Governor Abiola Adeyemi Ajimobi is a man of history. By his victory at the polls on April 11, 2015, the former oil industry executive and Senator broke the jinx to become the first governor of the Pacesetter State to get re-elected for a second term. None of the previous administrators of the state had been able to occupy the Agodi Government House twice.
Thus, his swearing-in ceremony, which was marked on a low – key, was historic by all standards. In his inaugural speech on his second coming, the governor reminded the people of the state of the confusion his government met four years ago when it came into office and the administration’s promise of a better life.
“Four years ago when I stood before you like this, I literally took you on a journey into our world of a New Oyo State. I spoke glowingly about what looked like an Eldorado – a State that was a departure from the chaos of violence, brigandage and socio-political violence that seized the state like an unending affliction.”
The governor admitted that though the road had been rough, his administration was able to achieve some of its set objectives of moving the state forward.
When the administration came on board in 2011, it was confronted with the challenge of disruption of peace and security by members of the state chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
The government subsequently set up a State Security Trust Fund and established a Joint Security Network, Operation Burst that restored peace and security back to the state.
The most visible aspect of the Ajimobi-led administration in the last four years was the urban renewal programme that led to massive expansion and rehabilitation of major township roads, especially in the five zones of Ibadan, Oyo, Ogbomoso, Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun. Some bridges that were washed away during the 2011 flood disaster in Ibadan were also reconstructed.
The governor had also invested in intra-city bus transportation through the Ajumose Shuttle that conveyed passengers round the metropolis at reduced fares. In the area of environmental sanitation, efforts were made to encourage the people to imbibe the culture of maintaining a clean environment among other achievements recorded.
For his second term, the governor indicated the policy direction of his administration will include, “consolidation of peace and security, deepening of inclusive and transparent governance, widening the scope of infrastructure development and upgrade of the 2015 Urban Renewal Initiatives.
Ajimobi also promised the ‘re-engineering of the socio-economic infrastructure of the state for economic emancipation and progress, with a goal to repositioning the finance of the state.
And that is a very critical issue for the state.
As at press time, the finances of the state were not looking good as the statutory allocation from the Federation Accounts had dwindled, affecting the capacity of the government to meet its obligations to workers.
Workers in the Oyo State Civil Service had to commence an indefinite strike, in accordance with a directive by the national leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The industrial action began about three days before Governor Ajimobi’s second term inauguration and throughout his first week in office, the state government and the labour leaders had continued their negotiations over unpaid salary for the workers and the pension arrears of pensioners.
Investigation by WP showed that the state government is believed owed its workers four months’ salary and pensioners between five and eleven months’ pension arrears.
However, the strike action was later called off after an agreement was reached between labour and the government.
The governor had hinted that the avenue of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) would continue to drive the financing of the projects across the state.
One drawback of the administration has been its inability to significantly increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state. This is the greatest task the Ajimobi-led administration would be saddled with as it grapples with the challenges of turning the state around in the next four years.