Nigeria is so complex now no one knows where the next arrow will come from —Ladoja

A former governor of Oyo State and Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, was 75 years on September 25. He shares his growing up experience, his disappointments with the country Nigeria after 59 years of independence, how he and his friend, Zed Abule floated Crystal Bank which changed to Standard Trust Bank, which is now a key component of United Bank for Africa (UBA), how Total Nigeria gave him employment letter four months before his graduation from the and the untold story of his impeachment as governor, among others, with DARE ADEKANMBI.

 

HOW eventful has been your 75 years on earth?

There are successes and failures. There are triumphs and disappointments. And in the long run, I will say that I’m grateful to God that I can claim more triumphs than disappointments. When you get a stage in life, you ask yourself what is important, then it is not your successes and triumphs that are important, but are you leaving the world better than you met it. And where is my world? My world is here. My world is Ibadan. My world is Oyo State. My world is Nigeria and my world is Africa, before I now talk about the other world. Am I leaving this world better than I met it? That is why I said there have been triumphs and disappointments.

 

Talking about success and failures, most Nigerians only know Ladoja, the politician. When you mention successes and failures, they will measure them in terms of successes and disappointments in politics. As a businessman, did you experience disappointments?

Of course, there are disappointments because you expect certain things to go this way, but due to factors that are not within your control, either a change in policy, you meet failures; you think that you should go this way, somebody is saying you should go another way and you have no choice but to go that way. So, those are the things that you face that can bring disappointments.

 

Could you share some examples?

By now, I think Nigeria should be self-sufficient in food production. That is the most important thing to any human being after air and water and after that one comes shelter. But where are we? Are we self-sufficient? I am not even talking about the quality of food but availability of it. I mean Nigerians are hungry today. When we were young and we killed a chicken in the house, it lasted us about three days — father, wife and children — because what goes to the children are the legs and the head. But nowadays, your children have choices. They want the drumstick and there are only two in a chicken, so you can see if I want to rate from my own side, I will say yes, I am living better than I was living when I was young. If you look at it from the angle that Nigeria has got this vast land and we cannot exploit it correctly, that is a disappointment. You have a Nigeria that has petroleum, but cannot refine what it will use, with all the engineers that we have trained.  It is a disappointment. Nowadays, I hear the brain drain among the doctors is very high, which means we are training them for the world and not our own use. People still suffer from diseases and can’t access quality medical care, maybe some of us can afford it. You set up an objective, you cannot achieve it and not because you are not competent or you do not know what to do but in most cases, due to factors that are beyond your control. These are all disappointments.

Disappointments about Nigeria and Africa are worse than I can think. But for me, I can say yes, practically, I can live anywhere in the world, but this is my home. This is where I was born. This is where I grew up and this is where I will die. So, I like leaving it better than I met it. People will start telling you life expectancy is higher now that diseases are being cured. But are we the ones that contributed to those breakthroughs? I remember very well there was a time small pox was very high and I was just entering primary school then, when they started giving us number, that is, vaccination and a lot of parents came to take their children from school because they said they were writing number on their head whereas that was not true, just some scratches and that has helped a lot of us in disease prevention. We are still looking for solution to malaria that is endemic and most of the malaria drugs are not even produced in Nigeria. Of course, we take agbo, that is herbs, but have we refined it to the level that we can say we are comfortable with it? Do we know the right dosage? These are all the disappointments that we face, starting from the fact that we cannot even feed ourselves in a vast land. I can say I feed myself though because I plant my rice. I eat Ofada rice. I am even doing experiment with guinea fowl. I rear it, but that is not sufficient. That is why I said I am not going to talk about my own growth. People will say Ladoja, you have grown. Your father was just a mere councilor, you went on to become a senator and then a governor. So you are successful. But the more you think, the more you grow, the more you are disappointed, because you find out you are not where you should be. It is not your own personal achievement that is important, but your collective achievement as a group, that is what is important. Those are parts of the disappointment. And at times, you know there are solutions and you are capable of bringing those solutions, like I was telling someone, a serious government can solve the issue of vegetable oil within two years without closing the borders. You tell soldiers to close the borders because people are bringing in rice and oil. I told you I plant my Ofada rice which I’m told is more expensive than the imported rice. This means we can do more, but everything is interwoven. I told somebody when we were young, like the theme of my campaign in 2003, when we were young, my father was not eating groundnut oil. He was eating melon oil and it was sufficient. You can plant melon two times a year. So, if you have the land and serious people to cultivate it, you can process it and overcome the challenge. Nigeria is a complex country where you don’t know where the next arrow is coming from.

 

At what point in your career and age did you make a breakthrough that you know you have arrived business wise?

Breakthrough is not a one day thing. It comes gradually and I always tell people that my prayers have always been God, when opportunities are passing, give me the grace to be able to identify them and also provide me with the wherewithal to hold them. So, when opportunities are passing, if you are able to identify and you have the wherewithal to hold them, then you say you have a breakthrough. I have been a very lucky person virtually all my life because of the things that I got that just came to me. I didn’t struggle for them. After my secondary school at Ibadan Boys High school, I went to Mount Olivet Heights, I was a scholarship student, maybe my parents would not have been able to afford it. After that one, I went to Belgium and even the story of my going to Belgium [University of Liege] shows that there is the hand of God in everything that you do. I didn’t plan to go to Belgium. I didn’t even know where Belgium was; my focus was America, Great Britain and Australia where they speak English. The only thing I knew about Belgium then was that it colonised Congo. So, those are the things but as I said, it doesn’t come in one day. Opportunities are passing and if you see them, you thank God for making it possible for you to see and to take them.

 

At what age did you build your first house?

Building houses is not an achievement. I didn’t look at it as a challenge. I was at Total [Nigeria], I got employment with Total in April when I was going to graduate in July in 1972. I was in my final year in Belgium and was just looking for a place where I could get practical experience. Then I wrote to Total in Belgium, but Total France wrote me to come because they were looking for someone in Nigeria. So, I had serious interviews and they made offers that I rejected, but I took the third offer. So, you can see that I was lucky and though I was on scholarship and it covered my ticket, they paid my airfare home. I wasn’t looking for job but I got it and I even went to Munich Olympics after I finished school in July before coming home, though my letter of employment was dated April. I came back and assumed duty at Total. My first day at Total was even a disappointment about Nigeria. The receptionist looked at me, told me to sit down just because I was wearing jeans and T-shirt. He was allowing others he felt were well dressed to go in while I sat down. Later, he reluctantly allowed me to fill in the visitor’s note and the boss, Mr Holtz, jumped out immediately he saw my name and took me to the Managing Director. I was told to start work that day, though I even took two weeks to go and see my parents. The receptionist, Mr Akande, was shocked when he saw the treatment from Mr Holtz who was supposed to be my superior. He came to apologise  that he did so because he didn’t know me and I told him he didn’t have to know me. I told him anybody that came to that office should be given the respect of a human being. And that is what we have in Nigeria. People look at you and the clothes you wear and they judge you. They look at the car you ride in or whether you don’t have a car and judge you. Everybody should be treated as a human being

 

For how long were you in Total?

I was there from 1972 to 1985.

 

Why did you leave?

I resigned

 

Why?

You see, that’s why I said when opportunities are passing, God should give me the grace to identify them. I started as Assistant Commercial Manager/Products Engineer. I was the one who launched the Total gas. I was in charge of gas and some other special products and my MD was one of the people who interviewed me in Paris. So, we already know each other. As I said I was very lucky, it was when I got there that I knew that most of the decisions were taken not at meetings but at informal gatherings. So, when we closed, we would go to the MD’s office to have coffee before going home. We closed at four. So those of us that speak French would go to his office to have coffee. I was the only young man among them. Most of the company policies were enunciated at that meeting. Most of the things that were happening were done at that meeting. I was already a high flyer. I left commercial department because I was causing trouble there. When we acquired new customers, the operations department was not catering for them. I got to the office one day to learn I was transferred to the operation department as Supply Manager, because they felt I have identified that the problem is how to supply customers. When I got there, all the letters [of complaints] I had written, they put them in a file and they handed it over to me as letters received from commercial department and I was told to reply the letters. So, I replied that the memo was receiving attention and they would get a reply soon. So, I got to operation department and the Assistant Manager was Engineer Teju Oyeleye who was a former General Manager at WNTV/WNBC. He was being trained to take over from one Mr Pogson. That is, how I got into that place and I was doing my job, getting promoted.

It happened that our company, Total, I was a in charge of Marketers Re-planning Commission. So we were in charge of bringing products from Port Harcourt to Lagos and so on. So, along the line, some Norwegians said they were looking for a charter to deliver bitumen and they told us as the coordinator for the industry. So, we negotiated and I found out that the terms were better than what we had before. Later, they said “why are you people chartering vessels when you could build,” that they were doing it for Indonesia. I said let’s see your proposal and they said we could get one that would do the work of three and buy it over a period of 10 years. So, I presented it to Total, but the company said no, that they were in Nigeria to sell oil, not to run ship, that they were only interested in charter, not in buying and the money the people were asking for purchase over 10 years was less than what we pay on charter.

I had a friend then who was also in shipping, Zeb Abule, I told him and he said “yes, let’s take it. We later became partners and floated Crystal Bank together that became Standard Trust Bank, then UBA. That’s why I said there are some special opportunities and you should pray for God to give you the grace to identify them. So, we provided the half a million dollars these people wanted but later he said he wasn’t going to continue, that when I have the half a million dollars, I should return it to him. So, we signed a contract of five years and after five years, the vessel automatically became my own. So, I became a ship owner.

 

At that time, you have not resigned from Total?

Yes, because I was in partnership with Abule. The industry approved it, so that is a breakthrough. And from there, other things followed. I told you we were the promoters of Crystal Bank. Five million naira was the capital required then from myself and Zeb. I had a problem in Lagos, he had a problem in Port Harcourt; I said look at this useless IBWA, I transferred money and there were issues. He said look at this useless BCCI, they have been holding my money, they said they haven’t got approval from Central Bank. So, we decided to float a bank and that we would get a consultant to write feasibility study for us. He wrote for us and we had a technical agreement subject to conditions; nobody should have more than five per cent and it must go to at least 20 states. That was where we got stuck, to get people from other states. Many people were not ready. In fact, Victor Daniel was one of the people we tried to bring in. So, Zeb became a lawyer. He went to Buckingham to study. At the end, we brought people in to be our shareholders. But the capital belonged to two of us. That was how Crystal Bank started, that when we started making money, they will return our money to us. The CBN agreed and that’s how we started.

 

Can you tell us your defining moment in politics?

That’s another opportunity, you see, I was not interested in politics. I had already branched out into other things. I used to come to Ibadan at weekends just to know what was happening. I wasn’t a socialite, but I knew Dr Dejo Raimi through my cousin. We used to go there and he was very generous to us. If you were sick, he would give you medicine, you would not pay and he would still entertain you. One day, we were talking and, it was during the time of SDP and NRC, he said “Rashidi, there are many people who were jostling to be governors: Lam Adesina, Lere Adesina, Robert Koleoso and so many contenders from Ibadan. I said I have my candidate and he is Professor Wande Abimbola and he said “no, he cannot be because he won’t go there.” He said “no, I want you to support Ishola,” I asked who was he and what was he doing because I do not believe that someone should make politics his sole profession. He said he was a land surveyor who was at that time serving at Akinyele Local Government Area of the state and wasn’t even taking salary. So, he phoned him and he came and we started talking and I found out that he was somebody who could be a very good governor because he was committed to the goodness of the people. He told me what he needed and I decided to help and I gave him dates for subsequent contributions. He later told me he couldn’t believe it that someone wearing Ankara could bankroll the project and I begged him that it shouldn’t go beyond the three of us, that I would not bring any money by myself but that my personal assistant would be coming to deliver the money. I promised him that he would get money on Saturday because I was travelling on Sunday. But on Friday, he sent someone to come and collect money and I said I did not promise him anything. I told Dr Raimi that it was not good because I said the issue should not go beyond the three of us. Why should he send someone to me? God made it possible.

Before then, when they were forming the party, Professor Olunloyo and Dr Adebisi came to me and asked me if I was interested in politics and I said “over my dead body.” I didn’t know I was going to get entangled in it. So, when the time of the run off came, it was smooth. Ishola secured the ticket. Some offers came, I remembered a traditional ruler offered N5m [to bankroll the election], but he put string on it that certain contracts would be executed by him. Ishola came to consult me because I gave him my house at Kunle Abass to use as a hideout. I told him I don’t know if he needed help, but if I were him, I would not tie myself to any conditions because then you won’t be free but tell them they own the party and if they supported you, you would give them a fair chance. So, instead of the N5m, they gave him only N250,000. I told him to take it to the party office and inform them this was what was given to him. So, by the grace of God, Ishola won. The result was on Sunday, by 7.00am on Monday, they were already in my house in Lagos. Dr Raimi and Ishola, to thank me for my support and they asked me, “what do you want in this government?” I told them they voted for you. Why would I want anything in your government? They asked if I didn’t want to choose any commissioner. I said who were they going to report to, you or me? I said “no, go and do what you think is right. I don’t want anybody to say you are not the one who chose me, so and so person choose me. Choose those you think you can work with and can deliver for you.” “The only thing I am going to beg you for is to create hope by making sure people can send their children to school. They can get transport quickly because if they can get transport quickly, they won’t hate the privileged, but will have hope that their children can become something in life too.” So those who have something can live well and at that time my first wife also died. He came to commiserate with me and I asked him to use his position to eradicate guinea worm. And he said, “Why should it be Jimmy Carter that will be talking about eradicating guinea worm in Nigeria?”

On the eve of the inauguration, they all came to my house. It was there they were typing their speech and reading to us and we were making inputs. In fact, he slept in our house and ran home in the morning to change his dress and he said we were going to follow him to take over the government house from Adisa [Abdulkareem, the Military Administrator in the state then]. So, we followed him and also followed him to the stadium. But that night, maybe in appreciation of Dr Raimi’s contributions, he asked me, “Wolu, if I make Dr Raimi the SSG. What do you think?  I said what is SSG and he said Secretary to the State Government. And I said “but Dr Raimi is a civil servant.” I asked him if he could do it, he said yes, that it was the prayer of any civil servant because at that time, we had Abinusawa, who was the Deputy Governor as well as Head of Service to Adisa. So, I said okay, “if you think that you can do it, mind you, this is the boss, you are not co-directors and he has the last say on what happens in government.” So, he said yes, it was okay by him. Then, Ishola said he would announce the appointment at the stadium. I said no. He said he wanted to do so because there was too much pressure on him. So there was a lunch in the afternoon and we were all there. Ishola just announced that he appointed Dr Raimi as the SSG.

Then I came because the 40 days prayer for my wife coincided with the one week of their inauguration, so they came, in fact, he invited [Sir Michael] Otedola, the governor of Lagos then to my house. They asked me to come to Ibadan. I said why, because they thought I was going to be sad and they wanted me to live well again. So, I came and it was the time they were filling the post of commissioners and they were asking me who will be this commissioner for this or that. So, Dr Raimi and I were just picking names. The governor would mention a name, I would say why and after his arguments to support, I would pick the person. I was picking names without knowing them; that was how they formed their cabinet and I went back to my business. In fact, the day I went to see them in their office, I sat down for nearly 30 minutes before somebody identified me because they didn’t take my form in to the governor.  That was when I knew once you get to power, most of the people that knew you would not be able to reach you easily again because the security people they gave them are not known to them. You would fill in the forms and they would take it inside when they like. So, I was sitting in the waiting room when somebody just said “Mr Ladoja,” I said yes sir.  “Does oga know you are here?” I said “who is oga? He said “Governor Ishola. I said he didn’t know but I have filled in the form.” He said “abeg come.” So, he just took me and told them “you don’t know what you are doing, Ishola would not have been n office if not for this man.” That was not my intention. I just greeted them, passed through Dr Raimi’s office and he accompanied me to Ishola. We chatted and they said I didn’t come to see them again. I said because “you are now elehas,” but I promised them I would come. So, one day, when I bought my Volvo, I drove it to the Government House because I told them I was coming to see them. I told them I came to show them my new car and since they were not going out again, they checked it out and we drove it round town.

So I agreed [to take a shot at politics] and that was my unmaking and the beginning of my journey. And immediately, he picked his phone to call someone and said, Baba, “Rashidi ti gba o,” meaning Rashidi had accepted and they have been talking about it, the man said he wanted to speak with me, he did and he prayed for me. That was Baba [Lamidi] Adedibu. He just told me to help fill in the form and I could go thereafter, that they would do all the work. So, I said no problem and when I got home, I called my cousin, Prince Tunji Adeoye, I told him this was the decision that I have taken, he said no problem. He said we needed to visit all the leaders starting from those that contested against Ishola.

On the day of the primary, they were persuading Soji Adejumo to step down and go for House of Representatives, he said no. So that day, you know I was a novice, I just went to sleep. I was told he camped the delegates. I got there late and Soji was already there and he had suggested Lam Adesina as chairman of the congress. I said it was alright, so we went to the primary at the Olubadan Stadium. Soji was to the left, I was right, Dr Olaifa was in the middle. Olaifa had nobody queuing up behind him, Lam was the chairman, later, Lam told me when we started, we were both at 50-50 until it was the turn of the delegates from Ibadan councils, instead of calling Ibadan North separate, he just called Ibadan South-East and I saw Bankole in his jeans and face cap and all of them just followed him. These were the delegates Soji camped. I saw him sweating and using his white handkerchief to wipe his face; then they called Ibadan South-West which was Adedibu’s territory, only two or three didn’t vote for me and in Ibadan North, we had more than 80 per cent of the votes, there was this  Alhaji who was Lai Balogun’s person in that zone. And my line already reached the end of the field. I had two and a half lines whereas Soji didn’t manage to have more than half of the line.

 

From what you have said, you were able to manage Baba Adedibu when he wanted to create problems for you when you started politics, but when you became governor, you couldn’t manage him and he championed your impeachment.

I could manage him.

 

So what now happened?

I managed him. Everybody knew that between me and Baba, we had a sort of good rapport. If Baba had views on six issues and I came and I was able to take Baba out of the groove, by the time he came back, Baba might drop the five for me. That was how close we were. And Baba also knew that I didn’t spare any effort in doing things and in looking after his interest. But when the election was going on, during the campaign, the major crisis we had was that the popular opinion was that Ladoja is good, but will Adedibu allow him work? Remember Ishola’s time, that was the noise and I used to say, look, I am a father, I am a grandfather, I have built my life, if I am elected, the buck stops on my table. So, when we came in, you see even if Baba was good, what about the people that surrounded Baba? The people on the day of inauguration, they went to pull down [Chief Obafemi] Awolowo’s statue in front of Government House, that was the first crisis we had. They took it to Baba’s place, the same day, there was a contractor- financed road in Bodija, and the agreement was that the contractor would collect toll until his money was paid before he would turn it over to government. Baba’s boys said government that put the contractor there had gone and they were now in charge, then, some of Baba’s boys were going to Gbagi to interfere and be collecting protection fees from the market people and in some cases, when they refused to pay, they broke into their shops and were allocating spaces on the road for people to be putting containers and destroying the master plan of the place and in some cases, some of Baba’s boys would go to the forestry and arrest people and collect money from them. At times, they harassed and imprisoned people in their homes. No sane government would sit down and allow such things. So, that was where we started having issues because most of Baba’s boys believed that they were in government, therefore there was no law. So, it was not that I didn’t manage Baba. You see, when Baba sat down and people surrounding him start putting stories to him, I know that Baba could talk but he could not disturb government’s work and it was the same Baba that would encourage them. So Baba just capitalised on this. I have said it many times that 13 of Baba and [Alao] Akala couldn’t have impeached me. I knew that democracy was a game of competition, a game that has got rules, the rule of impeachment is that you must have two thirds of the house and I knew there was no way I could have less than one third. It opened the way for selfish people who just wanted money and there were so many negotiations, there was one that actually made the impeachment possible. It was Obasanjo’s third term. Obasanjo knew there was no way I would be around and the House of Assembly would pass an amendment to the constitution allowing a third term. So, that is it. That’s why Ladoja had to go. And also made a mistake, maybe it was a mistake, maybe it wasn’t, I knew Obasanjo before I became governor, I knew him when he was not the Head of State, that was after he left government, I used to visit him in Ota after he left government and we were very close. So, when I was hearing about third term, I told Baba that I’m hearing about this third term. Is it true? He said who told you, I said it didn’t really matter who told me? I said it was a question of whether it was true, he said it was not true and I said thank God. And I said Baba, if not I would have said maybe you don’t know God. I said God made it possible for you to be president for eight years and I said this is a presidency you were not qualified for. He said, “not qualified? Am I not a Nigerian or I am not of age? I said “no, Baba, that is not it, you know that in a civilian regime, presidency is meant for politicians and you are not a politician, they came to call you. I said there was a time you asked me what was Yar’Adua looking for in government, what did he forget in government house? Secondly, with presidential system, before you start election, you must have tons and tons of your own money. You just came out of prison, you had no money. I know that. I said “I’m sorry Baba, people say that charity begins at home, you could not meet Obasanjo’s relations in Abeokuta, and with all those minuses, God said you are the president for eight years, let God be the one who will decide who will be the next president.” He said “thank you very much, I appreciate.

 

You didn’t study his countenance?

I have said what I wanted to say. Yoruba people say if you and your friends come out a discussion and you are both all smiles, then it means the discussion was not frank. He knows I told him the truth and I am convinced I told him the truth. At the end of it, he also said he didn’t even ask for third term which is not true. He did. So, when I got home in the evening, Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniel called and said Governor General, you came to Ota, I said yes, that I came discuss with Baba. He said “what did you discuss with him? I said I discussed third term. He said “oh my God, you have pinched Baba on his sore, Baba said he will turn you to nobody.” I said if God allows him. So, that was sin for the impeachment. He said “okay, we are going to have Council of State meeting in Abuja, please come early so that we can discuss and I can give you more details.” So, I went and he gave me all the details and asked me to go and apologise to Baba and I said I would go in the evening. But when I went in the evening, Fashawe was there, Baba didn’t allow me to talk. He said “I have told you Rashidi, I will turn you to nobody.” He was going and Fashawe was running after him, trying to tell him he shouldn’t have said that and I answered him, “if God permits you sir.” So, that was the case of impeachment. There were pressure, but you see, it would not have mattered so much if I did not lose some of my staff. We went to Abuja for something, we were coming and we had an accident on the way. That dampened my spirit. Two brilliant young men with wives and children died. Those are the ones that were my political staff, about three or four others that were civil servants also died. And when the thing got to that level, people and other governors that came said we should go and beg Baba. So, we went on January 10, 2006 which happened to be Ileya day, after slaughtering my ram, we decided to meet in Abeokuta. We went and we didn’t take [Ayo] Fayose along because he was Baba’s son. Dr Segun Agagu, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Daniel and I went to him. They knelt down, so I had to kneel down too. Oyinlola is a very good orator. He presented a very brilliant case, Agagu supported him, Daniel and I didn’t talk that. He now said “well, Rashidi, go and resign.” I said I would not resign. He said why and I asked why should I resign? Then he said “if you don’t resign, you will be removed.” I said “nobody can do it.” He said why and I said because “you cannot get two-thirds [of the House of Assembly members] and he said “two-thirds my foot” and got up and Daniel ran after him. So, the three of us sat down and were talking, then Bola Ajibola came in and said “what is wrong with you people, you are leaders in your own right. It is not every time you will run away from fight.” He said “I have gone to see Segun [Obasanjo] to plead that he should leave you in peace because you have not done anything wrong. That in fact, everybody is praising your government,” that he also knew that they were praising my government that my education policy was good and I was not corrupt. So, after that Baba came to Ibadan to see Paba Emmanuel Alayande on his birthday. I went with him and Pa Alayande also pleaded with him, but before 7 0’clock on the following day, I was called that the people were coming with police escort to come and do the impeachment and though when we got the notice, we had already gone to court. We told the Chief Judge then that these people don’t have the mandatory two-thirds, as 14 members of the house of assembly that were not part of them wrote to say they were not part of them. They were only 32 and 18 cannot be two-thirds of 32. Then, they now said they suspended some of them. That is the story of impeachment. Many Senior Advocates of Nigeria that looked at the impeachment said I had a good case and by the grace of God, we won.

 

You fought to install the current governor, but since after the election was won, it looks like you’ve distanced yourself from the governor and the government.

No, I have not distanced myself

 

What is your level of participation in this government if you have not distanced yourself?

I told you when Ishola was elected, I told him he was the one elected. If you don’t call me, I don’t need to come and put my nose into your matter. When he needs advice, he comes. He was here for two hours  yesterday. When he needs advice, he can come. I have not been in Government House or Governor’s Office since 2007 when I left the place. I have not been in secretariat since then. What am I going to do there now? There have been three governments in place since then. He is my son. It’s not me, he is in charge now. When you grow old, there is a time when your father will not even call you by name again. My father was calling me Alhaji, later on I became senator, now I became governor. He would call as asked “Governor, where are you? Can you come and see me? That’s how it should be, so he is in charge.

God has a way of doing things. My objective was to dislodge APC government, particularly when I know that my brother, Isiaka Ajimobi did not build a government that I could be proud of. He had to go, if he had to install somebody, it means his regime will go on. Even if the person wants to make a change, it may, not be possible to make the change. God made it possible for us to say, “look, if this coalition will make it possible for us to send Ajimobi away. My primary objective was not to rule Oyo State, it was to say the state should gave another government

 

Are you proud of Seyi Makinde so far?

Of course, yes. I am. But you have to understand one thing, Seyi is coming from another background and he has not even settled down. Please let us give him chance to settle down. He has just made his commissioners and we have to understand that when you are looking for something, particularly when you want to be governor, you must have made a lot of commitments also on the way. When he was making his commitments, maybe he didn’t think there would be any coalition, now he is trying to find a way of balancing it.

 

ZLP members are bellyaching that they don’t have an appointment so far.

They have not complained to me yet over appointments. ZLP told me I should not interfere; I should let them fight their battle.

 

The word ‘battle’ means there is a problem

I am and should be father of everybody. I said Seyi was here yesterday night. We talked about how everything was going on and he assured me that he has not forgotten the pledges he made.

 

There was an agreement prior to the election with all these coalition partners.

Yesterday, we talked about it and he said I asked the SAN to prepare the agreement for all of them to sign but you discarded it, I said that’s true. He said you asked him not to send it again, why? I said because when I asked the lawyers that are there, they said it is not enforceable, so why do we have to crack our head. Bolaji Ayorinde said it was not enforceable, Femi Lanlehin said it was not enforceable, Sarafadeen Alli, all said same thing. These are the three lawyers, new generation, old generation. They all said it was not enforceable. So, why do you want to waste your time, that is why there was no signed agreement. But there was understanding between them and he said he has not forgotten about it.

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