HAS ABIOLA AJIMOBI FAILED US?

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After my state, Oyo, has been able to suppress the problem of insecurity, I decided to check back. There was this widespread belief then that the incumbent government in the state might not be the best for us, but with much of the conviction I had within me, I said no to the inner thought that kept asking me to rethink my final decision to support the governor. What killed the only negative thought then was the “peace” we were enjoying. Growing up was war. From one gladiator within and around you, in the town and state. We once had a man called “Yellow”. He was the head of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Ogbomoso. Back then, the fight for supremacy was tough in Oyo State, a  man called Alhaji Lateef Akinsola popularly known as ‘Tokyo’ and his later estranged deputy, late Alhaji Lateef Salako a.k.a Eleweomo were ‘terrorising’ the whole state from the days of former governor  Lam Adesina, but it wasn’t that obvious. Late Lam Adesina, unlike his successors, didn’t meddle in the business of NURTW.

 In 2001, the ‘untouchable’ union leaders went ahead to cut the arm of their challengers from Ogbomoso. “Yellow” was whisked away at the middle of the night of his installation as the chairman of the union, Ogbomoso chapter by suspected thugs from Tokyo who was the union chairman in the state back then. During the battle for supremacy in Ogbomoso, when the boys of Tokyo tried to challenge Yellow, he reportedly went to one of their motor parks to challenge them openly where it was reported that he used a white handkerchief to ‘divert’ a bullet.
 Yes, that sounds magical but that was the event that made him overpowered Tokyo faction in Ogbomoso. He was too strong for them but he seemed to have forgotten that magical power fails. Years after Lam Adesina death, Governor Rashidi Ladoja emerged with the help of NURTW. Then the dark days started in my dear Oyo State.  Pa Lamidi Adedibu who so much believed in the use of force started his reign. Adebayo Alao-Akala, the incumbent’s predecessor came into power with assistance from the then deputy chairman of NURTW in the state, Alhaji Lateef Salako Eleweomo. Those were the days some newspapers referred to as “Ibadan’s week of daggers, bullets and blood”. Few years later, the same NURTW leaders started killing in a battle of supremacy.
 In 2010, in the buildup to the election where Governor Ajimobi emerged, three political parties battled for the seat. They visited various towns during the electioneering, using thugs from the transport union to intimidate and harass. people.  Lateef and Rotimi, two youths who believed in the future of the country started supporting the Peoples Democratic Party. They pasted campaign posters of Alao-Akala in front of his known opponents’ house.
 It didn’t occur to the boys that they had stepped on powerful toes until few days later when one of them was shot in a market in Ogbomoso. Lateef died on the spot. Those were the horrible and dreaded days we got exposed to as we were growing up. When Ajimobi came on board, he overpowered them and reduced their menace to the barest minimum. He was able to stop the act of war and violence. I was happy from afar, for not hearing death, war and violence from my state again. My understanding is based on the fact that the soul that has his life with him will think of tomorrow. And so with the efforts put in place to curb the violence, I was happy.
During the 2015 election campaign, I was privileged to be around and as usual, rice, cap, shirt and other Greek gifts used to entice citizens were freely distributed. On our way to a town, the people joyfully came to welcome the governor and his entourage. As usual, the governor stood on his campaign bus and was throwing shirts, caps, rice at them, some of them were fighting ridiculously over all the items. I was in a bus and overhead some people chanting, “Throw money to us, we don’t want rice”.
 It was disappointing. With rice, I knew they had ‘eaten’ one year campaign. Ajimobi second tenure started, I received a call from a friend that he hasn’t been paid for eight months. Then I saw on the pages of newspapers that the governor is planning to start the construction of Ibadan rail line. Needless to say that I was angry and sad, then I recalled “Throw money to us”.  Then I recalled most of the projects started by the governor, I began to ask him about the projects and he kept telling me none had been completed even though he had a time frame for them all.
When he won the election for his first term, he made sure that Ibadan became the cleanest city in the southwestern part of the country. He received praises for this but shortly after the first two years in office, he became relaxed. Workers who had tasted the wickedness of the last administration and arrogant policies of Akala started enjoying until two years after his first tenure.
 
Oguntoye Opeyemi , @equityoyo