Ogbomoso-born former chief of staff to ex-governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, Dr Saka Balogun has revealed the roles played by late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu in the botched June 12, 1993 presidential election in Nigeria.
Balogun, alongside others, spoke at the 10 years remembrance of the late strongman of Ibadan politics.
Adedibu died on June 11, 2008 and was buried June 12 in accordance with Islamic rites.
Balogun, who was a liaison officer during the reign of President Shehu Shagari, said Adedibu’s role in the botched release of Abiola was instructive as he left a legacy of unusual courage in situations of intimidating fear and risk.
According to him: “Adedibu played a major role in the emergence of Abiola as the presidential candidate, his election as president in 1993 and particularly the efforts he made to secure a court bail for Abiola after he was detained following the annulment of his election.
“The significance of his role can be properly assessed within the context of the military environment when the episodes were enacted.
“After the election of Abiola and the annulment, which has been described as the best and most transparent in the history of elections in Nigeria, it was clear that the military junta of the day under the control of maximum ruler, General Sani Abacha, would not tolerate any challenge from anybody.
“It was in this dangerous circumstance that High Chief Lamidi Adedibu ventured and succeeded in obtaining a court bail for temporary release of detained Chief MKO Abiola.
But some other allies of Chief Abiola advised him to reject the bail offer.
“May be the story of MKO Abiola would have been different from the court bail which High Chief Lamidi Adedibu secured for him.”
Describing Adedibu as a loyal and committed politician to constituted authority, Balogun said this was manifested in his service to both the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, during the Action Group years and Chief Meredith Adisa Akinloye who was the leader of the National Party of Nigeria.
He also said Adedibu would be remembered for his democratic and populist agenda.
He said: “Adedibu ensured he had sufficient resources to make provisions for the execution of both policies of carrot and stick approach to politics by establishing contacts with the wealthy, mighty and powerful to secure sufficiency and protection for himself, family and personnel.
“Alhaji Adedibu was prepared to sell his property items, including landed properties, to finance electoral projects of his candidates.”
The Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheikh Abdul-Ganiyy Agbotomokekere, led scores of clerics in prayers for the late politician.
Other dignitaries at the event included the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji; former Ministers, Elder Wole Oyelese and Prof. Taoheed Adedoja; two former Deputy Governors, Hazeem Gbolarumi and Taofeek Arapaja; Prof. Aderemi Adedibu; Senator Hosea Agboola; Senator Kamorudeen Adedibu; and surviving wife of the politician, Alhaja Bose Adedibu.