By Segun Showunmi
A Note to Ogun Stakeholders
Ever conscious leaders and citizens of our beloved Ogun State, I greet you all. I trust that you all must be concerned about the development of our beloved state just as I am.
The activities in our common patrimony demands of us the need to speak out, in the hope that things will be corrected; and in the unlikely event of that not happening, at least, it will be on record that we spoke.
It is about the peer review of our Governor, HE Dapo Abiodun, relative to his handling of affairs in the last six months since he mounted the saddle of authority in Ogun State.
To make things less cumbersome, I will speak under thematic headings and make comparisons with the past governors and also with a few good ones in this present class. For the past, I will be limiting the comparison to HE Olusegun Osoba, HE Gbenga Daniel, and HE Ibikunle Amosun.
For those on the saddle right now, I will limit myself to HE Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and HE Bello Mattawalle of Zamfara.
Areas to be reviewed:
General perception of capacity in officeStabilisation of governanceQuick-winsRecommendations going forward.
I make bold to say that in terms of the general perception of capacity, there is no gainsaying that Ogun has never had it so disappointing. I refresh your minds to how it was in the class of 1999 when Chief Olusegun Osoba was the leader, not only in the South West, but was also revered by many Nigerians as one who moved with clarity. You may need to remember how often his voice was heard, not just on Ogun State issues but also on the issues around the progressives in Nigeria.
Within six months, it was already clear that the Osoba government would take development to the fringes of the state and that the rural areas would get connected with activities. His Commissioner for Works, Segun Adesegun, had settled in office, and his office had become a beehive. At about the same time of six months, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, during his time, had become the wonder boy in government and project development. The entire country knew that something was up in Ogun State. Computerisation of the civil service had commenced. Also, structures and projects were already commissioned. Need I say that Daniel’s pace of work was, till then, unmatched in our country. Ogun State was in the news for all the right reasons.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun had, undoubtedly, within the period under review, showed his hand firmly around his strength in road constructions. He had opened up the Ogun State economy for the influx of private sector investors in a way that had not been done before. It is on record that the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration opened more industries in Ogun State than any other state in the country. And needless to say that there was a purposefulness that brought skilled Ogun indigenes in the private sector on board. He had also commenced without delay the review of the Daniel administration. He proved that government is a sacred trust that must be reviewed and accounted for. In six months, the Amosun administration had the full structures of government in place.
Moving on to the present administration, with the activities of HE Dapo Abiodun, perhaps it may seem that he is up to something. But what is with this winking in the dark? What are his handlers doing relative to what we are used to in Ogun State? The continuous statements about public-private partnerships seem to me that the Abiodun government has no clear agenda of its own. And in case it does, it is going about things in a rather snail slow speed, which suggests a lack of preparedness. And to think his government put together such a large committee with a few good names to look at things is baffling to a patriotic citizen and lover of Ogun State.
Compare HE Dapo Abiodun to HE Seyi Makinde and tell me you are not concerned. I have no recollection at any time in this republic that commenced in 1999 that the people of Oyo State ever outpaced us in Ogun; not Lam Adesina, not Ladoja, not Akala, and certainly not Ajimobi. But can we say not Makinde? To say that will be to leave ourselves open to the butt of jokes. HE Abiodun has zero excuses for he has almost everyone, perhaps with the exception of HE Amosun, available to offer insight and suggestions. In our Yoruba proverb: Omo to ba ma je Asamu, kekere lo ti ma senu samu samu. (‘The morning tells the day’ , or ‘make hay while the sun shines’).
Stabilisation of Government
Is it not strange that Ogun State has not put Commissioners in place and populated its statutory commissions and boards? Ogun has never had it so late. There is no excuse nor justification for this. What is not being considered is that not having full structures of governance in place, limits the ideas and energy that the government has to draw from. How can we watch the previously slow Federal Government put its cabinet in place, yet our beloved Ogun State, under HE Dapo Abiodun, will now be grouped alongside states that do not get settled in time to work?
There is the suspicion that those who do not form their cabinets on time are people who desire to run the resources of the state with their cronies, and without input from a cabinet. Whatever be the excuse, it is clear that on this score, one would have to wonder what has become of us. All our neighbours, Lagos and Oyo states, have their cabinets in place, why not Ogun? I am sure his party faithful and supporters are at a loss as to the real reason behind the delay.
Anyone who desires to govern the people must know that humans are animals of short attention spans, and they tend to make up their minds quickly. As such, the champions of each era must understand that people want to see the direction and benefit of development immediately. Again, take a look at Oyo State and take a look at Zamfara and do a media audit of how those governors are perceived; then compare your audit findings with the situation in Ogun State. You will most likely return with the verdict that HE Dapo Abiodun needs to be worried.
The words on the streets of Ogun State are not favourable. Average opinion is that the Governor has taken on a responsibility that he is not prepared for. I find that extremely hard to accept for I recall his desire to be governor as far back as the 2001/2002 season. I am more persuaded to think that the challenge might be Abiodun’s lack team spirit – a case where someone courts everybody but really does not desire to work with anybody. I doubt that between Osoba, Daniel, Team Lagos, Isiaka, Team Yayi and the numerous blocks that are in his largely needless humongous coalition, what we have seen in six months is the best that is possible. So much more is expected and so much more must be done.
HE Abiodun needs to review things comprehensively and remember that the class of 2019 governors are going to be under unprecedented pressure. This is because from what I sense, the 2023 race may start way too early, that is if it has not begun already, with all the rumoured ambitions for presidency coming from the stable of the ruling APC. The early start to 2023 elections will take its toll on governance, and, therefore, if the Governor is not careful, he may go down as the worst person to govern Ogun State and what exactly is to be gained from that? Nothing. When our elected representatives perform, they perform for all of us, but when they fail, oh la la, they fail in their names and with enormous consequences. HE Dapo Abiodun has no reason to fail, and he must be encouraged not to.
Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy. – Jimmy Spithill