As the nation warms up for the 2019 elections, one man missing in action is Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, the late strongman of Ibadan politics who passed on in 2007.
I bring a story from his yet unpublished biography. It was in 2003, and the setting was Abuja. The then ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) held its national convention to elect a candidate for the 2003 presidential election.
It was a keenly contested election in which the two foremost candidates, President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Dr Alex Ekwueme deployed enormous resources to curry the favour of the delegates.
Adedibu led the delegates from Oyo State and was the pointsman in the resources directed at delegates from the state. Adedibu was also rising in the estimation of the PDP leadership in the South West. He had the added responsibility of enlisting other delegates from the South West to vote for either of the candidates. Although he was publicly identified with the Obasanjo/ Atiku candidacy, this did not stop other presidential candidates from approaching him for his support. It was such a bountiful harvest.
Election over and it was time to return home. Adedibu instructed his aides to buy two airline tickets. He refused all entreaties to check in his two Ghana must go bags as luggage. When it was time to board, He went in with the two hefty bags and fastened them to the seat beside him. The air hostess worriedly approached him and gestured to remove the bags. “NO, NO, NO!!! Won ni tiketi ti an,” (You can’t do that. They have their own ticket!) Adedibu bellowed as he fetched the other ticket he had purchased for the bags to show to the hostess. The air hostess was beside herself with laughter as she realised what the old man was saying. Adedibu refused all entreaties to remove the bags. The pilot had to be called in.
Adedibu insisted that he could not trust any arrangement that would take the bags out of his sight. He agreed only after the pilot gave an undertaking to return any shortfall in the money in the bags as he took responsibility for their safety to Ibadan.
Of course, Adedibu arrived home safely with the returns from the convention! Laughing later at the stunt,he said that was the only guarantee that his money could get home intact.