Politics in Oyo State as it unravels… from an observatory point of view
Senator Dapo Lam Adesina, son of former OyO State Governor Lam Adesina (late) decamps from APC; writes a very long letter to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu explaining how the present Governor of Oyo State, H.E Abiola Ajimobi is working to destroy the political structure his father built before his demise…
N.B: below is a copy of the letter!
Politics in Oyo State as it unravels… from an observatory point of view
His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,
The National Leader,
All Progressives Congress (APC).
Sequel to the last time you summoned me, where you directed that I should return to the All Progressives Congress (APC)/The camp of the Governor of Oyo State,Senator Abiola Ajimobi, I write to give you an insight into my relationship with the Governor in the last seven years and how I have had to stomach hurts and humiliations in the course of being loyal.
At the twilight of my father’s administration as Governor in year 2001, His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, surfaced in the politics of Oyo State. He had just left the National Oil. Baba Lam forwarded his name for appointment as a director of the now defunct National Bank. Afterwards, Senator Ajimobi expressed his intention to become the senator representing Oyo South Senatorial district (Baba Lam’s Senatorial district).
By then Senator Peter Adeyemo was completing his first term in office as the senator representing the district and seeking reelection while other Alliance for Democracy (AD) stalwarts like Mrs Ayoka Lawani, late Professor Wole Akinboade, Hon. Adesoji Akanbi (now a senator) and others had also signified interest and one of them was on the verge of getting the ticket. My father was instrumental to Senator Ajimobi’s emergence as the standard-bearer of the party.
Senator Adeyemo and other senatorial aspirants who were my father’s close associates instantly became his enemies for supporting Senator Ajimobi. Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle is a living witness to this.
The events of all that happened before, during and after the 2003 election and the roles played by Senator Ajimobi and how my father lost the election is still fresh in our memories.
In 2007, AD changed name to Action Congress (AC) and Senator Ajimobi attempted to fly the flag of the AC as its governorship candidate while not forgetting the crisis that ensued during the transformation of AC to ACD to ACN and the move to hijack the structure at that time from Baba Lam.
He was to later defy all entreaties from party leaders and left the AC for the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) on the false pretext that he heard Alhaji Lam Adesina was going to contest the 2007 governorship election. Where he got that false information from is still only known to him till date. But he worked against and destroyed the hard-earned fortunes of the Progressives built by your esteemed self, my father, Alhaji Lam Adesina and other Progressive leaders, and with that singular step, allowing the PDP to win the state for another term of eight years.
Undeterred by the loss of the party in the 2007 elections, members of the Progressives fold led by Baba Lam, Chief Michael Koleoso and others, regrouped for the 2011 elections on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), with Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, Dr. Adebayo Adewusi, Hon. Adesoji Akanbi (as he then was), Barr. Kazeem Adedeji and others as frontrunners for the gubernatorial ticket. But with your insightful and informed intervention as the Leader of the Progressives, Senator Ajimobi was to later emerge as the Governorship Candidate of the ACN. Though the development piqued Progressives in the state, especially given his past antecedents, they rallied round him and elected him as the Governor of the state.
Your Excellency, I am sure you will agree that my father and other leaders played a great role in his victory. Baba Lam successfully reconciled some of the aspirants and glued the party together while others left the party in annoyance and never forgave Baba Lam.
Surprisingly, however, having picked the ACN ticket for the House of Representatives in Ibadan South-East/ Ibadan North-East Federal Constituency, for reasons best known to Senator Ajimobi’s supporters, they worked against me and I lost the election. With this, my family became aggrieved, but being a staunch Progressive, my late father called and asked me to go ahead to mobilise support for Senator Ajimobi’s election, which was days away and I did. I pacified and persuaded my supporters and resumed campaign.
It would interest you to know that the money left with me after my election, I proceeded to all the joints in the two local governments of my constituency, to mobilise votes for the governor in my own little way and he won to the glory of God.(There are people who are ready to stand as witnesses).
The Governor started his administration and I went on with life. But one day, I was at the Ibadan North-East Local Government council when my late father’s Personal Assistant, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle, called me on the phone, told me to hold on for the Governor. After exchanging pleasantries and congratulating him once again, the Governor requested for my CV. I told my late father and informed him about the decision. My mother and brother advised me against getting any appointment from the Governor but my father asked me to accept it.
Meanwhile, the Governor only included my name and the names of five others when members of the defunct ACN protested the non-inclusion of those who worked for the party’s success at the polls. The Governor had submitted names of people who were unknown to the party and loyalists of former Governor His Excellency, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja.
After screening and swearing in I was deployed to the Ministry of Youths and Sports where I tried my best to reposition the Ministry. To the glory of God, the Governor attested to how excellently I performed on different occasions. (Videos are available to back this fact up).
However, I don’t know how the profile of a Commissioner can dwarf that of his boss, as I know that any achievement of any appointee of a State Governor will be credited to the Governor but reverse was the case with Senator Ajimobi. Surprisingly, my travail in the hands of Governor Ajimobi became full-blown during an Executive Council Meeting, which I attended, when he opposed that the newly-created Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo State (YES-O) could not be under the Ministry of Youths and Sports, as it would make me too powerful. Ordinarily, the YES-O should have been under my supervision as Commissioner. But I took the position, though an indication of my Principal’s indignation towards me, and continued to do my job conscientiously.
The YES-O was later put under the Oyo State Agency for Youth Development, an agency under my Ministry, but with a directive that the chairman of the Agency, Mr Gbenga Olayemi (A former loyalist of His Excellency) should not report to me but work with some Special Advisers to the Governor.
Sir, the most shockingly saddening experience in my relationship with the Governor came in October 2012, at the height of my father’s sickness. I had approached the Governor on a Thursday to seek his permission to travel to Lagos to check up on my ailing father. He told me that I did not need to seek permission to visit Baba Lam and that I should go ahead and extend his regards to him. With this encounter, I proceeded to visit Baba, only to return to work on Monday to meet a query from the Governor demanding explanation from me on why I absented myself from work on Friday. I responded to that query date 12th of October, 2012 stating how I had sought and got the Governor’s permission before embarking on the trip. I have attached a copy of the query and the response to this letter.
That experience, apart from being unnerving and unsettling in that I could be vilified for trying to care for my father, was, however, not the last in the series of disappointments I suffered in the hands of the Governor.
Prior to my wedding on February 22, 2014, I visited the Governor to inform him and his wife about my forthcoming wedding and they expressed happiness, promising to do everything possible in supporting me during the event. According to the Governor, being aware of the sour relationship between me and my darling mother, Alhaja Sarat Adesina, because of my support for and relationship with him, he had the moral obligation to take charge of the wedding. To this promise, I expressed my gratitude.
Your Excellency, you would recall that two weeks to my wedding in 2014, you had directed Mummy, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, to give me financial support, a gift for which I will always be grateful. Baba Chief Segun Osoba, His Excellency Governor Ibikunle Amosun; His Excellency Babatunde Fashola, Osun State SSG, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti just to mention a few also gave me financial support.
All these leaders supported me financially weeks to the wedding, which enabled me to take care of various needs towards the wedding. Surprisingly, however, the Governor despite his promise to take care of the wedding, only sent N1,250,000 to me through his Personal Assistant, Dayo Iyaniwura, two days to the wedding and other promises were not fulfilled, with the Governor even coming late to the wedding reception and leaving very early.
This experience did not only demoralize me, I was utterly disappointed that someone I looked up to as a father and leader could so treat me. Unperturbed, however, I moved on but not without the scars of being let down by a man for whom I had so much respect and I had served with utmost loyalty.
In my seven years relationship with the Governor, I have heard it ever so often that the Governor made me through my appointment as Commissioner (Which I will eternally be grateful to him for). The Governor has also never failed to mention to anyone how he helped me by approving contracts from the Ministry of Youths and Sports without hassle, saying this had helped me to make money. Unfortunately, I have never said this to anyone, but the two biggest contracts approved for my Ministry: the construction of a Swimming Pool at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba and the Oyo State Youth and Entrepreneurship Job Fair for two years, were handled by companies/people that are well known to the Governor himself. The beneficiaries of those contracts and whatever huge sum the Governor tells the world he approved for me were Nurudeen Ajimobi, Olubodun Ajimobi and EZ37 Solutions. I did not benefit a dime from the projects and these beneficiaries are still alive to bear me witness.
My Father, the experiences that followed the ones already stated made it abundantly clear to me that I was in for a suffocating and humiliating relationship that would not end as long as I continued to be with the Governor, no matter the level of my loyalty. Knowing this, however, I never allowed my loyalty to wane; neither did I reduce my efficiency as a party man or an appointee of the Governor even when I was deployed to a Ministry that is considered a very dry land: Ministry of Industry, Applied Science and Technology. For the Governor, who openly expressed stiff opposition to the Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo State (YES-O) being under the Ministry of Youths and Sports because, according to him, it would make “Dapo too powerful,” he had ready-made excuses for my deployment to the new Ministry, noting that the deployment was to save me from being hurt by some imaginary powerful interests.
In the buildup to the 2015 General Election, after I had signified my intention to contest for the Ibadan South-East/North-East Federal Constituency House of Representatives seat, I was to suffer more untold humiliations and hardship in the hands of Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
First, the Governor had sent representatives to a former Deputy Governor in Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, to bring Honourable Akeem Ige to him so as to give him the APC ticket for the House of Representatives in my constituency; the same constituency where I, as his commissioner, had informed the Governor of my intention to contest. I was to later learn that the Governor expressly said I could never win the election since I was unable to win when my father was alive and this would later explain his actions and inactions towards my ambition.
Baba Mi, it might interest you to know that as a Commissioner who just resigned from the government of Governor Ajimobi in 2014, I had to buy 24 bags of rice on credit from a woman Olanfat Enterprises in Beyerunka, Ibadan and later had to collect another four bags for distribution to the Wards/LG Exco in my constituency towards the primary election.
All these went on despite the Governor’s earlier assurance that I had his backing. The Governor neither called nor sought to know how my ambition went for once until a day to the APC Primary when Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle called me and said the Governor would like to talk to me. On that day, the Governor had merely asked me how the plans for my primaries was going. But saddened and let down, I said there was no problem, since I was already sure of victory, having done my home work. Alhaji Ibikunle was to later come to look for me on the campaign field at Ward 3 in Ibadan South East LGA around 10.30pm to ask why I didn’t make request for financial support from the Governor for money.
On the day of the APC primary, known supporters of the Governor openly opposed me. But after the voting had begun, a supporter of the Governor, the late Engr. R.O. Shittu came to me and said the Governor asked him and others to support me and I appreciated them. It would be worthy of note that most of the Governor’s supporters who openly opposed me did not change their minds till the end of the exercise.(There are also people who were involved and still alive as witnesses).
The next humiliation came after my resignation from the cabinet, when the Governor told the Commissioner of Police to send policemen after me to retrieve the official car I was using. This was despite the fact that it was the only car I had and I had informed the Governor that I had no other car to use for campaign/running around and he assured that there was no problem. The policemen in plain clothes, however, told me expressly that the instruction they had was to retrieve the car anywhere they found me but I pleaded with them that I would take the car to them immediately the next day. I have also attached a copy of the letter written to me to that effect.
After winning the 2015 election, I went to ask the Governor to give me someone from his camp to work with in Abuja, which he did. I did this to show him how much I revere him. But shortly after that, the Governor refused to acknowledge my text messages or answer my calls for two good years while he told the party executive in the state that I no longer contacted him.
On several occasions, I went to the Government House and his private residence at Oluyole to see him and would be made to sit for hours outside the gate but was never allowed to see the Governor. All messages/calls/visit had never been to make any request but to wish him well and pray for his success. (Sms are still available for reference on my phone which I have kept safely for that purpose)
Late 2017, the Governor invited me to his house at Oluyole for a discussion where he assured me that the caretaker chairman for Ibadan South Local Council Development Area would come from the Lamists Camp. I was elated and convinced that at last, the Lamists would be rewarded for their co-operation and support for the Governor. Surprisingly, the Governor gave the appointment to Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja’s loyalist (Fagunwa) after he had persuaded me to go to my local government to work seriously to contain the Ambassador Arapaja camp politically- this to me wasn’t fair enough!
In a similar vein, the Governor had invited me to his house in Abuja and gave me the assurance that a Lamist would be the council chairman in the same Local Government which happens to be Baba Lam’s. During that visit, the Governor told me Baba Lam made him and how he would not be ungrateful to him even in death by appointing a non-Lamist to head his home local government. In fact, days after the visit the Governor, myself and Two other House of Representatives Members from Oyo State were in the plane enroute to Ibadan when the Governor asked why I hadn’t appreciated him for picking a Lamist as the chairmanship candidate. Immediately, I unstrapped the seat belt and prostrated in appreciation.(One of the two members is also available to confirm my claims).
But I was dumbfounded to see that the Governor got to Ibadan and changed his mind by not only retaining the caretaker chairman as chairmanship candidate for the election but also changed all the other three under my constituency to people whom he knew were political opponents of mine. This was after we had reached a conclusion to give it to the Lamists in order to change the impression they have started nurturing that I was working against their progress, because it was believed that with my loyalty to the Governor, I could get them at least one LGA.
The governor thereafter changed the names of all known supporters of mine who had been on the list of councilors/Vice Chairmen.
On the 5th of May, 2018, at the Oyo State APC Secretariat, Ibadan, where the Ward Congress Committee from the National Level led by Alhaji Musa Halilu Ahmed, met with party stakeholders following the crisis over the planned Ward Congress, Governor Ajimobi openly pushed me while I was trying to pass by his side after the meeting. I was manhandled by two of his security aides in his presence. I had to force my way into his car when I started to shout that if anything untoward happens to me he should be held responsible to avoid being lynched by sponsored miscreants and thugs loyal to the Governor, who disrupted the meeting and broke into the Party Secretariat. My cap was removed and used to hit my head by thugs loyal to him. (Four witnesses are ready to speak if need be).
Your Excellency, as a strong follower and student of your style of politics, I have learnt from your leadership style that to whom much is given, much is expected. I have not only displayed the highest level of loyalty to the governor, I have demonstrated the kind of loyalty that portrayed me as a stubborn child to my parent and siblings, the same kind of loyalty that made my father give his unreserved affection to Governor Ajimobi. But it is pitiful that the Governor didn’t see this as an effort that should be acknowledged.
Your Excellency, it will interest you to know that seven years after Governor Ajimobi took over power in Oyo State and six years since the demise of my father and the leader of the Progressives in Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina, not one edifice or project has been named after my father. Whereas, the Governor has named several projects after other individuals in the state, no effort has been made to immortalize my father.
I can pointedly tell you that Governor Ajimobi has been working tirelessly to pull down all structures put in place by my father, who in his old age, fought and worked exhaustively towards making Oyo State a stronghold of the Progressives. Baba Lam even with his ill health led others to the length and breadth of state to campaign for His Excellency ahead of the 2011 elections.
Sir, I have harboured these painful actions of the Governor towards me for years, hoping that he would change and in the interest of the party and the continued success of the Progressives fold in Oyo State and the South-West, a project that I know you hold dearly to your heart given your love for the people of the region. But seven years down the line, and with the ever so determined efforts of the Governor to erase the political footprints of my father by destroying his political structure, I believe it would only be a bastard that will continue to stay where his father is continually spited even in death.
I remember your comment about “Self Preservation” during my last visit to you in Abuja with Hon Sunday Adepoju, Wale Raji, Ayo Omidiran and others. Can I be preserved where my father’s legacy is being destroyed daily and where I have suffered this much? NO, Baba Mi.
These and many more were heavy burdens I had wanted to share with you when I had the opportunity to meet you, but extant realities would not permit me to do so, hence this letter. I appreciate the fatherly role you have always played in my life and I assure you of my continued and unwavering loyalty wherever I find myself in the not too distant future politically. But sir, knowing all I have expressed in this letter, I am convinced that you will agree with me that remaining in the Governor’s camp would be tantamount to me dancing on my late father’s grave. Like every rational man, it is my prayer that after I am gone, my children will continue to honour me and so, remaining with someone determined to dishonor my father and hell-bent on dismantling all the structures put in place by my late father cannot be an option.
Baba, may your children be greater than you, honour and uphold all the principles you believe in.
Adedapo Lam Adesina (MHR).