Are the present crop of Governors, foisted on the people of the South West since 2003 by the ruling PDP, capable of re-enacting the development and pragmatic leadership that made the region and its leadership a model for other parts of the country? The giant strides in economic, education, industrial and infrastructural development of the South West witnessed during the First Republic was unprecedented. These gains are being threatened under the present set of Governors!
The governance of the region saw concrete development in education through the acclaimed Universal Primary Education programme that gave the West a head start and made it the most educationally advanced in the country. Ironically, those who now occupy positions in government, academia and industry are the products of the visionary leadership of First Republic leaders. This policy was also a huge success in the Second Republic. Why would the policy fail to work now that we have so much resource? Infrastructures like road network and industrial development that were built then are still visible today.
Take for example the roads that were built in those years and compare them to the shoddy jobs being done these days. The truth is that amenities like roads being built by these governors would not outlive them. This infrastructural decay is particularly much worse in the rural areas where there is complete absence of government. The states and Local Governments have conspired to impoverish the people of the South West.
The leaders of the First Republic would be turning in their graves now when they behold all they laboured for are being undone on the altar of populist programmes and projects that have no bearings on the lives of the people. Now our Governors celebrate in the media not the establishment of industries and employment creation but mundane projects such as constructing a street drainage or curvet! They are even finding it difficult to manage the industries established during the First Republic. Examples abound. Scholarship for indigent students are celebrated as democratic dividends and traditional rulers would lead a delegation to thank a sitting Governor for patching potholes on a road leading to a village. What a pity!
In Ogun State, the numbers of billboards of a sitting Governor are enough to put up a classroom in each Local Government. We also watched with dismay how a dour personality in Edo State named Governor-do-Nothing was true to his name for eight years. Ekiti State has not known peace since 2003. The truth is that the South West does not deserve the present leadership mostly found in PDP states. The present infrastructural decay in public schools and society is unpardonable. It is however disheartening how the elite, academia and some parts of the media have become part and parcel of the present deceit. For things to change, the Governors must detach themselves from the lethargy that has become the hallmark in PDP. A viable opposition (not as presently constituted) is also needed to wrestle this region nay the country from the present crops of leaders.