Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Barring last minute changes, former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja will, on Wednesday meet former president, Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to perfect his planned defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
A source within the camp of Ladoja told Daily Sun on Tuesday evening that his boss has decided to dump PDP for ADC based on the purported imposition of a PDP chieftain, Oluseyi Makinde, on the party and alleged lack of internal democracy within the party.
PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, Akeem Olatunji, did not pick any of the calls made to his mobile phone on Tuesday to confirm the speculation.
But the source, who did not want his name mentioned in print, said Ladoja, who was Oyo state governor between 2003 and 2007, was still in PDP as at 7:00pm on Tuesday and that he has been in talks with the national and stare leadership of ADC.
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“It is still a speculation. Senator Ladoja has not left PDP for ADC. If he wants to move to ADC, he will let you (journalists) know. But he has been holding meetings with ADC. I can tell you he will leave PDP for ADC. He will also meet Baba Obasanjo tomorrow (today),” the source said.
The source stated further that the leadership of PDP has also been in talks with Ladoja with a view to stopping his planned defection from the party.
Daily Sun gathered that Obasanjo was serving his second term in office as president when Ladoja was also a governor in the state. But, Ladoja was impeached for 11 months and his then deputy, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, took over from him with the support of the late strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, and federal might.
Ladoja, however, challenged his impeachment in court and after a prolonged legal tussle, he was reinstated, and Alao-Akala reverted to his former position. But Ladoja, as a sitting governor then could not win the governorship ticket of PDP to seek re-election in 2007. The ticket went to Alao-Akala, who won the governorship election in 2007 and administered the stare till 2011
It was further gathered that Ladoja formally left PDP in 2010 prior to the 2011 general elections and formed Accord, a political party on which platform he contested the 2011 and 2015 gubernatorial polls and lost on the two occasions to the incumbent governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
Investigation by Daily Sun revealed that the journey of Ladoja back to PDP started in 2017 when the former national chairman, Caretaker Committee of PDP, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi visited him at his Bodija residence to woo him back to the party. Few weeks after, Ladoja moved his political structure from Accord to PDP.
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Ladoja has been in a fierce battle for the soul of PDP in the state since he returned to the party with an oil magnate, Makinde; former deputy chief whip of the Senate, Hosea Agboola, former majority leader, House of Representatives, Mrs. Mulikat Akande-Adeola.
A chieftain of the PDP and a former minister had told journalists in Abuja on Tuesday that Ladoja “will leave the party in the next four or five days. He is not happy that a governorship aspirant is about to be imposed on the people of Oyo. In 2015, this candidate ran but was not successful.
“I believe the reason for his anger is that whoever emerges as the governorship candidate must pass through a legitimate, democratic process but there is a design to subvert this by ensuring the person becomes the candidate at all costs.