By Rahman Alli
Perhaps it is time to appraise the performance of Governor Ibikunle Amosun vis-à-vis that of his predecessors in Ogun State having spent about three years out of his mandatory four-year term. It then becomes exigent this time around in as much as some people in and outside the Gateway State have incessantly hailed him to high heavens for having performed well above, not only his predecessor; the immediate past Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel but also, all of his predecessors who had governed the State put together.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the incumbent governor of Ogun State is the 14th man and the fourth civilian governor to rule the Gateway State. For records purposes, little mental exercise and for people to know the characters involved we run through the list of those who have called the shots in the State since its inception on the 3rd of February, 1976 viz: Major Gen. Saidu Ayodele Balogun (March 1976-July 1978), Brigadier H.O. D. Eghagha (July 1978 to October, 1979), Late Chief Victor Olabisi Onabanjo (October 1979 to December, 1983), General Oladipo Diya (January 1984 to August 1985), Major. Gen. Oladayo Popoola (August 1985 to 1986), Brigadier Raji Alagbe Rasaki (1986 to December, 1987), Late Mohammed Lawal (December 1987 to August 1990) Commodore Oladeinde Joseph (August 1990 to January 1992) Chief Olusegun Osoba (January 1992 to November, 1993), Col. Daniel Akintonde ( December, 1993 to August 1996) Sam Ewang (August 1996 to August 1998), Navy Capt. Kayode Olofin-Moyin (August 1998 to May 1999) Aremo Olusegun Osoba(May 1999 to May 2003) Otunba Gbenga Daniel (May 2003 to May 2011) and Senator Ibikunle Amosun (May 2011 till date.) These are the people, the records of who incumbent Gov. Amosun’s acquaintances claimed to have been rubbished within a spate of three years!
Having gone through the list, I hope readers would permit me to limit the discussion to the elected civilian governors – (Late Chief Bisi Onabanjo, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Senator Ibikunle Amosun – as the military governors/administrators’ individual tenure were shorter and even seen as aberration in governance as they were not elected by the people.
As I mentioned earlier, while some rate Governor Amosun shoulder high above the whole lot of former governors, some prefer to limit their comparison to his immediate predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. This is in fact why I am at a loss in captioning this piece (please, note the parenthesis) but notwithstanding, we can still employ empirical yardsticks for measuring whichever way it goes.
Those who limited their comparison to former Governor Daniel alone must have done so for obvious reasons: challenging the performance of an Awolowo disciple in Chief Bisi Onabanjo amounts to political blasphemy as it is equally politically suicidal to whitewash the administration of Aremo Olusegun Osoba, one of the leaders of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) then. (But I learnt he’s on his way out of the Amosun People’s Congress now)
The five-year achievements of Chief Victor Olabisi Onabanjo in the second republic may be not be well known to many but the free education policy – one of the cardinal programmes of the defunct Chief Obafemi Awolowo-led Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) – was purely incomparable. The ultra-modern Oba Lipede and Ita Osu markets in Abeokuta and Ijebu Ode respectively were unique in their days and till date, the three State hotel complexes in Abeokuta, Ota and Ijebu Ode, are still structurally rooted in the Gateway State. Did I hear someone mention the Ogun State University, now Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU)? The Ogun State Television (OGTV) is another landmark achievement of the quintessential Ayekooto not to talk of a great number of unheralded others. These are the records Amosun’s cronies asserted to have been surpassed!
Conservative as Osoba’s administration was, he still found time to open up the rural areas and did some noteworthy electrification projects that directly affected the lives of the of the people especially the rural dwellers. I can attest to some of these scattered all over the State during his two-term, six-year reign. These are mere nothingness to the incumbent governor’s buddies.
Then came 2003; the arrival of computer men and beginning of a silent but instantaneous revolution in Ogun State triggered by the immediate past governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel. A cursory reveals a lot of developmental projects that touched lives of the people in all facets of our daily endeavours. The list is legion but just to refresh the memories of ‘he did nothing’ apostles: the dualisation of Abeokuta/Siun Road – first of its kind with street lighting, payment of adequate compensation and rehabilitation of the displaced residents – the complete turn-around of the Olumo Rock Tourist Centre, massive overhaul in the education sector with the establishment of many tertiary institutions including the first University of Education in Nigeria, laudable improvement in the health sector. These are apart from scores of socio-economic projects in human capacity development, empowerment and self-employment generation schemes, training and re-training and philanthropic gestures, the list is endless. All these were, to the eyes of the soothsayers and the chagrin of bookmakers nothing but do nothings.
As at the last count, about 66 companies berthed in Ogun State during the reign of Otunba Gbenga Daniel as attested to by the National Bureau of Statistics. The Ogun Guandong and Olokola Free Trade zones in Igbesa and Olokola respectively are money spinners and designed to create thousands of jobs.
Of course, there are avowed Daniel haters who do not see anything good in what OGD did. According to Chief Ayo Adebanjo, one of the remaining titans of the Awolowo political dynasty, “Gov. Amosun simply wanted to undo all that Gbenga Daniel did”, hence his unearthing all quantum of asphalt on the roads constructed by the former governor to the detriment of other rural and township roads begging for repairs or mere face-lifting. If he has the opportunity, he could have demolished the three FIFA-graded international stadia built by Daniel replacing them with the replica of Maracana or Wembley all in the name of Ogun Standard. According to feelers from Oke Imosan, Gov. Amosun is on the brink of reconstructing the Siun/Abeokuta Road to a 10-lane highway. He is also talking of a sixty-storey structure that would dwarf the imposing 12-storey OPIC Plaza at Oke Ilewo axis – the last project commissioned by OGD – and reduce Awolowo’s Cocoa House to a mere standing artefact.
In these days when every state looks forward to owning airports and if possible airlines not to talk of our being endowed with the deepest sea port, we are still looking inwards to road expansion to bring in foreign investors! What manner of Amosunomics? One may ask.
It takes more than expansion of existing roads and constructing overhead bridges to add values to the lives of a people. Whatever happened to the employment generation programme, overseas training of select students, the Gateway Football Club and other sporting activities not to talk of workers’ welfare and the agonies being faced by Ogun State students?
The import of the cynical allies of the present Administration in Ogun State by implication is that the legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo, all the dauntless military governors, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, global icon former President Olusegun Obasanjo and quintessential achiever Otunba Gbenga Daniel did nothing for Ogun State only because the incumbent Governor is concentrating on a mono-policy of urban road expansion some of which unfortunately led to nowhere.
As a parting shot we all have to have it at the back our minds that people may forget what you say or do but will never forget how you impacted on their lives.
Rahman Alli a secondary school teacher resides in Abeokuta, Ogun State and writes via rahm...@gmail.com
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