A former governor of Oyo State, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, on Tuesday said his opposition to the third term bid of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo led to his impeachment in 2006, The Punch reports.
Ladoja, in an interview with journalists in Ibadan, said Obasanjo rejected appeals by prominent Nigerians, including a late Yoruba leader, Pa Emmanuel Alayande, and a former Attorney General of the Federation, Prince Bola Ajibola, not to remove him.
According to the former governor, Obasanjo threatened to reduce him to “nobody” for daring to oppose his third term bid.
The Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, who will be 75 years old on Wednesday (today), recalled events that shaped his life and said, “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.”
Ladoja said he was lured into politics after he bankrolled the election of the late Chief Kolapo Ishola as the governor of the state in the Third Republic.
Ladoja said Obasanjo and not the late Lamidi Adedibu made the impeachment possible.
He said he was able to manage Adedibu until the third term issue cropped up, adding that the Ibadan late politician and him had a good rapport.
The former governor said the impeachment plot paved the way for selfish people. He stated, “There was one that actually made the impeachment possible. It was Obasanjo’s third term.”
He said, “I also made a mistake. When I heard about the third term, I asked Baba (Obasanjo) if it was true. He said it was not true and I said thank God.
“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 was a presidency you were not qualified for.’”
Ladoja said when Obasanjo insisted that he was qualified and he told him, “In a civilian government, the Presidency is meant for politicians and you are not a politician. They came to call you.”
The former governor said that he was satisfied that he told Obasanjo the truth, despite the fact that he did not like it.
Obasanjo said he would reduce me to nobody – Ladoja
The ex-governor stated, “When I got home in the evening, the Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniel, called me and said ‘ governor general , you came to Ota’, I said yes that I came to discuss with Baba (Obasanjo). He asked what I discussed with Obasanjo. I said I discussed the third term. He (Daniel) said, ‘ oh God, you have pinched Baba on his sore. Baba said he would turn you to nobody.’
Ladoja said Daniel told him to come early for a council of state meeting in Abuja in order to apologise to Obasanjo.
He said when he went to beg Obasanjo, he met a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, Oyewole Fasawe, with the former President.
The ex-governor stated, “Baba didn’t allow me to talk. He said I had told you Rashidi, I would turn you to nobody. He was going and Fasawe was running after him, trying to tell him he shouldn’t have said that and I answered him, ‘if God permits you sir .”
Ladoja also disclosed that Daniel, the late ex-governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Agagu, an ex-governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and he begged Obasanjo on January 10, 2006 in Abeokuta.
He stated, “We didn’t take Fayose (then Ekiti State governor) along because he was Baba’s son. Agagu, Oyinlola, Daniel and I went to him. They (others) 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. He (Obasanjo) said ‘well, Rashidi, go and resign,’ I said ‘no.’ he said why and I asked, ‘why should I resign?’
According to him, Obasanjo threatened that he would be removed if he did not resign .
Ladoja said he told Obasanjo that nobody could get two-thirds in the House of Assembly to impeach him.
The ex-governor said, “Obasanjo said, ‘two-thirds my foot and got up.’ We were talking, when Bola Ajibola (a former attorney-general of the federation) came in and said ‘what is wrong with you people, you are leaders in your own right .
“He (Ajibola) 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.’
Ladoja said that Alayande also appealed to Obasanjo not to remove him, but the ex-President rejected the appeal.
He stated, ‘Baba (Obasanjo) came to Ibadan to see Baba Alayande on his birthday, I went with him, Baba Alayande also pleaded with him but before 7 0’clock on the 12th ( January, 2006), I was called that the people were coming with police escort to come and do the impeachment. When we got the impeachment notice, we went to court. We told the chief judge then that the people did not have the mandatory two-thirds.”