Former governor Rashidi Ladoja has revealed how his ex-colleague, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who is now national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, provided him what he called a ‘safe house’ after his late godfather, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, masterminded his impeachment from office.
Ladoja spoke on Tuesday, when he mounted the witness box in a bid to convince the court that he was innocent.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been prosecuting Ladoja alongside a former Oyo State Commissioner for Finance, Waheed Akanbi, since 2007.
The 11-year-old trial for an alleged N4.7bn fraud came to a close on Tuesday after the ex-governor testified in his own defence before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
EFCC had accused Ladoja and Akanbi of conspiring between themselves to divert N4.7bn out of the funds realised from the sales of shares of Oyo State in some banks.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr Bolaji Onilenla, Ladoja said his travail began in 2005 when his political godfather, the late Lamidi Adedibu, demanded that the security votes for the state should be handed over to him.
He said following his refusal to hand over to the late Adedibu the Oyo State security votes, the late strong man of Ibadan politics organised some members of the Oyo State House of Assembly to impeach him.
Ladoja said, “The group that called for my impeachment was led by the late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu.
“The politician believed he had a right to security votes because he was securing the state but I thought otherwise.
“It was a running battle until I later found out that the Presidency was involved.
“Some members of the state House of Assembly were promised a lot of things by Adedibu. I later got to know that my deputy was also involved in the plot to remove me.”
Ladoja said following his removal from office, one of his aides, Chief Adewale Atanda, advised him to leave the state to avoid a threat to his life and he left for Lagos where the Lagos State Governor at that time, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, provided him “a safe house”.