World over, security of lives and property is expected to have place of primacy in government activities. There is no gainsaying that a government that fails to protect lives and property is doomed. Retrospectively, Oyo State of 2003 – 2011 of Peoples Democratic Party era was the locust years. Ladoja was enmeshed in leadership tussles with his godfather, Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu. Governor Ladoja was eventually impeached, though reinstated after eleven months. His Deputy, Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao Akala, was sworn in immediately Ladoja was impeached.
Unsurprisingly, the foot soldiers of Adedibu were drawn into supremacy battle with the supporters of Ladoja. Without mincing words, the personality clashes between the two characters was the catalyst that led Oyo to high rate of thuggery, hooliganism, assassination, public disturbance, among others. It was during the heat of the locust years that the President of Nigerian Medical Students Assocation, Auwal Shanono, was murdered in cold blood at Iwo Road. A young man with a promising future was gunned down in Iwo Road, which was, at that time, the hotbed of time-to-time crises.
Fast forward to 2011 to May 2019, Oyo State, no doubt, witnessed peace and stability, which heralded massive infrastructural developments. Abiola Ajimobi, who was inaugurated in 2011, brought his leadership acumen into play by ways and manners he resolved the National Union of Road Transport Workers leadership crises. Ajimobi, while in power, brought dramatic changes to the whole security architecture of the State. He set up a security outfit code named “Operation Burst”. He purchased equipments for the men of Nigerian Police, Civil Defence and other allied security agencies. Personalities like Sunday Igboho, Tokyo, Tawa, Auxiliary were put in their right place. They took the back seat. It was no magic that, throughout the eight years of the erstwhile helmsman, the spate of bank robbery was subdued in Oyo State. Is it not surprising that bank robbery is gradually rearing its ugly head? The recent robbery in Okeho is a pointer to this fact. It took the manlike interventions of youths to nab the robbers, who were already fleeing the town having successfully robbed one branch of FirstBank of Nigeria Plc.
Truth be told, Oyo State is gradually sliding into the old dark ages. For months, suspected ritualists were killing people in Akinyẹle Local Government Area of Oyo State. It took persistent public outcry for the police to swing into action. But, is it not surprising that the prime suspect has escaped from the Police net? The major parts of Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State, are witnessing seemingly unending robberies. The hardworking citizens cannot sleep with their two eyes closed again after the day’s hustles and bustles. The Ekugbemi versus Ebila gang war is still fresh in our memory. The most disturbing news I read waking up from my bed this morning is the one that has to do with the robbery at Ikolaba area of Ibadan, where the robbers having dislodged the police officers at the station, and in the process killed a Police Corporal, went on to terrorise the whole community for close to six hours unchallenged. The singular question we must all ask, as concerned indigenes, is “why are we witnessing volatile security situations in Oyo State, considering the peace and security that we witnessed, uninterruptedly, for eight years of Abiola Ajimobi adminstration”?
It is high time Governor Seyi Makinde swing into action by ensuring adequate security of lives and property, as that’s honestly the first responsibility of every right-thinking government. He must stop paying lip service to the security situations in Oyo State. Now is the time we continuously have to speak up, so that the Governor will know that Kia Rios he purchased isn’t the final solution to Oyo State security challenges. Instead, the Oyo State security agencies need state-of-the-art equipment, in form of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), vehicles that can access hinterlands, which will help flush out bad elements in the society. Also, time-to-time security summit involving all stakeholders needs to be convened, among others.
Hammed Okikiola Oyelekan Transcend is an indigene of Oyo State. He writes from Oyo Alaafin.