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TEN YEARS AFTER LAMIDI ADEDIBU

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BY REUBEN ABATI.
It has been ten years since the self-styled “strong man of Ibadan politics”, Chief Lamidi Ariyibi Akanji Adedibu, died. He died on June 11, 2008. I do not recall seeing many tributes or advertisements in the newspapers or other media commemorating his life and legacy. There was no public lecture or any important statements from those who were his protégés. That this is so is a useful lesson to today’s political Godfathers and henchmen in Nigerian politics who behave as if history has already assigned to them an immortal space on its pages.
Lamidi Adedibu was a colossal presence in the politics of Ibadan, and Oyo state for more than 50 years. Ibadan has a tradition of colourful politicians who wielded enormous influence: Adegoke Adelabu, the brilliant orator and intellectually gifted personality who authored “Africa in Ebullition”, and whose use of the phrase “peculiar mess” got transliterated by his illiterate audience as “penkelemesi”; Chief Mojeed Mobolanle Agbaje, the first Ibadan man to become a lawyer, and son of Alhaji Salami Agbaje of Ayeye, Ibadan who was the richest man in Ibadan in his time and the first to ride a car (1915) and build a house with cement; Chief Meredith Adisa Akinloye, an alumnus of the London School of Economics (LSE), founder of the Ibadan People’s Party (IPP), Chairman of Ibadan City Council and in the Second Republic, Chairman of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN); and Alhaji Busari Adelakun, the “Eruobodo” (“the river fears no one”) of Ibadan politics. There is hardly any other Ibadan indigene apart from these gentlemen who has been more influential in shaping the tone and shape of Ibadan politics and by extension, the politics of Oyo state. Local Ibadan politics is a combination of thuggery, populism, inconsistency, clientelism and intellectual opportunism, with service to the people thrown in as a lower measure.
Lamidi Adedibu lacked the intellectual gifts of Adelabu, Agbaje, and Akinloye, or the oratory of Adelabu – he was much closer to Busari Adelakun, who was his mentor. In an instructive book titled “What I saw in the Politics of Ibadanland”, Adedibu has already given his own eye-witness account from his beginning days with the Ibadan People’s Party and the Action Group, later the the National Party of Nigeria during the Second Republic, but he truly came into his own as the main Godfather of Ibadan politics with the ascendancy of the People’s Democratic Party in 1999 and especially in 2003 when he was recruited by President Olusegun Obasanjo for his second term bid. He filled the vacuum created by the exit of Alhaji Busari Adelakun, and in that aspect, he established himself as a master of the game using violence, mass appeal, and philanthropy to determine political outcomes. During the Second Republic, Alhaji Busari Adelakun was credited with having helped Chief Bola Ige of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) to become Governor.
The main task of that branch of Ibadan politics represented by Adelakun and his followers, was to help deliver the votes, by any means possible. Adelakun would go from one polling booth to the other, and ensure that his clients won the vote. He was later rewarded with the position of a Commissioner (first Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and later, Health) in the Bola Ige government. Both men would soon fall out, and Busari Adelakun resigned in anger. He famously swore that nobody could ever occupy a position that he, Adelakun, left in anger. It then happened that his immediate successor in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy died in the hands of his own sibling. He was beheaded. Adelakun’s successor in the Ministry of Health also suffered stroke. He on account of this became a mythical figure. He would later defect to the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) with the threat that he would get Bola Ige removed as Governor. He supported Chief Victor Omololu Olunloyo who eventually became Governor. His word came to pass. But the Olunloyo government was short-lived. General Buhari struck in December 1983 and Adelakun and other NPN chieftains were herded into detention. He took ill in jail and died subsequently.
It was Lamidi Adedibu who sustained this tradition of prominent Ibadan politicians playing the role of the Godfather, and masters of the politics of clientelism. Unlike Adelakun, he didn’t have to follow the able-bodied boys, masquerading as members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), who snatched ballot boxes in those days and stuffed them. He had the entire city under his control in a manner nobody else before him did. Every major thug in the town reported to him, and he used them against the opponents, but he also at the same time took very good care of the ordinary people who delivered the votes to ensure victory for his clients and friends. Lamidi Adedibu, with the failure of the Alliance for Democracy in the 2003 election in Oyo state, became effectively the most influential politician in Ibadan politics, Oyo state politics, and one of the leading lights of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He held court and juggled the balls from his extensive home in Molete, Ibadan. That was where he held court. He was Ashipa Olubadan but he had his own palace – where he decided the political fortunes of politicians who came to him for help, or persons seeking political appointments. It was not for nothing that he was known as “Alaafin of Molete”.
His home was a palace unto itself. He was also the exponent of “Amala politics” – what is now known as the politics of stomach infrastructure. Every day, Adedibu kept his home open for the ordinary people of Ibadan. Whoever was hungry knew that if they went to Adedibu’s home, they would get a good plate of piping hot amala and a drink to wash it down. Ordinary people who could not pay school fees or hospital bills or rent went to him in his palace to ask for help. He supported them willingly. He was not a herdsman but he had a mini-ranch in his home, at any time, there were more than a dozen cows waiting to be slaughtered to feed the people, goats also, and rams and pigeons. Everyday in the Adedibu home was like a festival. He reportedly kept more than 100 vehicles, to be mobilized at short notice to pursue any political cause. The whole of Ibadan city came to regard Adedibu as the real government: he ran a government of his own. It wasn’t long before he became a national figure of real importance.
Prominent politicians visited him at home, and as they did, they brought bags of money, which in any case, Adedibu shared to the electorate. The politicians who took him as their Godfather expected him to help them deliver the votes on election day and the people who went to his house to eat and collect money waited on him to tell them how they should vote in every election. He would soon become so influential that the then Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali described him at a point, as the “garrison commander of Ibadan politics.” President Olusegun Obasanjo also visited him at home once, welcomed by a cavalcade of drums and pageantry, and he ended up describing him as the “father of the PDP”. Even politicians from other parts of the country who may not have needed him in their own constituencies, patronized him all the same. In his own immediate political constituency, his boys did as they wished. They unleashed violence on political opponents while the state authorities looked the other way. Adedibu was above the law. He was the ultimate Godfather. He once quipped: “…Let me tell you, constitution or law, that is for you men. God has his own law.” There was no one like that before him, and there has been no other like that after him. He projected himself as a Robin Hood, but he didn’t really like the poor, he used them for his own relevance.
In 2003, he had reportedly helped to install Senator Rasheed Adewolu Ladoja as Governor of Oyo State. He himself said so. That is what people like him do – they would help to install a client in a position of political authority. They would then afterwards collect rent in form of cash and appointive positions and exercise influence over public policy. Adedibu and Ladoja soon fell out. Adedibu told the public that he had a prior agreement with Ladoja that he must pay to him, every month, 50% of the state’s security vote, which was at the time about N30 million. Ladoja reneged, insisting that the security vote was meant for security. The Godfather became angry – he retorted that he was the main security of the state and did Ladoja realize that money was spent to get him into office? He swore to get Ladoja removed. And indeed he did. Eighteen out of the 32 members of the state House of Assembly, acting on Adedibu’s instructions, met and impeached Ladoja. His Deputy who was also an Adedibu protégé was immediately installed as Governor. After taking the oath of office, one of Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala’s first assignments was to go straight to Adedibu’s home to pay homage. He went down on all fours to say “thank you.” Ladoja would later be reinstated by court order 11 months later, but the Godfather had made his point.
The kind of influence that the likes of Lamidi Adedibu wielded is a metaphor for the character and level of Nigerian politics. Godfathers still exist in today’s politics and the new Godfathers are just as messianic and as arrogant as their predecessors were. Violence also remains an instrument of persuasion and enforcement, even if since Adedibu’s exit, the level of violence in Ibadan politics has progressively reduced, across the country, many politicians routinely patronize thugs and enforcers. “Amala politics” still exists in form of “stomach infrastructure” – even when some politicians do not turn their homes into a public kitchen and abattoir, they patronize the people by bribing them with motorcycles or boreholes. In Benue state, Governor Samuel Ortom distributed wheel barrows with the inscription: “Gov. Ortom for you”. In another state, a serving APC Senator donated an electric pole to a community as constituency project and took photographs, in Kano state, Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje bought noodles, eggs, and beverages to empower tea hawkers. Now that we are in an election season, some other politicians will distribute cooked food, bags of rice or photograph themselves eating at amala joints or buying roasted corn by the roadside.
Our politicians have learnt to exploit the people’s poverty. Political Godfathers capitalize on this and turn it into a strategy. When the people are rescued from the poverty trap, they would be less susceptible to the greed and exploitation of politicians. Institutions also have to be built and strengthened to check the menace of Godfathers and their boys who decide electoral choices on the people’s behalf and by so doing, frustrate democratic expression.
As a human being, Adedibu was obviously a strong grassroots mobiliser. He was also a strong religious and community leader – he built 18 mosques – but his legacy of stomach infrastructure and political manipulation cannot endure in the long run. One week after his burial, his political acolytes returned hoping that his family will sustain the feast. They were turned back. The pots and pans used for cooking had been packed aside. Over 90 mattresses used by the army of boys that thronged the “palace” had been packed together in a heap to be disposed off. The amala-seeking crowd went over to the home of Alhaji Azeez Arisekola-Alao, an Ibadan politician and entrepreneur, hoping he would provide “amala”. Arisekola was a prominent philanthropist but he wasn’t running a public kitchen in his home. One of Adedibu’s sons, ended up in politics and became a Senator, but he did not follow in his father’s footsteps. Another son reportedly described the late politician as a “dishonest politician.”
Today, the Molete palace is desolate. The in-house ranch has disappeared. The Nigerian electorate, should be reminded that when a politician offers them food in exchange for their votes, that food will soon digest and end up in the toilet, and you’d need to eat again. When the politician dies, or leaves politics or no longer needs you, you’d still have to eat. It is better always to vote wisely and focus on the need to build and strengthen public institutions for the people’s benenfits.
By Reuben Abati

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Global Applause as Jonathan Ojadah Bags US President’s Lifetime Achievement Award

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*Global Applause as Jonathan Ojadah Bags US President’s Lifetime Achievement Award

 

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H.E. Amb. Dr. Jonathan Ojadah, UNIPGC Global President & IRDCUN-EU Permanent Rep. to the United Nations has made the list of 2024 US President’s Lifetime Achievement award.

The honour is reserved for those who contribute more than 4,000 hours of service in their lifetime. Along with the ultimate honour of presidential recognition, recipients usually receive a personalized certificate, an official pin, medallion or coin and a congratulatory letter from the president of the United States of America.

Announcing his emergence as one of the 2024 recipients of the President Joe Biden’s award, Amb. Ojadah in his social media post said it came after a meticulous review and thorough screening of his career achievements.

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He said, “The fruits of unwavering dedication and diligent work are indeed sweet. For all my strides and successes, I give all glory to God Almighty.”

This honour also confers on him the privilege of recommending distinguished individuals from Africa for this esteemed recognition, an initiative under the patronage of His Excellency, Jo Biden, President of the United States of America.

Meanwhile, President Biden in a personally-signed letter congratulated Dr. Ojadah for his service to humanity saying he is proud to present him with the award.
He said, “I, On behalf of the American people, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to you for your volunteer leadership, and I encourage you to continue to answer the call to serve. I congratulate you on taking it upon yourself to contribute to the public good, and I’m proud to present you with the Lifetime Achievement award which will be confered on you during the Global Peace Leadership Summit and Awards on 29th July, 2024 at South Shore Harbour, Houston Texas, USA.
“This honor is in recognition of your commitment and dedication to gather leaders, experts. and successful entrepreneurs to strengthen ties between the private and public sectors in countries and create policy and initiatives is commendable.” he said.

Biden also applauded Dr. Jonathan for the maiden edition of the Global Peace Leadership Summit & Award (LONDON 2023) ,” I take great pride in recognizing your giant stride in hosting the maiden edition with high level session on Nov 25th. 2023 in London with representatives from across government, Diplomats, civil society, and the private sector to address the growing threat to Peace, Security and democratic Governance – A focus on countries in Africa facing Security and Governance challenges.”

Also, a member of US Congress, Sheila Jackson Lee representing the District of Texas congratulated Dr. Ojadah for his recognition, describing it as a momentous occasion.

In a congratulatory letter she personally signed, the US member of Congress extolled Dr. Ojadah for his humanitarian services which she said has been admirable.

“I take great pride in congratulating H.E. Ambassador Dr. Jonathan Ojadah for choosing to host The 2nd Edition of the Global Leadership Investment Summit and Awards Conference (GLISA TEXAS 2024) at the South Shore Harbor Resort in Houston, Texas. Your passion for humanity and philanthropy illustrated in your many initiatives to improve lives both socially and economically is admirable.

“The Global Leadership Investment Summit and Awards Conference aims to help countries by advancing investments, trade, and capacity building. Your commitment and dedication to gather leaders, experts, and successful entrepreneurs to strengthen ties between the private and public sectors in countries and create policy and initiatives is commendable. Congratulations to H.E. Ambassador Jonathan Ojadah for his efforts to promote global leaders and entrepreneurs and further development and investment in countries.”

This grand event and award presentation is set to unfold in the prestigious city of Houston Texas, USA, on 27th – 29th July, 2024.

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Meet Amb. Adaku Dike A Serial Entrepreneur And Talented Nollywood Actor

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 Meet Amb. Adaku Dike A Serial Entrepreneur And Talented Nollywood Actor*

 

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Ambassador. Adaku J. Dike
She is a Nollywood Actor with years of experience. She is not just an actor for acting sake, she is talented, dedicated and beautiful.

With a bountiful of experience in and outside the country, Amb. Adaku has become a household name.

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She has featured in many movies such as Where is Ella, Not a Burden, Hunting the Angel, Green Wave, Teni’s Big Day, Kali, Terila, Beggers Children, Loving Rona, Mind Game, Madam Koikoi, Stolen, Tickle my Heart, Forever My Girl, Retribution, Scare, Royal Turning Point, Silent Prejudice, Single only in Abuja, Domain of Witches , Reincarnate, God Father, Herbalist Nurse and a host of Nollywood blockbusters.

In 2023, she ventured into production in collaboration with the Nigerian Police and did a short film which was eventually directed by Africa’s most consistent Filmmaker, Dr. Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen.

She started her career as an Accountant with Western Goldfields Nig Ltd in 2010 as a Junior Officer, in 2012, she was moved to Eta Zuma Mining and Industries Ltd as a Senior Officer, her deliverables, sense of discipline and professionalism earn her the position of Head of Finance Department and Head of Administrative Department respectively in 2018 till date.

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She is a Philanthropist, the Founder of ‘Don’t Shame the Name’ Advocacy Foundation, an NGO Registered with CAC, that has put smiles on many faces, the CEO of ‘Many Agro Farms Nig Ltd’, a company that is into Agricultural Products and Food. CEO Janny Many Nigeria Ltd, that’s for general services, supply, contracts, event management and logistics etc.

She is a woman of many values who has ventured into various fields including music, journalism and dancing. This is so due to her passion for the entertainment industry. Adaku is a registered member of Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN.

Humanitarian work and support is one thing you cannot take away from her identity hence she is a registered member of Lions Club International (Abuja Platinum) she has held positions such as Secretary and Legal Adviser of the Club respectively.

A Bsc holder in Banking and Finance and LLB. Law; just to mention a few, in 2020, she was given the first Award ( Humanitarian Award, In 2021 Young Archivers Award and in 2022, Ambassador of Culture Award, Award of Appreciation from Lion Club etc.

 

In the Course of her career she has been exposed to many trainings, seminars, conferences, conventions both at home and outside Nigeria which has resulted in her becoming diverse and successful in her chosen career.

She also featured prominently in the much anticipated movie, “Issakaba returns” produced and directed by Ambassador Dr Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen.

Meet Amb. Adaku Dike A Serial Entrepreneur And Talented Nollywood Actor*

#Nollywood, #nollydivas, #issakaba, #issakabareturns, #lancelot #lancelotoduwaimasuen, #Adakudike, #Agn, #Agrofarms, #Lionsclub #Abujafilms, #Where is Ella, #Not a Burden, #Hunting the Angel, #Green Wave, #Teni’s Big Day, #Kali, #Terila, #Beggers Children, #Loving Rona, #Mind Game, #Madam Koikoi, #Stolen, #Tickle my Heart, #Forever My Girl, #Retribution, #Scare, #Royal Turning Point, #Silent Prejudice, #Single only in Abuja, #Domain of Witches, #Reincarnate, #God Father, #Herbalist Nurse, #Nollywood blockbusters, #Omonaijablog, #entertainment, #nigerianmovies, #primetv, #silverbird, #AMVCA

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For the Love of Music and Musicians: Legendary Femi Esho Collaborates with Iconic Dr DK Olukoya to make History

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For the Love of Music and Musicians: Legendary Femi Esho Collaborates with Iconic Dr DK Olukoya to make History

 

 

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Something big and unprecedented is brewing right now! It is massive and its one of its kind. And when it is done and ready for launch, it will take the entire nation, and indeed the African continent, by storm. That is what happens when you have two brilliant minds, one, an accomplished and respected preacher of the word in the mold of Dr. DK Olukoya, and the other, the renowned music encyclopedia and practitioner, the legendary Femi Esho of Evergreen Musical company, come together to birth a phenomenal project.

 

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As you read this, intensive work is in progress to build and complete before the end of the year the biggest music empire ever seen in Africa. It will consist of a music Museum, music library, gallery showcasing Head Burst of Artistes, display of over 1,000 pictures of Nigerian musicians from 1914 and relics of their costumes/old musical instruments, an event center for music concerts, cinema theatre, recording studio and so much more. It is a one stop shop for all music lovers all over the world as it will become a big tourist attraction center for all enthusiasts of Nigerian music.

 

It is called the Evergreen Music Heritage Foundation. The Chairman of this historic project is none other than Chief Femi Esho, the music Aficionado & practitioner, who also doubles as Chairman of Evergreen Music Company, while the Patron is one of Nigeria’s most revered preachers and prophet, the Iconic Dr. DK Olukoya.

 

This will come as a huge surprise to many who cannot understand the connection between the firebrand preacher/prophet, and this landmark musical project.

 

First, anyone who knows Dr. Olukoya closely will tell you that, after his unbridled love for God, comes his intense love for music. He himself is a music Aficionado. He loves music and he is knowledgeable about many genres of music, ranging from highlife to juju, folklore, traditional music, reggae, country music, gospel, etc. And his rich knowledge of music reflects undeniably in the music ministry of his church, MFM. In fact, many do not know he was a music teacher. He still teaches music. This is why it is common place to see the MFM choir sing and perform brilliantly during church programmes some of Nigeria’s most enduring highlife and folklore compositions. The idea is to bring back the morals in these classics and instil them in the minds of everyone listening to them. Little wonder why the MFM choir is widely regarded as one of the best in the world, having won several international choir competitions in Europe and other parts of the world.

 

So, for those who do not know, Dr. Olukoya is not just a First class major, best in his course at Unilag, first scientist to clone genes and a hugely respected preacher, he is also a lover of quality music. And this is why he has graciously agreed to be Patron of the Evergreen Music Heritage Foundation. He knows Chief Femi Esho very closely and respects his works. They both share a strong passion for quality music.

 

According to Bimbo Esho, the Executive Secretary of the foundation, Dr. Olukoya’s financial and moral contribution to the realisation of the project has been invaluable. It is to his credit that the foundation has been able to make huge progress so far. But she says there is still a long way to go and the foundation still needs a lot more financial support from well meaning Nigerians who appreciate quality Nigerian music and desire a legacy that will serve as a custodian of our rich musical history and heritage.

 

“The project is a massive one,” Bimbo Esho explains. “It is a historic landmark project that will stand the test of time and outlive all of us. Dr. Olukoya has been more than supportive to our cause. He has been magnanimous and we remain eternally grateful to him for his love and support for this dream. But there’s still plenty of work to be done.”

 

“This magnificent edifice is situated at Oyedele Ogunniyi street, Anthony Village, Ikeja, Lagos. We are still calling on all music enthusiasts, lovers of Nigerian music all over the world to come support this dream, it will be your contribution to a legacy that will sustain for generations to come all of the enduring morals and intrinsic values that our music of yesteryears taught us, all of which is lacking today. The edifice is a place the youth can come to enjoy quality music and research into the past musical history of some of Nigeria’s most accomplished musicians of the 50s, the 60s down to the 90s.,” she concludes.

 

For the Love of Music and Musicians: Legendary Femi Esho Collaborates with Iconic Dr DK Olukoya to make History

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