By Jide Ajani
That Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State could puncture the political balloon of ego, ascribed to a certain godfather of politics in the South-West geopolitical zone of Nigeria, is a qualified testament to hard-work, sincerity of purpose and reciprocity of love between the governor and the governed, as well as an abiding faith in and commitment to the virtues of goodness. We will get to this point momentarily.
For the needless controversy and overheating of the political sphere in Oyo since the ill-fated and uneducated Appeal Court judgment of Monday, November 11, 2019, those who opted to twist facts and distort reality ended up playing into the mighty hands of fate by further subconsciously deepening the bond between the people of the state and Makinde, in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment which affirmed the election of the latter.
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The triumphant entry
A journey from the Ibadan Airport back to town took some five hours as a result of the unstoppable outpouring of affection and love from the people to their governor, with a convoy of over 100 vehicles led by men, women, the aged and youths who chose to trek all the way from the airport back to town.
As the convoy moved through town from Alakia to Gbagi, Iwo-Road intersection, Gate, Molete, Dugbe, Mokola, Sango and then Bodija, okada riders, Keke NAPEP operators, artisans, market men and women trooped out to join the convoy in jubilations that were at once ecstatic and boisterous.
Why the celebration?
The Supreme Court had, on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, lampooned the decision of the Court of Appeal, a decision which was a classical example of uneducated double speak. The nation’s apex court heard seven other cases that same day but that of Governor Makinde stood out both in content and context. In content because the Supreme Court sounded it loud and clear that the decision of the Appeal Court was a grave “miscarriage of justice.” In context because, just as the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, had twisted and celebrated the convoluted Appeal Court judgment, while insinuating that it was certain that the Supreme Court would endorse the perfidy of November 11, the apex court literally broke the final shackles of bondage with which some godfathers had vowed to hold down the good people of Oyo – in a manner of speaking, that is. Even those who talked about pakute (trap) have themselves become entrapped in shame.
Connecting the dots
Because many are yet to fully appreciate the very nature of the dark forces at play in Nigeria’s political space, they cannot connect the dots. That Engineer Makinde is the only Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governor in the Yoruba-speaking South-West geopolitical zone is a matter of fact; and the attempt to employ the instrumentality of the judiciary to deny that has failed. But that is not the complete story. The complete story can be located in the letter the late Papa Obafemi Awolowo wrote to Professor Samuel Cookey of General Ibrahim Babangida’s Political Bureau, which sought to fashion out a new political order for Nigeria. Awolowo had been requested to participate in the endeavour but he turned the request down with this letter:
“I received your letter of February 28, 1986, and sincerely thank you for doing me the honour of inviting me to contribute to the National Political Debate.
“The purpose of the debate is to clarify our thoughts in our search for a new social order.
“It is, therefore, meet and proper that all those who have something to contribute should do so.
“I do fervently and will continue fervently to pray that I may be proved wrong. For something within me tells me, loud and clear, that we have embarked on a fruitless search.
“At the end of the day, when we imagine that the new order is here, we would be terribly disappointed. In other words, at the threshold of our New Social Order, we would see for ourselves that, as long as Nigerians remain what they are, nothing clean, principled, ethical, and idealistic can work with them.
“And Nigerians will remain what they are, unless the evils which now dominate their hearts, at all levels and in all sectors of our political, business and governmental activities are exorcised.
“But I venture to assert that they will not be exorcised, and indeed they will be firmly entrenched, unless God Himself imbues a vast majority of us with a revolutionary change of attitude to life and politics or, unless the dialetic processes, which have been at work for some twenty years now, perforce, make us perceive the abominable filth that abounds in our society, to the end that an inexorable abhorrence of it will be quickened in our hearts and impel us to make drastic changes for the better.
“There is, of course, an alternative option open to us: To succumb to permanent social instability and chaos.
“In the premises, I beg to decline your invitation.
“I am yours truly, Obafemi Awolowo.”
The reason Oyo has suffered in the hands of past leaders who placed politics and greed over service is because of the fact that we saw for ourselves that some “Nigerians remain(ed) what they are, (and) nothing clean, principled, ethical, and idealistic can work(ed) with them” in eight years. Yet, the puppet they tried to install was a woeful failure at the polls. However, evil people, imbued with a messianic force driven by greed, avarice and sheer quest for domination, did not accept the humble fate handed to them by the good people of Oyo. Now, their fake political balloon of ego has been punctured.
More so, because, by stark contrast, God Almighty has presented Makinde to the people of the state, as one with whom ‘something clean, principled, ethical and idealistic can work’.
Moving on in service delivery
The leadership that the administration of Makinde represents is not only committed to but is also manifestly interested in the economic emancipation of the people, advancement in their educational pursuit, creation of a good healthcare delivery system, a financial security that assuages fears and challenges, and the creation of an environment where peace and stability would reign supreme. The impact of this is that the people already feel intrinsically challenged to deliver on simple, basic civic calling that would ultimately build a society for sustainable growth. This symbiotic relationship, in our humble view, comes with the immense potentials to catapult our state to the Olympian heights of social wellbeing, economic prosperity and a polity that is modern in all materials particular.
Therefore, our commitment to serve the good and industrious people of Oyo is unflinching; and it is powered by the most superior force, which handed the governance of the state to us. Makinde has pledged that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, shall guide his actions at all times. By dint of this, he is resolute in delivering on his mandate.
The alternative, though dangerous option, that Papa Awolowo talked about, but which the good people of Oyo, by their votes, declined, would have been “to succumb to permanent social instability and chaos.” The people of Oyo, by voting for and strengthening the bond of friendship with Makinde, have opted for good governance. An example: On Monday, December 16, 2019, civil servants in Oyo received their December salaries; and from December 27, the 13th month salaries will be paid. This is the first time in the history of the state that workers would get December salaries this early, a development that would allow them to make adequate plans ahead of the Yuletide. And there are many more firsts in the offing with Governor Seyi Makinde, who has vowed to continue to reciprocate the trust and confidence reposed in him by the people of Oyo.
• Ajani is Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Media Strategy