GBENGA DANIEL AND DIMEJI BANKOLE, THE BRAWL OVER A “BRIDGE TO NOWHERE”,
OUR OGUN STATE ANCESTORS MUST BE TURNING IN THEIR GRAVES.
All Baby Kisser’s (Politicians) will do anything to remain consonant or get elected; they’re all the same in that regard. That by itself is universal. A narrative that includes benchmarking ourselves against developing countries will no doubt make our predicament in Ogun State (or Nigeria) more glaring. An effortless comparison will include recent success stories such as Walvis Bay (or Namibia), Presov (or Slovakia), Vacoas (or Mauritius), San Fernando (or Trinidad), Osorno (or Chile) etc. The “predictable political barnstorm” that seasonally ensue, might as well be an afterthought especially in these countries that are used to things getting better almost by design. For some, it’s every 2 years, some 3 some every 4 years.
As people in some of those developing countries initially had gone through periods of bloodletting (some metaphorically), brought about by discontent or disillusionment or demoralization and displeasure, through unrelenting participatory politics however, over time as electorates are part of the process from beginning to end, people expect certain things. Methodically, harmonic outgrowth of these occurrences lead to, accountability, nationalism and civic responsibility, It will not be farfetched that when a conspicuous “sense of pride” assume a prominent visibility also. National PRIDE! will invariably fit in graciously here as well, as is the case of Ghanaians and Tanzanians today.
When aspiring or incumbent politician’s seasonally turn to the occasional political stunts or grandstanding or gimmickry, it is almost an afterthought, no matter what, the saying goes. “This too shall pass away”, it is easier done when incremental changes are visible in their commonwealth and citizens see changes in their life, community and country. The occasional buffoonery that politickings sometimes require is actually sometimes a welcome episode for citizens that habitually belief in their political system anyway, but nonetheless systematically trust themselves thus trusting their political leaders regardless of the minor seasonal distractions.
That of course is easier, if our community worked, our town worked, our city worked, and our state worked. Tolerating the occasional buffoonery will be the least quandary in any of our minds, as long as it remained non violent (THIS HAS NOT BEEN THE CASE IN OGUN STATE)
We will almost certainly welcome the seasonal distractions of banners, overblown rudiments and the colorful posters slackly plastered across our beautiful state.
But when we have to trust the assurances from these colorful banners, billboards, posters and other overblown contrivance, we are left scratching our heads wondering, reminding ourselves without the aid of “outstanding reminders” that our potentially great Ogun State has not really changed in the past 12 years.
The challenge that these rudiments posed for us, assured us of our own personal inquiry, mostly because of the preponderance of the reminders. Having being left to our own discernible disquisition, we can only conclude that our political collective in Ogun State have been comatose and our governance non existence.
It is quite florid and aweless, the gutsy energy at the designation with the OGD label, The profusion incredible, State buses are OGD buses, State workers are OGD workers, wretchedly done roads are OGD roads (The declaration regarding the roads would have been befitting as their affliction would have pointed to who in fact was responsible and thoroughly engaged in their existence).
Almost all the bus stops in my visit to Ogun waterside local government were all OGD bus stops, a ownership claim all the more preposterous because all our cultural, entrepreneurial and intellectual elite either through apathy or connivance allow the outrageousness on a statewide level.
Without partisanship, fear or favor, the following statements will be factual; other than some shoddy attempts of some road dualization, no significant governmental development has come to any corner of Ogun state in the past 12 years. This statement will be not only accurate but factual.
The rapid sprawling breadth of private gated mansions (in our biggest towns) is testimonial that Ogun State citizens still want to have an association with their State (and we are not talking of Lagos satellite towns inside Ogun state) and home towns. As a matter of fact (Again), the vastness of huge edifices in the past 12 years either points to the comfort that Diaspora Ogun indigenes are having (post military) or the easy access to government funds by our participating political elite.
Where visible sporadic mom and pop businesses have sprung up, it is at the conveniences of those within (or access to) the wide corridors. These usually suffices for them, Ijebu Ode and Abeokuta are a delight, if you know where to look. Shagamu is a close 3rd.
Ogun State however, has not moved forward, and that in itself is news, the privilege of our democracy that has eluded Nigeria has eluded Ogun State and that again by itself is news.
These last year’s witnessing of our acceptance of averageness, our acceptance of mediocrity, coercion and ineptitude is what is deafening. WE CANNOT GO ON LIKE THIS IN OGUN STATE.
Beyond these walls though, the visible decay reminds us of our bigger brother (Nigeria), a witty jape will be “why should we be any different?”
The desolate absurdity lies in the citizenry it has beget versus the predicament she found herself. The state of Soyinka (who is not known for his pacifism), Kuti (Any 4 will do), Abiola, Balogun, Majekodunmi, Adeola (he started a private school), Adenuga, Otudeko, Olubi, Adesanya, Akinola and the thousands of the intellectual and entrepreneurial class that represent our enormity.
Even our own “caterpillar” has a son who is the speaker of the house of representative.
That would be the “Speaker of the Federal house of Representative of NIGERIA!
100 pages of other noteworthy mention will not have scratched the surface.
The Owu commander (twice allowed by fate) retains a footnote mention nonetheless. One would have thought the distrust between the Sage and the Owu commander “in the 2nd republic” would have amplified our competitive spirits and thus developed us beyond a stretch of imaginations.
Why is our talented “multitude” building their version of hilltops, their versions of mansions, but ignoring the technological, educational, commercial and agricultural development of our state? The management of our dear state! Ignoring civic participation!
In an informal encounter with a south south parliamentarian regarding the wastage and disconnect between their (south south) quests for equity distribution and accountability, one of the topics we discussed was education and how in his state they had decided to have a model for their educational system.
The model (he claimed) was to start small and have standardized buildings with standardized equipments with standardized amenities, and most importantly start with primary schools, allocating fixed numbers to each local government at a time until a time all the primary schools and
secondary schools will be recognizable, not only by their appearance, not just by their harmony, not just by their amenities, but also by their vastness, this he said had just started in his state. GOOD WISHES.
AND THAT BRINGS US TO EDUCATION.
OGD students! All over the numerous overinflated Brazilian buses, His whimsical attempt at out passivity because of our political aversions is not only ludicrous but contemptuous.
There is not a single world standard primary school in Ogun state, not one, nada.
There is not a single world class secondary school in the whole of Ogun State.
There are no world class university systems in the whole of Ogun State. The state that has the potential to be everything Lagos state is not, by our sheer size, proximity in kinship and geography has been nothing but an abject failure. There is not a single university science research facility in the whole of Ogun state.
This is without partisanship, fear or favor.
Ogun state does not have any developmental plan for the next 15 years, the state where less than 75 miles away in the state of Lagos, scores of her sons and daughters have witnessed tremendous success as entrepreneurs, as professionals, as artisans, as technocrats.
The state that has been propitious to always be near or at the very corridor of Nigerian Power and that’s not mentioning the loathsome, Oladipo Diya, Earnest Shonekan.
Aremo Awujale said one of the best roads he constructed is in Yewa. He mentioned the Olorunda Igbogila, Igbogila to Tata, has he been there lately? Part 2 will be germane to this and my tour of Ogun State.
AND THAT BRINGS US TO TRANSPORTATION.
The incident at Sango Otta bridge narrative goes like this, I as the governor want to remain relevant, the perception of relevancy would lead to capture of imagination. The imagined, that ye, that may come after me, shall protect what I left before leaving and thus must be loyal.
That I, as the speaker per excellence of the great (not really) nation of Nigeria need to take charge of these succession conversations and also has the might to prove my relevancy. The Mopol are testaments to this.
TO BE CONTINUED…