Nigeriaworld Feature Article - Ladoja: The elephant in Alao-Akala's living room
We learnt that he and Akala met in London. A former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has said he has not . declaring that a father-son relationship still subsists between them as well as other gubernatorial aspirants in the party. With all the emphasis at our disposal and the unity of purpose as exhibited. Alao Akala and Governor Abiola Ajimobi of bitter rivalry with Arsenal but today, he is holding the goal post for the gunners. . side of life and started building a relationship with his old time political enemy, Ajimobi. “Mention the big guns in Oyo State today; you will mention Ajimobi, Alao-Akala, Ladoja. Ladoja was a former governor of the state, Balogun, an Ibadan high chief and to their respective and ambitions or pursuit of personal goals, betrayed the common were of late having strained relationship with Ladoja, their former boss.
Irrefutably, such conflicts appear strong enough as catalysts for other political conflicts and their attendant violent acts. Consequently, by focusing on the reportage of political godfather-son conflict in the South Western Nigeria, this study will come up with useful recommendations on how such conflicts can be reported by the media, with a view to achieving a peaceful political process.
Scope of the Study The focus of this study was the newspaper reportage of political godfather-son conflict between ladoja and Adedibu in the South Western geopolitical zone in Nigeria within a period of and when the conflict heightened.
Consequently, the study concentrated on how selected national newspapers reported the conflict. Five national newspapers were selected for the study, and they included: The selection of these newspapers was also based on some factors.
Hence, newspapers to be chosen in this respect have to be national in their spread and circulation. Also, the ownership identity of the founders of the newspapers was another factor that prompted the choice of the newspapers.
This was to ascertain if there was any relationship between ownership of each of the newspapers and the slant of the reportage of the conflicts. The study was however fraught with a number of limitations. One is that it was not possible to sample all the editions of the selected newspapers regarding their reportage of the conflict, owing to the reason that the data to be gathered would be too enormous to manage and discuss if all the editions were included in the sample.
Also, if all the editions of the newspapers were sampled, there were possibilities that some editions might not carry stories and journalistic genres to be analysed. Thus, a sample of editions that carried editorial and journalistic items needed for analysis had to be drawn for the study. This was done not only to make the data manageable, but ensure that only editions that carried stories on the conflicts were sampled.
Methodology The study used the dialectical hermeneutics style of textual analysis in data gathering and analysis. This method was adopted for the study because it is used by cultural studies researchers to interpret textual matters with a view to bringing out possible intentions of the writers of such text. This method was suitable for this study as it made it practically possible to interpret the intentions, opinions and dispositions of the selected newspapers.
Thus, subjective analysis was pivotal to the study especially for bringing out actually the escalatory and de-escalatory nature of the reportage; and also investigating partisanship, bias and neutrality on the part of the newspapers. To a large extent, the method was used to measure the extent of social responsibility displayed by the newspapers in reporting the conflicts.
Sample and sampling procedure The sample size for this study was 90 editions of the five newspapers. Breaking this down, 18 editions of each newspaper were sampled in respect of the conflict.
Systematic and purposive methods were adopted in the sampling of the editions of each of the newspapers per year for the three year frame Thus, for the conflict, from a segment of two months, starting from toat least one edition of each of the newspapers was sampled, and as such there were at least 6 editions of each newspaper per year, and at least 18 editions of each newspaper for the three-year frame.
However, in order to ensure that sampled editions were editions that carried stories on the conflict, purposive sampling was used to select editions of the newspapers that carried mainly stories on the conflict with manifest or implicit inciting contents. This was done to investigate partisanship and neutrality as reflected in the newspapers in reporting the conflict and its accompanying violence.
Method of data presentation and analysis As stated earlier dialectical hermeneutics style of textual analysis was used for the study. Consequently, in order to generate relevant data through the use of the method, two broad content categories were devised.
Subsequently, these content categories were developed in order to determine and analyze the reportage of the conflicts by the selected newspapers. The two principal content categories were: These were stories that fuelled the conflicts. Such stories increased the intensity of the conflicts and led to manifestation of the conflicts in forms of violence, destruction of lives and property and anarchy.
Such stories were operationalised as: These were stories which contained the perspective of only one of the two conflicting parties at the expense of the other party. Such stories did not report the angle of the other party. These were stories which were slanted in support of a conflicting party and which were unfavourable to the other conflicting party. These were stories that exhibited the canons of socially-responsible journalism and peace journalism. The stories tended to reconcile two conflicting parties by mentioning the two perspectives and emphasizing efforts aimed at resolving the conflicts and the need for resolution of the conflicts in order to bring about peace.
These were stories in which the two sides of the two conflicting parties were mentioned. In such stories, efforts aimed at resolving the conflicts were reported. The data obtained from the use of dialectical hermeneutics were thoroughly explored and analyzed to extract relevant information that are related to identified elements of the study.
Both the implicit and manifest contents of the sampled newspapers were subjected to discursive and narrative analysis. The focus of analysis in the sampled newspapers was mainly political stories with manifest or implicit inciting contents. This was done to measure the extent of social responsibility displayed by the newspapers in reporting the conflicts.
Findings Discussion in this section is aimed at providing answers to the specific research questions raised in this study. This is done through the application of the relevant data obtained through instruments used for this study. Research Questions 1, 2 and 3 Research question 1 To what extent did the reportage tend to escalate and de-escalate the conflicts within the period under study? Research question 2 To what extent did ownership of the selected newspapers affect the reportage of the conflicts?
Research question 3 How socially responsible was the coverage of the conflicts by the selected newspapers? These questions sought to bring out the escalatory and de-escalatory nature of the stories carried by the newspapers. The questions also sought to determine the manifest or implicit inciting contents of the newspapers with a view to investigating partisanship and neutrality as reflected in the newspapers in reporting the conflict and violence that accompanied it.
Also, the questions sought to ascertain how adherent the selected newspapers were to the tenets of socially-responsible media by being fair, non-partisan and reconciliatory in reporting conflicts.
The data that provides answers to these questions are hereby presented and analyzed qualitatively using the dialectical hermeneutics style of textual analysis. However, in order to make the data manageable and sizeable, a few of the contents of the sampled editions of the newspapers regarding the conflict are analyzed thus: Ladoja and Adedibu Conflict Newspaper Daily Champion - In the heat of the conflict, Daily Champion published the negative exchanges between the conflicting sides in form of features and hard news.
The newspaper ignored its expected role of being socially responsible. It published outbursts from Adedibu and Ladoja for public consumption, ignoring the potential consequences of such reportage.
This is demonstrated below: The intrigues, power play: It is now an open secret that Ladoja is not a yes-man, he only stooped to conquer. He took the bow, to get what he wanted and he got it.
Soon after he became governor, Ladoja showed his true colour. He Adedibu thought he can dictate to me. He thought I am a kid, but I disappointed him. This Ladoja is not a kid but a father and a grandfather. I have a mind of my own…… July 28,page 39 This reportage fuelled the conflicting situation and subsequently midwived the birth of other stories that created confusion, helplessness, and ultimately, political disrepair in Oyo State like the below: In the midst of storms: The governor is currently facing the battles of his life left, right and centre.
Governor Ladoja is not only facing the political battle as manifested in his deep-rooted controversy with his political godfather and strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu….
But the recurring question among conscientious members of the society has been why and how did Governor Ladoja find himself trapped in this messy situation? Would the latest plea by President Olusegun Obasanjo to the parties in the protracted crisis finally resolve the political imbroglio?
Time will definitely tell…. Ladoja wants state of emergency… Adedibu claims: Embattled governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja is routing for the imposition of state of emergency rather than being forced out of the office through impeachment, his estranged political godfather and strongman of Ibadan politics has claimed.
January 7, Page 6 Adedibu called a press conference to heighten public anxiety and arouse the emotion of those in the state as a measure to defame the person of Ladoja.
The general picture of insecurity painted in the papers obviously generated panic among the public and made the residents to see Ladoja as a threat to security. This drew a reaction from the newspaper as it came out with an opinion article portraying Ladoja as a weakling and not fit to govern the state. Therefore, the paper, did not fail to repeat and impress it upon the public that Ladoja was swimming in so many problems and has therefore lost concentration in directing the ship that conveys Oyo State.
It found expression in the below: Too damaged to govern Oyo state: Ladoja cannot say without equivocation that he did not know how he was s elected as governor…. Had Ladoja not spent fortunes to get himself elected, he might not have found himself in this dire strait because he would have owed nothing to Adedibu.
And if he found himself in these troubles, he would have resigned honorably This could have escalated the situation to the extent that the supporters of the two sides would clash and break down peace and order in the state.
The argument is that if ex-governor Ladoja had handled Adedibu well, the fate that befell him would have been averted. This argument is however neither here nor there but the fact remains that past and present politicians in Oyo State who ignored or try to rubbish Adedibu had ended up either being annihilated or humiliated.
Even while he held sway as the executive governor, Adedibu continued to tell Ladoja to his face that he Ladoja was hitherto a nonentity, politically until the grandmaster and kingmaker picked him up dusted him and made him first of all a Senator during the ill-fated third republic… February 4,Page 10 In the midst of the confusion that followed, the blatant abuses had turned into a full blown crisis involving the factions of the conflicting sides unleashing violence in the state.
Consequently, the entire Oyo State was became tensed and a beehive of destruction of life and property as reported below: The clash which saw both faction firing several gunshots and freely using dangerous weapons occurred at the Ibadan North-West local government council, OnirekeIbadan. All who knew anything about due process knew that the clear case of illegality could not stand when tested in the law courts.
A few were afraid that the judiciary may buckle under the weight of pressures from those behind the purported impeachment, notably, the self-styled strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu. December 18,Editorial Shortly after the court ruled in favor of Ladoja, the editorial which is supposed to be an impartial opinion of the paper published was biased and was not balanced.
The resentful tone for the Adedibu faction could have further escalated the situation, though Daily Champion could be said to be right in condemning the illegal impeachment, however, it was not detached from the issue as the editorial bespeaks sentiments that are bias in nature. Ladoja gets free impeachment notice: Prospect of another intriguing political drama in Oyo State played out yesterday as 19 members of the state assembly, loyal to Chief Lamidi Adedibu, served a fresh notice of impeachment on the state governor, Chief Rashidi Ladoja.
The move is coming less than two months after the reinstatement of the governor via Supreme Court ruling which upheld the Court of Appeal judgment that quashed his impeachment on December 12, by the same lawmakers….
February 2,Front Page. One would have thought the Pro-Adedibu lawmakers would let sleeping dogs lie and would desist from fomenting trouble. These utterances tensed up the political environment. Giving undue prominence to them could only aggravate the already tense political environment. Newspaper Daily Trust - Normally, antagonists in conflicts have certain misperceptions about each other.
Coming out with a publication which sought to minor Ladoja was not the right thing to be done. Daily Trust published stories like the below taking sides with Adedibu and blaming Ladoja blatantly for his woes.
But instead of skillfully dispelling these misperceptions, the reportage aggravated the situation.
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Most of the publications were not liberal at all. Evidences on this position include: When adedibu laughed last: Adedibu had also claimed that he single handedly made it possible for Ladoja to become governor of the state at the expense of other top Ibadan indigenes…. The governor did not heed the advice and on Thursday, the members of G18 concluded the impeachment process by pronouncing him impeached. His deputy, Otunba Christopher Alao-Akala was immediately sworn in as governor.
January 17,pg 35 The story above sought to mock Ladoja and further turn their backs to each other because; Akala also a political godson of Adedibu was inaugurated as the governor when Ladoja was impeached. Meanwhile, fear continues to reign supreme in the city as residents of the embattled state continue to stay indoors following increased opposition to the new administration in the state. Unsure of the next political development following the removal of governor Ladoja by loyalists of Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, most workers have refused to resume work at the state secretariat…… January 19,front page In order to protest the impeachment of the governor, Wole Soyinka decided to lead a mass rally.
The scenario is as captured: Soyinka leads mass rally today: Opposition to the new administration heightened at the weekend with the arrival in Ibadan of human rights activists and pro-democracy forces.
The task is to hold a mass rally in the city today to protest the impeachment of the former governor, Rasheed Ladoja. January 23,pg 4 As expected, the Pro-Adedibu faction did not find such threat funny and put up hands-on measure to ensure the futility of the rally after been informed by the newspaper, the conflict was reported thus: Hundreds of people believed to be political thugs, yesterday broke up a massive rally scheduled by Professor Wole Soyinka to protest the unconstitutional removal of former Oyo State governor Rasheed Ladoja, two weeks ago….
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However, the protesters were attacked by hundreds by hundreds of machete-wielding thugs who arrived the venue in commuter buses. They were suspected to be supporters of a powerful Ibadan politician.
The thugs on arrival, fired gun shots sporadically into the air and threw bottles as the attacked the protesters, injuring some of them in the process…. January 24, front pg The use of violence- laden language did not help matters and without any confirmation, the paper reported that the thugs were suspected to be supporters of Adedibu even though Adedibu was disguised in some way.
This is further trading blames rather than concentrating on what will de-escalate the already bad conflict that has turned into a calamitous crisis with attendant loss of lives and destruction of property. Stories like the below give evidence to this: The seeming political crisis rocking Oyo State seems to be worsening by the day as ground for another bout appeared to have been set.
There are indications that the state, noted for its political volatility, may boil over again and the existing fragile peace shattered following the ongoing attempt by the state government…. April 4,pg 8 Democracy in Nigeria: Godfathers, gun and graft: But the two men fell out shortly after Ladoja took office………. Since the story was published by Reuters, there was no need to repeat the same report in that newspaper.
This forms part of insensitivity to the conflict and definitely escalatory in nature by lauding the person of Adedibu as a political godfather. Newspaper Nigerian Tribune - Even though the conflict between the two parties had already escalated, the Tribune should not have stimulated the appetite of the public for the conflict and set agenda for public discourse as depicted below: The battle line is drawn: September 13,pg.
With this reportage, the newspaper might have created create panic and a feeling of insecurity generally in the state as the previously minor disagreements between the two parties gave an inkling into what might be expected. The newspaper should not have drawn a battle line for them. This is not solution-oriented but escalatory in nature.
Consequently, the conflict perhaps deteriorated into the hurling of heavy abuses by the conflicting parties. Nigerian Tribune did not help matters by featuring the war of words between the two in different stories like the below: In the story, the newspaper featured the complaints of the conflicting sides by publishing the violence, vengeful verbal exchange between the two individuals.
He thinks he has become, but he has not become anything…. God is not happy. It will not be well with him. He wants to nominate all the commissioners. He also wanted us to handover the treasury to him. This state is too big, too enlightened to hand over to one man. In the last few months, the governor has given this man over N millions of his personal money for various purposes. Is he the only man around?
Frnt pg This is definitely escalatory in nature. This shows negligence and flippancy on the part of Nigerian Tribune as the language used to convey such abusive words could have created panic among members of the State and even the factions loyal to the conflicting sides thereby aggravating the conflict to an extent where the conflicting sides and those in support of them trade blames and engage in verbal exchanges through the newspaper. Also, straight news stories and opinions that tended to put the conflicting parties on unequal pedestals were published to further escalate the conflict.
Some examples are below: Governor Rasheed Ladoja of Oyo State on Saturday confirmed his hold on the party as his candidates defeated those of Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu… November 30, front pg Ladoja, adedibu in battle royale: Adedibu, ladoja renew hostilities: The hope that the strongman of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu and the governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja may soon bury the hatchets and settle their differences was again confirmed unrealistic last Thursday as the duo publicly snubbed each other at an event… April, No second term for ladojaadedibu insists: Oyo State governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has given conditions for which he would be willing to reconcile with his estranged political godfather, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu.
According to Senator Ladoja, any reconciliation that was not based on the interests of the generality of the people would not be welcomed … September 8, Inside page Ladoja held hostage: Senator Rashidi Ladoja, is definitely not schooled in the art of war. He does not understand the rules of engagement. Therefore, he does not know when to launch an attack or to retreat. He clearly does not know when to surrender. It is also very certain that the governor of Oyo state is apparently not a student of drama, as such rules of dramaturgy are lost to him.
He does not understand those grand norms that condition the rise and fall of a hero … March 22,pg 7 All these sought to de-emphasize peace and enhance the battle for supremacy between the duo.
The headline had a suggestive tone that could have been misconstrued by anybody that Ladoja and Adedibu were engaged in a physical combat and Ladoja had the upper hand. This definitely is not responsible and peace journalism and is capable of instigating a party against the other.
Also the reportage of the second story above depicts a helpless situation that assumed a more dangerous dimension with the invasion of the house of a supporter of Ladoja. Even on issues of little importance, the newspaper served to bring out conflict in every story. That the parties snubbed each other at an event should not have been reported for the sake of peace but it was arranged to further drive solution away from the conflict, leaving no room for reconciliatory moves that would mellow the burning issue down.
Although, unconfirmed reports have it that Akala covertly worked for Ajimobi during the electioneering campaign due to his perceived consequences of the emergence of Ladoja as governor that may spell doom for him due to their long-term feud from the days of Adedibu. I will like to quote some excerpts from some of the cogent criticisms made by Akala on the 16th of April, of the Ajimobi-led administration. Buhari did not award contract at questionable amount or neglect meritocracy for mediocrity.
Ajimobi floored his opponents at the gubernatorial polls with so many benefits from the political fever called Buharism I. Muhammadu Buhari's emergence as the President at the centre. Akala gathered the 3rd highest number of votes with only a significant victory in Ogbomosho, his hometown. Akala being a well experienced politician who understands the language of no 'permanent friend or foe but permanent interests' looked at the brighter side of life and started building a relationship with his old time political enemy, Ajimobi.
The way politicians let go of the past that entailed bitter rivalries of blood-letting in such a jiffy is shocking. They also destroyed two cars in the compound and a stall selling food outside the gate of the office.
An elderly woman selling food outside the gates told Human Rights Watch: They came with cutlasses, guns. In summary, Akala placed a call to congratulate Ajimobi on his victory at the gubernatorial election and as part of a calculated plan, went mum on his constant criticisms. On the 10th of December, Akala went public with his defection.
Some bigwigs of the APC tried frustrating his defection. Let him join from the ward level. That is how it is done. We are not aware of his political moves. Governor Abiola Ajimobi described Alao Akala as a formidable force, noting that the coming together of both of them would make them the most formidable force in the politics of the state and any opposition will become inconsequential. In the words of Ajimobi: He is a force to be reckoned with in the politics of Oyo state and in Nigeria, in general.
We are the first So his coming is good. If I now have an arm joining and we are one, who else is left? My dear people of Oyo state, this piece wasn't written to castigate any leader.
The past here is seen fusing with the present which doesn't spell an advancement. I salute the dualization of roads by Ajimobi. I appreciate the 'Operation Burst' security initiative which has helped to reduce crime and disband thugs. Top companies have been moving down to Ibadan from Lagos to exploit the cheapness of labour and productivity as well available market for their services.
The NURTW used to be a recruitment ground for fierce political thugs who blindly take sides with the 'politrickcians' at the expense of their lives for little stipends.
All these and many more could be applauded. The recent defection of Akala brings me to the realization of the fact that the electorates are always the victims while politicians are only stage actors employing the principle of 'Make-belief'. We have read about incessant cases of political thugs attached to various politicians clashing with each other during electioneering period during which lives were lost without due honour and compensation. Several able-bodied youths were maimed with faces disfigured with machete cuts and other injuries out of violence while the politicians schooled their children abroad.
Akala or Tokyo: Who rules Oyo State? - Vanguard News Nigeria
Today, it will stupefy them in the great beyond there was really no enmity among the politicians but their constant attacks were just an observance of the traditions and culture of politics. There is no criterion or quality scale for the admission of members. There is no clear-cut ideology. APC has become the 'church' corrupt politicians run into to get saved from the anti-corruption war of Buhari which has being tagged 'persecution and not prosecution'.
If the leader of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau is granted amnesty today by the Federal Government and he decides to venture into politics with his huge followership, APC may send him a membership proposal to convince him they are the right platform to champion his cause.
He wants to stay relevant. Ajimobi on the other hand, understands the dynamics of politics.