Date Published: 12/04/09
N6 Billion Fraud: EFCC set to nail Ladoja ...As he moves to trade loyalists for soft landing
As the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), is set to nail former Oyo State Governor, Rasheed Ladoja and three of his commissioners over N6billion misappropriation charge, feelers from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital indicate that Ladoja, is trying to trade his former council chairmen who were loyal to him during the 2007 council elections, for a soft landing.
Even though the EFCC has already taken testimonies of some witnesses, pointblanknews learnt that Ladoja is trying to prevail on the 33 council chairmen sacked by incumbent, Adebayo Akala to withdraw the case against Akala to enable him (Ladoja) work out some compromise before the case comes to a close.
Few days before Ladoja left office,( May 24, 2007), he hurriedly conducted council elections with the aim of installing those who will frustrate Akala. The 33 council bosses were sworn-in on May 27. But by May 29, even before they took office, Akala sent them packing for sundry constitutional and political reasons. Shortly after he took office, he installed his own men. Most of those sacked were of the Action Congress (AC), while Akala is People Democratic Part(PDP).
Ladoja who came to office under the PDP, at some point when he realized his second term bid was shaky, decided to flirt with the AC, ANPP and Labor Party. When he lost the nomination to be PDP’s standard-bearer, he decided to back the AC candidates for chairmanship. And with the power of incumbency, they won.
The council bosses led by Ladoja hired the services of Akin Olujimi and headed for the courts. Two years after, Ladoja came out of the woods, when he realized the game was up with the EFCC, to ask for signatures of his former loyalists to drop the case which comes up at the Appeal Court on January 12 2009.
Pointblanknews learnt that the strategy of Ladoja, who is believed to politically spent, is to urge the council bosses sacked in 2007, to go softly on the state. He had hinged his new strategy on reconciliation spearheaded by Gen. Ike Nwachukwu on November 5 th in Ibadan. But the sacked council bosses are not buying it.
It was gathered that two weeks ago Ladoja invited the chairmen to a meeting where he tried to sell the reconciliation story. He succeeded in convincing about half of them, but 17 declined. He urged them to append their signature to a document so he could present it to Olujimi who will in turn work out the withdrawal procedure.
Pointblanknews however gathered even though some of the sacked ex-council bosses saw their case against Akala as useless; they were ready to fight the sack till the end.
Some of the aggrieved ex-council chairmen who spoke with pointblanknews on condition of anonymity described Ladoja’a move as selfish, and useless. They argued that the former Governor was trying to get a soft landing, and ensure the state does not go all out for him in the case involving the EFCC.
Our source said’ This man abandoned us. The November meeting was the first since our sack in 2007. We were loyal to him, but now he wants to trade us. He is politically finished in Oyo State but this move is meant to get a soft landing in his case with the EFCC.
One of the sacked council helmsman, Bimbo Adepoju said “ we have been on this matter for over two years. It does not sound logical that this is about reconciliation. He cant push for withdrawal now, I dare him to try”
Another said “we have been bankrolling the expenses since Ladoja decided to step back. So for him to now turn around ans ask us to stop, is a betrayal and it is clear he is doing it because of the EFCC angle’
Contacted, EFCC spokes man, Femi Babalola, said Ladoja’s case would soon come to a close. He said the commission had got all the key testimonies from witnesses in the N6billion misappropriation case against him and his commissioners. Mr Festus Keyamo is handling the case, he has the details”