Issues

2018/2019 SOUTHWEST GUBERNATORIAL RACE: THE YEARNINGS OF THE PEOPLE

Governance in the Southwest Nigeria in the last two democratic dispensations particularly for those governors who served two-terms in office, has been remarkable; and for those governors who just served one term and are seeking for re-election into office, their performances in the first term will, no doubt, the basis of evaluation and judgment.
But while appraisal may be made on performances on meritocracy, it is needful to consider the hope the need expectation of the people on the state of bad roads across the states, security challenges on different attacks, youth unemployment, pensioners and standard of education. Bad roads are indeed the problems of the Nigerian states, especially the Southwest Nigeria. Southwest Nigeria, no doubt, is indeed the base of the Nigerian economy, perhaps where roads are at their busiest state.

According to Aliko Dangote, the president of Dangote Group of companies, who remains one of the drivers and shakers of the Nigerian economy, Nigeria losses N140 billion weekly due to the heavy gridlock on Apapa-Oshodi road. In Ogun State, alone, both the Federal roads and the States roads such as the link highways on Ikorodu-Sagamu is at a sorry state. The same lamentation goes to people living in Sango, Owode-Yewa, Ijebu-East and for other rural qeelleers, it’s been a comatose. Oyo State is not an exemption. Travellers going to Oyo town upon leaving Ibadan would fine the road deteriorating of recent, it’s the bridge that connects Alexander Apata to Kuola Apata that was the issue, that residents had to cry out to the government.

In Ondo State, Akoko road is one of the major problems. In Ekiti and Osun States respectively, one cannot say with all assurance that all the roads both Federal and State that cut across the states are fixed. It is becoming quite imperative that bad roads in the Southwest Nigeria are the major impediments to the progress of the region. Security is a national issue as far as Nigeria is concerned but just that it is highly prevalent and more concentrated in one region than another. In the Nigeria Southwest, especially in Oyo State’s agricultural interiors, the herds men – farmers clash has been too rampant especially in states like Lagos, Ogun, and Ibadan. Pipeline vandalization threat has not yet ceased including robbery and other cases of violence. It is pertinent that the next crops of leaders seeking a gubernatorial seat must be ready to addressing these serious issues and proffer solutions.

Youth employment is a problem in Nigeria but it appears to be more concentrated in the Southwest, Nigeria where graduates turnout in their millions. Most of these states are not creating jobs for the youths rather is there any basis or Avenue for empowerment. Particularly in Lagos and Ogun,the problem is highly concentrated as the states are both noted for both commerce and education producing highest members of school leavers yet with population density for employment. The government seem not to have made any tangible provision, nor created an enabling environment for self-employment scheme where youths are given the adequate measures for start up finances to run their projects. While it becomes quite imperative for people deing government business to retire from work at age 60, still the government has not made any adequate provision for assurance. Most of the pensioners, after retirement, are often forgotten yet they have children in schools whose they must pay; they have family to feed, they have house rent to pay (for those who haven’t built house); they have cars to maintain; and many responsibilities. Those governors in the Southwest willing to be re-elected into office and those newly seeking the gubernatorial position must consider pensioners in their campaign promises and be willing to accommodate them in their governance.

Gone are those days when the Southwest Nigeria was highly celebrated as the &education centre& of the nation in the time of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Not that the intellectual exploits are not there, not that people are no longer having value for education, in fact the Nigerian Southwest is still number 1 as far as education is concerned but that the standard of education has fallen. All the necessary provisions government ought to make towards education are no more available such as free education, bursary awards, maintenance culture, scholarships, grants for research and all sort of things that make education standard are not in place. Focus of the emerging Governors in the Southwest must be towards education and should do all they can in their patriotic commitment to provide a standard education for the children of the states. Following the sophistication of the Nigerian populace as a result of their exposure to the social media and other global information outlets on how governance is administered across the globe, the demand for purposeful and good governance has become more compelling. This development has, in recent times, caused the springing up of many civil liberty societies as well as socio-political groups across Nigeria, persistently demanding for credible, purposeful and competent people in political offices with the capacity to ensure good governance as obtainable in advanced democracies across the world. Against this backdrop, one must appeal to the conscience of the politically sophisticated people of the South-West that the era of serial aspirants contesting for elective posts, ostensibly to negotiate for political offices, is gone. From Lagos to Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti and Ondo, we should henceforth support candidates who have the capacity to redefine governance in a manner comparable only to the memorable and impressive era of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
To do otherwise would be counter-productive. The drum beats of regional government in all the nooks and crannies of the country are too loud to be ignored. The South -West therefore needs to forge a formidable and united front as well as present an impregnable bloc, not only to make a bold statement but also to be continually relevant as a people in the evolving political model in Nigeria. Achieving this requires a collaboration that puts the zone’s best eleven in the various political offices commencing from 2019.

Oyo:
In Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi is vacating office after a tenure of eight years that is full of incredible achievements. He constructed standard road networks that linked virtually all the communities in the state. He also restored peace and orderliness in Oyo hitherto notorious for anarchy and political crisis. In summary, the governor has set a standard which in-coming administration must sustain. In the list of candidates on parade to succeed him, Chief Niyi Akintola stands out as one with the capacity to sustain and even surpass the standard Ajimobi has set. The legal luminary is tested and trusted. His political antecedents and professional successes hold him out as someone who has the acumen, political will and shrewdness to turn Oyo around. Through paper presentations and public comments on local and international affairs, logical deductions could be made that Akintola is an embodiment of knowledge and wisdom. Besides, he has been a formidable member of progressive groups dating back to the last two decades. In fact, he has during the period deployed his law practice to fight progressive battles in the law court. He was a NADECO chieftain and staunch representative in Oyo during the battle to restore democracy from Abacha junta. He successfully prosecuted the tribunal cases on governorship in favour of Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Adams Oshiomole (Edo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Segun Mimiko (Ondo) and even Ajimobi.

Above all, Oyo needs a governor with maturity, credibility, political acumen & sagacity to his role as the rallying point for governors within the South/West. Having had an impressive tenure as deputy speaker in the state in the second republic as part of his rich antecedents, he is adequately prepared for this role. Akintola is an asset who will join forces with fellow South-West governors to relaunch the region back to the Awolowo golden era.

Lagos:
In Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode is emerging as the leading light in the comity of governors. Within two years, he has done remarkably well to justify his second term in 2019. He has kept faith with the framework of governance articulated by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu during his time as governor of the state. He has perhaps introduced a new dimension to governance with his replicating of the ‘Dubai model’ in Epe and the state at large. Ambode has constructed overhead bridges in areas Lagosians never dream such would happen and linked rural communities with urban areas through the construction of standard roads. The governor has transformed the security architecture. The governor would obviously be an incredible addition to the list of South-West governors expected to re-emerge come 2019.

Ogun: Governor Amosun has played his own part in Ogun State’s economic, political and socio-cultural development. As he vacates office in 2019, the state citizenry should collaborate to usher in a successor that has strong vision, political pedigree and administrative capacity.

Osun and Ekiti: As Governors Rauf Aregbesola and Ayodele Fayose are in the twilight of their tenures in Osun and Ekiti states respectively, all political parties in the country should present a worthy successors to take over the running of the states in 2018. The two states are very dear to the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, as he gave them priority in the scheme of things during his life time. It was his love for the states that propelled the emergence and ascendancy to relevance as well as to political stardom the likes of Ayo Fasanmi, Bola Ige, Bisi Akande, Ebenezer Babatope, etc. Therefore, no stone must be left unturned to ensure that the states remain the fortress of progressives. We pray God to grant all political leaders in the South West discerning minds to identify acceptable and knowledgeable, personalities, as well as men of character to continue from where these governors would stop 2018 and 2019. Even though the South-West only boasts of insignificant deposit of oil resources in Lagos and Ondo, nature has blessed the region with human and agricultural resources to ultimately attain its potentials. At least, Awolowo did it during his tenure as Premier of the Western Region. Of three regions then, Western Region was the most prosperous and well managed.

The resources are still there. The zone only needs to have unity of purpose and direction amongst the governors that would emerge to re-enact the Awolowo era. It is imperative that the governors must be on the same page, share the same vision, have similar developmental mentality and commit themselves to raising the standard of the region in economic, infrastructural, socio-political and cultural fronts etc. They need to articulate a developmental template that would enable the linking together of even the remotest villages in the geopolitical zone through the construction of standard road networks to ease of movement of agricultural produce to the cities.

The governors need to collaborate to reinvent and reactivate cocoa and rubber produce for export to international market. They need to jointly reinvent a technological model that would transform the entire zone into an industrial haven. They also need to import the small and medium scale entrepreneurship model from Asia that would take away teeming population of youths from the streets. Furthermore, the governors need to collaborate to deploy to maximum usage the seaports within the zone particularly, in Lagos in order for them to achieve the maximum potential. It is Important that the governors work in concert to make South-West a model for other geopolitical zones in the country. The region will achieve the aforementioned only if the best eleven in the zone are given the mandates to take charge in all the six states.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *