The Chairman of Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Prof. Adeolu Akande has felicitated with the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland and former governor Rasheed Ladoja on the occasion of his 78th birthday celebration.
Akande in his birthday message explained the journey with the former governor and how he has immensely contributed to the political and economic development of the state.
Baami, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja at 78
There had been talk about this silent billionaire of Ibadan stock. I met him about 32 years ago at the residence of the former Governor of old Oyo State and icon Dr Omololu Olunloyo. I had been invited alongside two other political reporters to an interactive session with Chief Rashidi Ladoja, who was then running in the Senatorial contest in the 1992.
Babangida-organised elections. Although he lived up to his reputation as an unassuming gentleman, the social class he belonged to was unmistakable. He arrived in a caravan that was then one-in-town but in his traditional Ankara danshiki. For hours he entertained enquiries from the three of us who had been drawn from different media houses. He was not your run-of-the-mill politician that we were used to. He had a deep knowledge of various subjects and was a polyglot to boot. His mastery of the economy was outstanding, and his progressive ideas about the role of government were inspiring.
In the years that followed, I became very familiar with him and his politics, particularly in the dark days of the politics of impeachment that disrupted his government in Oyo State. He is one of the politicians with remarkable staying power. Fifteen years after leaving office and two unsuccessful attempts to return to the office of Governor of Oyo State, Senator Ladoja has become the most sought-after politician in Oyo State. His home is home to gladiators of all parties in the state. On a good day, major players in the APC, PDP, Accord, SDP and others take turns to seek his counsel. It is intriguing that all parties in the state feel comfortable (or probably out of no other option) lining up for counsel from the same source and known to all of them! One quality that is in short supply in Nigerian politics marks him out: principle. From the principled stance of defending the sanctity of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election of Basorun MKO Abiola to the politics leading up to his impeachment and protection of the sanctity of the Ibadan Chieftaincy system, Senator Ladoja has proved to be a man of character and principle.
Today marks the 78th birthday of the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, a father, mentor and counsellor. We pray that he lives long to eat the fruits of his labour. Happy birthday and many happy returns, Sir.