The late strongman of Ibadan politics Alhaji Lamidi Ariyibi Akanji Adedibu, died exactly 7 years ago today – yet the memory of that day remains fresh in my mind.
I innocently visited the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan when I began to see indications that something unusual was happening. People were gathering in twos, then threes, tens and hundreds. At first, I thought the president was there to commission a project. But the sad look on the people’s faces made me realize that something bad had happened, someone very important and popular just died.
Cars began to troup in to the hospital premises – choice cars with sirens and hidden number plates. There was no way they could make the situation in the hospital to be quiet – everyone that day was aware that Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu just died.
Until his death, he was a strong voice – the strongest, in the political arena. Presidents paid him homage, governors prostrate before him and his followers worshiped him. If you were in trouble, just tell the person trying to punish you that you knew Adedibu and all your troubles will be over.
He reigned like a king, very few could challenge him without getting hurt in the process.
Adedibu during his time was well known as the father of ‘amala and gbegiri’ politics, and he trod the political arena in Oyo State, especially in Ibadan like a colossus for more than 50 years. Which is why 7 years later, no one has been able to step into his shoes nor have we had another Molete – a place of abode that is more influential than Agodi Government House.
He knows how to motivate his followers. Watch this video that was taken during his face off with Rasheed Ladoja, who interestingly many believe could step into the shoes of Adedibu if only he can stop contesting and start supporting candidates instead.