By Duro Onabule
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State must make up his mind if he wants to be remembered as a repairer governor or a state chief executive who came to office with his well-prepared programme, which he duly executed. It is not clear if he was trapped or merely allowed the pranksters to ridicule themselves in the hope of regaining political relevance.
The gathering was at the palace of the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, and it was supposed to be a reception by a social group. But it turned out to be a lecture on how Dapo Abiodun should (not can) run Ogun State for the next four years, especially area of concentration. The exercise was something unprecedented. Lamentation and woes about how all the projects of his administration had been neglected by his successor, ex-governor Ibikunle Amosun. In another way, the gathering was a kind of dangerous politics of ganging old Ijebu province against old Egba province. The not too clever tactics must be resisted in the overall interest of peace and harmony in Ogun state.
It must also be made clear that this is not an advocacy for ex-governor Ibikunle Amosun. Indeed, such advocacy is not possible in view of the declaration of political war on Ijebu province inherent in the unhinged campaign against the candidacy of Dapo Abiodun in the last days of Amosun’s tenure, in favour of his (Amosun’s) preferred candidate from Egba province. There is also the bitter lesson on the ephemeral nature of political power/tenure. Six months ago, Amosun played God on the political future of Ogun State. Today, he must be agonizing on the inevitable end of any beginning. It is always a question of time. Added to that, for some unknown reasons, Amosun, throughout his second term, turned Abeokuta, in fact, Egbaland, into Ogun State at the expense of other towns – Ijebu Ode, Ijebu-Igbo, Ago Iwoye, Odogbolu, Sagamu, etc.
Despite that deliberate lopsidedness in infrastructural development, it could never be as if Amosun did nothing monumental, substantial or everlasting in other parts of the state throughout eight years. For ex-governor Gbenga Daniel to have, therefore, turned a supposed reception for governor Abiodun into an arena for his (Daniel’s) political resurgence is some kind of contemptuous prank. At the said reception, Abiodun was reduced to some kind of a pre-degree student of politics by the self-appointed lecturer, Daniel. The strategy was manifold. First, there was the self-glorification on his performance while in office. This was followed by unsparing condemnation of Amosun’s tenure, especially construction of overhead bridges. Reception for an in-coming governor is not the place for self-praise of one of his controversial predecessors, or, in the alternative, all the new governor’s predecessors must be appreciated for their efforts.
Even then, each governor’s performance is best illustrated by the everlasting nature of some of the projects.
For a repeat, ex-Governor Amosun is not in any way today a friend of Ijebu province, as he alienated himself throughout his second term with complete neglect of and open declaration of political war on Ijebu province. Yet, his little touch on Ijebu province in his first term can never be forgotten or overlooked. Amosun’s overhead bridges in parts of Ijebu province are of major value on the lives of the people. The first was the overhead bridge at Ijebu-Ode junction of Sagamu-Benin expressway. Before the construction of that bridge (that is throughout the eight-year tenure of Gbenga Daniel as Ogun governor) that junction was a major accident spot with usually heavy fatal casualties. Indeed, the last accident on that spot involving a big passenger bus from Benin and a smaller bus turning from the expressway to Ijebu-Ode killed at least 30 passengers in both buses. Such accident, even if less fatal casualties, was a regular feature on that spot.
Diversion of traffic from the expressway to the right to turn to the left on to the new overhead bridge completely stopped fatal motor accidents on that spot over four years ago. That is better service to humanity than a stadium in Ijebu-Ode, even inside the town, by the Lagos garage by Chief Okunowo’s house, is another overhead bridge constructed by Amosun who must be appreciated for his foresight and promptness. Before the construction of the Lagos garage overhead bridge, the junction was already building up to a gridlock at weekends, major festivals like Easter, Eid el Kabir, Sallah and Christmas, when indigenes and residents return home to celebrate and host friends as well as families. But for that Lagos garage overhead bridge constructed in time to remove potential traffic jam, entry to Ijebu-Ode from the expressway would have been nightmarish. Today, it is a free ride for motorist from the expressway over the Lagos garage overhead bridge into the town while traffic from Obalende through Muslim College road easily pass under the bridge to old Ondo-Benin Road and return. Such easy and safe ride currently being enjoyed could not have been possible.
Easy traffic eases any stress on the health of travellers and residents of the town. The value of these overhead bridges can never be compared to that of Dipo Dina International Stadium. In any case, Amosun’s naming the stadium after late Dipo Dina was almost frustrated through the mischief and malice of political rivals hell-bent on rubbishing Dina even in his grave. But Amosun stuck out his neck. Otherwise, Dipo Dina would have been forgotten today.
By the way, continuity in governance is the order of the day all over the world. Abiodun can, therefore, continue where necessary with projects. But this does not mean he should devote his tenure to shining another man’s reputation. The governor should look at the federal level. Buhari has not abandoned genuine projects of (his) predecessor Goodluck Jonathan. But the same Buhari has distinguished himself with his own programme, not the least unprecedented infrastructural development all over the country: Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Lagos-Ibadan rail line, Lagos-Kano rail line and Lagos-Abeokuta rail line being good examples.
The supposed reception for Governor Dapo Abiodun featured moaning that projects under ex-Governor Daniel were abandoned or not maintained. Were the projects of Daniel’s predecessor Segun Osoba maintained? All the projects were abandoned. Furthermore, road signs (indicating that those projects were constructed by Osoba’s administration) were uprooted. Such pettiness and envy. Why then the agony by Daniel? Epe-Ijebu-Ode road is a good example. Was it maintained by Gbenga Daniel or Ibikunle Amosun? None of them maintained the major link from Lagos through Epe to Ijebu-Ode.
The least said about Yemoji Waterworks the better. Governor Dapo Abiodun will discover that the waterworks needs total reconstruction, only for the people of Ijebu-Ode and environs. For decades, there was no reconstruction for former President Goodluck Jonathan to open. Otherwise, Yemoji waterworks would still be in operation today. The governor needs to probe the purported reconstruction of Yemoji in the recent past. Despite the so-called reconstruction, and opening, no water ever flowed to Ijebu-Ode and environs.
Some words of advice. Governor Dapo Abiodun must shine his eyes and assert himself, lest he is reduced to the status of a Boy Boy governor of Ogun State. Abiodun contested and won the Ogun State governorship election on personal merit with his manifesto supported by his party and his leaders. He owes himself the duty to implement his programme and earn the deserved glory. The blueprint read to him at the purported reception at Ijebu-Ode was another man’s moribund manifesto dusted up for him (Dapo Abiodun). Former Governor Segun Osoba never handed over his manifesto to his successor, Gbenga Daniel, to implement. The same Gbenga Daniel never gave any instruction to his successor, Ibikunle Amosun, to implement. And of course, former Governor Amosun would never dream of tutoring Governor Dapo Abiodun any aspect of policy to implement.
The choice is Dapo Abiodun’s to or not to allow himself to be reduced to Boy Boy governor unprepared with any manifesto and nose-led like a “mumu.”