One-time Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja has described former President, Olusegun Obasanjo as someone to be numbered among the greatest leaders Nigeria ever produced. According to him, the former President’s voice is presently the number one in Africa after the iconic South African leader, late Nelson Mandela.
Speaking with newsmen at his Bodija residence in Ibadan, the governorship candidate of the Accord Party, AP, in the last election in Oyo State quickly pointed out that though he is not in good relationship with Obasanjo, he can not but acknowledge how important he is to the Nigerian society and the even the entire African continent.
Since he (Obasanjo) became Head of State in 1976, he has always had a hand in who becomes the president of Nigeria. It was said he had a hand in how Alhaji Shehu Shagari became the president of Nigeria in 1979. After Shagari, the next one we had was when he became president in 1999,” he said.
“Look at this paradox, Obasanjo became president 20 years after he was said to have had a hand in how Shagari became president. He also had hand in how the late Alhaji Umar Yar’Adua became president in 2007. He also had hand in how Goodluck Jonathan became president and he had hand in how Muhammadu Buhari became president.
“Tell me if there is any Nigerian that can be said to be greater than that. Obasanjo’s voice in Africa today is about number one. When he talks, everybody knows that Obasanjo has talked. We should not minimize the fact that God decides what he wants to do. I am not a pastor, but I believe that God has a hand in everything that is happening in Nigeria, and even everything that is happening in the world.
“If he calls the United States President, Barack Obama, he doesn’t need to say who is Obasanjo? The world leaders know him. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban ki Moon, knows him. He may not be the most righteous but he has been the one that has been so favoured. Buhari became President, essentially because of the vote of the North. Obasanjo became president, not because of the votes of the West, it was not the vote of his own people.
“So, me and my brother (Obasanjo) are not good friends o. We cannot sit down together for one hour without fighting. But it cannot be denied that so far he is the biggest Nigerian and as of today, the greatest African after Nelson Mandela, who is no more,”
Senator Ladoja also added that though former president had made decisions that has put the country into problems, he is still well-respected by all Nigerians “I am not saying he has not caused problems for the country, but so far, no living Nigerian has matched his records, whether it was bestowed on him or he earned it” He said.
Ladoja also made it clear that even though he lost to the ruling APC in the 2015 gubernatorial election, he is willing to contest in the coming elections.
“You don’t go to war and say you want to lose the war; you go to war with determination to win. Playing to the gallery is also part of it. You are fighting your opponent, either your opponent refused to be threatened or not. You just ignore whatever they say because there is no truth in it.
“Am I in oblivion yet? No, I am not. Or is it the association of Alao-Akala and Ajimobi that will send me to oblivion? No, it cannot. Even the party that many people think it’s unbeatable, the PDP, which said it would rule Nigeria for 60 years, it actually ruled for 16 years, instead of 60 years. Therefore, you cannot say au revoir yet. It is too early to say they would send me to political oblivion.
“Definitely, at a certain time, I will have to retire from active politics when I become Olubadan of Ibadan land. When I become Olubadan of Ibadan, at that time, can I still play active politics? But today I am not yet Olubadan, and it is not sure that I will become Olubadan. I only pray that I will become Olubadan. How many people that start the journey eventually become Olubadan? May be I should become emeritus politician to train new comers.