Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ibadan Without Adedibu

THE demise of Chief Lamidi Adedibu would leave Ibadan without its commander, who for decades dictated the fate of the ancient city. Ibadan cannot be the same without Adedibu who made no excuses for his tendencies and his remarkable manner of enforcing his politics.

He was the factor in Ibadan politics for all the arguable reasons. He relished his association with the masses, from whom he recruited an army that was blindly loyal to him. His orders often put the city on the boil, yet the authorities did not deter Adedibu to the consternation of all who thought law and order were vital to the survival of society.

Adedibu got all the official approval he required to operate. Col. Ahmadu Ali, as PDP Chairman, in January 2007 called Adedibu the garrison commander of Ibadan , advising all to take his orders.

In the instances they threatened to arrest him, retractions of the threats and apologies followed. He lived above the law. He saw to it that his followers also did.

The mayhem that went on in Ibadan preparatory to the impeachment of Rashidi Ladoja and the 2007 elections had the signature of Adedibu all over it. He neither denied his involvement in them nor promised to stop the upheavals.

This commanding control of Ibadan made him a favourite of politicians, especially of the crooked tribe that wanted to win elections by every means. Adedibu doused his thuggery with magnificent candour.

Once accused of demanding a monthly allowance of N60 million from a man he made Governor, he bantered back, “What is N60 million a month compared to what it cost me to put him there, or what the man himself takes? The new man gives me N60 million and has promised to do more”.

He ensured things went his way, and bent the rules to effect this. He got emboldened enough that the law was bent for him at the least hint that he was interested in an issue. Law enforcement officers posted to Ibadan knew the law was about Adedibu who boasted garrulously about his status.

Ibadan was about Adedibu. Only the laws he wanted mattered. The live television coverage of the carnage in Ibadan, with youth wielding guns and machetes against each other, in broad daylight, without bothering to cover their faces, testifies to their confidence in Adedibu to protect them. None of those identifiable thugs was arrested just as Adedibu had promised.

Politicians who patronised him may not miss him. They can find several other father figures for the thugs that roam the city in search of opportunities. The spread extends to the motor parks where Adedibu’s proxies are lords.

His real mourners would be the hundreds of poor people who thronged his expansive Ibadan home several times daily for free meals of amala. He never failed to oblige them. This practice has lasted decades and it is doubtful where the devotees will find their next meals.