Home Letters OPINION: Discovered N4.3bn Hidden Loot: Akeredolu’s Govt. Stinks By John Akingbade

OPINION: Discovered N4.3bn Hidden Loot: Akeredolu’s Govt. Stinks By John Akingbade

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I have listened to a lot of followers of Ondo state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, across many platforms in the social media space argued that ‘the man’ is the best thing to have happened to the state.

They buttressed their assertions by rolling out the number of roads, bridges and other infrastructures put in place across the length and breadth of the city.

They explained how he has continuously paid the salary of workers unlike his predecessor, Olusegun Mimiko, whom they alleged owed public workers about eight months salary and many months of arrears before he exited office.

They told us of how he has created an Industrial Hub in Ore where trucks, bicycle etc are being assembled, and how he had provided jobs for many unemployed people in the state. How farmers in the state, especially cassava growers would have their produce bought within the hub in a large scale due to the huge demand for cassava meant for production of finished products was beautifully relayed to us by the ‘’Governor’s men’’  .

We were also informed of how Rotimi Akeredolu had advised the Federal Government (FG) to tap into the hemp cultivation project which, to them, would have improved the economy of the state, increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and provide jobs.

However, to some extents, these guys are correct. It is only the blind that will feign ignorance of the infrastructural developments in the state which are more pronounced in the area of construction of roads, bridges etc across the state

Every Governor in the State from inception in February 1976 till now had built roads, bridges etc. Of all these Governors, two people stood out from the pack: One, the first  Executive Governor of the state, Visionary Chief Adekunle Ajasin and a Naval Officer, Navy Captian Ibe Onyearugbulem, a man who can be referred to as the ‘father of infrastructure’ in the state for the great role he played providing infrastructure across the state during his reign.

For instance, the road opposite the Deji Of Akure’s palace to the right along Oba Adesida road is Odo Ikoyi. I grew up on that street and have one of my family houses sited on it. It was Onyearugbulem who tarred that road from the junction adjacent to the palace to Shagari Village, a border Estate named after the second republic President of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari. He built a very big market near it where ideas are to be hatched for greater Ondo state but his successors did not see through his lenses and thus abandoned the project.

Therefore, at one point or another, Ondo state has been paddled by different hands. Different results had been gotten within this process in terms of infrastructural development. Some projects lasted for many years while some did not last one year before it got spoilt due to a shoddy job done.  The latter is more prevalent among the ‘other Governors’ – minus Chief Adekunle Ajasin and Ibe Onyearugbulem – . That I think is the reason why it is extremely difficult for them to be opened or transparent in their dealings. That is a topic for another day.But, is good governance, also known as developmental governance measured only by the number of roads, bridges built, or salary paid? Answer to this is an affirmative No. A Governor who builds sky scrapper but has no respect for transparency, detest accountability and quick to sweep malfeasance under the carpet is anathema to orderly society. Real development flows from an orderly society.

A governor of a state is a servant to the citizens. He sought for their vote to become their leader and he is not in any way bigger than the people. A governor is supposed to be at the beck and call of the people and must be ready to submit to them at all time, in a saner clime. Sadly, our brand of governors in Nigeria is the set with the mentality of a ‘mini’ or if u like a ‘demi’ god. They behave like a people who have lost their humanity. The interest of the state is secondary to them, their narrow interest is the ‘gluttony’ in them which must be met; they achieved it, and it is the reason why our brothers and sisters are dropping out of school in droves and poverty ‘agbadalised’ the state.

Since the news of the discovery of a stolen #4.3B in one of the generation banks was broken, there had been a lot of accusations and counter accusations from both the government and the enraged public whose life is being traumatized as a result of the theft always going on in government.

The Executive arm confirmed that it discovered the hidden money and that it has been appropriated; a claim that has been denied by State House of Assembly which has led it to ask the Executive to furnish it with information about it. We all are waiting for the outcome of the process by the representatives of the people.

The question that the general public has continued to ask is: why does  Akeredolu led-government fail to inform the people about the discovery before appropriating the fund? Why go ahead and appropriate the fund without telling the citizen the people behind the grotty heist done on the hapless citizens? Why is the governor trying to sweep the nefarious and wicked pillage of our common patrimony under the carpet?

That the Governor fails to give the citizens the identity of the people who lodged the money, the intendment of the lodgment, and who instructed the pillage is what make him, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu stinks.  Your government is stinking and very badly. The stench and pong which encircled you and your government is legendary in the annals of our state.

Mr Governor, you are stinking because you collaborate with the people who siphon the money by maintaining a sealed lip.

Your decision to spend the money and keep the identity of the perpetrators exposes you as a partner in the crime. That is the same way up till today, not a single citizen of our state knows what you met in the state’s coffer. You and your predecessor, Olusegun Mimiko brandished contradicted figures. Such action is a manifestation that your character is questionable.

You, and your type which are in thousands in the political parties, are not the type of leadership our dear state, and indeed our country needs for her survival and development; our state needs a transparent, sincere, accountable, trustworthy and a model cast in public mind. You are opposite of these traits.  Governance is not about building infrastructures like you and your followers made us believe. It has more to do with a sound character build around trust, good name, transparency, accountability and genuine desired for change. In you, this is totally absent.

The claimed that your government had appropriated the discovered money without telling the people all the story behind it is a manifestation of your crass disrespect to the office of the Citizens. It shows the high level of organized arrangement in which the resources of our dear state is being frittered away by a cobweb of ‘paddyism’ in government. It shows that you are hand-in-gloves in the financial rape of the people.

The story of ‘agbepolaja’ and his friend, a partner in crime – one who helps him in ensuring that the palm oil gets to the floor from the roof top –  is very apt here. ‘Agbepolaja’ is a Yoruba name for a thief who had gone to the roof of a building to steal palm oil. There, in the roof, he could not successfully execute the stealing process except there is someone beneath him precisely on the floor who will help him get the palm oil to the floor. Without this agbepolaja’s partner in crime, agbepolaja would not have succeeded in stealing the palm oil. In this scenario, the biggest thief is the agbepolaja’s friend who helped him get the produce from the roof top to the ground.

As far as the issue of N4.3billion discovery is concerned, the agbepolaja’s friend is the Governor of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu who had tried very diligently to conceal the identity of those behind the money heist and the agbepolaja is/are the masquerade responsible for the diversion of the huge fund. The Governor is the ‘agbepolaja’s friend. He knows the identity of the ‘agbepolaja’ and his government must come clean by telling us the identity of the ‘agbepolaja’ while we await the outcome of the State’s legislature on their probe. The money was not stashed in the account by a genie but the ‘agbepolaja’ , the brigand in power.

I think the supporters of Mr Governor must know that building infrastructure like roads, bridges etc is not the basis to measure developmental governance. The character of the leadership is a key element in the developmental process. And, when the character tilted towards fraud, deceit, and lies the people suffer greatly. As followers, you will do well by telling your master to reveal the identity of the ‘agbepolaja’ as this is more honourable than building of roads and bridges.

Our Governor is stinking, his government is not spared from the foul odour. The stench, pong and its reek is suffocating the citizens. The roads and bridges of Aketi wont stop the suffocation except he does the needful.

Happy Democracy Day

John Akingbade is a trained Journalist and Publisher. He lives in Lagos.

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