By Akinwale Kasali
Prior to Saturday February 23rd, 2019 polls, Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi was optimistic and confident that he will return to the Senate after finishing his tenure as the governor on 29th May, 2019.
Unfortunately, he was living on the crest of illusion and fantasy, as the electorates had another mission and intention in stock for him. Which is simply denying him their votes at the poll.
Ajimobi had been a senator, representing Oyo South Senatorial District before contesting for the gubernatorial seat and winning in 2011. He was however re-elected for second term as governor to complete his eight years. He felt returning to the Senate would make him still relevant politically.
Sadly, he has lost his popularity in the state.
When the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, tsunami struck, it consumed the aspiration of other parties’ candidates, including Governor Ajimobi, seeking senatorial bid in Oyo south, with PDP’s Kola Balogun defeating him
Ajimobi has been at loggerheads with top APC chieftain in the state.
Former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, blasted Ajimobi when he (Shittu) declared his intention to run for the governorship of the state in the 2019 poll, Ajimobi made sure that Shittu was not given the ticket.
Ajimobi was said not to be accommodating and using the party as a structure to demystify some members who are not in tandem with his policies.
Apparently referring to Shittu, he said: “As for the one, who is a regular fighter, he always fights those who help him. That was how he fought with our past leaders like late Chief Bola Ige. Even if he becomes the governor, as he desperately wants to, he would carry placards against himself forgetting that he is the governor. He wants to become governor of Oyo State”.
The angry men and women said that they regret the use and dump syndrome infected with the myriad of unfulfilled promises and marginalization of its members by the Abiola Ajimobi-led administration.
They expressed their displeasure during the swearing ceremony of the state executive officers of Itesiwaju-Oyo Coalition Movement which was held in Ibadan, the state capital.
The artisan however went ahead with their threat to deny him the senatorial seat he yawns for.
Adeolu Akande, a Political Science lecturer at Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo, was Chief of Staff to Ajimobi during his first term in office.
Akande said recent actions of the government suggest that some elements in the Ajimobi-led administration had forgotten that the administration emerged in 2011 with a promise to protect the welfare of the people.
“Many recent actions of the government are at variance with its disposition at inception in 2011.
“This suggests that some forces who are not privy to the pledge of Ajimobi to the people have made ascendancy in the government to the detriment of what the government stood for at inception,” he said
He said no administration without the element of compassion would go down in history as successful.
Akande said that the primary responsibility of any government was to protect lives and property, adding that the sacredness of private property comes after preservation of life in terms of importance.
“A government has a duty to make all necessary measures to protect the property of private citizens just as it has a duty to protect their lives,” he stated.
He said that the furore generated by the demolition of the property of Yinka Ayefele, a popular musician, must have demonstrated to the government by now that it was an unpopular decision.
“Government is about the people and not the anger and emotions of the people in government.
“ The Yoruba captures this truism when they say a ruler rules with wisdom and not with stubbornness.
“The Ayefele saga has once again brought to the fore the need for the governor to rethink his government and review its personnel and focus as he embarks on his homestretch so that history can be kind to him,’’ he said.
Akande said he was pained that the lofty ideals that endeared the governor to the people in the early years had been abandoned and replaced with practices that could wipe out such achievements.
“It is more painful that many of the personnel who encourage controversial government decisions and actions claim innocence in private conversations and never identified themselves with those decisions, even in public,” he said.
He recalled how the governor directed all government agencies to protect Ayefele’s building from demolition in 2012 during the dualisation of the Challenge-Toll Gate road in spite of persuasion from some forces to demolish it.
He advised Ajimobi to extend the same sense of compassion to the handling of the subsisting issues at LAUTECH and the closure of tertiary institutions occasioned by the reduction in subvention to the institutions.
“I make this appeal because the governor is on the homestretch of his administration and there will not be such auspicious opportunity for him to etch his name on the positive side of history.
“Those who encourage the governor to embrace hard-line positions in his last months in government are not his friends and do not mean well for him and Oyo State,” Akande, a governorship aspirant, said.
Political observers are of the opinion that Ajimobi was the cause of his own political demystification, because he was fighting so many wars with his people, including students, both secondary and tertiary students with his policies that was against the populace.