In a recent public function, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state declared that the state will never again be governed by the charlatans. We need to enquire, to be on the same page with him, what exactly he meant by referring to either one or two or three or perhaps, all his predecessors as charlatans? If the word charlatans he refers to, is what we learnt in literary studies in secondary school then, the governor is unkind, uncharitable, unbecoming and completely out of tune with the glorious and impressive regimes of his predecessors in the past four decades.
Besides, the illustrious regime of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the then Western Region, seven civilian governors have had their times before the regime of the present governor. Chief Bola Ige, the cicero of Esa Oke, a distinguished Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a scholar of gargantuan status superintended the affairs of the state from 1979-1983.
It was during his time that the UPN’s free education, free medical health facilities, and maximum government support for agriculture took firm root in the state and all other states in the then LOOBO region. I sincerely doubt, if Seyi Makinde was not one of the beneficiaries of this lifetime opportunity and initiatives, which saw people like us flourish & blossom in University.
It was also beautiful & exciting watching our governor then, traversing the entire Oyo state, at least two times in a week. That was when Ige! Ige!! Ige!!! always rented the air each time his convoy passed through Ladigbolu Grammar School, my beloved secondary school. The main purpose of crisscrossing the state then was to monitor and ensure that all programs of the government were going on, as directed & planned. Bola Ige was classic, enterprising, resourceful, energetic, inspiring and very developmental. He was fully in charge and he commanded maximum respect from his LOOBO governors’ colleagues. Was the governor right to refer to him as a charlatan?
Though we knew how Dr Omololu Olunloyo berthed in the governor’s office, he didn’t disappoint the people of the state. The highly cerebral medical doctor ran a decent and transparent government. He was indeed incorruptible, despite the fact that there was monumental looting of the nation’s treasury at the federal level; a dastard initiative orchestrated by the likes of Chief Adisa Akinloye, Senator Umar Ahmed and cocky UmaruDikko.
Dr Olunloyo governed the state from 1983 -1985 when the military struck. Was it kind of the governor to refer to Dr Olunloyo as a charlatan? Chief KolapoIshola took over the reign of affairs of the state, under the platform of SDP. Even though he had a slow start, he, however, gained momentum and eventually justified the trust & confidence the progressive family bestowed on him. He governed from 1993-1994. Would it be right for Governor Makinde to refer to him as a charlatan?
Next comes the embodiment of progressives in the state, the indefatigable & incomparable Alhaji Lam Adesina, who presided the affairs of the state from 1999-2003. Lam was everything one could wish in a typical progressive leader: perseverance, doggedness, commitment, unalloyed loyalty to the party & its programs, as well as its ideals. The veteran journalist era indeed reintegrated the entire progressives in the state into one fold. He diligently followed the party programs. He showed maximum respect to traditional rulers. He allowed the major stakeholders; women groups, students, political class, leaders of thoughts and others to have a sense of belonging. Of course, we also knew, how his second term bid was truncated, just like those of his progressive colleagues in the South West by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo led PDP government. Would it be right for the governor to refer to him as a charlatan?
Then there’s Chief Rasheed Ladoja who came in through the PDP platform. The highly respected shipping magnate and Ibadan political warlord, was a longtime member of the progressive family, a platform which thrust him on to senate chambers, where he didn’t only shine brightly, he established decent political and business connections across the nation, creating a political fortress in Ibadan land.
Without an iota of doubt, Seyi Makinde is one of the students of Ladoja political school. I doubt if he would have ever made it into governor’s office without the huge influence of Senator Ladoja. The distinguished Senator tried his best while in charge of the state from 2003-2006. Are we on the same page that Senator Rasheed AdewoluLadoja is a charlatan?
And the next in line is the flamboyant, benevolent and merciful Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, one governor Oyo citizens would not forget in hurry. For the six years, he was in charge (2006-2011), he empowered people with power & authority, contracts, jobs and influence, so much so that, in Oyo, Oke Ogun, Ibarapa, and of course, Ogbomosoland and nooks & crannies of Ibadanland, his name continually resonates. During his reign, he acted like a father to all. Was the governor right to refer to him as a charlatan?
To the governor’s immediate predecessor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi who revolutionized the governance in the state and had the singular opportunity of taking charge of the affairs of the state for two terms for eight years. Ajimobi’s massive impact on the state’s infrastructures, roads constructions, medical facilities upgrade, agriculture initiatives, as well as security architecture was unparalleled in the history of the state. Was Ajimobi a charlatan?
Governor Seyi Makinde must be conscious of the fact that, whatever he’s doing on the state’s roads, health facilities, interchange construction or whatever he calls it, agriculture infrastructures etc, are all facelift or renewal in nature. For the avoidance of doubt, these projects have been 80-85% completed before his arrival. His is to complete what had begun and move on. If the governor desires to contradict this writer, he should let the world and citizens of the state know the project he’s starting afresh since he becoming governor.
Is it the Iwo road, which according to him will gulp N8.4billion? It is Adamasingba stadium that he’s about to commit the state resources of more than N5.4billion just for the purpose of refurbishing & renewal? Is it Oke Ogun, Oyo & Ogbomoso roads rehabilitation that he needs little resources to complete or agriculture masterplan which was already in the masterplan of the progressives before he came in?
We need to remind the governor, that public fora is a platform to roll out new initiatives and plans of government, policy directions, as well as strategy to collaborate with FG & foreign institutions on various intervention programs. The public function is not the forum to start denigrating & demeaning predecessors, who have served the state meritoriously. We are aware, as well as the governor, that his tenure will definitely wind to a close in 2023. We, therefore, advise that he deploy the remaining part of his tenure to register his name in the annals of the history of the state, rather than engaging in unproductive chitchat.
I also intend to use this medium to confirm that, it’s already in the public domain that Governor Seyi Makinde is dragging the control of PDP structure in the South/west with former governor of Ekiti state, AyodeleFayose. The pertinent question here is, why is Governor Makinde making spirited efforts to abandoning the sacred mandate thrust on his path by the good people of Oyo state in pursuit of an elephantiasis project, with no bearing to the developmental efforts of the state? What’s his interest in controlling the PDP structure in the South-West zone?
Roads construction, medical infrastructures, educational projects, as well as security architecture in Oyo State should command his attention. We all know Ayodele Fayose is an indomitable and very uncompromising political fighter of note. Till date, Chief Obasanjo doesn’t know how to handle him. Even, with power & authority at the centre, President Buhari has resolved to move on without minding Fayose’s series of tantrums. Of course, there are casualties that have humiliated Fayose in his political struggles. This is, therefore, a clarion call to Oyo citizenry to immediately call Seyi Makinde to order. To concentrate on governing our dear state, rather than get involved in unnecessary detractions.
Kola AMZAT (FCA, FCIB)
LAGOS BASED FIN & MGT CONSULTANTS