[Ibadan]–A former Senior Special Executive Assistant to ex- Governor Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo State , Mr . Adewale Atanda , narrated on Thursday how the ex -governor purchased 22 cars for lawmakers in the state to avoid being impeached in 2005.
Atanda said out of the 22 cars that the governor purchased it was only 14 that he , however , gave out because that was the number of lawmakers whose loyalty he was eventually able to secure out of the 22 he required to stop his impeachment .
Atanda explained that the Oyo State House of Assembly had 32 lawmakers and for Ladoja to have stopped his impeachment he needed the votes of 22 lawmakers, which was why he bought 22 cars.
The rest of the cars, he said, were shared among Ladoja’s family members.
Atanda appeared on Thursday as a prosecution witness before Justice Mohamed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos , where his former principal, Ladoja, is answering charges of an alleged N 4 .7 bn fraud .
Ladoja is standing trial alongside , Waheed Akanbi , who served Oyo State under his administration as the Commissioner for Finance .
The ex – governor and the ex -commissioner were last December arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on eight counts before Justice Idris . They had pleaded not guilty to the charges pressed against them and in a bid to prove its case , the EFCC on Thursday brought Atanda in as its second witness.
Led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Mr . Oluwafemi Olabisi, Atanda, who claimed to have met Ladoja back in 2000 when he (Atanda ) was vying for a senatorial seat on the platform of the same political party that Ladoja was then running for Oyo State governor, gave a detailed narration of how the administration of Ladoja ran into trouble after he had become a governor.
“ 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 .”
“ 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 after he was impeached , Ladoja and his allies , including the 14 lawmakers loyal to him fled and regrouped in Lagos , where Ladoja continued to take responsibility for the welfare of the lawmakers , who demanded to be paid a monthly income of N1 m each after their salaries and allowances had been stopped .