By OLA AJAYI
In Oyo State, governance seems to be at a standstill since Governor Abiola Ajimobi was re-elected and sworn-in on May 29, 2015. Apart from some giant developmental strides that the administration had taken in its first tenure, nothing seems to be working now.
When one compares the first 100 days of Ajimobi on assumption of office on May 2011 and the second 100 days, it is hard to believe that it is the same governor, who is still in the saddle of the Pacesetter State. It appears the honey moon is over.
Immediately after the election, the governor was away for close to a month and this paralysed all activities in the state and since he came back, things are no longer the way they were probably due to the financial crisis the state is still struggling to wriggle out from, non-composition of the state cabinet and the uncertainty surrounding the governor’s election, which is being challenged at the tribunal.
The state seems to be in retrogression in certain areas. For instance, final year students in public secondary schools, who had been enjoying payment of their West African Examination Council fees by the government will now pay for the exams. This was announced by the State Head of Service, Mr. Soji Eniade.
Not only that, tuition fees of N3,000 per session has been introduced by Governor Ajimobi though he said it would be a temporary step, no one knows how long this will last.
Also, the state of major roads in Ibadan metropolis has almost erased those lofty promises by the governor on his urban renewal programmes. They are in terrible state now. Some of these roads are Akobo-Asi, Eleyele-Ologuneru-Eruwa, Eleyele-Sango road, Iyana Church on Monatan road and many others.
Despite the bailout by the Federal Government, thousands of workers in the state are yet to smile due to unpaid backlog of salaries and allowances. The free transportation scheme that the workers were enjoying has also been withdrawn.
The unpaid salaries also affected the 32-member Oyo State House of Assembly whose members complained bitterly that nothing was done about their allowances.
Though the leadership of the legislative arm is showing understanding, other lawmakers felt the issue was too cold for comfort as they issued a deadline to the Speaker of the House, Michael Adeyemo to reach out to Governor Ajimobi and resolve the issue.
They complained: “We understand there has been a drop in the revenue, which is why civil servants in the state are being owed salary arrears. We have not been paid our salaries since we were sworn in. We know the situation affects almost all the 36 states, but lawmakers from other states have got relief packages to cushion the effect. But nothing is forthcoming for us here in Oyo state. We have been sources of succour to many of the civil servants who flood our houses to get food and money. Unfortunately, we too are exhausted now and the whole situation is so bad,” said one of the lawmakers.
As of penultimate Thursday, there was no positive response from the governor and Vanguard gathered this prevented the lawmakers from sitting.
Despite the financial crisis in the state, the lawmakers have been able to pass some bills into law after thorough examination and unanimous acceptance by members.
The two bills are the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Bill 2015 and Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Urban Development Bill 2015.
The chairmen of the committees, Mr. Fatai Adesina, an Accord member, from Ibadan South-East Constituency I and Peter Oyetunji from Labour Party representing Ogo-Oluwa/ Surulere Constituency presented the reports of their various committees before it was passed.
They both said that the respective bills passed into law would enable the governor, Abiola Ajimobi of the state to carry out his planned reduction of the number of ministries from 23 to 13.
Earlier, the House had passed its first bill, Revenue Administration Bill 2015 into law, with five others on final reading. The Revenue Administration Bill 2015 was passed into law after a motion moved by Mr. Saheed Badmus, APC, representing Akinyele II and was seconded by Mr. Gbenga Oyekola, LP, from Atiba State constituency.
The state is becoming dirtier as a result of the withdrawal of services from contractors handling refuse disposal. Most roads are littered with heaps of refuse.