By Kerry Taiwo
It may not be wrong to dub Governor Akeredolu as the best servant leadership personality of the century in the way and manner he mans the machinery of government. He has constantly and repeatedly proven to be an exceptional leader who is unperturbed by the grouses of some haters as long as he is doing the right thing. He is indeed a new generation servant leader consumed by a failing passion and dilemma as long as the lives of his people are in danger. He has exhibited this trait so many times and he would do anything to make his people live in peace and in assured safety.
The historical realism of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as a legendary statesman showcases a perfect fit for hero of servant leadership. The literary meaning of Oluwarotimi, which is the first name of the people’s Governor, depicts the influence of a freedom fighter,a standby conqueror, a rescuer and a definitive crusader who stands for his people. He has been able to boldly achieve what no Governor in the entire Nigeria has the audacity and the sagacity to achieve. The idea of ‘Amotekun’ the South West Security Network fashioned to curb the menace of banditry,kidnapping,ransom taking,armed robbery and other similar vices was conceived by Arakunrin. He was the first Governor to boldly and publicly declared war against the cruelty of the criminal herdsmen around the country without recourse to the fear of the consequences of milling the ire of the Fulani oligarchs,who seem to have some soft spot for the Fulani herdsmen, from whom some are carrying out different degrees of assault and mayhem around the country. Recently South West has been a theatre of gory sights,and of most concern in the forests of Ondo State where many indigenes of the State such as Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti , the surviving patriarch of Afenifere,and most recently a first class monarch, Oba Olufon Of Ifon in Ose Local Government of Ondo State and some others have been murdered in cold blood. I am still in dilemma why the Presidency up till now obfuscated the extinction of Boko Haram and herders attacks around the country with our global standard military might.
Akeredolu has shown that he loves his people more than the razzmatazz of his office and that he is ready to put his position on the line in defense and security of the lives of his people. There were threats and verbal confrontations by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and Fulani Nationalist Movement and some supposed statesmen who feed fat from the herders evils against the people’s Governor,for daring to make a pronouncement that will set in motion the exit of the criminal Fulani herders out of Ondo forests, yet he was unruffled. It reinforces how pathologically stubborn Akeredolu could be when it comes to safeguarding the wellbeing and security of lives of the people he governs, and that he will do this with every clout.
Akeredolu is undoubtedly obsessed with the tune of change in terms of economic and infrastructural progress. He does this business of governance like a personal business with tenacity and commitment. Many misunderstood him as someone who revolves projects contracting and juicy office holding to family members or people close to him…. if at all he does that,he does to be assured of results…. he wants to be sure he could pin down people on the success of their given task. He is a success driven man. This may not be far from the reason why he is recording more success stories on daily basis. He has been able to achieve more infrastructural excellence and economic growth more than any of his predecessors both living or dead. Many roads were rehabilitated and constructed across the state in his first 4 years which elapses few days from now. Many reconstruction efforts were recorded in Primary Schools up to tertiary institutions across the state, his excellence in administration stands tall and bold at Ore where he has been able to build a fly over bridge for his people to put to an end to one time regular carnage and deaths at that interjection on Lagos-Benin Expressway. Arakunrin is building an economic empire that will position Ondo State in the forefront among other states in Nigeria. His impacts and effort may presently stand within the prospect of disbelief but history will succinctly put his integrity of action in a clearer perspective.
I have learnt from reliable sources the agony that Aketi goes through by the day when reliving the sad experiences of gruesome murders, kidnapping activities that have recently bedeviled the state. The dearth of fund for the payment of staff salaries across the state and for impressive infrastructural and economic progress gives him heart pains and he wishes for an omnipotent grace to achieve the unusual vis-a- vis infrastructural and economic progress for the Sunshine State. What gives the Governor more heart pains is the rebuilding of the public properties that were destroyed through the mayhem unleashed on the state by criminals who had hijacked the peaceful Endars protest. Many public properties were destroyed at Okitipupa,in Okitipupa Local Government headquarters where the Police Headquarters,The Prisons, The High Court premises and the entire Local Government Secretariat were totally burnt down. The APC State Secretariat and Akeredolu Campaign Office were equally burnt by the hoodlums. Okitipupa Local Government as I authoritatively gathered,had requested the assistance of the State Government for the rebuilding and rehabilitation of the affected properties and I do hope the people’s Governor will do something in this regards. All these put together can make a leader loose direction considering the amount needed to achieve these expenses. The staff salary issue is coming from the harshness of the present economic situation of the state and I’ll implore the civil servants to reason with the Governor, and the Governor too should do whatever it will take to improve on the conditions of the civil servants, though unarguably, the Governor has the interest of the civil servants at heart.
Leadership is not about leading others but about impressive service to others. A true leadership requires a track records of genuine impacts in the community where one lives or in one’s sphere of influence. A commitment to the fulfillment of people’s aspirations and wellbeing is the perfect leadership a given society yearns for. This is aptly summed up in Governor Akeredolu. He is a rare being gifted to Ondo State to marshal his entire strength for the flourishness of the state.
Many people in Ondo state need to understand the personality Arakunrin is made of, he is not a self-seeker, a debaucher or a political glutton whose mission is to milk the state dry of its meager funds but rather to make the best out of the untapped fine multi resources the state is endowed with. He will sure bequeath the state to the next administration after his second term which begins on 24 February,2021 as a paragon of beauty and envy of all states in Nigeria.
Few days ago, to show his commitment and passion for the security of lives, he sought and got the approval of the State Executive Council to re-equip ‘ Amotekun’ the State security network with additional 20 vehicles to the existing ones for effective operations to rid the state of criminal activities. All this goes far beyond the character and culture of a disgruntled leader and indeed I give kudos to Arakunrin.
Akeredolu is more of a technocrat than a politician. Sunshine people need to have this understanding too. While a politician drives more towards a political image, a technocrat-politician drives towards socio-economic image. A technocrat has the culture of impacting on the general socio-economic value of people in a given environment while the politicians exist more to cream the palms and bank accounts of themselves and their political associates. So it’s undoubtedly not a political miscarriage as we have Aketi at the helms of affairs now decked in the toga of technocrat-politician so the Sunshine State can shine again from its bleakness. Business surely can not be as usual.
Aketi is a semblance or a modern brand of the likes of the late sages Pa Obafemi Awolowo, Pa Adekunle Ajasin and Pa Lateef Jakande who has just joined his ancestors. Such creations choose to have indelible imprints on the sands of time than acquiring the entire state possessions as personal estates or pleasing a horde of political jobbers or gigolos who are more concerned about their pockets than the good of the citizenry.
Modern government needs the brand of Arakunrin to drive a modern socio-political economic change in Nigeria. Time has passed the culture and style of amassing wealth to the detriment of helpless citizens in the midst of vast resources with capacity to turn poverty into affluence, where based and groping Nigerians are daily fed with crumbs.
Nigerians, especially the youth are tired of this system that have rendered them as slaves and invalid in their own country; they are tired of the system that is giving them stains,spots, wretchedness and unwanted names around the world. Nigerians need a servant leader whose interest is the people’s wellbeing and corporate impressive development of the nation…….a surge from backwardness to developed economy.
Kerry Taiwo, a Journalist writes from Lagos