A piece with the above title written by Isiaka Ojewunmi was published in the Sunday Tribune edition of 14 December, 2014. The writer who claimed to be fronting for a pseudo Civil Coalition for Good Governance in Oyo State could have been ignored as a ranting of an irreverent critique of Senator Abiola Ajimobi’s progressive administration but for posterity and unsuspecting members of the public who may take the jaundiced perspective as gospel truth.
Interestingly, the radio interview I granted recently which no doubt rattled the opposition elements in the state couldn’t have been a sponsored one. It was done with a private radio station and anchored by one Edmund Obilo who is equally known to all not to be a good pal of Ajimobi administration. In my about two decades of teaching ‘Politics and the Mass Media’ at undergraduate level cum outstanding publications on the media – both print and electronic – the interviewer who anchored the programme no doubt is far away to being described as a thorough bred professional! Rather than being dispassionate, and allow his audience to form an opinion, he is well–known by members of the attentive public and his audience too to be unnecessarily confrontational making him a ready tool and pun in the hands of clueless oppositions in the murky waters of Oyo politics. For his employers to have retained him after a brief suspension of his programme and himself from work not long ago for professional misconduct as a result of unethical behavior which is in all ramifications antithetical to broadcast etiquette!. Mr. Ebilo is both the producer and presenter of his programme denying himself any mode of censorship including self restraints. Good luck to his station for that.
Nevertheless, this rejoinder couldn’t have been warranted but for just a reason. The writer was of the view that “… it is those governments that failed in delivering in their programmes that spin doctor make very hard propaganda”. The write wrote further that ‘the special adviser tried to spin doctor the achievements of Senator Isiaka Ajimobi, even when the interviewer presented facts that were unquestionable’. This could have being taken to be mere political caterwauler as the late Cicero of Esa Oke – Uncle Bola Ige – (of blessed memory) – could have described such antics of desperate politicians. The glaring sterling performances of this administration in all sectors make it the darling of Oyo State citizenry and the electorates in particular. In virtually all regions and climes of the world, scholars are not known for praise singing. We call a spade its proper name.
In the radio chat, I tried to roll out figures to make my presentation sufficiently analytical and empirical for all doubting Thomases. A few examples shall suffice to proof that the administration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi has not derailed from its initial tripod of – Restoration, Transformation and Repositioning – which ab initio happened to be the mantra of his government.
All objective observers of this administration continue to declare openly that Ajimobi has succeeded in taking Oyo State out of the parlous situation it was when Senator Ajimobi took over the reins of power in May 2011. It is noteworthy that the unprecedented serene and cleaner environments have all improved the general outlook of the state. To complement this is equally the sustained peace and security that have become a brand for which the state is noted. On comparative basis, neither Ladoja nor Akala administrations ever thought of setting up and equipping a dedicated crime response team. This administration floated Operation Burst. Ladoja government did not deem it fit to procure patrol vehicles for security agencies. Akala despite his background as a police officer bought 15 pieces. Governor Ajimobi has acquired 119 pieces so far! The two preceding administrations could not buy powered motorcycles while this government did with 7 pieces. While only Akala government built only one security control centre, Ajimobi has built six. In less than four years, this government has also deemed it fit to support the Police with 54 patrol vehicles with the preceding governments giving none. This has translated into the crime rate being at its lowest ebb in the state. For analytical simplicity, prior 2011 there were as many as 121 cases of murder in the state with none recorded in 2014. For kidnapping 45 cases were recorded prior 2011 and only 3 in 2014. Armed robbery which was rampant in the state recorded 4 in 2014 compared to 261 before 2011! Prior 2011 8 cases of violent bank robbery were recorded and none in 2014. The concomitant effect of peace and tranquility in the state is the substantial inflow of private investments which had hitherto been alien to the state.
Be that as it is, comparatively and without being immodest Senator Abiola Ajimobi administration has performed creditably than virtually all previous governments in the State. A government that is so perceived by objective observers and generality of the state electorates does not need a spin doctor neither does it require the services of propagandists. The performance of this administration is well known to all residents of the State except agents of darkness who may like to take us back into the trenches which the state is no more ready for.
For instance, at the inceptions of this administration 20,000 youths were employed through Yes – O scheme (Oyo State Youth Empowerment Scheme) as a rapid response window to the daunting unemployment challenges and their associated anti-social and criminal tendencies in the state. Furthermore, a sizeable number of the cadets have been found worthy, and have therefore, been absorbed as permanent staff in the State Civil/Public Service which of the previous governors in the recent past attempted that.
A critical mass of the electorate which has been difficult to satisfy by virtually all previous administrations in the state is undoubtedly the civil servants. But between 2011 till date they have never had it so good. This government provided the workforce with ten (10) luxurious buses to ease staff movement to and from work under Ajimobi free transport services scheme. Also, during the year government approved payment of enhanced salary to all categories of civil and public servants in the state. While in addition to the previous appointments made into various cadres in the civil service, additional 5,300 teaching and non-teaching staff was recruited into the state teaching service.
In its bid to improve quality of education in the state, this administration has commenced construction works on six (6) model schools in the three senatorial districts of the state that will become functional in due course. In the same vein, to ensure that our teeming young secondary school learners have access to tertiary education, two additional Polytechnics have been upgraded – they are the erstwhile satellite campuses of The Polytechnic Ibadan at Saki and Eruwa to become autonomous institution while arrangements have been concluded towards upgrade of the Lanlate campus of Emmanuel Alayande College of Education Oyo, to a full-fledged College of Education next year in order to expand the window of opportunities for more of our children. In terms of regime comparison, total number of schools renovated amounted to 2,360(2003-2007), 3,374(2007-2011) and 3,080(2011-2014) while total number of classrooms constructed amounted to 700(2003-2007), 973(2007-2011) and 946(2011-2014). The total number of classroom renovated (2003-2007) 0, (2007-2011) 50, in (2011-2014) 350 classrooms were renovated. Furniture procurement for public schools stood at 22,909(2003-2007), 25,679(2007-2011 and 32,752(2011-2014) and work is still ongoing. Preceding governments care not about science laboratories, this government has constructed as many as eight.
This piece may be incomplete without mentioning government achievements in two more critical sectors. The state government’s priority had always been in ensuring improved access to high quality and affordable health services to the people especially the vulnerable groups. Apart from the massive enlightenment campaign on health related issues, up to 92% and 80% coverage respectively were achieved for Oral Polis Vaccine (OPV) and measles immunization, respectively during the year. Provision of Free Health Services for pregnant women and children under five has continued unabated during the year. This is apart from the ongoing construction, upgrading and equipping of six (6) major hospitals across the state.
It is remarkable too to note that Senator Ajimobi administration has increased statewide potable water supply capacity from 17% to 80%. This feat was achieved through the restoration of production capacity at Asejire from 8% in 2011 to 82% currently, rehabilitation of 11 water works and reclamation of Eleyele water scheme which was submerged during the flood disaster of 2011 with its production capacity now at – 20 million liters per day!.
Finally, Ajimobi’s administration is people friendly and darling of the masses. The down-trodden feels the positive impact of the government in concrete terms. Thousand of market men, women cum artisans were given interest free loans for them to maximize their potentials. The simple question is: Does a performing government require spin doctor. In the face of incontrovertible facts, we all can feel, see and touch the nexus between achievements and realities in Oyo State. This is a government that believes in spatial development by touching the lives of everybody in all the zones of the state.
Dr. Ojo is currently the Special Adviser to the Executive Governor of Oyo State on Political Matters