By ‘Gbenga Ogunremi
Undoubtedly, the characteristic spectacle of the last eight years in Oyo state had been the exceptional performance of the Gov Abiola Ajimobi administration which distinctively featured governance best practices. Under Ajimobi’s watch, good governance and conscientious leadership became the norm. He was exceptional in turning around the fortunes of the state in an unprecedented manner, a feat that earned him the epithet, “Koseleri”(never happened before).
The governor’s unmatched legacies abound in the areas of security, agriculture, health care, education and capacity building, poverty alleviation empowerment programs, infrastructural development, local and foreign investment drive. Indeed, what he met on ground was, according to him, an Oyo state in bricks, but leaving it transformed into marble.
However, despite all these high level achievements by the outgoing leadership, whoever is taking charge afterward would still have to contend with many other daunting social and economic challenges confronting the state.
Consequently, there is a need for continuity that would ensure completion and sustenance of all on-going legacy projects and breaking of new grounds that fit the bill of good governance that had been the practice in the last eight years of the Ajimobi government.
Furthermore, it requires someone with suitable political will that can break the mold, demonstrate sufficient capacity and depth to push back the frontiers and raise the bar of governance to an enviable next level.
Against this background, and judging by antecedent, it is common knowledge that of all the governorship candidates of the various contending political parties in the upcoming elections, Bayo Adelabu, the APC Governorship candidate, stands out as the ideal man for the job.
A veritable extraction of the “Penkelemesi” dynasty in Ibadan, Bayo Adelabu, the grandson of the highly cerebral first republic outstanding politician, Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu, is a strong breed personality with an illustrious pedigree that dwarfs and pales into insignificance whatever the accomplishments or experiences of other governorship candidates.
The seemingly competent and proficient young man, who had been exceptional in his academic pursuits, career and business, has equally made a huge success of his latest pursuit, politics. He made his mark within a relatively short time of his foray into politics, earning a high level of respect and loved dearly by his people, especially the rural majority across the state.
When he abdicated his comfort zone which was the corporate world where he excelled for 28 years and even reached the peak of his career as the Central Bank Deputy Governor, to plunge into the murky waters of politics, a lot of people thought he must be crazy to leave certainty for uncertainty. But he was too passion driven and nothing would stop him from getting to that vantage position as governor in order to effectively tackle poverty head-on, eventually contain it and other social ills and thereby make life more meaningful and livable for the citizenry, most especially the rural majority.
Once given the mandate, the APC governorship candidate intends to run an all inclusive government through a robust and well-crafted seven point-agenda that not only promises a dynamic approach to governance but to also take Oyo state to the next level of sustainable growth and development.
The central themes of his Governance Agenda include, among others; emplacement of several proactive security measures that would further guarantee adequate security of lives and property; promotion of wealth creation through entrepreneurial development aimed at growing Oyo economy in leaps and bounds; social investment initiatives that would ensure massive job creation and youth inclusiveness; social welfare programs that would support the vulnerable women and children, those who are incapable of supporting themselves on account of old age and infirmity or disability; greater improvement in quality of education, educational facilities and capacity building; massive investment in agriculture, which includes resuscitation of farm settlements and exploitation of potentials in agro-allied industries; better access to affordable and quality health care services across the state; a social housing scheme that would tackle housing deficits, especially in favour of lower and middle income households. These and many more dividends of democracy are promises that are sacrosanct from someone who is obviously prepared for governance with an indisputable desire to serve his people and make their lives worth living.
However, long before venturing into politics, the APC governorship candidate, Bayo Adelabu, had for over 10 years been giving back to society in several selfless ways, assisting the needy and generally contributing to the common good in Oyo state through the Bayo Adelabu Foundation, BAF, which operates on five pillars of Education and Health Financing; Artisans and Traders Empowerment; Care for Widows, Orphans, Aged and Special Needs People; Communal Basic Infrastructure; and Youth Engagement and Rehabilitation.
Apart from the activities of the Foundation that had over the years impacted positively on the lives of so many Oyo state indigenes, Bayo Adelabu also took advantage of his high office as CBN deputy governor to facilitate beneficial projects for Oyo state such as an e-library of 500 students capacity and a block of 24 lecture rooms donated by CBN to the Technical University, Ibadan, the Diagnostic Centre at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, and the ICT Centre at The Polytechnic, Ibadan. Beside this, it is noteworthy that he also facilitated employment by the CBN of several Oyo state indigenes during his time as deputy governor, while almost a thousand residents and indigenes are in his personal employ through his vast business concerns of hospitality, entertainment, real estate and agriculture.
Accordingly, when these five pillars of the Foundation are juxtaposed with Bayo Adelabu’s seven-point governance agenda for the state, it points to one fact that this illustrious son and Agbaakin Parakoyi of Ibadanland has a genuine love for his people and very passionate about their socio-economic wellbeing, more than other governorship contestants of other parties put together. The facts are there for everybody to see and that is why pundits, stakeholders and the vast majority of the people are solidly behind this well cultivated, erudite and well rounded man of the people to emerge as the next governor of Oyo state in a couple of weeks.
*Ogunremi writes from Ibadan, Oyo State