The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State has attributed the festering crisis over the recent review of the Ibadan Chieftaincy Law to what ot called “the inordinate ambition of former Governor Rashidi Ladoja” who it claimed was taking advantage of the situation to broaden his personal interest.
The APC, in statement signed on Tuesday by its Public Relations Officer, Olawale Sadare, blamed Ladoja for the violence that greeted the installation of some village heads (Baales) and family compound heads (Mogajis) at the Popoyemoja Palace of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1.
But in a swift reaction, Ladoja described the APC as mischievous and simply making noise.
The former governor, who spoke through his media aide, Mr Lanre Latinwo, wondered why he would organize gunmen to come and shoot him at the Olubadan palace as a birthday gift.
The APC in the statement said: “It is most unfortunate to discover that a former number one citizen of a state like Oyo who doubles as an Ibadan high chief would not mind subjecting the whole state to another social unrest just to satisfy his own whims and caprices. Sen. Rashid Ladoja has a known history of instigating resentment against people, government and institutions to derive some personal benefits as he did in 2002/2003 against the government of late Alhaji Lam Adesina.
“This time, he is up again to fight his way back to the Agodi Government House after he had tried and failed twice in 2011 and 2015. At 73, one wonders why Ladoja would start up many fights on many fronts only when another general election was approaching if not that he has his eyes on contesting election. As he is struggling to dislodge original members of the PDP in the state and usurp the party structure, Ladoja is also waging war against the APC government of Sen. Abiola Ajimobi and he has just discovered a tool in the Olubadan Palace.
“The Monday violence at Popoyemoja was a script written by Ladoja and his supporters to either whip up sentiment against the government and other members of the Olubadan-in-Council or deal with some characters within the ill-conceived political re-alignment who could stand on Ladoja’s way towards taking full control of the PDP. But we would like to urge the relevant security agencies to do the needful and unravel the mystery surrounding the unfortunate incident.
“There are many questions begging for answers; when did Ladoja become so over-bearing on the Palace that he would now dictate who to be installed as what by the Kabiyesi and even choose his birthdate for such event? Why was it that he had arranged for the presence of his own loyalists like Sen. Olufemi Lanlehin at the Palace with whom he hid somewhere until after the ‘invading gunmen’ finished their attacks?
“More importantly, the public should be informed that the protests against the recent Chieftaincy law review have largely come from politicians who are sympathetic to Ladoja cause and their supporters. However, we call on His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji, to checkmate some unscrupulous politicians who lurk around and use the palace to fight political war since he would forever remain a father to all and sundry irrespective of individuals’ political and religious beliefs.”
You are mischievous, Ladoja replies
In his reply, Ladoja said: “APC is mischievous. Will High Chief Ladoja organize people to come and kill him at the Olubadan palace? Would that have been his 73rd birthday gift? APC is just making noise. The issue on ground is a traditional issue, not political. Why would the party or government wade into it? In fact, APC needs to be investigated for accusing Ladoja of sponsoring the violence. The party just wants to divert attention of the public from the real issue. It is just making noise.”
Ladoja was with the Olubadan during the installation of the baales when gunmen attacked the palace on Monday. He is the only one of the 11-member Olubadan-In-Council that is opposed to the review of the Olubadan chieftaincy system.
While addressing reporters at the palace after the incident, Ladoja said the Olubadan-In-Council plays only advisory role to the Olubadan in the administration of the city. He said the council can not stop the monarch from installing baales or taking any other decision he deems fit.