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The Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has reportedly made moves to beg the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ladi Adebutu, to concede defeat and withdraw his petition from the tribunal.
According to a report, Abiodun dispatched the Akarigbo of Remo, Babatunde Ajayi, and other traditional chiefs from the state to London to meet with Kesington Adebutu, Ladi’s father, hoping to broker a peace accord that will end in the termination of the legal battle.
Multiple sources familiar with the matter told Peoples Gazette that the Akarigbo was joined on the trip by Asiwaju Solomon Onafowokan, chairman of Coleman Cable; Otunba Tunji Lawal-Solarin, chairman of Remo Growth and Development Foundation; Adewale Osiberu, Elepe of Epe; and Timothy Adesanya, Ewusi of Makun.
They told Kesington that they were sent by Governor Abiodun, who allegedly lamented to them that he had lost concentration and was unable to get a grip on the state because of the lingering judicial battle against his re-election
“We have had a discussion with our governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, and we were able to gather from him that the relationship between him and our Balogun is not as cordial as it used to be,” the traditional chiefs said in a prepared statement during the London visit.
“All these have made our rising to the exigencies of this restiveness a compelling necessity.”
The Ogun chiefs noted that a “palpable threat of bloodletting and heightened tension” in the state might escalate if the dispute was left unresolved between Abiodun and Adebutus.
Rattled by Adebutu’s petition at the governorship election petitions tribunal, Abiodun has moved to appease Adebutu before the case reaches an advanced stage before federal judges.
He allegedly contacted Ajayi, who is the most prominent traditional ruler in Remoland, to rally other chiefs in the region for his cause, two sources and documents shared with The Gazette revealed.
Adebutu and Abiodun are both from Iperu, one of the key districts in Remoland.
The Akarigbo had told Kesington, during his group’s April 19 trip to London, that “We are here to plead for reconciliation.
“Your backing is crucial, and it is deemed as the needed bolster for this our reconciliatory mission, which we will be extending to all concerned and essentially to your son- Hon Ladi Adebutu.”
The senior Adebutu, the 87-year-old lottery magnate owner of ‘Baba Ijebu,’ has been receiving treatments in London as his health deteriorates.
Responding to the plea, Baba Ijebu told the delegation that he would not take sides because the governor is like his own child, even though he’s not his biological son like Ladi.
Instead, he read a letter his son had written to him regarding the matter to his visitors.
The letter’s content reaffirmed the junior Adebutu’s decision to reclaim his alleged stolen mandate at the tribunal, come what may.
The PDP gubernatorial flag bearer pointed out that his ambition had suffered too many setbacks in the hands of Abiodun, who allegedly went as far as withholding the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, a state-owned facility, from being used for his campaigns and a football match sponsored by the Adebutu family.
“Campaign started, and every effort for a level playing field was thwarted by the governor. The use of the Stadium was disallowed, even for finals of the Football Competition sponsored by the family Foundation Kesington Adebukunola Adebutu Foundation KAFF,” the PDP governorship candidate said.
Adebutu found it noteworthy that no one had considered brokering a truce when the Ogun governor had used devious means to intimidate him, including a morass of legal disputes spanning 32 cases at different courts.
He said the election that gave Abiodun victory was sullied with “thuggery, snatching of ballot boxes, shooting and harassment of opposing members,” adding that he had “incontestable proofs” that will be presented at the tribunal.
Ladi Adebutu said, “To go into any negotiation to sustain the subversion is ungodly, and we wouldn’t expect any God-fearing people to be part of such ignominy.”