Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ladoja and Akala: Bitter-sweet romance

It is no surprise that as the 2015 elections approach, the competition
for the highest office in Oyo State, the governorship, has become more
intense. Though, the story is the same in other political parties,
that of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP attracts more attention
because of the number of those involved.
For the past two years, the political space has been filled with the
rumour that a former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja,
the leader of the youngest political party in the state, Accord, was
contemplating returning to the PDP fold.
As events unfolded, it became glaring that the party was doing
everything possible to have him back. All the bigwigs in the party in
the Southwest, including the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
and former leader of the party in the zone, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo
visited his Bodija residence and made overtures to him almost on
weekly basis.
Mounted pressure
The pressure mounted on him was occasioned by the success of his party
in the 2011 elections despite its late take-off. PDP discovered that
if it joined forces with Accord, that the ruling party, All
Progressives Congress, APC would definitely be defeated in the
Since he was a golden fish that had no hiding place, everybody wanted
to associate with him. So, it was not surprising when his former
deputy, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala who had parted ways with him
following his role in the impeachment of Ladoja, suddenly made u-turn
and swallowed all the pride to pitch tent with him.
But, there was a clash of interest which made Ladoja to retreat. He
later accused the PDP of insincerity.
Despite his refusal to rejoin the party, many political analysts still
believe he can spring surprises at the poll especially going by the
sympathy people in the state had for him during his illegal
impeachment in January 2006. Many still believe he was unduly cheated
by his party at that time, the PDP.
Before meeting Ladoja, Akala had sent some of his closest associates
such as Prince Dotun Oyelade who was his Special Adviser on Public
Communication to go ahead of him.
When Ladoja and Akala agreed to work together, there was avalanche of
scepticism that the two non-identical twins were parallel lines that
could not meet. It was generally said that what brought them together
would soon separate them. Some alleged that Ladoja would be
unforgiving of the alleged treachery against him by his former deputy,
Of course, the point of concern among stakeholders was the issue of
who becomes the governorship candidate of the duo? Would Akala, who
was a governor in the state again surrender himself to the political
tutelage of his former boss?
As the agreement between the two former governors was being sealed,
Akala had his left leg in the Accord and the right one in the PDP.
Each time, he was asked if he was still in the PDP, he kept on saying
he remained a PDP man. Rumour was rife that a senatorial ticket was
reserved for him in Accord.
Scepticism of associates and onlookers nonetheless, the two forged
ahead and set up a 14-man committee to fine tune the reconciliation.
The membership of the committee was evenly distributed between the two
of them.
As rightly predicted, facts soon emerged that Akala was not totally
convinced he could work with his former boss. Though, he has been in
the cooler for sometime he has obviously used the period to study the
political developments. He has abstained from most meetings of the PDP
and where not, sent representatives.
He, however, used the crisis that engulfed the national leadership of
the party to prove that he is still a force to reckon with. A meeting
was recently held at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan, with the Minister of
State, FCT, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide where his faction backed President
Goodluck Jonathan and Bamanga Tukur group.
A source confided in Vanguard that the decision to pitch tent with the
president was taken overnight.
As things are now, Chief Akala is already moving from one place to the
other trying to convince people in the state that he is the best
governorship candidate. Even though he is yet to declare the platform
on which he would contest, it is evident that he would still want to
use the PDP platform.
Second term ambition
With the forces that ensured his second term ambition was thwarted
still in place, it needs the intervention of God to make him achieve
this in PDP. Just few days ago, a notable chieftain in the PDP,
Senator Lekan Balogun who was one of those who opposed his second term
ambition said he had forgiven him. However, when asked if he would
support another term for Akala, he evaded the question.
It was gathered that the sentiments of some in the PDP hierarchy in
Ibadan and Abuja is already moving towards the former Senate leader,
Teslim Folarin to fly the party's flag in 2015. That many fear, would
also spark a fresh round of crisis in the party.
Teslim is a bitter political adversary of Akala's and was incarcerated
as a suspect in the killing of the former Chairman of the National
Union of Road Transport Workers in the state, Alhaji Lateek Salako aka
Eleweomo. It was the court that came to his rescue. Since that time,
Folarin has kept Akala at arm's length.
It is because of this that many are now asking that Akala, Ladoja and
others tainted by the bad politicking of the past should give way for
fresh blood. Those supportive of this initiative note that by 2015
Akala would be 65 years old while Ladoja would be 72. Critics witin
the party say that the two should take the back seat and direct the
affairs of the younger ones. But will they?
The drumbeats, though, distant, are very audible that 2015 elections
will be another tug of war in the state especially as the incumbent
governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi is leaving no stone unturned to make
sure that the broom party wins the election.

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