Former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala has revealed that he had no hand in 2006 illegal impeachment of his former boss, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja.
Alao-Akala, who would be 70 next week, disclosed this in an interview with journalists in his Bodija, Ibadan home.
Asked why he appears to many as controversial, the Ogbomoso-born politician explained that “Let me guess; it is so because politically, I am an introvert. I do not believe in propaganda. I do not say what I do not believe in. Because of this, people do not know the stuff I am made of and people don’t know me.
“They don’t know the stuff I am made of. Because I don’t talk too much, they just guess. You know, when you don’t have much information about a particular person, you just guess. It is whatever information that is available that you will use. That is responsible for why they have erroneous opinions about me; I am not controversial.”
Saturday PUNCH quoted Alao-Akala as saying that many people don’t know what actually led to the removal of Ladoja as governor.
“People don’t know what happened that time. I have tried to explain it in my memoir which, by the grace of God, will soon come out. For those who executed the plan to remove my boss, if they were to have their way and if not for constitutional barrier, I wouldn’t have been their candidate for the governorship position. But there was no way they could breach that constitutional provision, and there was no way they could remove both of us at the same time because I was not doing anything. I was hiding as a deputy governor. If they had their way, they would want another person to be the governor. I did not play any role in the impeachment. I was in Ogbomoso when the impeachment was done. I was not in Ibadan. I wouldn’t have allowed that impeachment to take place. I would have just advised them to let us talk to my boss. My boss was adamant; he was fighting on all fronts that time and that was why they were able to hit him. He thought I was part of it, but I was not. I left Ibadan for all of them when I was about to be killed on December 18, 2005. I nearly lost my life; my office was bombarded. They fired bullets at my office. Luckily for me, I was not hit. The whole of governor’s office was deserted. I narrowly escaped being killed. I just used my experience to manoeuvre out of there. My then orderly also helped me to get out of the office.”
He, however, revealed that more than 14 years after, Ladoja is not taking it lightly.
“He is still taking it personally. By the time you read my book, you will understand that he made some mistakes. When the seat was vacant, they were looking for me to be sworn in, I was not in Ibadan; I was in Ogbomoso. If I knew there was going to be a vacancy, I would have prepared myself to fill the vacancy. They knew I was not going to come; they had to send my close friend, Senator Adeseun, to me. When he arrived, I said, ‘Look, I know that you are my friend but I don’t trust you too. If you want me to follow you, I can’t follow you tonight. Two, come very early in the morning.’ He said, ‘Let’s go and sleep in Ibadan,’ and I said no. He said, ‘There will be a vacuum, the man is already gone.’ I said, ‘Look, that is not my cup of tea, my life comes first.’ I said, as a security man, he had to take instructions from me. I told him that by the time we would leave Ogbomoso the following day, it was the route that I decided we should take that we would take. He said he agreed. As of 5.30am, he was in my house. I didn’t come out until around 6am. I said they should look round to see if I was safe. When I came out, I saw him in a rickety Peugeot vehicle. I said we should leave Ogbomoso immediately for Osogbo. From Osogbo, we would go to Gbongan. From Gbongan, we detoured to Ile-Ife. When we were getting to Ile-Ife, he asked what we were doing. Then, we turned round and passed through Gbongan. From Gbongan, we got to Ikire and then to Ibadan. On that day, under the flyover in Iwo, we waited but people did not see me because I sat in the middle. If I was preparing to be the governor, I would have lodged in a hotel. And on January 12, 2006, I would have just walked into the secretariat. I was not part of it and God sees my heart. Maybe that was why God rewarded me by making me to spend four years as governor.”
“My boss is what he is and I know him very well. What he believes, he believes and it would be very difficult to convince him. He had said that I was not responsible and that certain people were responsible. I thought it had been overtaken by events. The only thing I could do was to record it in my memoir for people to judge. If I had the opportunity to talk to him, I would have challenged him that, ‘Oga, what happened on February 18, 2015? Since you knew that everybody was not going to come to the office, you should have warned me also not to come to office.’ Everybody did not come to the office except Adebayo Alao-Akala, the deputy governor. I put a call through to him; the question he asked me was: ‘Why did you go to the office?’ I said, ‘I am the deputy governor but you didn’t tell me not to go to the office. If you had told me not to go to the office, I would not have gone.’ There is nothing to be discussed and the relationship has been very cordial. One thing again, I had known him before we became governor and deputy governor. He is my ‘senior’ friend,” Alao-Akala added when asked if there had been an attempt to reconcile them.