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Ladoja exonerates Alao-Akala of conspiracy, says his late former Deputy did not mastermind his impeachment as Governor of Oyo State, “Olusegun Obasanjo did”

*Akala's death personal loss - Ayefele

Former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, yesterday exonerated his late former Deputy, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, who served as Deputy Governor in his administration between 2003 and 2007, and also succeeded him as Governor in 2007, did not mastermind his impeachment in 2006, which lasted for 11 months, before the Supreme Court reinstated him.

In a condolence message to the Akala family and to the government and people of Oyo State and made available to journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, on the death of Alao-Akala, who died in the early hours of Wednesday at his residence in Ogbomoso, Ladoja, who opened up 15 years after his illegal impeachment, said: “We were very close. So close that I celebrated his 40th birthday for him in one of my houses in Apapa, Lagos. That was 31 years ago. He was introduced to me by a mutual friend, Tommy Oyelade. That was in the 70’s and since then we had been friends.

“He followed me on exile during the NADECO days when Sani Abacha was looking for those of us in the NADECO. He stayed with me in my house in England and we were going to my office together. We lived together for about a month. He came into politics through me. He followed me to the defunct UNCP. And when he wanted to contest as chairman, the Ogbomoso establishment opposed it and he was disqualified.

“When a new dispensation started in 1998, he came to me and said since I am the one he followed into politics and would not want to go to a different party. But given the circumstances of Ogbomoso politics, he would like to join APP and realize his ambition as council chairman . And I agreed with him to go to APP where he contested and won the council chairmanship election along with seven councilors out of 10, which meant that he proved his mettle.

“It was because of me that he left APP and joined PDP. He wanted to run for chairmanship again, but this was fiercely resisted by party members who had been in the party before him. But fortune smiled on him and I took him as my deputy. He accepted me as his boss until his last day. On some occasions, we had different opinions, but such differences never went beyond the issues. The differences did not go into our hearts because we had some peculiar love for each other. Our boss-subordinate relationship lasted till he died.

“In fact, the last two times we met at functions, first at the anniversary of Alhaji Lam Adesina, he told me he would have to rush to attend other functions in Lagos that day. That was in November last year. At the burial of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, we also met. On both occasions, he took permission from me before leaving. He said he naturally would not leave me behind at any function.

“Maybe as a result of his training as a policeman, he loved taking and carrying out orders. He took orders from superiors without questioning them. When Alao-Akala addressed himself to an assignment, he carried it out with total commitment.

“Like I have said at several fora, it was not Akala that impeached me. It was (Olusegun) Obasanjo and his cohorts. Akala must have been put under pressure by Obasanjo and his cohorts. I don’t see Akala as somebody who betrayed me as my deputy. Whether he participated in the impeachment saga, he would have constitutionally taken over as Governor.

“I commiserate with his wives, children and his political family. As an older person, I should not go to his house now. But I have sent a delegation to Ogbomoso to condole with the family. I pray that God will forgive his shortcomings.”

Meanwhile, the popular gospel music artiste and founder, Fresh FM Nigeria, Yinka Ayefele, has described the death of Alao-Akala, as a big personal loss to him and his family.

In a statement personally signed by him and made available to newsmen, Ayefele said Alao-Akala was one of his destiny helpers and God’s great gift to Oyo State, Nigeria and the world in general.

Ayefele recalled with thankfulness, how the late former governor facilitated his playing for the high and mighty as well as in the Presidency, particularly for former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, among many others.

He said: “There is no way I will write the story of my life and I will not devote ample space to documenting the various acts of benefaction of Otunba Alao-Akala towards me. He was indeed one of my destiny helpers.

“He was one of the individuals that God greatly used for me. He facilitated how I became the darling musician for Aso Rock during which time I became close to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. I have since then been doing musical performances for the Atiku family when they have social functions.

“As part of the unique attributes that set the former governor apart, he was genuinely interested in the progress of other people. He was generous to a fault and never begrudged anyone. Those who wronged him, he forgave easily. I am still in shock. I have been unable to accept the reality that Otunba Alao-Akala has left this world to join the saints-triumphant who have been recalled from their earthly labours.

“My prayers and thoughts are with the family he left behind. Yes, they are grieving over the loss of their patriarch whom they would have loved God spared for probably a decade or two more. They should, however, be consoled by the good legacy of their father, a good man who wrote his name in gold. Let the family and those of us on whom he made great impacts sink our grief in the golden words of Thomas Campbell who once said ‘To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die’. Otunba Alao-Akala will forever live in our hearts.”

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