LAUTECH Drama: Dear Gov. Ajimobi, You Have Gleefully Failed Your People

Governor Abiola Ajimobi
The 13th of January, 2017 was a dark day for true, passionate and unselfish lovers of Nigeria. The country was enveloped with a combo of two very bad news for those that have the Eagle's sight about the doomsday.

The first news which seems like great news to a set of people was the comeback of the foremost Ponzi Scheme, Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox after an embargo was placed on the accounts of subscribers for a month. The second tragic news that broke the camel's back dropped later in the day and it was the macabre dance of shame between the governor of Oyo State, Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi and protesting students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso - Oyo State whose institution had been closed for a lengthy period of 8 months.

The indignant students had congregated for a peaceful protest at the governor's office at Agodi Secretariat in Ibadan to convey their displeasure about the 8 months closure of their University without any concrete intervention by the state. The chants of the students prompted the audience of the governor who was presumably expecting a royal welcome of sycophancy associated with his office.
The conventional gathering where bottles of alcohol, plates of fried meat and light-skinned ladies could be tossed round while deliberating on critical issues tied to the livelihood of thousands of people in the state. I am talking about a charade of a meeting premeditatedly arranged to reach a deadlock at the end of the day.

The last thing a true leader should expect is the singing of his praises when the general will of the people is being subverted. As tension heightened due to the irate nature of the students which at times could be riddled with immaturity, the first thing Mr. Ajimobi held unto was his esteemed status as the governor of Oyo State.
Mr. Ajimobi felt being accorded respect as the First Man of Oyo State was more important than the bitter agitations of the leaders of tomorrow whose lives have been caught in the middle of parasitic politics, mismanagement of state resources, misplaced priorities and the ineptitude of our so-called leaders mounting white elephant projects to score rock-bottom political points.

Mr. Ajimobi gladly wielded his powers like the Emperors of the past who were above the law. He was embroiled in the jumbled voices of the students old enough to be his children. He betrayed the Social Contract by spitting on his sense of responsibility to the people.

"Was I the one that closed down your school"

"If this is how you want to talk to me, then go and do your worst"

"If you want to be troublesome, I dare you. I am ready for you. Let's see what happens then"

"What we are saying is that some of you should have little respect for constituted authorities"

"And if someone of my caliber meets with you........(Interruption) eight months of what?"

"This is not the first time schools are getting shut? So what?” Were the utterances of a sitting public office holder in the 21st century and worse still in a democratic dispensation. Jesus wept!
As seen in a trending 3 minutes and 48 seconds stinking video, Mr. Ajimobi ordered the arrest of a student that talked back at him during the protest. The police was already struggling to beat the wall formed by the students to arrest the person in question before the governor changed his mind due to the fear of violence.
As if the drama wasn't ignominious enough, he went on to boldly reiterate his stand as the executive governor of the state despite his inability to pay the salaries of workers over months according to him.

In as much as it may seem unfair to heap all the blames of the despicable altercation on the governor, the students also prompted him to reveal his seeming 'true nature' publicly. After all, he doesn't need them anymore. He is on his second term as the governor of the state after breaking an age-long record of being the first governor to win a second term in the history of the South-western state. He needs no votes to continue his tenure and he is not eligible to contest again.
There is a Yoruba adage that says "Bi omode ba n se bi omode, agbalagba yi o se bi agbalagba."
This means that exuberance may engulf the actions of the children but adults are expected to apply caution and wisdom when dealing with them. The implication of leadership is to be the servant of the people whose interests you represent at the seat of power.

Nigeria is a place where the followers are only worshiped and respected during elections. After the politicians secure their mandates, they purposely create a discord between them and the people to focus on siphoning public funds and recovering political investments.
Governor Ajimobi's shambolic and tyrannical action speaks volume of the second-rate leadership at every realm in Nigeria which has affected the followers. Most Nigerian leaders believe they don't owe their people especially those that paid for votes during elections and engaged in all manners of malpractices to win elections. I am sure it was on that ground that Governor Ajimobi feels there should be no fuss about a higher institution of future leaders being shut down for almost a year.

 One would not expect something better from a leader whose children comfortably schooled abroad. Most leaders are aware of the fact that the educational system of Nigeria is in an abysmal state and will never want their wards to have a taste of the cancerous pill.
This must have laid the foundation for President Muhammadu Buhari's trip to the United Kingdom to treat a common ear problem. Our leaders know the unabating and lengthy strike actions as well as the ill-funded educational system will rarely produce good heads. They will rather tag themselves to the products of the pains and sacrifices of the white people.

This is a problematique of developing countries where leaders purposely leave their people in the dark and uninstructed to prevent them from knowing their rights. They create a future avenue whereby people can be so impoverished that a couple of millions of naira would buy the entire state. I am sure this was the same progression set by the former governor of Kwara State, Bukola Abubakar Saraki as thousands of people trekked over 5 kilometres during the Yuletide to collect an inglorious N200 note and a minute measure of rice. What a classic case of abject poverty!

Our leaders create an enabling ground for talented heads to be solely useful for paid public protests after which they are given peanuts to feed for the day and while away time unproductively at the beer parlours.
They want followers that are not enlightened enough to strictly demand accountability and responsibility on the affairs of the state. They want a system of blind followership where they can parade themselves naked and the people would ridiculously lie that they are wearing the most beautiful clothes.

I am cocksure Governor Ajimobi was expecting the students to come with a reigning music artiste to come perform for him after supervising the shutdown of a University for 8 months.
I am a great admirer of Governor Ajimobi; I am a sympathizer of the All Progressives Congress and I lived in Ibadan for over 20 years. I have applauded the dualization of roads, maintenance of security, clean-up of the state amidst other numerous achievements of the governor but I must condemn his recent action for the love of the governor and the betterment of the lives of the people.
The people should serve as vigilant watchdogs in his administration and should be free to point out his excesses without fear or favour so that he could change and serve them better.

Ajimobi's second term has been more of a curse to the people than a blessing. We all know the imbroglio of the ownership of LAUTECH between Oyo and near-insolvent Osun State was inherited by the governor. The states which were formerly together can't fund the institution anymore. There is an urgent need for the school to strive towards financial autonomy like private Universities in Nigeria. This will be uphill without a crazy hike in the school fees and the children of the poor masses would be strangled out of the system.
This labyrinth is harrowing considering the fact that the future of the students is at stake and the school workers (academic and non-academic staff) might be forced to eat fine sand and fresh air with their dependents after their source of income has been placed on hold.
A response of insensitivity from the governor is the last message the affected people would love to hear. Ajimobi just laughed drunkenly at the gory scene of a fatal terrorist attack.

Since the second term of Ajimobi, the good people of Oyo State have been languishing in despondency and despair. It has been as if the governor's hand has been mystically poisoned and everything he touches begins to die. Even his developmental policies have been more regressive than Nigeria's adoption of the Structural Adjust Program recommended by the World Bank to the former President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida between 1986 and 1988.

It’s on record that the Governor ‘proudly’ owes the salaries of state civil servants for 5 months. This is almost an achievement among State Governors so it’s no 'big deal' to him. By implication, it has reduced the purchasing power of a large section of the populace thereby affecting economic activities at the local markets. There are no jobs in the state. Its herculean for a University graduate to conveniently secure an executive job that pays a paltry sum of N30,000 and above as monthly salary even without other benefits of labour in the state.
This is also not a 'big deal' since it has been tagged a national problem. Some people will even go as far as averring unemployment as been a global anomaly.

Oyo State can't even boast of a futuristic project like the Memorandum of Association signed between Lagos and Kebbi States to locally produce rice. This later gave birth to the phenomenal flooding of the Lagos market with cheap Lake Rice at a critical period of the scarcity of the most popular staple food in Nigeria. It’s so applaudable that the MOA was initiated by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode before rice became gold in Nigeria.

It’s on record that Governor Ajimobi with the policy of technical privatisation of government schools termed as the ‘public-private participatory approach’ which affected 31 schools crippled the already dying educational system in Oyo State. One wonders why such a policy will be made without at least random-sampling the opinions of stakeholders in the education sector. The initiative was deemed dead on arrival as it threw the state into turmoil.
Pupils took to the streets to protest instead of being in schools while others swarmed the streets to hawk sachet water, biscuits, confectioneries and other cheap commodities instead of being in their classrooms learning. These are just some of the several plagues befalling the poor state.

The story of my life will never be complete if I take Ibadan, Oyo State out of it. The well-being and future of the people is of utmost concern to me. The onward movement of the APC at both the federal and state levels is paramount to me. On this note, I appeal to Governor Ajimobi to retrace his steps and wipe the tears off the faces of the people.
There should be no excuses as good leaders are made in hard times.
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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on Phone number: +2347053302356.
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