- Alao-Akala Admits Making Dramatic Appointments As Governor
Former governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, has revealed that he made some into his cabinet which were not only dramatic, but also unacceptable to some people when he governed the state.
Alao-Akala, who was the governor from 2007 to 2011 on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said some of the appointments he made threw up some drama, with some made possible through the intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He made the admittance in his book, “Amazing Grace”, noting that, though those affected did not merit the appointments, he went ahead to appoint them as his main preoccupation was to ensure the accelerated development and transformation of the state.
Alao-Akala said he went the extra mile to bring the current Senator Kola Balogun (from Oyo South) into his administration, in the face of stiff resistance from the late strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu.
According to him, the late Adedibu was opposed to the appointment of Senator Balogun because of what he described as the mutual disrespect between the late politician and Senator Lekan Balogun, the elder brother of serving Senator Kola Balogun.
“Since the elder Balogun does the Alliance for Democracy (AD) as a sitting senator in 2001 for the PDP, he and Chief Adedibu had been at loggerheads. They had mutual disrespect for each other’s style of politics.
“But when I became governor in 2007, I saw his younger brother, Kola, as a young, brilliant man and I wanted him on my cabinet. But Chief Adedibu, on account of the cat and mouse relationship between him and his [Kola’s] elder brother, did not want anything of such.
“I made advances to Baba so that he would soft-pedal and approve of Kola being a commissioner. I later gave Kola money to give to Chief Adedibu as a personal PR gift from him.
“Immediately Kola got to Baba and offered his ‘brown envelope’, the old man opened it and threw it back at him and said: ‘”This money you brought to me smells of Akala’s perfume and as such, I won’t take it. Go away from here. You won’t be a commissioner in this administration.”‘
Alao-Akala said he was taken aback because it was unusual for Adedibu to reject money, “considering the retinue of dependants and help-seekers who besieged his house on daily basis.
“I knew then that Baba was very serious about this. I then wondered what else I could do to get Kola on my cabinet and it was about the time that I was required to send the names of the nominees to the state House of Assembly for screening and confirmation.
“Because of the urgency of the situation, I had to go to Chief [Olusegun] Obasanjo in Abeokuta. I told him that there was this young, brilliant chap that could make a lot of difference if I got him into my cabinet. But because of Chief Adedibu’s differences with his elder brother, he did not approve. I told him the name of the chap I wanted.
“I had learnt that Senator [Lekan] Balogun was one of the caucus senators that Obasanjo loved while he was president. So, the former president intervened. He invited Chief Adedibu to Abeokuta and prevailed on him to soft-pedal.”
Alao-Akala revealed that another person whose appointment was rejected by the leaders and stakeholders of the Oyo PDP then was Professor Taoheed Adedoja, who was also a former Minister of Sports.
Alao-Akala noted, in his book, that Adedoja was his opponent as the candidate of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2007 governorship election in the state.
“It was in the course of my administration that he lost his wife. While she was ill, he had approached me and the government responded, assisting the couple morally and financially.
“Eventually, his wife passed on on the UK and he was visibly grief-struck. We brought the corpse home. And after the burial, I thought that he would need help, more so since he had spent a lot of money treating his sick wife.
“I therefore offered him a commissioner position in the cabinet after a minor reshuffle. Expectedly, the PDP family in the state rose against the appointment. They accused him of betrayal and, morally speaking, he did not deserve the appointment. Those charges were valid.
“Professor Adedoja was my chairman of the State Primary School Education Board (SPEB, as it was then known) until he suddenly resigned and dumped the government and the PDP about two months to the 2007 election, only to be the governorship candidate of the opposition ACN.
“The opinion became rife among members of the PDP that it was the money he made as SPEB chairman that he gave to the opposition party and used same against us in that election.
“Much earlier, when I mooted the intention of nominating him as the SPEB chairman, Chief Adedibu did not like the idea at all and he was quick to assure me that PTA [Professor Adedoja] would soon betray us.
“As a professor of education, I found him most appropriate for the appointment and I went ahead to appoint his as the SPEB boss despite the opposition. Chief Adedibu’s words came to pass,” the former governor said.
Alao-Akala said the betrayal manifested at a ceremony at the rebranded premises of the state Trans City Transport Company (TCTC) where SPEB launched a set of basic primary education books procured for pupils in the state.
“It was at that ceremony that PTA chose to inform me that he was resigning to contest the governorship election on the platform of the ACN. I asked him if he knew I was also contesting the governorship election. He said yes, he knew.
“It was the same man I was offering a commissionership position, two years after this episode. So one could understand the opposition among the PDP members for the absurd benevolence I was exhibiting on whatever account, not the least the untimely death of his wife,” he said.
Alao-Akala said he went ahead to make Adedoja a commissioner, after an appeal to party members to forgive and forget, convincing them that, he would be busy as a commissioner and would thus be able to overcome his grief, occasioned by the loss of his wife.
“I invariably forwarded his name as commissioner-nominee to the state House of Assembly for clearance. He was elated.
“When he was eventually cleared and I was swearing him in, in the presence of other EXCO members, Professor Adedoja collapsed and we had a hectic time reviving him.
“It could have been as a result of the toll his wife’s illness and eventual death had had on him. Or that he simply could not believe that he had eaten his cake and was till having it by becoming a commissioner in the PDP government he worked against.
“We had to ask him to take his seat and he completed the swearing-in ceremony seated. Because of his background as an educator, I assigned the education portfolio to him,” Alao-Akala disclosed.
He also said he, as the state governor, was instrumental to the appointment of Professor Adedoja as the Minister of Sports, following the resignation of Mr Remi Babalola from the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.