By Tugbiyele Lanre
We will beat Akeredolu. Aketi will be defeated in APC Primary! He worked but he did not reconcile with the party…” These were common words amongst vociferous and numerous aspirants of APC.
The primary election conducted on July 20, 2020, shows clearly that Ondo APC differs largely with the above postulated hypothesis. When this hypothesis was tested it turned out to be a null hypothesis!
Ondo election is coming up on the October 10, 2020. As parties are preparing for the election, citizens are likewise preparing. It is not unusual that members of political parties started their preparation towards winning the election. The primary election has come and gone.
The political leaders and supporters had spoken clearly. The PDP flag bearer is Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, while the ruling party APC wants Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN to be in power for another four more years.
As someone, who cannot speak for the party but fully integrated into the streets and have the ears of the masses, I have some competence to appraise the performance of the government as it concerns what the public feel about the administration. No doubt many believe the governor has done well, however there are many people who think he needs adjustment in some areas and in his styles where possible.
Let me first commend Mr. Governor for the appreciable leap in the finance of the state which has brought stability to the financial health of the state. The increase in the Internal Generated Revenue in Ondo State is impressive. Ondo is among the first three states with improved IGR under Akeredolu’s watch. It is just as if the governor knew the source of income of the state would be attacked by COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, Akeredolu had looked inward to generate more fund to continue to develop the state. Also in terms of debt profiling, amongs the 36 states, Ondo state debt profile is one of the lowest in the country. This does not place heavy burden on the finances of the state. I must equally commend Mr Governor and his predecessors for this feat.
I do not like to start praising the governor for prompt payment of salary, but this is an achievement considering the huge salary arrears Aketi met on ground. A good leader must be able to solve the problem he met on ground. Seven months salary is not a child’s play. Though it can be underplayed by the opposition especially this time (election season). I am sure Ondo workers cannot forget in an hurry the harrowing experience under PDP.
The infrastructural development of the state receiving attention is commendable. Especially, the road projects ongoing across the 18 local government areas of the state are worthy to note. To be precise, presently about 15 different roads are ongoing, some had been completed in Akure the state capital. The quality of the roads make it outstanding. I don’t know road terminologies but the construction of drainage system on both sides of the roads are one of the assurances that the road (Aketi’s Standard) cannot be easily washed away. Ondo is a littoral and rainforest state with heavy amount of rainfall, and in the past poorly constructed roads were washed off shortly. This Aketi’s standard cannot be like that due to the good drainage system coupled with the road foundation and thickness of the asphalt.
“Sorry this road belongs to the Federal Government, bear with us”. This was the common road sign on most dilapidated federal roads in Ondo state, from Akungba, to Ugbe Akoko from Akure to Owo road to Ondo to Akure road to Ore road and many more. This negative headache or joint dislocation roads, did not just disappear but were given emergency repair of failed or failing portions on the federal roads. The notorious section of Ondo road at Owena bridge and Owena market in Ondo East is obvious to the blind. The magic wand at Oke Oka is visible.
Leaving repair and reconstruction, the uniqueness of Ore Bridge and Oke Alabojuto, stand out and solved many age long problem.
Ore Bridge ( Redemption Bridge) is unique, it reduces travelling time from the state capital to the Ondo South Senatorial District. It allows movement of perishable Agricultural products to and fro Ondo South Senatorial District. Most importantly, according to monthly report from Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, accident rate, reduced by 75% in Ore axis, as a result of the usage of the bridge. Hospital record from General Hospital, Ore also corroborated this. Motorists also make more gains, by commuting to and fro Ondo South district from Ondo town and Akure. Many workers who live in Akure but work in Ore, who had abandoned their vehicles as a result of the constant hold up around the roundabout now worry less and proudly commute the road with less stress.
Oke Alabojuto, was another scaring hilly road. I can say it is one of the most dangerous road to drive on, around Akoko axis of Ondo North Senatorial District of the state. The road had consumed many lives. I once worked in the Accident and Emmergency Department of State Specialist Hospital, Ikare Akoko. I received accident victims, almost on weekly basis when articulated vehicles would be descending the hilly road and ran over the market on the valley around the hilly sloppy road. Former Governor Mimiko had to visit this area several times and stated the only solution was to relocate the market from this area. He did built a new big zonal market at Alapata area in Ikare, but traditional market women, hardly leave a market they are culturally accustomed to. The killing continued. At a time, soldiers were invited to forcefully eject people from the market. But all efforts failed. The market is beside the palace of Olukare (Oja Oba) immediately you descend the hilly road. Governor Akeredolu solved these killings by telling the people that he would bring down the mountain. Behold, within two yeas the killing hilly road became a dual carriage (flat) road/express way within three years in power. What a magic!
I am from Idanre and as a scientist, I believe in evidence based project not ‘the audio projects’. Chocolate Factory is almost completed in Idanre. Alternative road that link Idanre with Akure is ongoing, almost completed.
Let me speak for the people who believe Governor Akeredolu ought to do better based on their understanding or method of developing the state which maybe differ from governor’s perspective. I also think along this line and form the basis of constructive criticism. The appointments: After the appointment of the Commissioners, all other appointments were delayed. When the appointment started coming, they were coming in piece meal. Why is Akeredolu not giving out these appointments? Special Assistance and Personal Assistance, Director Generals and board Chairmen and members were scarce.
The people started visiting mountains to pray for their appointment. Hope was high and people started loosing hope and confidence. Negative narratives started flying in even blindfolding various road projects ongoing even under our very noses.
When criticism becomes very high, this results in people nursing grudges against the Governor. Some extended same to his family. Till dates Mr governor had not constituted 50% of boards and parastatals, even almost four years in power! The truth of the matter, I joined in this constructive criticism, but not transferring aggression to his immediate family as few did. How do we explain non constitution of Board of Teaching Service Commission, Health Management Board. In fact, Internal Generated Revenue Board was constituted few months ago! Mr Governor, we do not play our local politics like this, with due respect.
Sir, appointment can be done in batches not piecemeal. Various positions are listed and each local government, each diverse interest are attended to. Second batch, third batch…
Sir, we will be happy if this can be done in the second half.
Sir, although, complain of some ethnic groups getting appointments or contracts more than the natives is rife. This is not true from research, but the problem is about the style of piecemeal appointment. Nobody can say only Yorubas should be appointed, but when expectations is high and you hear Chuckuma Adaka, then disappointment follows laced with hate and rumours accompanied it. Your party members who ought to be your natural eye even expand the rumours. But if in batches we have twenty Akin… and one Chuckwu, nobody will complain or will mischievously change the narrative. Besides, sir your effort in provision of water in the rural areas are commendable by provision of rural water scheme and Kamomi Aketi. Sir township water scheme needs urgent attention.
Sir, as a young man, we will love if you can populate your administration with young and dynamic individuals, who will be passionate about your legacy and will be willing to be part of the historical team. Youths or young men and women are the fathers and mothers whose children attend the beautiful schools you constructed. They are the husbands of the pregnant women in the hospitals you are building. They travel more on the beautiful roads you have constructed. They know when the hospitals, schools roads have challenges. We need the wisdom of the elderly nevertheless but a mixture of young and old politicians/people will be a fantastic idea. We the young need job mentorship.
Sir, I must commend your good initiative of seaport construction. Commencement and completion of the project, is one of the critical reasons your second term becomes a compulsory task for progressively minded and developmentally inclined people either in APC or PDP or apolitical people. The youth have more stake in job opportunities from this project. They know your honesty, sincerity and promise keeping attributes, but the political talk of the previous era, makes people to doubt your track record. Seeing how you delivered this monumental infrastructure in your first term. We have no doubt, not to trust you once again. We shall have a Sea Port! Thousands of jobs, better than most political jobs shall be created. Goods will be delivered to Ondo via the sea. Our agric products will be exported and we will make nice money. Economy boom is approaching.
It is hightime we started this God ordained journey, my friends, associates, market women, civil servants, politicians, youths and women.
Tugbiyele Lanre, a Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Idanre, Ondo State