The Directionlessness of Gov. Abiola Ajimobi, By Joshua Akintayo
Majorly referred to as the home of “Amala politics” due to the love for the food by the indigenes of the state. Oyo state has practiced this brand of politics which could easily pass for ‘game of smartness or patronage’ as the case may be. It has developed a nomenclature around the state which has seen no governor rule for not more than one term, and this has been majorly attributed to their public disregard and disrespect for the ‘Amala politics’ brand.
Abiola Ajimobi actually broke the jinx, shattering whatever glass ceiling that may have been impose on governance in the state, when he was re-elected against all odds to power after the April 12, 2015 polls. He did what no other governor, even the immediate past governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, could not do despite his wide range popularity. Even though some section of the populace were of the view that he deservedly won due to his impressive first term performance, others were of the opinion that he won only because he had perfected the mastery of ‘Amala politics’. Whatever factor it may be, it is no longer news that the “jinx-breaker” as he is popularly called, is the governor for the second term.
An incredibly alarming news unknown to most people is that, Oyo state has stagnantly been thrown into a state of comatose both in terms of governance and economically. Nine months into Ajimobi’s second term, the state has no blue print of what to expect. Probably we can come to the early conclusion that the governor is still basking in the euphoria of the second term jinx breaking mission, but the celebration ought to have stopped a long time ago for any serious minded person.
It is no longer news that no single appointment of commissioners has been made for the past nine months. The daily affairs of the ministries has been left in the hands of the permanent secretaries, as though we are in a military era. The initial un-appointment of the commissioners was attributed to Ajimobi following the steps of his boss at the federal level, President Buhari, who also did not appoint his ministers until after five months.
Howbeit, the delayed appointment could also be attributed to the governorship election tribunal that lingered for a while. But it’s been months that the courts of competent jurisdiction has ruled in Ajimobi’s favor and still there has been no single appointment.
The governor has chosen to reduce governance to running a family business with the first lady also known as co-governor taking crucial decisions especially as the governor is always said to be abroad. The Ajmobi administration has failed to conduct local government elections for the past 3 years. Opting to rather appoint loyal political allies and protégés as care-taker chairmen, thereby depriving the citizens of meaningful grassroots development.
State workers have frequently endured months of working without payment. Teachers are currently been owed four months’ salary backdating from the previous year. Ajimobi’s cliché excuse just like most state governors is that of ‘tight economic clime in the country, yet unlike his colleagues in Lagos, Ogun and Anambra states, he has turned a blind eye to the income generating avenues and opportunities in the state, opting to rely on the timely miraculous federal government bailout intervention.
Rather than concentrate on governance, the governor has shown more interest in the traditional institution. The recent tussle between Mr. Gov. and the Olubadan council over the appointment of a new Olubadan and the promotion of his cousin and political opponent, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, showed signs of a man who is more concerned with his personal grievances over issues of state interest.
The streets of Ibadan and its environs are getting back to its old nature of unparalled “dirtiness”. Refuse and disposals have become a recurring decimal all over the state, leaving a lot of people afraid especially with the imminent rain. This particular sector could be regarded as the fundamental achievement of Ajimobi’s first term, yet it appears he has lost grip of it.
The state currently boasts of an avalanche of uncompleted and dilapidated road networks, one of major concern is the Ijokodo-Apete road/bridge which was destroyed by the August 26, 2011 ‘Ibadan tsunami’. The government did a 40% work on the road and left it fallow. I learnt from a credible source that a well-meaning ‘Ibadanian’ whose business has been greatly affected by the poor-state of the road took up the project on behalf of government, with the latter promising a refund.
It is up to Gov. Ajimobi to write his name on the sounds of time in Oyo state, or create a bad name for himself and make the great people of Oyo state regret ever voting for a second term governor
Joshua Akintayo, a postgraduate student of International Relations in a Nigerian University. I can be reached via @d_special_josh
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