adedibu’s choleric outburst otherwise this Ibadan god would have been curtailed ages ago.
Curtailed? No, definitely not in his lifetime. I just don’t know how possible or easy it would be for the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odulana, to place a big man like Adedibu under restrictions. Hum, Kabiyesi might be using cobra’s head to clean his nose. Adedibu is so authoritative that Umaru Yar’Adua had to compel the Acting I-G to restore the police guards attached to this Ibadan god, which was earlier withdrawn by the Oyo State CP.
Further conspiracy theory is Dr. Lekan Balogun’s call on the Acting Inspector-General of Police to investigate Adedibu’s alleged involvement in a number of violent attacks on individuals in Oyo State. What violence is he Balogun talking about? What has Adedibu done that is new? What did Adedibu do that Adelakun alias Eruobodo did not do when he was alive? Behind every great fortune, there is a crime, says one philosopher.
Nigerians and especially Ibadan indigenous population, and most especially Oyo State elite, tacitly allow Adedibu’s tantrum and incorrigible crimes. Both elders and the youths gradually pave way for Pa Adedibu to roughshod over all opposition due to their own greed. Where is Chief Akinjide, former A-G and Justice Minister? Where is Dr. Olunloyo, ex Oyo State governor and the rest? Apparently, he probe into their minds and waylay it with impunity. By the time they realised their folly, the man had become a thorn in their flesh. His words written into law.
Thanks to OBJ. "We must tolerate and manage Adedibu". Pa Adedibu was so sure of his authority when he boasted he would impeach a governor because the latter had refused to share public fund with him. His standby loyalists are ever ready to carry out the Garrison Commander’s order as when they stormed the Oyo State House of Assembly with different kinds of weapons including guns. When a country uses thugs as part of political dispensation, what you have at the long last is chaos and Adedibuism.
But meanwhile Dr. Balogun, senator from 1999 to 2003 and Oyo State governorship aspirant in 2003, should seek his cheap popularity somewhere else. What atrocity has Adedibu committed that seemingly surpass that of Olusegun Okikiolakan Aremu Obasanjo, now a theology student and delusive father of modern Nigeria. Politics as they play it in Nigeria is not for feeble minded souls. En, what punishment melted to Operation Wetie perpetrators? What has been done to bring to book those who killed Bola Ige, former Attorney General, and many other unsolved assassinations?
Ultimately Adedibu must not give in. He should endeavour to finish his lifetime ambition before quitting politics. If he quits before completing his mission, then he is not the son of the soil. Adedibu should not turn Oyo State into mourning by quitting active politics – abruptly. He should know that Ki a soro ki a baa bee ni iyi omoluwabi (Doing what you say is peculiar character of a fine fellow). So Adedibu must not quit until Ibadan is wholly destroyed.
Ultimately this Ibadan god must not give in. He shouldn’t let the Olubadan intimidate or harass him. His life ambition he must finish before quitting the game of polieatics. Ki a soro ki a baa bee ni iyi omoluwabi (Doing what you say is peculiar character of a fine fellow). So Alhaji Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu must not quit until Ibadan is wholly destroyed.