By Jackson Udom
The much talked about South West Zonal Congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may have come and gone, though the dust it has raised in the political firmament is yet to subside.
However, one thing was about to be played out within the Oyo State chapter of the party and that was the subtle or indirect return of the levers of control of the umbrella party in the state to the base of the late strong man of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu.
Adedibu, while alive, was the undisputed leader of the party in the state and his leadership also spread as far as the whole six states in the zone. He was called the Garrison Commander of Ibadan politics by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who likened him to a dried fish which could not be bent but managed by the governor of the state.
His control of the party machinery in the pacesetter state, went largely unchallenged by party stakeholders across the length and breath of the Oyo State in particular and the zone in general.
Suffice to say that Adedibu singlehandedly installed the only two PDP governors in the state; Senator Rasheed Ladoja and Otunba Adebayo Alao- Akala, while he was alive and after his demise, the PDP took the back seat, until luck shone on the party again through the incumbent governor, Seyi Makinde.
Prior to the emergence of Makinde almost two years now, the hitherto unity, and cohesion within the party which saw it winning two terms of office, had nose dived, shortly after the demise of Adedibu. Those who took over the party leadership from the late politician may have lacked the skills, strategy and clout to keep the party together hence, it became a matter of ‘To your tent Oh Israel’ after his death and the lost of the governorship seat to the rival All Progressives Congress(APC).
The name, Adedibu was no more heard in political discuss within the state and particularly the PDP which he laboured to assert on the political turf of the state. His name became a mere point of reference to politicians, who were seeking one office or the other on the party’s platform.
The Molete abode of Adedibu which had over the years been turned to a Mecca for established and aspiring politicians, suddenly became a ghost of it self
However, in the run off to the just concluded zonal congress of the party, two names propped up on the list of those who were being supported by Governor Seyi Makinde for the chairmanship position in person of Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, who was a former deputy governor of the state, and the widow of the late politician, Alhaja Bosede Adedibu, the zonal Woman Leader.
Arapaja, a known loyalist, political foot soldier and political son of Adedibu became a member of the House of Representatives and later the deputy governor of the state, through the tacit support and endorsement of the late Ibadan political warlord.
Political observers are therefore of the opinion that, Makinde by this singular action, may have unknowingly succeeded in giving the Adedibu political family a lifeline by endorsing and working for the election of the duo as zonal officers of the party, thereby returning political activities back to the Famous Molete political base.