DR. Dejo Raimi is a known figure in the Oyo State politics. He was once the Secretary to the Oyo State Government, SSG, who held sway during the tenure of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He was the pro-chancellor, Federal University of Akure.
He is the General Secretary of the Southern Forum. Currently, he is one of the few natives of Ibadan advocating that Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala be given a chance to rule the state for the second term. He spoke with OLA AJAYI in Ibadan.
Are you happy about what is happening here in Oyo State?
I am an elder statesman. All of them fighting Akala even Akala himself, are all my children. I’m begging all of them to let the sleeping dog lie.
Look, I should not add to the crisis. Let us look at the people on the other side. We have people like Elder Wole Oyelese, Lekan Balogun, Rashidi Ladoja, Ayo Adeseun. What are they quarreling about.
Akala is a man whose appearance at the Agodi Government House is destined. He didn’t bring himself there. It was Ladoja that brought him. We wanted him to take Ayaniyi Ayantayo, but he decided to take Akala because he said he knew him previously.
Where and how we didn’t know…..well, they are friends. Unfortunately, Akala could not save him when he was impeached. It was not Akala who impeached him.
When he was impeached because of the constitution provision, Akala who happened to be his deputy became the governor. And he is still there now having won the 2007 election.
Why I am supporting Akala Movement for re-election. Politics is is a game of numbers.
Ibadan has the largest population in the state meaning, Ibadan should have been ruling perpetually until we have Ibadan State. I think by destiny or somehow, the power shifted from Ibadan.
The constitution allows two terms. Why don’t we allow the region that power has shifted to, to rule for two terms permitted by the constitution so that we can refer to it in the future?
Whenever people say it is only Ibadan that has been monopolizing the seat, we will tell them no, an Ogbomoso man was there for two terms. After that, we can have it for more than 30 years.
There is nothing we use number for other than to get power. So, those who are asking for it are right but I am advising them as an educated person to allow the man to rule for posterity.
Once, power has slipped out of Ibadan through our own son (Ladoja) whom we voted in 2003, we should allow the present governor to spend his two terms. It is after then, that Akala himself would support an Ibadan man. If you give him a bitter fight, it is dangerous if he get’s the second term. When he is there, he would go and look for somebody from Oyo and support him with all his power.
So, it is better to allow him to spend his second term now. And we should let him know that we are his friends. Let him appreciate the fact that we conceded the thing to him and Ogbmoso and then and we will get his support when he is going.
But, the argument of his opponents is that he is trying to get a third term ticket sort of
He was sworn during the 11 months and sworn in 2007, was he voted for during his 11 months stay as governor? He asked for the mandate of Oyo State people in 2007 and he got it. He is again asking for the mandate of the people in 2011 and he will get it.
The 11 months is not four years. If he had been voted for that time, then we can say he is going for a third term. But, counting 11 months as part of his term, no, no, no.
Do you think that the internal crisis in the PDP in Oyo State would not affect the fortunes of the party come 2011?
No, no. before the election in 2011, we would have resolved most of our problems. First, we are lucky that the present governor has really performed. Some people are saying, oh, he is not from Ibadan. If he is not from Ibadan, he has 50 per cent of his cabinet from Ibadan. That is one.
Two, the man has really achieved. First and foremost, he has maintained peace in this state. Before now, we had never enjoyed this kind of peaceful atmosphere. May be it is because he is a former policeman and he relates very well with the leadership of the police in this state.
Three, he has developed this state very well. I’m a proud witness to that. When I took out my car, I went to Oke-Ogun, Iganna, Sepeteri, Ago-Amodu, Ago Are and other areas there.
The roads that were not passable before are now motorable. And if you come to Ibadan, when you are coming from the expressway, you link Ojoo, Mokola Adamasingba, Dugbe, Oke Ado, Molete. And from Challenge, he has contructed another road to Apata. Take another one, the road to Olodo, Beere, Agbeni, Mapo and the rest. I mean, these are wonderful achievements.
Apart from that, we have had at least two governors who are Ibadan indigenes. We had Lam Adesina, and Senator Rashidi Ladoja. Which of them has ever thought of renovating Adeoyo State Hospital.
This man has done it. And they say he is not an Ibadan man. Not only did he do it, he did it in a record time. And I was told he awarded the contract to 15 different contractors and they finished it under a month.
There is no Ibadan man who would say he did not take injection from Adeoyo hospital. I did when I was young. Adeoyo is our symbol as well as Mapo. Go to Mapo Hall now, it is wearing a new look. Mapo is a team work. We have about 11 local governments in Ibadan and Mapo belongs to all of us.
That is our pride. When Ibadan man was there, they did not think of refurbishing or giving Mapo a new look.
Are you condemning your people?
No. I am saying the obvious. These are concrete things you can see with your eyes. I think the man has actually done quite a lot. Why are we fighting him. And why are you saying he won’t win the 2011 election? His achievements are there to speak for him.
And if Akala cannot tell you the acheivements by himself, I am telling you. I have gone to all those places I mentioned, I have seen them and I am confirming them and I am an Ibadan man.
Not only an Ibadan man, a very important and patriotic one who will never tell you lie. So, this man has performed. Do you change a winning horse?
You said a while ago that Akala is an apostle of peace and has maintained peace in this state?
Yes. Generally. How many armed robbery attacks have you heard of? Or you turn on your radio and you hear my car with registration number so, so and so has been stolen?
No, for over two or three years now, we have not heard that.
No armed robbery. People can now go out in the night.
People are saying the governor is up in arms with too many important people in the state?
Let us start taking them one by one. What do you want the man to do?
Look. This is a man who met the chieftaincy title in disarray. He did not mind what other obas would do. He met a law on ground and this law he used to make Alaafin the permanent chairman of the council.
Soun of Ogbomoso doesn’t like that, Olubadan doesn’t like that; neither does Eleruwa like it.
Should Alaafin not be worshiping him(Akala) for not changing him? Now, the same Alaafin is fighting him again. To whom does he belong? He did not change the law. So, those people have reasons to be fighting him. No, I don’t understand that one. I don’t think Alaafin is fighting him.
Again, the obas don’t want to meet because there is no peace among them. There is no problem.
There has been peace. It is they who are not meeting. They have been taking their salaries from the local government.
If meeting would cause trouble, well, their entitlements would contrinue to acrue to them through the local government. Don’t let them meet. If they want to meet, there is a chairman who can call the meeting.
Apart from that alleged assassination plot against Alaafin, what do you think could cause the problem between them?
Akala himself answered that question. He said why should he want to assassinate Alaafin? For these reasons I have told you, if other people are fighting him, should Alaafin be fighting him?
Is Akala an Oyo man, and if he is an Oyo man, which is not anyway, is he from the ruling house that he would be contesting the title. Why should he want to assassinate Alaafin. No, no, no. there is something else.
Alaafin is my very good friend. I haven’t had time, when I have time, I will go to him and ask him. I think he was misquoted. Alaafin is enjoying his freedom. He is travelling.
Is Akala from Oyo. This is all traditional politics we play. You do this to whip up sentiments against somebody you don’t like. If you don’t have anything tangible to make your enemy lose, you whip up sentiments. I won’t say he(Alaafin) told a lie.
Some of my brothers fighting him(Akala) now, like Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, will never contemplate leaving the party. He can’t go anywhere. I will go and see Yekini very soon.
I will resolve it. I don’t see anywhere he can go. Senator Lekan Balogun is my very good junior one. He came to join us from the Alliance for Democracy, AD. He doesn’t have any reason to quarrel with Akala.
If Chief Lamidi Adedibu were to be alive, would he allow Governor Akala to go for second term?
Adedibu’s wanting or not wanting him to get the second term ticket is irrelevant. Adedibu is not of election value. I tell you. PDP used to lose in the polling booth near his house.
Look, there are three good elements you need for a political party to win an election. You need the grassroots mobilizer and they must be guided by another group — the intellectuals who are the think-tank that would do all the reasoning.
They are not the mobilizer, they still need the massive mobilizer who would go to campaigns, you need the financier who will spend the money. After this, you need the domestic foot-soldiers.
These are to protect whenever there is external attack. You need to keep them to defend you. So, it was in that group that Adedibu was useful . He did not have any electoral value. He lost in his polling booth. But when you need domestic defence mechanism, he would be there to help.
And he did that very well for Akala. Adedibu was loyal to him till his death.
Well, he did that at a cost. Did he not do it for free? Look, the man was related to me.
His mother is from Ile Gbajero and my father is from Gbajero’s house. So, the man was related to me. The man did not do it for free. He got a fee. If he defended Akala from thugs, he got a fee for it. He would never do anything for free. Go and ask Ladoja. What caused problem between him and Ladoja? Ladoja gave him an assignment.
Get me part of the delegates from Adeojo and leave the election for me. He did that and Ladoja paid him his fee.
Unfortunately, Ladoja did not tell me that when he was doing it. I would have told him in politics, two plus two is never four. He thought like a business if you have sold a commodity that is all. No, in politics, you gave the man an assignment and he did it.
You have to continue paying him royalty after you have paid him the fee for the assignment. Nobody would agree.
Will a godfather let his godson go away after he has won an election?. No way. You cannot do without godfather in Nigerian politics even in the world politics. You win an election in which they played a major role and you want to discard them? You are looking for trouble.