By Akeem Abas
Ibadan – Friends, associates and family members of former Gov. Rashidi Ladoja on Friday converged on his Ibadan residence to celebrate him as he clocked 76.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme, which featured special prayers for Ladoja, was organised by Alhaji Sharafadeen Alli, a former Secretary to the State Government.
Ladoja, a former Senator for Oyo South Senatorial district, is also the Osi-Olubadan of Ibadan.
Alli, in his remarks, described Ladoja as a mentor, astute administrator and a political leader with a difference.
He described Ladoja as a respected elder statesman who had great vision for Oyo State and its people.
“Sen. Ladoja is a man sought by a lot of people. He believes so much in indigenous people. Ladoja is a leader who will not be a burden to any of his subordinates.
“Ladoja is always interested in good governance for Oyo State and better life for the people. He thinks about how children go to school stress-free.
“He thinks of how to ensure people have three square meals on their table without hindrance or stress.
“You are a noble role model for all those seeking to understand how to make an impact in their lives,” he said.
Alli, the Ekefa Balogun of Ibadanland, prayed God Almighty to grant him more years and good health.
Sen. Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo Central) described Ladoja as a book to be studied in terms of humility and love for the common people.
“More than a decade after leaving office, your image still looms large as a political dinosaur and key figure on issues centring on development as well as governance of the state,” he said.
He prayed that the Almighty God would grant him more years to continue inspiring them, particularly in the quest to lead the state on the path of real growth and development.
Chief Rotimi Ajanaku described Ladoja as an indispensable, dependable leader and worthy mentor.
Ladoja, according to Ajanaku, is an exceptional leader who offers his goodwill, platform, strength, money, shoulder to many to lean on for free.
He said that the former governor would support political aspiration of others without a dime to help in securing victory and attaining the pinnacle of their career.
“I pray God Almighty to continue to grant him good health and more years in life,” Ajanaku said.
Also, Chief Michael Adegbite, a former PDP Chairman in the state, described Ladoja as a gentleman, astute administrator and respected politician in the country.
Adegbite said that Ladoja was a peace-loving man, who hated self assistance and self-help.
“Ladoja is a politician who is so passionate about the growth and development of the state, unlike what is being witnessed in our state today.
“And this is one of the things that draws Ladoja to the back seat, because this is not what he dreamt of, particularly in Oyo State.
“He is always looking for the continuation of what we had during the SDP, UNCP and early days of PDP, but today is not even a shadow of what we had then,” he said.
The former PDP chairman recalled how Ladoja was wrongfully impeached and how he reclaimed his mandate through the course of law.
Several other dignitaries at the event said Ladoja was their benefactor, mentor and leader, and they would continue to celebrate him.