June 12, 2009

Oyinlola reconciles Obasanjo, Ladoja

By Ola Ajayi
Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State raised the ante on his fence-mending initiatives yesterday as he, in conjunction with the zonal leader of the PDP, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo brokered another peace meeting between former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and former Oyo State governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

Chief Obasanjo, Governors Adebayo Alao-Akala and Oyinlola and other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West met behind closed doors in Ibadan to settle the in-fighting that has been threatening the survival of the party. The peace meeting also had the objetive of brightening the chances of the party in the 2011 elections.

It would be recalled that Governor Oyinlola brokered a reconciliation meeting between Chief Obasanjo and his former vice, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. He followed this last Tuesday in Abuja with another peace meeting between former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida and one of the movers of the 1990 putsch led by late Major Gideon Orkar, Major Saliba Daddy Mukoro.

Unlike other previous reconciliation meetings, all the feuding parties in the crisis were in attendance except former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Richard Akinjide(SAN) and Elder Wole Oyelese who sent their representatives.

At the meeting were former Oyo governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, Senator Lekan Balogun, former military governor of Lagos State, Brig. Gen. Raji Rasaki (rtd), Chief Kolapo Ishola, another former Oyo governor, former Speaker of Oyo State, Mr. Kehinde Ayoola, Azeem Gbolarumi, Ladoja’s ex-SSG and former Chief of Staff, Sarafadeen Alli,, Dejo Afolabi, state chairman of PDP and Jacob Adeotro, former state chairman of the party.

Vanguard gathered that Chief Obasanjo had earlier met with Ladoja and Adeojo at Premier Hotel where a source said the ex-president had wanted the meeting to be held at the Government House but Ladoja declined, saying he would prefer a neutral ground.

When they met at the hotel, Vanguard was informed that the former president urged Ladoja  to bury the past behind him and he later convinced him (Ladoja) to accompany him to Government House where they joined Governor Alao-Akala.

Ladoja was said to have made a fresh call for the dissolution of the party’s state executive and that each of the feuding factions should be given two slots each in the new executive to be put in place. Chief Obasanjo was said to have agreed to the conditions given by the former governor.

While addressing newsmen, Senator Ladoja, who was flanked by Governor Alao-Akala said, “Our position has always been that they should go ahead with the reconciliation exercise and that is what they are doing”.

“What we have been saying all along is that there must be true reconciliation. You know that Oyo State is capital of western region, once we settle our rift here, be sure that there will not be problem in any part of the South-west,” Ladoja said.

On the parallel state secretariat,  he noted it was the government that caused it.

The zonal leader of the party, Alhaji Ladipo said: “Our fathers who made the Yoruba people get out of opposition are all here and they would not be happy if all their efforts are wasted. For this not to occur, we have gathered here. When you see all the feuding parties in a crisis come together, it means the matter is half-solved”.