By OLA AJAYI, Ibadan
As much as Otunba Alao-Akala tried to break the jinx of being the first governor to rule the Pacesetter state twice , he did not succeed. The call by the Ibadan Elders Forum on the people to vote for Senator Abiola Ajimobi of the Action Congress of Nigeria seemed to have worked out this time around as against what happened in 2007 when the Peoples Democratic Party “won” the election in spite of their call to vote for him.
An average Ibadan indigene would tell you that true indigenes of the city don”t serve a governor twice irrespective of his performance.
According to Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, if it remains a little for the incumbent governor to sail through for a second term seat in Agodi Government House, some inexplicable things would just happen that would thwart his efforts.
Just as one of the staunch supporters of Akala, Dr. Dejo Raimi said that his exit had the influence of unseen hand of God, Akala failed to make history in this regard. He has joined the list of others in the state whose dreams of clinching the second term mandate shattered into pieces like fragments of a broken glass.
A politician, trying to explain why Akala lost the election illustrated the politicking and other intrigues that took place using names of some popular places in Ibadan. He said, ““Akala knew all places in Ibadan, but as powerful as he seemed to be, he did not know the mystery that surrounds “Monatan”, “Layipo” and “Oje””.
Literally, Monatan, according to the person, is that an average Ibadan man would not divulge all the contents of his minds to you no matter how close he is to the person when it comes to politics; Layipo means if you know the right order of doing things, there are still other ways that are shrouded in mystery which you may not understand; Oje is a way of saying if you know the original thing, there are still some unknown cunning options which would still give the same desired result. If the person is not a genuine Ibadan man, he cannot understand and even if he is from Ibadan, except he belongs to the right caucus, he may still be in the cloud.
This may be said to be responsible for the inability of Akala to use his incumbency power and wherewithal to reclaim his mandate. Even the slogan of the Peoples Democratic Party-POWER- could not deliver the state to him for the second term.
The sudden change that votes from Ogbomoso and Oke-Ogun axes brought to the election results in 2007 failed this time around. The votes of Ogbomoso, though delayed, came faster than those from the nearby Ibadan South West. Indeed, it was Layipo politics at work.
Ajimobi who was born to the renowned family of Ibadan on 16th December, 1949 had his elementary education at St. Patrick Primary School, Abebi and ICC at Aperin later left for the State University, at New York and Illinois after his secondary education at Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan.
He joined the National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company as the Consumer Products Manager in 1979 after which he rose to the youngest Divisional Manager within one and half years.
He had worked for Shell International Storage Company in Togo where he occupied the position of a Chief Executive and as executive Director, Marketing, Managing Director, National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company after he returned to Nigeria.
Having been elected into the number one position in the state, it is doubly sure that he would probe the past financial activities of his predecessor, Akala. He has boasted several times that he has an unblemished record and that he has a strong distaste for corruption. He was known to be praying to God not to allow him to occupy the governorship seat if he would mismanage tax payers” money and spoil his family name.
So, as a man who sees public fund as a poisonous substance if embezzled, he is not likely to religiously follow the counsel by a former Governor of the state who doubles as the state leader of the party, Alhaji Lamidi Adesina.
They both differed on the issue of probe. While he is of the view that all the financial activities of Akala would be probed, Alhaji Adesina sees it from another different angle. He is not objectionable to Akala being probed, he feels Ajimobi should not delve into it.
He specifically said, the party would prevail on Ajimobi to leave Akala for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to handle. But, at his inauguration, he restated it that he would review all the “hasty” decisions and all the projects awarded by Akala especially at the twilight of his tenure.
His words at the inauguration: ””We are not unaware of some hasty and questionable actions undertaken at the twilight of the out-gone government. Government will review all such actions. All on-going projects will be reviewed and appropriate actions taken, in the best interest of Oyo State””.
From the way he speaks, he is not a governor somebody can push at will. He has not left anyone in doubt as he once said, as an educated man, he would not allow anybody to sit at a corner and be telling him what to do adding that he would implement the manifestoes of his party to the letter and would not shun the advice of the elderly people.
The traditional institution in the state is also a delicate one that had led to the inglorious exit of some of the past governors. He needs the counsel of elders so that he would not step on some dangerous toes.
The issue of the National Union of Road Transport Workers is another thorny issue that had given successive administrations sleepless nights. He needs the wisdom of Solomon and cunningness as serpent to surmount the hurdles.
It won’t be surprising to hear some few people who think they hold the ace as regards governance in the state complain because, as a man who seems to have interest of a common man in mind, he would not allow any personal interest to subsume that of the public.
He has criticized the past administration on many faulty policies, so, the onus lies on him to live aboard board. As a politician said, he cannot afford to fail because much expectation is put on him.
During his inaugural speech he outlined the thrust of his administration”s policy. Ajimobi said, ““The policy thrust of the government shall be guided by the manifesto of our great party, the Action Congress of Nigeria.
The priorities of this administration shall thus be human Capital Development encompassing education, skill acquisition and healthcare delivery; Infrastructure development; rural development and integration, revitalization and development of agriculture and agro-allied industry, promotion of security from a developmental perspective, through the provision of social inclusion and rule of law and democracy and good governance.
He also promised that his government would establish a primary health centre in every ward of the state, so that healthcare could be taken to the doorsteps of the people.
On the security of lives and property, he said it has been a challenge in the state. Social vices such as ““political thuggery, brigandage and armed robbery have become the order of the day. Our approach to securing lives and property in the state shall be holistic. We will take a developmental approach by addressing all seemingly isolated issues that culminate in this regime of violence. We will redress all issues of injustice by respecting outstanding court orders””.
With this promise, he is likely to give due recognition to the chairmanship of the court reinstated Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola aka Tokyo who attended party”s flag-off of its campaign.
Also, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi who has twice won the suit against the Akala-made Alago Oja of Ago Oja which is in his domain would likely to have his heart desire fulfilled. Alaafin came with Ajimobi to the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium during the inauguration of the governor.
Another thing that would endear him to the people of the state is his resolve to revisit all instances of administrative injustice that had pre-disposed many of our citizens to resort to violence and other forms of self-help as a means of seeking redress.
““Government will encourage community involvement in the provision of security services and assist the Nigeria Police and other security agencies in areas of need. On our part, we shall govern in accordance with the rule of law and fear of God””, he said.
Unemployment is a big problem of the youths in the state, if he fulfills his promise of creating 20,000 jobs within the first 100 days of this administration, his name would be etched in gold.
As he has rightly put it, ““this march to restoration requires a collective resolve to change our attitude, commitment to hard work, patriotism, respect for due process and diligence, as well as our general values, it is a prayer on everybody”s lips that those who rejoiced at his assumption of office, would feel sad when he wants to leave due the positive impact he would have made on the people.
He should tread softly because those who are shouting hosanna to him today could also turn around tomorrow to say ‘crucify’ him.