by Azeez Adeniyi
A former Senior Special Executive Assistant to Rashidi Ladoja, former Oyo State Governor, Adewale Atanda on Thursday said the ex-governor bribed lawmakers with 22 cars to avoid impeachment in 2005.
Atanda appeared before Justice Mohamed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos, where Ladoja, is answering charges of an alleged N4.7bn fraud.
Atanda added that only 14 lawmakers eventually collected the cars, out of the 22 he required to stop his impeachment.
The rest of the cars, he said, were shared among Ladoja’s family members.
Atanda claimed to have met Ladoja in 2000 she giving a full narration of how Ladoja’s administration ran into trouble.
He said, “Well, I don’t know exactly how it started but it appeared as if there was a rift between members of the Oyo State House of Assembly on one hand, some political actors in the state, like Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu (late) and Senator Ladoja, and some other external influences from Abuja at the material time. Very many attempts were made to remove Senator Ladoja from office; various petitions were written and at the end of the day, an impeachment process was set in motion.
“Oyo State has about 32 members of the House of Assembly and to successfully impeach the governor, it would require two-thirds majority support of the members of the House of Assembly. That will be about 22 members.
“In order to secure the loyalty of these 22 members of the House certain promises were made by different political actors. One of such was that loyal members would be given vehicles.
“In the course of all these, I had discussion with Senator Ladoja and explained to him that it was important that these promises be kept. At the material time, it was rather impossible to buy these vehicles because they were not included in the budget for the year, so, we started looking for alternative ways to accommodate the request,” Atanda said.
Atanda said he obtained an N80m loan to assist Ladoja.
“The vehicles were bought and collected from the various dealers by the drivers of the Oyo State Government and delivered to the Government House in Ibadan. In spite of this, I think, by December 2005, the governor was impeached from office.”
He said Ladoja was later impeached bit fled to Lagos with the 14 lawmakers loyal to him, who demanded N1m monthly salary each.
Justice Idris adjourned till March 27, 2017 for Atanda to continue his testimony.