Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, Osi Olubadan and former governor of Oyo State, has characterized the death of his former deputy and successor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, as a major loss to him. – Tribune
In a sympathy message, Ladoja expressed his astonishment upon learning of Alao-death, Akala’s adding that the two had just attended two distinct occasions in Ibadan, the most recent of which was the funeral of Ibadan’s Olubadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji.
Ladoja stated that his personal connection with the dead remained amicable until his death, despite the fact that they had political disputes on occasion that did not harm their personal friendship.
He recalled how Alao-Akala got into politics through him, maintaining his earlier opinion that Alao-Akala was not to blame for his impeachment in 2006 and that he never saw him as a traitor.
“We were quite close.” I was so close to him that I surprised him with a 40th birthday party in one of my Apapa, Lagos homes. It was 31 years ago today. Tommy Oyelade, a mutual friend, introduced him to me. That was back in the 1970s, and we’d been friends ever since.
“During the NADECO days, when Sani Abacha was seeking for those of us in the NADECO, he followed me on exile. He stayed with me in my English home and accompanied me to my office. We shared a room for nearly a month.
“It was through me that he got into politics.” He tracked me down at the now-defunct UNCP. When he decided to run for chairman, the Ogbomoso establishment fought him and disqualified him.
“When a new dispensation began in 1998, he came to me and said he would not want to join a different party because I am the one he followed into politics. However, considering the current political climate in Ogbomoso, he would prefer to join APP and pursue his aim of becoming council chairman. And I decided to accompany him to APP, where he ran for and won the council chairperson election, together with seven out of ten councillors, demonstrating his mettle.
“He quit the APP and joined the PDP because of me.” He wanted to run for chairmanship again, but party members who had been in the party before him opposed him vehemently. But luck was on his side, and I hired him as my deputy. Until his dying day, he accepted me as his boss.
“We had differing viewpoints on occasion, but such conflicts never extended beyond the topics. Because we shared a special love for one other, our disagreements did not penetrate our hearts. Our relationship as boss and subordinate lasted till he passed away.
“In reality, the last two times we met were at festivities, the first at Alhaji Lam Adesina’s anniversary. He informed me that he would have to rush to other events in Lagos that day. That was in November of the previous year. We also met at the funeral of Oba Saliu Adetunji, the Olubadan of Ibadanland. Before leaving on both instances, he asked for my consent. He stated that he would not leave me behind at any event.
“Perhaps it was because of his police training that he enjoyed receiving and carrying out commands. He obeyed superiors’ directives without questioning them. When Alao-Akala set his mind to something, he did everything he could to complete it.
“It wasn’t Akala who impeached me, as I’ve stated on countless occasions. It was [Olusegun] Obasanjo and his cronies who were responsible. Obasanjo and his cronies had to have exerted pressure on Akala. As my deputy, I don’t regard Akala as someone who has deceived me. He would have constitutionally taken over as governor regardless of whether he participated in the impeachment saga.
“My heartfelt condolences go out to his wives, children, and political family.” I shouldn’t see him now because I’m older. However, I have dispatched a delegation to Ogbomoso to express my sympathies to the family. “I pray to God that he would be forgiven for his flaws,” Ladoja added.