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GOVERNOR ABIODUN: A MAN OF FEW WORDS AND A MILLION ACTIONS

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Political observers in Ogun State may have come across a write-up with the title: “Difference between an Executive Governor and a Ceremonial Governor.” In the opinion, the writer made spurious claims that were intended to paint the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun in a bad light. My purpose here, however, is not to eulogise the Governor but to simply itemise the many people-oriented projects and achievements of the Governor so far, as well as their direct, immediate and remote advantages to the people of the State.

  1. To the writer, Governor Abiodun’s agenda is centred on undoing the so-called “legacies” of former governor Amosun, because Governor Abiodun rebranded one of Amosun’s many failed white elephant Model School projects to serve an actual purpose. Fortunately for the purpose of my writing, former governor Amosun situated these needless Model Schools along expressways – far away from the people who can afford their exorbitant fees, but close to roads plied by people within and outside the State. Everyone using these roads can attest to the fact that on Governor Abiodun’s assumption of office in May, only the Model School in Akinale, along Abeokuta-Sango Otta Road was functional. It was clear to all, and the Governor in fact said it, that he had resolved not to leave any abandoned or failed project of Amosun’s administration but make the best utilitarian use of them.
  2. Speaking on the Ogun Jobs Portal which was officially launched on 15th August, the writer claimed no one had yet to be employed via the website. He shot himself in the leg when he shamelessly wrote that he “in fact…learnt” his claim – from an unreliable source, obviously. The uninformed writer is unaware of the due process that the Governor Abiodun-led administration has adopted in tackling the issue of unemployment. The Ogun Jobs Portal is an avenue to map out a strategy to fix unemployed and even employed persons into suitable public and private sectors where they would be most effective. The people do not expect a miracle, neither will Governor Abiodun be involved in the backdoor employment channel characteristic of the nepotistic and clueless immediate past administration.
  3. On the issue of the 120 security patrol vans and 200 motorcycles donated to the Nigeria Police on the Governor’s 100 days to strengthen internal security, the writer expressed his haste to see the vehicles littered across the State without a clear strategy of use. The writer forgets that police work is no play. It is naturally expected that on receiving the donations, the Police in the State would take their time to work out a distribution pattern, manner of use, and use schedule. The Police was unaware that the donations were coming. It is not rocket science that they need to plan vehemently.
  4. The writer clearly mistook Governor Abiodun for former governor Amosun, when he alleged the diversion of Local Government (LG) funds that are now being directly disbursed by the Federal Government (FG) to the LGs. The writer’s sense of judgement was clearly beclouded by ridiculous sentiments, because even he himself later acknowledged the new practice of direct disbursement after asking Prince Abiodun, the GOVERNOR, for LG funds. Hilarious!
  5. In his headless rant, the writer claimed that crime was now the order of the day in the State forgetting the successful rescue of the Ogun kidnap victims. Th writer forgot to mention that the incident was a ricochet of 8 years of Amosun’s maladministration. Governor Abiodun however graciously swung into action by liaising with the FG to rescue the victims. Since that moment, as citizens have attested, there has been a significantly reduced rate of crime across the State. This is not unconnected to the Governor’s reconstituting of the State Security Trust Fund and the subsequent handing over to a competent management.
  6. Mentioning some federal roads, the writer listed Obantoko, Ewekoro, Sagamu-Ijebu-Ode and Ilaro-Owode Roads as having enjoyed the State’s interventions during Amosun’s time. This contradicts available records. As a citizen resident in Ogun State, I recall how often residents of Obantoko especially lamented the pains they went through on a daily basis, since Amosun turned a deaf ear to their pleas. Residents literary had to replace their vehicle absorbers on a monthly basis. Governor Abiodun, working in his usually transparent manner, has so far liaised with the Lagos State Government under Governor Sanwoolu, to approach the FG which has since approved a collaborative intervention of both States on some federal roads. Was it Amosun that called for partnership with Lagos, or was it he who approached the FG?
  7. Lastly, the writer got petty when he wrote that Governor Abiodun’s social media pages was fraught with pictures of the ceremonies the Governor attended. I will refuse to school the uninformed writer on the importance of social bonding in governance if tension is to be avoided amongst interest groups. Rather, I will first refer the writer to his own words: that one “may accuse (Amosun) of high handedness, arrogance and bullying.” Of course, only arrogant people lead without as much as knowing, let alone mingling with, the people they lead. Second, I will refer the writer to the social media pages (precisely Facebook, for ease of reference) to see in no specific order, posts and pictures of executive assignments and activities, including on, but not limited to: the reinstatement of teachers and labour leaders precipitously sacked by Amosun (October 5); the recently signed bills on the Judiciary, social investment and Legislature’s financial management (September 22); the suspension of the N3,700 PTA fee callously approved and unfortunately inherited from Amosun’s administration (September 20); among others. Tagging such social media posts such as the Governor’s attendance of Isanbi and Owu Day in Ilishan and Totoro, Abeokuta respectively as merely “ceremonial” and insignificant shows the writer’s disregard for culture, and social order and structure.

I have deliberately refused to respond to the writer’s claim that Governor Abiodun was “planning to rename the Abeokuta City Centre…to show that he is in charge.” My reason is that this is simply ridiculous. First, the writer needs to state the source of his gossip. Second, he needs to give a better reason for the alleged name change, other than showing who is in charge, because as far as I know, our constitution ordinarily makes it clear that a state is led by a governor. Third, he needs to state in clear terms how the decision of a Government to change the name of a public property ultimately amounts to vendetta.

Since May 29, I have watched with keen interest, the strides of Governor Abiodun. My prayer is that he is not distracted by the noise of the opposition. From what we see as citizens already enjoying the dividends of democracy he has so far provided, he is the People’s Governor. At different times, I have engaged people living around the Adigbe-Opako Bridge in Abeokuta, Oba Erinwole Road in Sagamu, and the Siun-Ogere Road in meaningful conversations and I got positive feedback.

I advise the writer of that baseless opinion, who calls himself Kabiru Alagbe to consult with the people at the grassroots level, and not hungry politicians in the last administration, before he wastes his time to write such an unfounded opinion again.

God bless Ogun. God bless the people. God bless Abiodun.

Banjo Okunuga writes in from Ijebu-Ode

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