Alao-Akala: Makinde Visits Alao-Akala Family, Oyo State Has Lost Their Most Experienced Politician

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Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, yesterday, paid a condolence visit to the family of former governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, saying the state has lost “perhaps its most experienced politician.”

Governor Makinde, while addressing the widows, family and political associates of the late former governor at his Opadoyin Lodge residence, Randa area, in Ogbomoso, said the visit was to officially condole with them over the demise of someone he described as leader, brother, mentor and grassroots man.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, quoted Governor Makinde as saying the late Alao-Akala was a lover of Ogbomoso and Oyo State and he did his best as governor of the state.

He said: “I still spoke with him five days ago. I said to somebody that I wanted to ask him to come and flag off the road project between Ogbomoso and Iseyin, and the person said to me that I should not make such move, because he would deal with it politically. But I put a call across to him and he surprisingly said to me, ‘Seyi, I will be there to flag it off.’

“He asked me to give him only 48 hours notice, choose the date and I was looking forward to it. But who are we to question God?

“Sometimes, it is not how long but how well and I will explain it to you. Here, we have my brother, Teslim Folarin. I can also see Segun Odebunmi (Bunvic) and almost all the political leanings in Oyo State are here. We have lost, perhaps, the most experienced politician this state has ever produced.

“Alao-Akala was a grassroots man. He rose from a local government chairman to deputy governor, and to an acting governor and to a state governor. Who else has the credentials? Nobody in Oyo State.”

The governor called on family members, friends and well-wishers of the former governor to take solace in the fact that he lived a great life and give thanks to God even in their grief.

“In the moment of our grief, we must remember that God was gracious unto Alao-Akala. So, we still have the opportunity to thank God no matter how much we grieve over his death.

“On my birthday, he sat very close to me. People may think we are not together politically but in terms of love for our state, we are together. He loved this state so much and did his best as the governor of the state. There are others who may not love the state by their actions and decisions.

“He once told me if we make any mistake, it must be from the head but not from the heart. And I remember I always tell people that, look, I can make a mistake. I was taking a cue from him. So, I want to say the family is not alone in this grief, as we are together. The loss is not only for this family but for the entire Oyo State.”

Son of the late former governor, Olamiju Alao-Akala, thanked Governor Makinde for the prompt response and visitation to the family.

READ ALSO: Breaking News: Ex-Oyo Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala is dead

Meanwhile, former governor, Rashidi Ladoja, has said the late Alao-Akala, who served as deputy governor in his administration between 2003 and 2007, and also succeeded him as governor in 2007, did not mastermind his impeachment in 2006, which lasted for 11 months, before the Supreme Court reinstated him.

He made the disclosure in a condolence statement in Ibadan.

Ladoja, who opened up 15 years after his illegal impeachment, said: “We were very close. So close that I celebrated his 40th birthday for him in one of my houses in Apapa, Lagos. That was 31 years ago. He was introduced to me by a mutual friend, Tommy Oyelade. That was in the 70’s and since then we had been friends.

“He followed me on exile during the NADECO days when Sani Abacha was looking for those of us in the NADECO. He stayed with me in my house in England and we were going to my office together. We  lived together for about a month. He came into politics through me. He followed me to the defunct UNCP. And when he wanted to contest as chairman, the Ogbomoso establishment opposed it and he was disqualified.

“When a new dispensation started in 1998, he came to me and said since I am the one he followed into politics and would not want to go to a different party. But given the circumstances of Ogbomoso politics, he would like to join APP to realise his ambition as council chairman . And I agreed with him to go to APP where he contested and won the council chairmanship election along with seven councilors out of 10, which meant that he proved his mettle.

“It was because of me that he left APP and joined PDP. He wanted to run for chairmanship again, but this was fiercely resisted by party members who had been in the party before him. But fortune smiled on him and I took him as my deputy. He accepted me as his boss until his last day. On some occasions, we had different opinions, but such differences never went beyond the issues. The differences did not go into our hearts because we had some peculiar love for each other. Our boss-subordinate relationship lasted till he died.

“In fact, the last two times we met at functions, first at the anniversary of Lam Adesina. He told me he would have to rush to attend other functions in Lagos that day. That was in November last year. At the burial of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, we also met. On both occasions, he took permission from me before leaving. He said he naturally would not leave me behind at any function.

“Maybe as a result of his training as a policeman, he loved taking and carrying out orders. He took orders from superiors without questioning them. When Alao-Akala addressed himself to an assignment, he carried it out with total commitment.”

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