In the growing catalogue of Nigerian states that are in romance with poverty and near collapse of infrastructural development, Oyo state, where I come from occupies a conspicuous position especially in the contemporary epoch. And that was why when the outcomes of the recently concluded gubernatorial elections came in a punitive way against the incumbent governor and his party, it was no surprise to few of us who were not deluded about the deceitful hype by the Ajimobi’s government on good governance and performance.
The candidate of the PDP, Mr., Seyi Makinde did not win the election because he was the best candidate or he had the best ideology nor the umbrella party under which he contested had a clear cut ideology on governance but he won because the electorates in Oyo State were determined to put a halt to Ajimobi’s egoistic tendencies and continued relevance in Oyo politics. For some of us who were greatly worried about how governance under the current administration has impacted negatively on almost every aspect in our dear state, we were too sure that no magic or miracle would save the incumbent governor and his party from a disgraceful political exit. We were that sure that our people were/are still not gullible not even when Chief Adebayo Alao Akala was persuaded shockingly at the last minute, to drop his gubernatorial ambition and join forces with the drowning Ajimobi’s party made us to doubt our conviction!
The last four years of the incumbent governor have been characterized with many avoidable faux pas no doubt. Ajimobi’s self-importance, boorishness, policy mystification, apathetic disposition to labor issues, profanity to Ibadan royal stool, thoughtless actions on educational sector especially on tertiary institutions crises in the state, his illogical spin doctoring among many others were the tell-tale of the imminent political injury that was later inflicted on his ego and that of his party in Oyo State. The imprudent emotional intelligence on how Ajimobi reacted to the protesting LAUTECH students on the closure of the institution and the attendant peaceful demonstration by the students of the institution was one last minute political joker strategically used to the advantage of the opposition in the just concluded election. Again, for some of us who did the pre-election analysis in an attempt to determine the electoral outcomes in Oyo politics, we knew too well that the incumbent governor was a tragedy and the proximate mitigant of his own victory and others who lost the elections under the broom house party. The incumbent slurred in abundance in reckless haughtiness and the voters in Oyo state invalidated his political relevance by their punitive votes on February 23rd and March 9th, 2019 respectively.
On such sectors like agriculture, education, labour issue, traditional institution especially Olubadan’s royal stool, infrastructural developments, governance, the current governor deceitfully claimed to have performed wonderfully well but pitifully his hyped dividends of democracy to his people could not validate his political victory at the polls. The streets spoke loudly in Ibarapa, Ibadan, Okeho, Igboho, Igbeti, Ado Awaye, Saki, Iseyin, Oyo, Ogbomoso etc. against Koseleri and his ego!
Now, let’s us do away with the above digression and go straight to the crux of the matter. In about two months to this period, the current political catastrophe will be officially thrown into the dustbin of history and a new political expedition led by Engineer Oluseyi Makinde, the governor elect and the PDP flag bearer in the last gubernatorial elections in Oyo State will officially kick off. Hopefully, Seyi Makinde will represent a new hope and succeed where his immediate predecessor failed. From May 29, 2019, in Oyo State we hope to see a new administration that is not only sympathetic to the plights of the masses but one that is solidly rooted in good governance and can reposition the state to become a true pace setter not only in South Western part of the country but in Nigeria at large.
But before Oyo State can become a shining state under the incoming governor, there are key areas of governance that must become focal points of the incoming government that under the incumbent have nosedived. Let us look at some of them below!
One of the key issues that was topical during the recently concluded campaign and electioneering period in Oyo State was the slipup on policy on education especially the crisis that led to the closure of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, a jointly owned state university by both Oyo and Osun states respectively. The unreasonable increment in the institution’s tuition fees, the victimization of the Students’ Union Government executives and the poor underfunding of the institution. Not only that, the erratic salary payment and lack of government sympathy to the plights of the entire civil servant and their poor living condition must as a matter of urgency be attended to. In the tenure of the outgoing governor, it is a truth that Oyo State had it bad in this sector and for the new governor to succeed, there must be urgent attention paid into this sector, with serious situation review and speedy executive action plan that is not only appealing but that addresses the problem both in the short and long term. For once, the issue of LAUTECH ownership and financial commitment by owner states must be strategically visited and hopefully resolved to reposition the university to an enviable status it used to belong, after all, all is not lost, LAUTECH can still bounce back!
There is no doubt that agriculture remains key to the economy of the state, with an arable land of 28, 545 square kilometres , an army of unemployed youths, daily food consumption worth over N8 billion daily and the proximity of the state to Lagos State to leverage on and with production comparative advantage in cassava, cashew, maize, cotton, poultry just to mention but a few, Oyo State should not be seen among growing catalogue of Nigerian states that are in romance with poverty and near collapse of infrastructure as it is currently under the outgoing administration. To address this, Mr. Seyi Makinde must think creatively and act speedily by coming up with an integrated transport system policy action that can enable harvests across many rural towns and villages in the state reach intended destinations in urban towns and cities where they are mostly consumed and needed for industries for manufacturing purposes. Even though, the former governor and the hitherto strongman of Ogbomoso politics, Chief Adebayo Alao Akala made an impressive imprint in this regards, there is still an urgent need to connect many other rural towns, villages and urban settlements especially by constructing durable road networks in towns like Eruwa, Iseyin, Okeho, Igbeti, Igboho, Sepeteri, Okaka, Oyo, Igboora, Tapa, Igangan, Iganna, Ayete, Ikoyi, Iresa, Iresaadu, Oolo, Omi adio, just to mention but a few. The electioneering campaign period and the difficulty faced in accessing those hinterlands by the governor elect should be an eye opener to the deplorable state of road networks in those places. Deep in those bushes are both commercial and large subsistence agricultural activities going on by agro entrepreneurs and small scale farmers and one of the key things that can help the growth of the economy of our dear state is when all those farming activities become scalable, repeatable, sealable and profitable and can attract investors who by the reason of their investments create a multiplier economy activities in these places for the prosperity of all.
The traditional stool of Olubadan and the place of reverence it occupies in both the hearts of the indigenes and dwellers of Ibadan city from time immemorial is very sacred and is seen as the cultural heritage of the people of the state. But the unfortunate and recent reckless elevation of 21 high chiefs by Governor Abiola Ajimobi to the position of crowned kings, without subjects and territories was a negative disruptor and an affront to the cherished royal stool of the city. Abiola Ajimobi, a supposedly son of Ibadan like a tyrant, mischievously adopted sections 26 and 27 of the 1957 Chieftaincy Declarations in Oyo State and ignorantly misinterpreted the power of the state government to create bad blood within this cherished traditional institution that has been acclaimed worldwide as one that has one of the most rancor free processes of succession and elevation. If the new governor elect must succeed therefore, he must first understand the cultural importance of not only the Olubadan Stool but the entire Chieftaincy Matters in Oyo State, he must read history books and learn how cultural forces are linked to civic responsibilities and avoid the mistakes of his predecessors. He must learn how his predecessors such as Chief Adebayo Alao Akala became remorseful later after his surliness with Alaafin of Oyo, Soun of Ogbomoso Land even the late Olubadan and Mr. Seyi Makinde should not forget that for Ajimobi’s frostiness with Olubadan, the former earned the title of “Ajirobafin” and another one “Koselemo”
And when all is done and our dear state begins to return gradually to the path of prosperity and progress, we the new breed and of course posterity shall not forget all those who made it possible!
Femi Ojo is a media communications and public affairs strategist, an online radio show host on politics and entrepreneurship with Blackface Media, blogger, writer and a nascent public intellectual, a serial entrepreneur, an aspiring scholar, a true son of Ogbomosho, who currently lives in Lagos, Nigeria