By Emmanuel Aziken
How politicians use the name of God to buttress themselves even in the face of impious actions must show the long-suffering attitude of the Almighty. A case in point was on Sallah day when Governor Abiola Ajimobi claimed that godliness was his primary motif in his governance of Oyo State.
“What we are celebrating today is godliness and service to humanity,” the governor said after Eid prayers last Tuesday in Ibadan.
Of course, Governor Ajimobi is almost always impeccably dressed. Indeed, one good thing that has been said of his administration is that he has helped to sanitise the physical layout of Ibadan. That may have indeed, led him to the mistaken belief that cleanliness is next to godliness. You can be clean and immaculate, but far from being godly or charitable.
By pontificating about godliness many oblivious of the developments in Oyo State would have been tempted to ask whether Governor Ajimobi had encountered God just as when King Saul encountered God and started prophesying. Is Ajimobi now also among God’s prophets, some would have asked?
Any allusion as to whether Ajimobi encountered God between last Sunday and Sallah day was disproved when he remorselessly justified his partial demolition of the building housing Fresh FM Radio Station, Ibadan.
“Just like the house they said we demolished, that man didn’t obey the law. People are now saying because he’s physically challenged. So, if one is physically challenged, he should break the law?
Turning the physical challenge of the owner of the station, Mr. Yinka Ayefele into an issue even worsened the case. What Governor Ajimobi perhaps failed to understand is that there is a strong connection between godliness and the humanitarian spirit he so espoused after Eid prayers last Tuesday.
The governor’s confession two years ago when he visited the station that he had been under political pressure to demolish the Music House easily betrayed what everyone has now come to accept as the political motive for the demolition.
It is indeed, lamentable that contrary to the assertions of the governor, that godliness and human compassion are missing in the discharge of governance in many cases.
Pray, can a man with the fear of God preempt a court hearing to demolish an N800 million investment and by that decision throw about 200 persons out of job?
It is bad enough to do so to a person without any form of physical challenge, but to do so to a cripple who by sheer guts, grit and grace rose to accomplish what Ayefele did is far from what we know as godliness.
Indeed, there are still some other governors who have also demolished property of political foes acting on the supposed infringement of urban planning rules.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai who in his bid to bring sanity to Abuja acquired a reputation for demolitions when he served as minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has been named in at least two controversial demolitions in Kaduna.
When a national vice-chairman of his party, All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir expressed divergent issues with the governor on party issues, the response of the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency, KASUPDA was to demolish part of the man’s Kaduna property.
When El-Rufai’s 2015 election campaign manager, Senator Othman Hunkuyi had issues with the governor over party administration not too long ago, the very building belonging to Hunkuyi which was used to launch El-Rufai’s governorship campaign was brought down for allegedly owing some form of government taxes.
The Governor Tanko Al-Makura administration in Nasarawa State which had also won a reputation for scant regard for human rights has not been any lacking in the demolition of radio broadcasting houses. The government was quick to on May 17, 2017 demolish the building housing Breeze FM in Lafia for the reported violation of its land policy.
The quick resort to demolition without a court order, especially of media houses, is indeed, a reflection of the short latitude for opposition by a government.
Whereas God is long-suffering towards mortal men like Governor Ajimobi even tolerating it when governors impersonate Him as the Almighty, yet God does not demolish their lives. He still gives them the opportunity to repent and it is good that some of them after leaving power and seeing the vagaries of life come to comprehend that they are just men like every one of us!