This is exactly what has been happening in Oyo State and Ibadan. The elders have either been cowardly in the face of truth, or they have been deliberately quiet because of selfish interests.
Take Chief Richard Akinjide, a man who is noted worldwide for his legal and judicial brilliance, a man who entered Nigerian politics, according to himself, at the age of 27, and held many political positions culminating in the position of Attorney General and Minister of Justice; a man of incomparable brilliance and vast experience in governance, law and the constitution, and an Ibadan man. You ask me, what has been this man’s contribution to the development of Ibadan, his hometown, and to Oyo State all his life? What specifically have been his roles in solving the current political and constitutional mayhem and problems facing Oyo State and Ibadan? What has he really done to uplift Ibadan except that Ibadans take pride in referring to him as a “son of the soil” to highlight achievements of Ibadan sons and daughters? I can’t point to a single thing, but please correct me if I am wrong. We still remember his historic calculations of 12 two thirds in 1979.
Yes, Obasanjo failed the Oyo State, Yorubas and Nigerians woefully. However people like Chief Richard Akinjide (we like to think of him as an important and foremost Ibadan man) are the real culprits in Yorubaland and are never to be trusted. Throughout the eight years of Obasanjo in Aso Rock, I never heard or read where Uncle Richard ever criticised Obasanjo. The Chief was indeed one of those people who formed the Yoruba Council of Elders to counter Afenifere’s opposition to Obasanjo. He is now criticising Obasanjo saying the government is ‘the worst ever in Nigeria‘. He has conveniently forgotten that his government of Shehu Shagari from 1979 to 1983 spent 36 billion dollars left by the same Obasanjo and plunged Nigeria into a further debt of $30 billion, and which it was the same Obasanjo that cleared this debt on his second return.
While I concur that there were very serious faults and flaws with Obasanjo’s 8 year administration, I do not believe Chief Akinjide is in any way, yes anyway, qualified to pass judgement on Obasanjo, in his 9-page interview with the Sun Newspapers, for the simple reasons that when Obasanjo was President, Chief Akinjide never said a word against Obasanjo’s excesses. Secondly, Akinjide was no better than Obasanjo, in fact I rate Obasanjo much higher than him; thirdly, I have very serious doubts about Chief Akinjide’s timing of his criticism, and lastly Chief Akinjide was among those who formed the Yoruba Council of Elders to counter Afenifere’s opposition to Obasanjo; so the man is double-speaking. Such men should not be taken seriously, as they are speaking from the sides of their mouth.
No Ibadan Chief, with all due respect to your age and other reputations, your time is over. You have not contributed anything significantly either to Ibadan, Oyo State or Nigeria to withstand the test of time. Sir, please leave quietly so as not to disturb the neighbours.
In this instance, Chief Akinjide is not the only one culpable. I can mention hundreds of so called Ibadan and Oyo State elites and elders. Where are the Chief Arisekolas and other rich elites, the numerous professors, the Oyo State Council of Obas, etc?
To add insult to injury, at a time, Raji Rasaki, former Military Governors of both Lagos and Ogun States was in the frame for running for the Governorship of Oyo State, because he had aligned himself with Chief Adedibu. After he lost out in this race, he was again touted as a potential Minister in Yar’Adua’s government. You can see that this has really descended into a farce and a joke. With all due respect again, what could this man of straw offer to the people of Oyo State? Is it by building “girders”? What were his achievements in Lagos and Ogun States except make money for himself and his then military heads of state?
I have no doubt that there are lots of credible personalities in Oyo State who could restore peace; development and progress to Oyo State, but the current crop of opportunists are not it. And those who can will never be given a chance unless something really drastic happens for the better. I personally do not care which area of Oyo State that person comes from – Ogbomosho, Ibadan, Oyo, Ibarapa, Shaki, Iseyin or wherever – what we need are honest, sincere man or woman. But we are not going to get that for a while, mark my words.
The current government of Alao-Akala is a gross aberration and a curse to Oyo State as a whole, not only Ibadan. It cannot work because it is so much compromised. The foundation has been built on sands. The man is grossly incompetent, corrupt and comes laden with a dearth of ideas. I do not know how his acolytes can ever sell him to the public. For him, you cannot sow maize and hope to harvest yams. The moment he was a party to his former boss’s removal, and started prostrating to Chief Adedibu, that was when he lost any credibility and respect he had, if he ever had one.
From all that has been happening since he became Governor over 3 months ago, it is glaring that he can never be a good governor or governs well. The man has been bumbling from one controversy to the other. He was sacking and replacing Chief Judges at will; devoting much energy and time to trying to undo what his predecessor had put in place, etc. ; the Electoral Tribunal is still examining his credentials and the way he got into power. The civil service and the people of Oyo State have clearly shown him that they do not want him in the Governor’s Office. A Governor who thinks the solution to a civil strike is to sack the whole of his civil service clearly does not have any idea about governance and the rule of law. But then, not many people are surprised by this inane and insane act. Many people have lost their lives as a result of what he brought upon the people of Oyo State, by his stubbornness to remain in office by all means. Can you imagine the cost to the people – schools closed, hospitals closed, civil service closed, no new developments and implementation of electoral promises? Nothing has worked in Oyo State even before he became governor, and nothing will work as long as he remains governor. Obviously, Mr Alao-Akala has not heard of the saying “Ilo ya, Onibode Apomu” (It is time to go, the Gatekeeper of Apomu)
The Sun Editorial again concluded that “Alao-Akala’s handling of episodes of trouble in the state since he came to power has been less than admirable. He carries on as if his government is backed by a decree. And unfortunately, for him to have a force like Adedibu, giving him inspiration and impetus, a different result is hardly expected……. Alao-Akala has proved his incapability to manage Oyo State”. And continued “Also we wish to appeal to the Nigerian authorities and everyone for that matter who could rein on Alhaji Adedibu to let the state be”.
The Sun newspaper editorial asked about the House of Assembly and I nearly died with laughter. “We are worried, however, by the silence of the state’s House of Assembly” the Editorial queried. Well, herein lies the question. House of Assembly indeed, more like House of Thugs. What can you expect from this dishonourable members, most of whom not only rigged themselves into the house but are also mostly in the pocket of the Governor or Chief Adedibu? Half of them are being challenged in the various electoral tribunals and the other half are in fear of their lives. No, I am not in the slightest doubt that the Oyo State House of Assembly can or will do anything. They are also part of the problem. Even the Federal Legislators and Senators from Oyo State do not have any solution or say in this. One of the Senators is even Adedibu’s son.
And for those elites and elders again, including Obasanjo (everybody sees Obasanjo’s hands in the problems of Oyo State), you are the cause of all these palaver in Oyo State. You allowed it to happen, and you must take responsibility for everything that happened, including the loss of lives and properties and the lack of progress in the state. It is time you admitted it, and stop laying blames elsewhere. You cannot resolve it because you are part and parcel of it, so please withdraw. You have shown yourselves incapable of any decency and selflessness. You have demonstrated that you do not love your people and you lack the wisdom and the capacity to behave like true leaders and elders who can move the state forward.
Please, dear compatriots, read “VIOLENCE”, by Dr Festus Iyayi, a lecturer in Business Administration at the University of Benin. If you read that ‘open-reality’ novel, you will glean the solution to the problem of corruption and misrule in Nigeria. The practice of politics, democracy and capitalism in Nigeria is very, very crude and primitive. It is simply red-blood politics, democracy and capitalism which is fuelled and sustained by violence orchestrated by our ruling elite. To change this, we MUST move away from theory and embrace praxis. Period! Otherwise, we are in for a continuing vicious circle of these shameless practices. I believe in praxis especially the one with a revolutionary bent.
Ever since we wholeheartedly embraced democracy in 1999, these problems have been replicated in one state or the other – Anambra, Ekiti, Oyo, Plateau. And we will have more. In others, they have very strong Governors and weak deputies. The latter are more or less domesticated properly and just follow their Governors, grabbing and satisfied at the crumbs passed on to them by their bosses.
So we see why Oyo State cannot work and will not work in the foreseeable future. If Alao-Akala and Adedibu are out of the calculations, we stand a chance. If the elites and elders are out of the equation, we might have a chance. It is quite possible that if the entire above mentioned are put in a room and a nuclear bomb is set off, Oyo State might have a chance to express itself as one of the leading states in Nigeria.
What do you say we try this last option? It will surely work.