Oyo 2019: Ladoja abandons Lanlehin, formally joins ZLP

Rasheed Ladoja
Rasheed Ladoja

A former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, has finally resigned his membership of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), over unresolved matters involving the choice of the deputy governorship candidate.

He told journalists in Ibadan on Thursday that ADC could not win the coming governorship election in the state due to the manner decisions were being taken by leaders he described as “invisible.”

He said he had pitched his tent with the Zenith Labour Party, where he would be fairly treated as well as all the zones in the state.

By his latest move, Mr Ladoja has abandoned his political mentee, Olufemi Lanlehin, who picked the ADC gubernatorial ticket, and had followed him through his sojourn in the Accord Party, the People’s Democratic Party and lately in the ADC.

But Mr Lanlehin told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Thursday that he had put the development behind him and was looking forward to achieving the goals of his election.

According to him, the defection of Mr Ladoja will not affect his pursuit of being elected governor, and if there will be any effect, it would only be minimal.

“I have put this behind me and moved on,” Mr Lanlehin, a former senator, said.

“He has been good to me. We both have a relationship that we will continue to keep despite the differences in the parties.

“I respect his decision and I will continue respect him, but whether his defection will affect my goals, I think it will not, if it will, it will be minimal.”

However, while addressing journalists, Mr Ladoja, flanked by the gubernatorial candidate of the ZLP in the state, Sharafadeen Alli, said it appeared that the leaders of the ADC were not ready to take responsibility for decisions taken.

“Those who are making decision in ADC are invisible,” the former governor said, noting that the leaders failed to carry along the major interest groups in the state which would have ensured victory for the party at the coming elections.

“Most people who are making decisions in ADC are invisible, they are not visible. You can’t see them. That means that they will not be responsible for the decisions they make,” said Mr Ladoja.

“I told you that my apprehension was that the way we are going we might not be able to win the elections because there are some areas that were not catered for.

“I told you about some areas in Ibarapa that were not catered for and we have been talking. The Zenith Labour Party decided that they will field Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli as the gubernatorial candidate of the party. They sought my consent.

“We were formerly in ADC, I am now in Zenith Labour Party. We have been on it for the past three months. The crisis in ADC was unwarranted.

He said the last straw that broke, was the choice of the deputy. “When I got the information on social media, I called Femi Lanlehin and he said he did not know anything about how the deputy was picked. I called Babalaje, Chief Koleoso, are you aware?’ He said he was not consulted. And I said this cannot hold. It is just a courtesy that if you are going to work with me I should be involved in your things.”

He said when he contested for the office of governor in 2003, he chose his deputy, Adebayo Alao-Akala. He said Mr Alao-Akala, who later became governor, was not imposed on him. Mr Ladoja argued that if a deputy was picked for a governor, there would be parallel government.

“I chose Otunba Alao-Akala myself. So he was not imposed on me. I said the way we were going, if we are not very careful, we are going to run parallel government when we get there because your deputy emerged without your consent. So he will say I am representing my group, you are representing your group, That is not good for governance,” he said.

“By the grace of God, we will win. You know that the candidate himself is not sleeping. You have the candidate, myself and people of goodwill in the state. I believe that by the grace of God, we will still win in this party.”

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