An Open Letter To The Good People Of Oyo State

Good day and compliment of the season to you sons

and daughters of Oyo State.

Precisely on the 3rd of February, 1976,

thirty-eight years ago, our state, Oyo State was created by the then military

government led by Late General Murtala Mohammed, the then old western state was

divided into Ogun, Ondo and Oyo states respectively. In 1991, Osun state was

carved out of what today is known as Oyo state.

Our dear state, Oyo is noted for its prominent

historical and physical landmarks in art, science and culture. Up till date,

the exploits and brilliance of the warriors our forefathers in the old Oyo

empire is still been talked about.

We are proud to have the first University in Nigeria (1948), the first teaching

hospital in Nigeria (UCH), the first television station in Africa (NTA Ibadan),

the first ever sports stadium built in Africa (Liberty Stadium), the first

skyscraper to have been built in Africa (Cocoa-House). All these were made possible by the

sacrificial lives that our founding fathers lived.

Now, thirty-eight years after the creation of the

State (from 3rd of February, 1976) and fifteen years of democratic

government in the state (from 29th of May, 1999), we have not seen any

major development in the state apart from

the continuation of roads construction and rehabilitations by subsequent

governments without time-limit. It is so difficult to point to any significant

in the state in the past 38 years ago, mean while we are meant to be Pace-setter?

As Pacesetters we are meant to be setting the pace for others to follow. “Aji

se bi Oyo la ri. Oyo ki se bi enikokan” which when literarily translated means

that Oyo will always set the pace and never copy others.

The political leaders we have had in the state in

the past 38years have obviously refused to be great and make their foot-prints

known in the history of the state. Their understanding of greatness seems to be

skewed around making their pocket “great”. They have refused to take care of

the poor, the sick and the underprivileged. They are set of leaders that take

from the poor and give to the rich.

Meanwhile, on more serious note, By now we suppose

to have embarked on free, compulsory and qualitative education for all school age children to the University

level; By now we suppose to have the best designed, constructed and maintained

roads network in our cities (I am not talking of the city roads without

side-walks) and even take a bold step to construct four-lanes carriageways from

IBADAN linking and leading to

IGBETI-SAKI-KISHI-SEPETERI-OKEHO-ILORA-AWE-ILERO-OYO-ISEYIN-ERUWA-LANLATE-IGBOHO-IGBOORA-OGBOMOSHO

respectively. By now all the 33 Local Government establishments should have

gotten their befitting and well-equipped Health Centers, Sports Complexes /

Mini Stadia, and Libraries (please check around if there is any library near

your house). We have not seen any International companies or new important

private companies springing up apart from Event Centers and Shopping Plazas

syndrome that litter our streets. We have not thought of constructing the

biggest hospital in Nigeria to consolidate our first teaching hospital record

in Nigeria. When are we going to have a road traffic management with zero pot-holes

commitments on all state roads? Roads are being constructed in the cities

without making necessary provision for pedestrian’s walks (side-walks),

bus-stops and drainage mechanism, but flowers are given priority. Where are our

streets publics taps gone to when there is a Ministry of Water Resources with

engineers? Why putting street lights if

there is no maintenance mechanism? Why

is it difficult to number and name our streets when there is a Ministry of Land

and Housing? Our subsequent leaders do

not make provision for public toilet as basic necessity for human beings,

talk-less of thinking about public parking space for vehicles, motorcycles and

bicycles. Results of NECON, and WAEC has been poor in the last five years but

the state house of Assembly have not debated on having well-equipped libraries

in all the thirty-three local governments in the state. When are we going to

have a State own Newspapers to serve as information dissemination link between

the government and citizens and even generate employment opportunities for our

graduates on the streets? Are we saying our tourist centers like Bower Tower, Agodi

Botanical garden, Iyamopo and Agbele hill in Igbeti cannot generate revenue to

the government if well rehabilitated and kept under good management? Our Police do not have any equipment to defend

themselves talk-less of defending helpless citizens if at all they still belong

to federal authority or of what use is a policeman without walkie-talkie to

communication in the case of an emergency?. All these dividends of democracy

and good governance are possible with good leaders with definiteness of purpose

and competent team with a spirit of harmony.

The above unfulfilled necessities among other

reasons made me to stage a one -man-on-spot-peaceful-protest at Akobo General

Gas Junction for the urgent dualization of Idi-Ape-Akobo Ojurin- Olorunda road on

Friday 3rd December 2014.The protest was a success from

the responses of the residents, motorists plying Akobo and the media. In

addition, the State government also responded by a letter sent to me through

the Oyo state Ministry of Works and they assured me that this road issue will

be attended to soonest. This protest explains my believe that the best ways to

touch the people’s lives at the grass-root level is to make all roads available

and accessible with provision of effective transportation system and

infrastructure for improvement to the quality of life within the State

communities regardless of size and location. Infrastructure is a fixed

provision of tangible assets on which other intangibles can build on.

Meanwhile, it is no more news that all the problems

are consequences of recruiting (voting) bad leaders. Late Pa Chinua Achebe once

said when referring to the major problems of the nation that “…is simply and

squarely a failure of leadership…there is nothing basically wrong with the

Nigeria character”. I am a Yoruba boy that knows the implication of respect so

much. I am now using this forum to appeal to the kings, chiefs, elders and political

elites in the state to unite and bring back the state to its known history of

achievements. It is a matter of collective effort and responsibility, all sons

and daughters of Oyo state (including those residing abroad) must unite and

work to raise hope in making the best of the state. Our parents sent us to

school to learn. Our elders gave us scholarships so as to get good education

and be well informed. Our elders should think over the present style of

recruitment of staffs into sensitive political posts in the state, the sons and

daughters of known and influential people are the only getting employed into

these sensitive posts. This is clearly against the principle of good governance

and best international standard for recruitment. A true democratic government

is the best concept for the growth of any state or nation. Democracy is the

government of the people, by the people and for the people and NOT and can

NEVER be a government of some people by some people and for some people. We

seem to have gotten to an era of winning elections by achievements in the state.

There are many and better ways to compensate rather than to continue to toy

with the lives of the citizens. An

incompetent commissioner / person recruited and sacked within two or four years

is a waste to the state economy and at the same time has wasted the citizens

live within that period when he/she had not done anything to touch their lives.

It is not only embezzlement of fund or stealing from the treasury that is called

corruption but recruiting incompetent candidate to a legal sensitive post is

corruption as well. The state is so blessed with both natural and human

resources than to be engaging in this kind of democratic mediocrity. Governance is a complex issue that deserves

professionals and competent hands. No state can develop without having good

leaders, people of trust, integrity, experience, responsibility, empathy,

patriotism and credibility. There is no miracle to socio-economic development

except good leaders.

Finally, this is time for a New Oyo State with a clear difference and from disappointments to opportunities.

This is the time to change from obscurity to reality and say goodbye to the

politics of hatred and deceit. We need a team of achievers and not deceivers.

We need statesmen and not dubious, do-or-die politicians. Enough is enough. A

great state recognizes the principle that the public must be protected and

served by the delivery of essential services. This is time we need a state

where our collective political support, ideas, and effective strategies will

lift large numbers of Oyo state citizens out of poverty. When you are good to

others, you are best to yourself. I am now imploring the people of Oyo state to

be law abiding and pay their taxes as usual. The general election gives them

opportunities to decide our new representatives. We should register so we can

able to vote. Our vote is our voice and we should vote for the best candidate

en-masse even if he or she doesn’t belong to our party. Oyo State citizens

deserve the best because we are the Pace-setter. God blesses the good people of

Oyo State. God blesses Nigeria

Your son,

Adewale

T Akande, an Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant

based in Barcelona, Spain Tel: 0034-6008772962/ 08125896631; adewale_akande@hotmail.com

Adewale is presently in Nigeria on World Bank project assignment on

implementation of Governance Accountability Action Plan (GAAP) with Federal Ministry of Works.

Written by
Adewale T. Akande
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