Former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, has said he was treated worse than spare tyre when he was the deputy governor of the state during the tenure of Chief Rashidi Ladoja between 2003 and 2007.
Speaking in an interview with The Punch, Alao-Akala, who will turn 70 on Wednesday, said during his time as deputy governor, he was just going to the office to read newspapers, adding that his office was outside the secretariat complex.
He said: “If there was anything worse than spare tyre, I was treated worse. You even take care of spare tyre because of emergency needs but this spare tyre was left deflated so I could not be used.
” As deputy governor, I was not treated well at all. I was just going to the office to read newspapers. I was not assigned roles. I just forced myself in; they didn’t allow me. “
Alao-Akala added: “When my boss was reinstated as governor after the impeachment saga, he removed me from the deputy governor’s office and put me outside the secretariat, very close to the present Ministry of Environment. My office was outside the secretariat. Secondly, he prevented me from attending the executive council meeting. Till that regime ended, I did not attend executive council meetings.”
Speaking in what happened on the day Ladoja was impeached in 2006 and the role he played in the process, the former governor said: “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 said.
He stated that Ladoja took what happened at the time personally and he still does till date, adding the his former boss made some mistakes.
“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,” Alao-Akala said.