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Imam bars Adedibu, Ladoja from Sallah ground

Posted by From Iyabo Lawal, Ibadan on 2006/01/08 | Views: 445 |

Imam bars Adedibu, Ladoja from Sallah ground

TO avoid possible carnage, the Chief Imam of Ibadan, Oyo State, Alhaji Busari Haruna Suara, has asked the Oyo State Governor, Alhaji Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, and his estranged political godfather, Alhaji Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu, to stay away from the Moslem Praying Ground tomorrow, during the yearly Sallah celebrations.

TO avoid possible carnage, the Chief Imam of Ibadan, Oyo State, Alhaji Busari Haruna Suara, has asked the Oyo State Governor, Alhaji Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, and his estranged political godfather, Alhaji Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu, to stay away from the Moslem Praying Ground tomorrow, during the yearly Sallah celebrations.

At least, one person died while several others were injured in an outbreak of violence between the suspected supporters of the two politicians last year at the Central Moslem Praying Ground, Agodi, in the metropolis.

Alhaji Suara, in a statement at the weekend, described the Praying Ground as a holy place where believers gather to worship Allah and not a battleground where some people could settle their political differences.

He also appealed to Moslems in the state "to always embrace peace as directed by the Almighty Allah," declaring that anybody who did anything contrary would "incur the wrath of Allah"

Last week, a delegation of the Imams in Ibadan visited Adedibu in his house where the issue was discussed. The Moslem leaders prevailed on the PDP chieftain to help ensure that tomorrow's prayers go without any hitch.

Confirming the visit, Adedibu told journalists yesterday that he had given an undertaking to the religious leaders that there would be no trouble from his own end and advised them to appeal to Governor Ladoja to warn his supporters to also embrace peace.

He said: "It is true that the Imams visited me and I have given them my words that if my going to the Eid-ground will cause any problem, I have offered to stay away from the place. I will pray elsewhere. I am a man of peace. There is nothing to gain from trouble. I will sacrifice my praying at the ground in the interest of peace."

The governor is expected to appear today before the seven-man panel investigating allegations of gross misconduct levelled against him by the group of 18 legislators loyal to Adedibu.

Ladoja, at the resumed sitting of the Bolaji Ayorinde-led panel, is expected to defend himself against the 14 allegations, which the lawmakers have accused him of.

Also, an Ibadan High Court will today hear the suit filed by Ladoja against all the 32 members of the state House of Assembly seeking the interpretations of some sections of the constitution on the sitting of members outside the parliament.

The group of 18 legislators had last week forwarded a petition to the state acting Chief Judge, Justice Afolabi Adeniran, objecting to the trial judge, Justice Moshood Owoade, whom they described as an undaunted supporter of the governor and sought a transfer of the case to another court.

Seven of the 13 legislators loyal to Ladoja, led by the Speaker, Adeolu Adeleke, had also gone before Justice S.A. Akinola seeking an order to prohibit the panel from further investigating the allegations.

The seven lawmakers through their counsel, S.S. Akinyele, had faulted the composition of the panel by Justice Adeniran and urged the court to halt further sitting of the fact-finding team. Akinola adjourned hearing in the motion on notice till January 20 and directed that copy be posted in a national daily.

Meanwhile, the pro-Adedibu lawmakers have denied plans to sack the existing council chiefs in the state. They warned their pro-Ladoja colleagues to desist from making statements that were capable of setting the state on fire.

In a statement signed by the chairman of the House Committee on Information, Babatunde Esuola, the lawmakers "urged the public to disregard the campaign of calumny mounted by Hon. Adeolu Adeleke, the suspended Speaker" on the insinuations that the impeachment proponents planned to sack all the existing local council chairmen, councillors and other political office holders in the state after the removing the governor."

While describing the statement as mere propaganda to raise unnecessary sympathy from the public, the Adedibu group declared: "No issue has been raised towards that direction and it is not our opinion to raise any issue in that direction."

"We are mostly committed to the allegations of gross misconduct against the Governor, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja," the statement said, adding: "Sooner, the sun shall rise and the darkness shall go."

The 18 lawmakers appealed to all the intending pilgrims to this year's Hajj from the state whose dreams were scuttled to be "calm and accept the unfortunate incident that happened to them as an act of God."

While condemning the inability of Governor Ladoja to secure an aircraft to convey the intending pilgrims to Mecca, the legislators said the House of Assembly would "in due course" set up a panel of enquiry to investigate "the unfortunate circumstance".

"In the interim, the House of Assembly shall request for a comprehensive report from the Oyo State Pilgrimage Board on their activities for this Year's Hajj 2005/2006 programme," the statement added.

But a former governor of the state, Alhaji Lam Adesina, has advised Ladoja to resign, saying the crisis had got to a level that could not be resolved by any group but a court of law.

Describing the crisis as a disservice to the people of the state, Adesina told reporters in Ibadan that the only option the embattled governor has at this critical time is to resign.

His words: "The crisis has got to a stage where it cannot be resolved by any group, it can only be resolved by the law. You know, they have reached impeachment level now and the battle is between the court and the impeachment panel. I do not see how you can resolve it except through that means now. The elders have failed; everybody has failed on peaceful resolution of the crisis although they have tried. If I were in the position of Ladoja, if it happens to me, I would have resigned long ago and leave their job for them and make a broadcast to the people of the state that they did not allow me to work."

The former governor, who revisited the 2003 elections in which the PDP defeated his Alliance for Democracy (AD), said because Ladoja did not expect to win, that was why the party had no programmes and plans for the citizenry.

"I have always said it that the PDP using the federal might rigged the 2003 election in Oyo State. That is just all, and so they cannot know how to use the mandate. There was no programme of action for the PDP government in Oyo State but they brought the federal might and won the election, so they cannot defend the mandate."

On the effect of the crisis on the AD, Adesina said:" It is not just a matter of plus for the AD. Not at all. It is beyond that. It shows that the system which Ladoja has created himself, he is now a victim of it. He is not respecting the rule of law; I wonder why he should be going to court now when he did not allow those who won the election legitimately to be sworn in."

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