• Opinion
  • Updated: March 17, 2023

Rashidi Ladoja: The Oyo Political Sage That Could Be Caged in 2023

Between 2003 and 2007, Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja was the executive governor of Oyo State. He was the civil servants’ friend and a valuable object of sympathy for the populace.

He fought some political wars during his time as governor, where he won some and lost others.

This time around, he is fighting technically for his political superiority in the state and a defeat could make him the subject of mockery.

When Ladoja was impeached controversially on January 12, 2006, he won the battle of reinstatement and returned to the Agodi Government House on December 12, 2006.  

It was a fierce political and superiority battle in the trilogy of the political magnate, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, the then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and Christopher Alao Akala, Ladoja’s deputy. 

But in 2007, he lost his reelection bid to his deputy and could not contend with the power play. Without a doubt, he lost that battle.

Since then, he has been on and off the political relevance calendar. 

On a communal or societal level, he is a high chief in Ibadan land.

But he will be closer to the Olubadan stool than being an influential political sage in the state if things go wrong for him on Saturday.

The scramble for relevance

After Ladoja failed to make it back to the governorship seat in 2007, having lost his party’s ticket to his deputy, he spearheaded two futile gubernatorial pushes with the Accord party during the 2011 and 2015 elections.

He and his novel party lost to Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

To keep the fire burning, he collapsed his structure to merge into the PDP in 2017.

But because of conflicts of interest, irreconcilable disputes in the PDP did not make the marriage last.

He, alongside other aggrieved members from Labour Party and All Progressives Congress APC, among other parties, pioneered the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Oyo in 2018.

But after a brief sojourn in the party, the alliance of grief became a piece of beef marred with skirmishes.

Ladoja, with his followers, moved to the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in December 2018, where he was until 2019 when the state witnessed a big political turnaround.

The 2019 alliance and Ladoja’s stewardship

After Senator Abiola Ajimobi’s record-breaking eight years as governor of the state, other political parties did not want him to succeed in enthroning his anointed successor.

They merged and stood behind the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engineer Seyi Makinde.

ADC’s Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, alongside Governor Ladoja, spearheaded the coalition three days before the gubernatorial election.

Governor Ladoja asked the gubernatorial candidate of his party, Barrister Sarafadeen Abiodun Alli, to stand behind the PDP candidate, a coalition that yielded results as Makinde emerged winner at the polls. 

Less than a year into Makinde’s administration in the state, Ladoja, alongside other frontiers of the coalition, became dissatisfied and withdrew their support for the governor one after the other.

Ladoja has enjoined all his supporters to support the 2023 gubernatorial candidate of the APC, Senator Teslim Folarin, a tricky political move.

Make or break for Ladoja?

The realities behind the fallout of the coalition that produced Makinde as governor in 2019 are still unknown, but members of the coalition who have spoken to the public have maintained that Makinde failed to honour agreements.

But Makinde has been honouring his agreements with the civil servants, at least.

The previous administration could not do so at the tail end of its reign. 

Consequently, Makinde is beginning to gain sympathy from the public, and his camp has also labelled Ladoja and other politicians as gluttonous self-orientated dictators.

If Ladoja and the gubernatorial candidate of the APC fail on Saturday, Ladoja’s political significance would be the worst hit. 

The emblem of self-centredness Makinde and his camp have successfully tagged Ladoja will stay with him forever if his anointed candidate loses.

Also, a political renaissance will be far-fetched if he loses the 2023 battle. 

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Yusuf Adua
Yusuf Adua

Yusuf Adua is an investigative journalist passionate about politics, solution-based reporting and f...

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