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OYO 101: Can Makinde Ever Redeem His Battered Public Image? | Muftau Gbadegesin

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Chief Lukman Oyebisi Ilaka, Chief of Staff to Governor Seyi Makinde said Oyo is better than before. He rolled out the drum in his recent interview with selected radio stations in Ibadan. He said the state is better shaped and well position to set the pace again and that critics and cynics are out to spew gibberish about – and rubbish the landmark achievements of the present administration. He spoke as a politician, one hell-bent at hoodwinking masses, spoke as a lawyer, one determined to outwit his colleague before the judge and spoke as an accountant, one desperate to demonstrate his flare for figures.

His interview captured ‘Omituntun’ in details. Students now trudge schools freely. Health care back to standard. Workers smile month end. Roads now wear new look. Oyo is moving. The dawn of new era is here to stay. Typical of a lawyer, a politician and an accountant that he is, chief Ilaka, in an apparently gadfly manner omitted one critical sector the administration has abysmally failed to deliver: security and dwell less on others such as the state rising debt profile, internal wrangling within his party and the depleting popularity of his boss, who despite continuous heavy knocks keep his leg strongly fixed on the pedal of his populist agenda.

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But I reckon, this probably is not the best of time to be Oyo state Governor. And honestly so, for an already frustrated and battered Governor, this may sound touchy feely and I agree completely that now may also not be the moment to pile up more pressure on the state’s fragile polity. Though, we can agree quite remarkably that his Excellency is trying and working his best to navigate this dangerous, tumultuous, and rancorous phase of his regime; but whose best, based on available statistics and in-feelings around the state’s curves and contours are not meeting people’s yearnings, aspirations, and expectations.

From Ibarapa conflagration to Ibadan hoodlums reign to Shasha tensely soaked streets to the state’s hinterlands and remotest parts, the discontent, displeasure and debate are the same: a feeling of a helplessly reactive, rather than a creatively proactive and adaptive Governor in Agodi house. The people are not just angry that the romance between the Governor and miscreants loyal to his reign alongside his coterie of paid internet lickspittle are harming his image more than he will admit; they are just pissed quite rightly that the cries and hues of the downtrodden continue to fall on deaf ears and that the state is falling, flailing and failing into catalysmal abyss.

Yes, Nigeria is built to frustrate reactionary Governor in matter of security such that asking state chief security officer to frontally lead in securing people’s lives may eventually end up a vainglorious adventure; an endless run through the deep and dark forest of wonderland. With Nigeria unitarily design and structural imbalance federalism, a proactive Governor like the reserved, reclusive and cool headed Gboyega Oyetola of Osun for instance will not allow situation descend to point of losing people’s trust and confidence.

What’s more than gaining commoner’s trust and confidence even in the face of propaganda and unpopular policy? There is a reason opposition is silently muted in Osun. And the reason may not be far fetched: a Governor doing his job as Expected. Though Oyo is not Osun, except that Osun was in Oyo till 1991 when it was carved out as a state by Military regime of IBB. The semblance geographically and warts are still almost the same. But then, when those entrusted with power and authority watch helplessly as their state hit rock bottom while people scamper for safety from herders, murderers and marauders, of what essence is that power in the first instance?

Tellingly, the labeling of anyone opposed to the administrative malfeasance of this Government as critics and cynics speak volume to the tolerance level of those at the helms. Interestingly, the few hangers-on who feed to stupor on the state bizzarard of disasters are inconsequential to the large majority who gnash their teeth daily at the state’s steps and missteps. And those who will decide whether the Governor’s image worth redeeming or not are those hopeless, hapless majority scattered across the state’s nooks and crannies and not the Ilakas and Adisas of this world.

OYO101, Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion on issues affecting Oyo State, is published on Saturdays. He can be reached via muftaugbadegesin@gmail.com and 09065176850.

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