Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stop the Musical Chairs in Oyo State

First as part tax payer in Lagos State I give my unreserved support to Governor Fashola to continue his pursuit of excellence and maintain the role of Lagos as the benchmark for the rest of the country. I however have my eyes set on the other side of the expressway.

Oyo state in general and Ibadan in particular holds a unique and special place in the National consciousness. In spite of recent erosion it is still the capital of research and publishing in Nigeria. In recent times Ibadan and by extension Oyo state has been greatly reduced in the National consciousness to regular political conflicts (not unusual) but also a provincial backwater. Her sons and daughters leaving in droves to record the unacceptable credit of being the only urban metropolis to record a drop in population as urbanisation across the country increases annually by 5.8%.

Oyo State has three front runners for the post and role of Governor. They are the current Governor , Chief Adebayo Akala, Ex Governor Rasheed Ladoja and Former Senator Abiola Ajimobi. Whoever becomes Governor has their job truly cut out for them as politics as exploited the differences amongst people especially pitting those who would zone Governorship to Ibadan people against some other areas. The issue should never be where you come from but the merit and potential that you have to effect change, transform lives and inspire collaboration with the citizens. It is worthy of note that no matter how bad it has been in Ibadan the most neglected part of Oyo state has been Oke Ogun.

The incumbent Governor has had more than the four year term set out constitutionally to make his mark. He at best has tried to conduct targeted management of decayed and decaying infrastructure. He has been bereft of ideas and shown very little capacity to transform the state. His treatment of public servants has been nothing short of irresponsible. The capital city has become a disgusting panorama of hastily constructed, badly maintained, ad hoc shop fronts. There is total lack of any civic authority to manage the excesses of people desperately seeking subsistence in the face of an ’owambe’ government. Mechanic yards strewn major thoroughfares, trailers have their way across the expressway within the city limit, Iwo road is a bottle neck of deep road craters and scrambling motorists without any intervention from any traffic authorities. The markets which are the heartbeat of the city are all in constant devolving cycles. The Government trots out Mapo Hall and roads across the old town as accomplishments. If that is all it has achieved then it is a depressing picture of lack of competence.

Nothing the incumbent Governor has done was done without the active and tacit support of some in the city of Ibadan. In fact Governor Akala became the Governor through the choices of two sons of the City of heroes. The late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu and the Ex Governor Rasheed Ladoja. Ex Govenor Ladoja an accomplished entrepreneur and a proven original thinker enters this contest with an interesting and attractive manifesto. His record in office has been largely transactional and obscured by his successor. His progress in human development in the state is undermined by his failures on infra structure maintenance. However worse he has a record of poor judgement. In his alliance with Alhaji Adedibu, his choice of Chief Akala as his Deputy Governor and now his decision to split the Ibadan vote by seeking office in the face of the opportunity to leverage this largest block of votes so that the state can move on from the legacy that he and Alhaji Adedibu have saddled on its back.

Former Senator Abiola Ajimobi is a proven executive as a former CEO of National Oil (now Conoil). He is also a proven civic minded individual with successful social entrepreneurship through his Vocational centres across the land. He represents a real opportunity to move beyond the musical chairs in Agodi between Chief Akala and Alhaji Ladoja. Like Ladoja his manifesto is ambitious and encouraging. Unlike Ladoja he represents a new way ahead. Some want to vote Ladoja because he paid salaries on time . It is like calling me Father of the year because I paid my children’s school fees. It is my obligation as it is the responsibility of Government to meet its obligation to public servants. It is a mark of how low the standards have fallen in Agodi that this is considered a selling point.

It is arguable that both Alhaji Ladoja and Governor Akala will benefit from the Constitutional immunity from EFCC prosecution in cases that are still going through the court system but we need a clean break. We need a competent executive in Agodi and the choice is Abiola Ajimobi.

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