Amosun and the People’s Verdict

Ibikunle Amosun

Nigerian voters made their decision at the Presidential/National Assembly polls on Saturday, February 23, 2019.They discharged their civic obligation according to the dictates of democracy. The social contract says the people, the repository of power, must select those who must exercise that power on behalf of the people. And thanks to their decision, 109 candidates have become Senators in the National Assembly.

They have moved several steps up the ladder and taken on a new hyphenated title: Distinguished-elect. You can almost feel the power inherent in that new title. They and the 360 members of the House of Representatives are the newly-anointed political kings and, if you insist, queens in National Assembly.
And thanks, but no thanks, to the electorate who made the decision that denied others the chance to become what they sought to be.

When the time came for the electorate in Ogun Central Senatorial District to choose their Senator, they did not waste their votes. They gave it to their preferred choice, Ibikunle Amosun, the incumbent governor of the state who had equally represented them in that capacity between 2003 and 2007 under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Amosun, 61, won because he received more votes than his co-contestants across the six local government areas that make up the Senatorial District. Score was: Amosun, 88,110, Mrs. Titi Oseni-Gomez of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), 37,101, Mr. Solomon Sanyaolu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) polled 33,276 votes, Mr. Gbenga Adenmosun of the Allied People’s Movement (APM) had 10,039 votes while Solomon Olufemi of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) polled 6,510 votes
A jubilant Amosun in Abeokuta said words were not enough for him to express his deep appreciation to the good people of Ogun Central Senatorial District for their uncommon display of loyalty and commitment to his Senatorial election.

“I am overwhelmed by your continued support. In year 2003, you gave me a mandate to represent you at the Senate and you have by this election renewed this mandate. I pledge to effectively and efficiently represent you in the 9th Senate. I also want to thank all the good people of Ogun State for the support given to my administration in the governance of Ogun State. It is also pertinent to commend you for the overwhelming votes given to President Muhammadu Buhari in the just concluded election.
“On behalf of Mr. President, I say a big thank you. I also wish to put on record the peaceful conduct of the election by INEC and the excellent security arrangement by the security agencies in Ogun State. To all the security agencies Army, Navy, DSS, and most especially the Nigeria Police and other paramilitary agencies, I say WELL DONE,” the Senator-elect said.

Governor Amosun has shown leadership in the governance of Ogun State since he came on board on May 29, 2011. He met an economy with and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) below N750 million monthly in 2011 and grew it over the years, through deft economic management, to an average IGR of about N8 billion monthly. This IGR has made Ogun State highly attractive in the committee of sub-national state economies.

As at 2011, the World Bank assessment of the 36 states in Nigeria, on the Ease of Doing Business, had Ogun State in number 29 position, but on assumption of office, Governor Amosun deliberately selected a core team of professionals and provided adroit leadership to implement an economic plan that has resulted in Ogun State being rated as one of the top four states in Nigeria for Ease of Doing Business according to the World Bank report in 2015.

The Amosun-led administration also embarked on an expansive infrastructure drive and improved security of human life and properties which aided the enhancement of the status of the Gateway state and translated into it becoming the most industrialized state in Nigeria.
This status and renewed investors confidence which was founded on several factors, has laid the foundation for turning Ogun into the second largest sub-national economy after Lagos in the very near future.

The emergence of Amosun’s administration in 2011 marked a new beginning in the state’s effort to once again fulfill the dreams of its Founding Fathers.
Amosun has repeatedly promised not to rest on his oars, as all hands will be on deck to ensure that he delivers on all his electoral promises and continue to spread the dividends of democracy across the state.
The positive impacts from the faithful implementation of his campaign promises have continued to receive accolades from both within and outside the shores of the country.

The array of projects and investments created and facilitated by Governor Amosun in the last seven and a half years, are capable of transforming and improving investment, industrialisation, finances, commerce, infrastructure and the entire economy of the state on a sustainable level.
In 2011 when he took over, Amosun set out to charm the good people of Ogun State. He threw his arms around the citizens, clasping them in his warm embrace. He showed he understood the pains and the trauma of the state. It was clear, even that early, that the people had a governor who knows better than most how to package himself – his own best salesman. He exuded charm and friendliness. He wore a sunny disposition and he appeared to approach governance with a disarming casualness that demystified the art and made it less esoteric.

His was a herculean task; getting a mandate to govern a state that had suffered some setbacks over time, a state where standards had been thrown to the dogs, a place where the state’s account, even by the admission of his predecessors, was in the red.

Indeed, what Governor Amosun inherited when he assumed office was enough to make a lazy mind throw up his hands in frustration and surrender to fate. There was a sure lack of development, to which Amosun pledged to minister, but there was no money to either address these challenges or fulfill some basic necessities.
Modesty comes easily to Amosun. A man whose guiding philosophy in life is patience, his approach to issues is unobtrusive. It has helped him to charm his way in and out of complex and complicated situations but it has also given others a wrong signal about the man and his character.

Governor Amosun does not crave to be liked; rather, he craves to be understood as an honest, decent man with honest intentions and who cannot hurt a fly. Governor Amosun clothes himself with dignified charm. He often surprised junior workers and others by remembering their birthdays or sending gifts to those whose wives had babies. He is gifted with the ability to remember faces and names and he puts it to good effect.
But no man can win them all. Governor Amosun just cannot. There are those who would clamour to have him as a neighbour and there are those who would wish he lived on the other side of the bridge.

Uneasy lies the head. Two things have always served Governor Amosun well in life. The first is patience and the other is courage. He has brought both to bear on his administration of Ogun State. He set out not only to rule Ogun State but to change it in a positive, fundamental sense. He allows nothing to dissuade or distract him from that chosen course. He has found nothing sacred or untouchable. He has challenged the powerful and entrenched civil service and fundamentally restructured it, unbothered by criticisms and plaintive cries for maintaining the status quo. Only a man with the courage of his unflawed conviction could take on so much, unfazed by its enormity. He is Ogun State man of the hour. He has been chosen to make Ogun State different. The old order must give way.

Amosun admits he is not perfect. No one is. Nor is he afraid of making mistakes. But once he sets his sight on course, there is no looking back. He is not a man of thundering contradictions. Amosun is a compassionate and generous man. He is simple but tough. He listens to people but relies more on his own instincts.
Governor Amosun shows a genuine liking for people but he refuses to spare the rod when necessary. He is a sympathetic man who makes a fine distinction between sympathy and sentiment. He understands Ogun State in a hurry, he shares that feeling but he is unwilling to sacrifice success for speed. As he goes into the 9th Senate, Amosun’s desire is to take Ogun State to where it should be in the comity of states.
––Durojaiye is Amosun’s Special Adviser on Information & Strategy.