When indigenes of Oyo State voted on April 26, 2011, most of those who voted named “change” as one of the factors that influenced their choice. The celebrations that followed the declaration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi as the winner of the election prompted the unanimous belief that the people got what they wanted. There was wild jubilation in almost all parts of Ibadan, the state capital. From Ajimobi’s base in Oluyole Estate to Alhaji Lam Adesina’s neighbourhood in Felele, Beere, Orita Merin, Oke Ado, even reserved neighbourhoods like Bodija witnessed some of the celebrations.
One year after however, opinions have become divided over whether Ajimobi is the “Messiah” Oyo State has been waiting for over the past one decade or more. Some indigenes of the state have given the Governor the sobriquet “Governor Do Nothing” because of the pace of his government which has generally been agreed to be slow.
Disappointments are being expressed by many, especially those who feel the Governor has not done anything new. A lot of those who voted in the last elections have stated that their expectations have not been met in the last one year of the Ajimobi administration.
Some of those who spoke to Street Journal based their argument on a Yoruba proverb that says “when a man wastes ten years in planning for madness, how long does he have to display his lunacy in the market square?” While many people in Oyo State have observed that the last one year has been characterised mainly by promises that are yet to be fulfilled, some others are of the view that some of those promises may never materialise.
The reason is not far fetched, after the first 366 days; the government has no real, tangible project that can be pointed out as achievement. Most of the achievements on ground were initiated by the immediate past administration. For instance, the Government is talking about the 199 roads being constructed simultaneously in the 33 local government areas across the state. Street Journal’s findings have however shown that a high percentage of those roads are the ones that have been receiving attention before the last administration wound up.
The link roads that have been marked since the days of the Ladoja administration are yet to see the light of the day and there is no indication that they will receive the attention of this government, based on what it has been able to do in the first one year and the projects that the present government holds as top priority.
“This is the first time in many years that a Government will not be able to present anything as achievements for a whole year. Or what is there to present? It is now clear that there is a big difference in having academic degrees and being a good administrator,” an observer told Street Journal.
The recent turning of the sod of a 150-room five star hotel complex by the Governor has further given the government an image of an administration that has failed to get its priorities right. The Governor has come under criticisms both from home and abroad, from people that feel there are more pressing issues that are begging for attention all over the state while the Government has decided in its wisdom that the hotel is of greater importance.
Investigations carried out by Street Journal revealed that the slow pace of work might have been caused by the calibre of people that make up the government. For instance, it is being said around the state capital that the Secretary to the State Government, Akin Olajide, a former Managing Director of the University Press Limited knows little or nothing about governance. Same for the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Adeolu Akande’s closes shot at governance was his membership of the Press Team of the Atiku Abubakar campaign organisation.
So many defects have plagued the administration in the last one year, causing it to run at a very slow pace. One of such is the officers’ poor administrative skills. In the whole of the South West, the government of Oyo State is the only one that does not reply letters. Much is thus lost to the poor attitude towards correspondence. Sources within the State Secretariat disclosed that the day to day activities of the government cannot be said to be well documented.
Street Journal’s investigations revealed that one of the things slowing the administration down can be traced to the foreign influence that came into play when the Governor was to select his team. It was discovered that different godfathers brought people and because the godfathers were people whose candidates could not be refused, they had places in the executive council. Further credence was lent to this by an event that took place in one of the ACN rallies in Oke Ogun just before the elections. As Senator Ajimobi’s vehicle drove into the campaign arena, a man ran towards it and knocked on the window. Senator Ajimobi rolled down and when he asked “yes?” making it obvious that the man outside was unknown to the then guber candidate. The man outside was however undeterred as he introduced himself in Yoruba, “emi ni, emi Deputy yin” (it is me, your Deputy).
The feeling that he might be working with strange bedfellows has apparently forced the Governor to do most of the work all alone. Street Journal gathered that all is not well within the cabinet. Some of the Governor’s aides have become embittered because at times, vouchers and requisitions would lie on the Governor’s table till the need for the funds become overtaken by events. One of those appointed by the Governor has also opted out and has stopped going to work. Street Journal’s investigations revealed that more might follow after the Democracy Day celebrations. It was found out that most files also encounter unnecessary delay because of the Governor’s refusal to delegate responsibility.
Earlier in the year, Street Journal reported that the prisoners granted amnesty by Governor Ajimobi were still languishing in prison, months after they had been pardoned. They could not be released because the Governor did not sign the required documents (which would only take a few minutes to do). The documents were however signed and delivered just three days after Street Journal broke the news.
The Government has also shown lack of tact in dealing with a number of issues. A case in point was the Government’s face off with the Labour Union in the state. So bad was it that the office of the organised labour was sealed off by security agents.
Street Journal has found out that Governor Abiola Ajimobi has started toeing the footsteps of his predecessor. His frequent foreign trips which are said to be in search of foreign investors have become a major topic for discussion in the state. While it is being said that the Governor was not at home for a better part of the first year, A lot of indigenes are wondering if any foreigner would want to invest if the state is not well taken care of first. The trips have also started generating suspicions and insinuations may soon start flying around about the frequent visits of the Governor’s wife to Dubai, especially from those who know that she runs the family’s business.
Though the restoration of peace to Oyo State is one of the things counted as achievements, it has been noted that the issue of school age children and adolescents roaming the streets and doing menial services has not been treated in the last one year. Incidentally, the operational base of majority of those in this category is close to the site of the 5-Star Hotel complex being built by the government. It has also been observed that there is hardly a street in Ibadan without the regular presence of at least one lunatic. Most of those displaced in the course of putting beautification projects in place are also gradually returning to their old locations.
Another main achievement of the Senator Ajimobi-led government that has received knocks from the populace is the Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo State, tagged “YES-O”. The scheme was started with the aim of engaging 20,000 unemployed youths who would be trained to become employers of labour. Unfortunately, the scheme conceived with good intentions has become one of the areas where points have been scored against the government. One of the main issues is that a good number of people allegedly became YES-O cadets because of the weight carried by their “assist the bearer letters” written by godfathers.
The remuneration of the cadets has also become another subject for public debate. Street Journal found out that the N 10,000 that should accrue to each cadet is not tax free, hence what each person takes home is about N 8,500. Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, the cadets are being owed their monthly allowance. Street Journal’s investigations revealed that some of the cadets have opted out and no longer report for duty. And contrary to the widely held belief that 20,000 people have been engaged in the scheme, training is still being done in batches and the number is still far from 20,000.