•All The Behind-The-Scene Moves Revealed!
His sojourn in more than three political parties within a short period earned him the tag of a rolling stone, which an axiom says gathers no moss. The multiple defections convinced political observers that the Ibadan High Chief, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, was at his wit’s end. They asserted that he was expired and at the end of his political tether. Contrastly , however, the result of Oyo State governorship election has proved bookmakers wrong.
They have been revealed to be myopic as they could not see beyond their noses. To the surprise of such observers, the rolling stone as unexpectedly become the keystone in the arc of the state politics as Ladoja rallied more than three governorship candidates that included Bolaji Ayorinde of the Social Democratic Party (SDP); Sarafadeen Alli of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP); Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), among others, to shelf their ambition and team up with Seyi Makinde, the standard bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to beat Wahidi Adelabu of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) candidate who was supported by Otunba Akala and, of course, the state and federal might.
With the emergence of Seyi Makinde as the next Oyo State governor, the grossly underrated Ladoja has donned the toga of a giant beater, a mythical cat that has seven political lives and a phoenix that rose from its ashes to dictate the pace of politics in Oyo State.
Two big alliances emerged to decide the fate of the two frontline governorship candidates, Seyi Makinde of the PDP and and Wahidi Adelabu of the APC. The All Progressives Congress (APC) in the march to the election, had succeeded in pulling a former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Alao Akala, the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP)into a coalition to give Adelabu an edge at the poll.
Akala, who defected from the APC over the party’s primary that produced Adelabu, is believed to be the champion of Ogbomoso politics and could deliver bulk votes from the 5 local councils in the town. As Senator Isiak Ajimobi, had just lost his return bid to the Senate, and perceived to have shed much political clout, the national leader of the APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in collaboration with the Presidency coordinated the birth of the coalition to ensure APC’s victory.
In the camp of Seyi Makinde, the PDP’s candidate, however, was a former governor of Oyo State, Senator Ladoja, who was the prime mover and promoter of the counter alliance. The Ibadan High chief succeeded in convincing more than three governorship candidates to step down for Makinde. Recall that that most members of the ADC are Lamists, who defected from the APC. They included a former secretary of the Oyo State Government, Chief Koleosho, who is from Oke Ogun area, a son of the Late Chief Lamidi Adesina among others. Their grouse was the imposition of candidate and alleged destruction of Lam political structure in Oyo State by Senator Ajimobi, who brought his political structure, SENACO, into prominence.
The collision of alliances for the number one job in Oyo State was not the first time Senator Ladoja would oppose Ajimobi. The Osi Olubadan of Ibadan was the leading light of a few Ibadan High Chiefs who challenged Governor Ajimobi’s authority to install warrant cronet kings in Ibadan. Ladoja was a pillar behind the Olubadan of Ibadanland’s resistance to the executive imposition of many crown-wearing kings without palaces in Ibadan. Governor Ajimobi was even dragged to court, which doused the fire of prominence of the cronet kings in the traditional setting of Ibadanland. Observers asserted that the creation of warrant kings was aimed at preventing a particular individual from ascending the stool of Olubadan in his life.
The success of Senator Ladoja in driving the coalition that backed Seyi Makinde to win the governorship election and beat the APC’s candidate, Adelabu, who was supported by Otunba Akala, the gubernatorial candidate of the ADP was not the first for the Ibada High Chief on political terrain. Ladoja was the leader of a coalition that defeated the Ibadan-strong man of politics, the late Chief Lamidi Adedibu, on the choice of a candidate to represent Ibadan-Ibarapa at the constitutional conference of the maximum ruler, the Late Sanni Abacha.
Earlier, many political observers in Oyo State had regarded the Ladoja-inspired coalition to stop Adelabu, whose party, APC, is the incumbent government at the state and federal levels as an effort in futility. They remarked that the success of the APC in wooing Otunba Akala to sink his governorship ambition and work for the victory of Adelabu at the poll would rubbish whatever strategies Ladoja had up his sleeves. Besides, they pointed at the unstable defection of Ladoja from one party to the other as an evidence of unseriousness that could never inspire confidence in followers to believe in the cause.
Earlier in the course that led to the latest governorship election, Ladoja who contested the 2015 governorship election on the platform of Accord Party returned to the PDP. Shortly after, he left the party to team up with the Chief Olusegun-promoted African Democratic Congress (ADC). Ladoja did not stay long in the party. After ralling his supporters to follow him to ADC, Ladoja again jumped ship to become the leader of ZLP in Oyo State. Ladoja’s frequent movement from one party to the other did not portray him in good light as he was regarded a political jobber, who did not know what he wanted in politics.
It was, therefore, not a surprise that stakeholders in Oyo politics regarded him a spent force, who had no relevance in the governorship contest. However, as Shakespare said: There is a tide in human affairs which taken at the flood leads to success”. That appositely described the exploits of Ladoja at the latest gubernatorial election in Oyo State. Despite the hype that attended the Ladoja coalition’s emergence, most people did not give it a chance or believed it destabilised the political apple cart of the APC. Unexpectedly, it did. Alliance with Otunba Akala made APC look formidable and impregnable, but Makinde backed by Ladoja sponsored coalition trounced it in 26 local councils, leaving APC with victory in only six local councils.