AN OPEN LETTER TO ARAKUNRIN OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU; THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE:
“IGBORAN SAN JU EBO RIRU LO”.
“OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE”
December is here and the harmattan breeze is already blowing so it is appropriate for me to wish you a Merry Christmas in advance. I am constrained to issue this special statement at this time considering the situation of our dear state; Ondo State. You may want to know who exactly is this faceless person who has the audacity to write this letter to you not minding you may still be tired from the long return trip of 12,526km or 16hours, 50minutes flight to and fro Mauritius for your daughter’s wedding (God bless her new home with all heavenly blessings). You will be right to ask such a question. But there is a Yoruba saying that ‘when lice abound in your clothes, your fingernails will never be dried of blood’. When I was in the village, to make sure that lice die, you put them between two fingernails and press hard to ensure they die and they always leave blood stains on the fingernails. To ensure you do not have blood on your fingernails, you have to ensure that lice are not harboured anywhere within your vicinity (a quote necessary to explain the essence of this letter).
I am torn in between thoughts as to which to choose as the title of this letter. Should I pick “Igboran san ju ebo riru lo” or “Obedience is better than sacrifice”.
Please feel free to choose either or both as you find convenient.
I contested for a seat at the state house of assembly earlier in the year to represent the good people of Ilaje constituency 1 but lost to the heavily monetization of elections tagged “dibo ki o se’be”, meaning “vote and cook soup” which made it abundantly clear that holding elective position in Nigeria is for those with the deepest pockets and highest bidders. If it were to be at the Olympics games, I would have had a bronze medal hung on my neck. Election is not like that, so I accepted my fate moreso the first runner up was not ready to challenge the result at the election petitions tribunal. Since that time, I have devoted my time to my chosen profession and service to humanity.
For the South-West to move forward, Ondo State must be one of the anchor states, if not the leading anchor state based on the availability of various mineral resources available in the three senatorial districts. Crude Oil, Silica Sand, Tar Sand, Bitumen, Oil Palm, Rubber, Quartz, Fish and other aquatic lives, Timber, Clay, Banana, Cassava, Charnockite, Granite, Livestock amongst others abound in the southern senatorial district. Timber, Bamboo, Granite, Clay, Charnockite, Cassava, Poultry, Rice, Vegetables, Cocoa, Kolanut, Yam and many more cash crops are found on hectares of land in the central senatorial district. The northern senatorial has Clay, Coal, Quartz, Limestone, Granite, Cocoa, Rice, Livestock, Plantain, Banana, Salt, Kaolin, Bamboo, Yam and a host of other mineral resources. Tapping into this wealth of resources is more than enough to boost the internally generated revenue IGR of the state and shoot us to the top among top IGR driven states.
But this is not to be, because Ogun and Oyo seem to be way ahead of us in quality policy implementation for the betterment of the people. The new Oyo State (as I like to call it) though with a lean IGR and budget is running and developing faster than any other state in the South-West. A popular governor in the south-west has shown what it takes to hit the ground running with tons of decisions that are pointers to a clear direction. From massive road constructions across the state; to expansion of the economy through the agriculture value chain; to security and most importantly to education. Worthy of mention is the cancellation of all levies paid in public schools in that particular state and replicating the free education initiatives of the Chief Obafemi Awolowo era. In Ondo State, what we have is reintroduction of school fees payment in our public schools and stoppage of WAEC fees payment for public schools by the government. Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is in the fore-front with his Osun State counterpart at resolving the perennial crisis that has bedeviled LAUTECH; meanwhile Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko and Ondo State University of Science And Technology, Okitipupa are all wallowing in different form of crisis (which we have not witnessed in a long time) ranging from non-payment of salaries to poor management and misappropriation of funds, to abysmal and inconsiderate increase in school fees.
On job creation for youths, besides the Owos and Igbos who were directly employed into the civil service, there is no form of employment traceable to your goodself. Do not be offended. There was advert for recruitment of medical personnel at HMB, OSRC and Orange FM where applicants had to cough out monies to purchase application forms yet none of them was called for interview except ofcourse your protégés from Owo and Igbo land.
Arakunrin (as you preferred to be addressed), for 3 years the agricultural revolution in Ondo State is still at paper stage; infact, the site of the much celebrated Egg Pounder project is already overgrown with weed whilst the cassava to ethanol project which is said to be in partnership with NNPC is yet to begin.
Oyo State has 33 local governments and it’s about the state with the largest harbor in the SouthWest, yet the transmission of Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State BCOS reaches everywhere clear and very audible but our own Orange FM, Sunshine FM and OSRC are barely audible and visible beyond Ondo Central. What are you doing?
Besides about 14 massive ongoing road projects which the government of Oyo State have attracted through the federal government, GSM is taking bold steps at ensuring all abandoned road projects in Oyo State are revisited whilst concentrating on the construction of internal roads and rural roads. Capital projects takes about 51% of the 2020 budget of Oyo State. Thank you for the Emure-Owo dualised road, Abusoro road, Oke-Ogba Road. Eskis sir, most of the other roads your government is working on are taking forever to be completed; not even the Oke Alabojuto which you now use as campaign song. Could this be because we have only two or three contractors working on all these numerous projects? Meanwhile, I have written and tagged you severally on social media regarding the sorry and appalling state of Igoba road. I am pleased to inform your goodself that the residents of Igoba have resorted to self-help and have started working on the road. I advise that you do not bother to go there to campaign.
Ekiti State under the leadership of your friend His Excellency John Kayode Fayemi conducted local government elections on 7th December. Your government on 17th April, 2018 inaugurated members of the State Independent Electoral Commission ODIEC and tasked them to conduct local government elections without delay but you refused to make money available for their use. To make matters worse, December 1, 2018 was fixed for local government elections, forms were sold by ODIEC to political parties and their aspirants, parties had conducted their primaries (except APC) and candidates had spent their hard earned resources to campaign only for your ODIEC which had already ran foul of various electoral laws to announce on the eve of the elections that elections has being postponed indefinitely. Yes, I said indefinitely!! The chairman of the board you constituted; a Professor, announced this knowing fully well the legal implications of indefinitely postponing an election. We later realized the hurried and unwarranted postponement was not unconnected to a court judgment in September 2018 restraining the State Independent Electoral Commission from accepting the list of APC candidates submitted by Engr. Ade Adetimehin led APC in Ondo State. Of course, how would you conduct an election and your party won’t be represented?
On security, we all know that a secure and safe environment is something that should not be compromised. You have bought some “chinko vehicles” for the security agencies only that these agencies have no share in your N800Million naira monthly security vote yet security situation has worsen in Ondo State under your watch because it appears you are playing politics with it. How do you expect security agencies to function effectively? It also appears your government supports thuggery because how do you expect me to explain the invasion of the hallowed chambers of the State House of Assembly by thugs who disrupted proceedings, injuring legislators in the process, yet nothing was done? Our security agencies are starved of operational funds despite the huge sum that comes to the state as security vote. More worrisome is the news that filtered into the public that herdsmen and their livestock overran and destroyed the rice plantation at Emure near your village. Are you saying this huge plantation has no security outpost? Is this not a plan to cover up something? Oh I remember!!!!! Ondo State is the only state in the SouthWest where you see the signpost of NLTP, otherwise known as RUGA.
It is no longer news that you run the state with a kitchen cabinet comprising Arabinrin Betty, your son, Femi Ajipe, Igbo community and Owo community. Whoever wants anything from you and your government must first lick the feet of these cabal else such person(s) may have to wait till eternity. Owo and Igbo language has suddenly become the official language of the governor’s office and government house.
How you “miraculously” won that election in 2016 despite the incumbency prowess of Dr Olusegun Mimiko is obvious to the blind and audible to the deaf (but I do not want to go into that for now).The situation that made residents of Ondo State vote against the candidate of Mimiko is playing itself out in your case again. It is no gainsaying that you are more of a technocrat than a politician hence most of your initial sins were easily forgiven. I am writing you this letter to plead that you change your ways. Reawaken that spirit that made the people accept your candidacy in 2016 by delivering to them the true and undiluted dividend of democracy.
It is no gainsaying that governance in Ondo State under your leadership since 2016 has brought nothing but – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, insecurity, gross dereliction of duty, lack of progress and hope for the future, poor management of internal political dynamics and widening gap between the many poor and the few rich.
Borrow a leaf from what Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is doing. Please don’t feel too big to tell him, “aburo, bawo ni kin se se?” meaning “how do I do it?”; afterall, your rise to the stardom you currently enjoy started from Ibadan in Oyo State. Your days at your joint chambers with Olujimi at “Oba Bi Olorun Kosi Building” on Ring Road before you moved to your personal office building, “Law Hub” on same Ring Road gives you the native audacity to seek for advice even from the Olubadan and Alaafin.
I will conclude this letter by referring you to the letter of former President Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo to his successor Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan titled: “Before It Is Too Late” which was meant for GEJ to act before it was too late. He ignored it and it was too late for him and those who goaded him into ignoring the voice of caution.
I know that your praise-singers and hired attackers may be raised up against me for verbal or even physical attack but, I will consider no sacrifice too great to make for the good of Ondo State and Nigeria at any time. No human leader is expected to be personally strong or self-sufficient in all aspects of governance.
Igboran san ju ebo riru lo.
Obedience is better than sacrifice.