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An Irritating Apologue – Ibadan People Do Not “Serve” the Same Leader Twice

Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State

Akintokunbo A Adejumo – I always take exception and umbrage at hearing that slogan “Ibadan ki sin eniyan le’meji……”. (Ibadan people do not serve the same leader twice). What about other Oyo State people?

It is as preposterous as it is denigrating. The insinuation and connotation, from the literal translation, is that Ibadan people worship or serve their leaders. That is where everybody’s getting it wrong and thereby inadvertently confers on those who have been ruling us, “mini-god” status. The rulers are the ones who are supposed to be serving us, not the opposite. We have to get rid of this ludicrous slogan. I do not subscribe to the idiocy that those selfish Ibadan elites have been feeding us for decades and the people have been swallowing and believing since.

Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State

Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State

A proposed second term by an incumbent governor should be based on performance, sincerity of purpose, achievements, focus, honesty and selflessness. A true Ibadan person will love to give a performing leader a chance to have a second term but the selfish, greedy and conservative so-called Ibadan elite, who have very dismal; records of their contribution to the development of this great city will always scuttle it for their selfish reasons.

Having said the above, please we must not discard the fact that Ibadan has eleven of the thirty-three local government areas in Oyo State, and is by far the largest, in terms of population and demography. The reality is that Ibadan must not always be laying claims to the government of Oyo State alone. It is an insult to the other areas and peoples in Oyo State, notably Ogbomosho, Oyo, Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa areas. As a matter of fact, any aspiring Ibadan politician who wants to claim the governorship of Oyo State who ignores these areas does so to his regret.

Some historical perspectives: Oyo State came to being on the 3rd of February 1976. It was known as Western Region prior to 1976 and consisted of Oyo, Ogun and Ondo States. It is historical that no civilian governor has ever been elected twice in Oyo State since its creation. Late Chief Bola Ige, an Ijesaman, became the governor in 1979 and he made an attempt in 1983 (UPN) when he contested the election against Dr Omololu Olunloyo (NPN), an Ibadanman, mathematician and administrator. That particular elections in 1983 were marred by serious irregularities engineered by the NPN national leadership, at that time under the Chairmanship of Late Chief Meredith Adisa Akinloye, another Ibadanman; and the NPN won the election in Oyo State. This was made possible because, according to farcical historical record, you guessed right, “Ibadan ki sin eniyan le’meji”. (no second term). That led to another dubious slogan “Omo wa ni eje ose” (It is our son and let him do it).

Chief Bola Ige, the incumbent governor, was roundly and smartly outmanoeuvred and Dr Omololu Olunloyo emerged as winner of the elections and served as governor for three months before the military putsch of Generals Buhari and Idiagbon took over on the 31st December 1983.

“When the late Chief Akinloye, on his return to Nigeria from exile, was later asked why and how late Bola Ige was deprived of his mandate in spite of his superlative performance and why Omololu Olunloyo won the election, the wily Ibadan Chief just smiled”. (Quoting my dear sister and Barrister, Mrs Olutoyin Eweje).

There followed an influx of military governors and administrators from 1983 to 1999, namely Lt. Col. Oladayo Popoola (4 January 1984 – September 1985); Col. Adetunji Idowu Olurin, (September 1985 – July 1988); Col. Sasaenia Oresanya, (27 July 1988 – August 1990); Col. Abdulkareem Adisa, (3 September 1990 – January 1992). (Source: Wikipaedia)

The current Oyo State was established in 1991 when Osun State was split off from the old Oyo State.

Chief Kolapo Olawuyi Ishola; an elected civilian Executive Governor (2 January 1992 – 17 November 1993 under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) created by the then Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, in his spurious attempt to return the country to democratic rule); Navy Capt. Adetoye Oyetola Sode (9 December 1993 – 14 September 1994); Col. Chinyere Ike Nwosu, arguably the most incompetent and corrupt military ruler Oyo State had ever had (14 Sep 1994 – 22 Aug 1996); Col. Ahmed Usman (22 August 1996 – August 1998) and finally, Comm. Pol. Amen Edore Oyakhire (16 August 1998 – 28 May 1999). (Source: Wikipaedia)

Then the current democratic dispensation started on 29 May 1999, with Alhaji Lam Adesina as the first Governor (29 May 1999 – 28 May 2003, Alliance of Democracy (AD); Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, (Governor, 29 May 2003 – 28 May 2007, Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP). Ladoja was illegally impeached in January 2006, reinstated in December 2006; Chief Christopher Alao-Akala (Governor (de facto), 12 January 2006 – 7 December 2006, People Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP) was appointed when Rasheed Ladoja was impeached, until the impeachment was overturned. (Source: Wikipaedia)

Then Christopher Alao-Akala became Governor in his own right, 29 May 2007 – May 2011 (PDP).

The incumbent, Abiola Ajimobi became Governor in May 2011 under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and is now seeking re-election under the relatively new All Peoples Congress (APC)

This is now where the slogan “Ibadan ki sin eniyan le’meji” (Ibadan people do not serve the same leader twice) has surfaced again, engineered by the same selfish Ibadan elites and elders hell-bent on having their way, instead of the progress of the whole state. These people have arrogated to themselves the monopoly of picking the state’s political leaders, be it governor, senator, member of the House of Representatives, members of the state’s House of Assembly, local government chairpersons and councillors. It is very sad.

I have always maintained the position that Performance should be the key to re- election of any incumbents in office, and not an issue of age-long ridiculous and denigrating slogan. If this is so, it is Senator Isiaka Ajimobi’s task to break the jinx based on his performance alone. Can he do it, or will it be an exercise in futility?

Let us look at some historical records (some people may call it allegations or assumptions on my part) again: It was the complacency of the people and rigging by the NPN that prevented late Bola Ige from serving two terms, because he clearly performed. The PDP, under the then President Olusegun Obasanjo prevented Lam Adesina from serving two terms due to a combination of massive election rigging and non-performance.

Rasheed Ladoja never had a chance, even on his return from impeachment, by that time his former deputy, Alao-Akala was ensconced in the state house and was favoured by the party, PDP, with the backing of the Godfather of Ibadan politics, the late Chief Lamidi Adedibu and the notorious and vicious National Union of Road Transport Workers (Up National, they call themselves) with the active support from the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

In 2011, it took the interference of God, if you like, and the gods of justice as well as the resolve of the people of Oyo State, not Ibadan alone, to get rid of the profligate and clueless Alao-Akala (who is an Ogbomosho man) and elect the current governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi – sometimes I think the man sleeps in his agbada and fila; you never see him in in casual clothes.

So, on the strength of the fallacy, Ibadan and Oyo State people never serve the same leader twice, but in reality, the reason for this ugly phenomenon lies in the fact that our electoral processes have always been flawed, irregular and manipulated by selfish, greedy people.

Now let us look at the population of Oyo State: population (2006) total 5,591,589; estimate (2007) is 6,617,720. For Ibadan alone, with eleven local governments out of thirty-three, (one-third), estimated population in 2011 is 3.2 million, representing roughly half the total population of the state.

Simply put the Ibadan vote only marginal affect the outcome of any gubernatorial election for the simple reason that it is always split amongst the contestants, especially if they all come from Ibadan. Thus currently, on the basis of this, the Ibadan vote is about 30% for the incumbent, Ajimobi of the APC; 30% for Ladoja of the Accord Party and another 30% for Teslim Folarin of the PDP, while the rest 10% is for the other smaller parties, notably the emergent Labour Party.

Now, the above theoretical computations need to be re-evaluated. Now that Alao-Akala, (an Ogbomosho man) has decamped from the PDP to join the Labour Party and has been adopted as its governorship candidate, the equation has changed a bit. The Labour Party will erode into the PDP votes, because, somehow, Alao-Akala seems to still enjoy some support and goodwill from the Ibadans, and so will the Accord Party votes – Ladoja too is much beloved in Ibadan, unless these three political parties somehow find a common enemy in the APC and decide to throw all their votes behind one of their three parties, most likely the PDP. At any rate, Accord and Labour Parties are just poorly-veiled extensions of the PDP and a big ploy to distract or split the votes away from their common foe, the APC. I don’t see this happening, however it will deeply upset the APC, whether they collaborate or not.

The reality, however of the political action in Oyo State is that the people detest Ladoja, he has outlived his usefulness – what does he want to prove again? His party Accord lost a lot of goodwill the moment he declared himself to contest again, instead of passing the baton to a younger party member. Alao-Akala does not have much support anymore because of his sour-grapes decamping to the light-weight and non-structural Labour Party. His decamping has also weakened the PDP in Oyo State, and the non-Ibadan factor is another minus for him, plus, what does he want in the Government House again after several years of non-performance, corruption and profligacy while he made only his cronies rich from the state’s resources?; while the PDP candidate, Teslim Folarin is also disliked for his tight-fisted nature, even as a Senator, and has brought out a lot of ill-feelings within his own party such that they do not trust him. The Buhari factor is a huge plus for Ajimobi because virtually everybody in the country wants change and is rooting for the APC; however he must not be complacent.

What should now be the major aim and strategy of the Ajimobi’s APC is to convince the people of Ibadan, one, that the obnoxious slogan of “Ibadan ki sin eniyan le’meji” is what it is, a mere fancy of selfish elites who have been feeding us with nothing but nonsense and delusions, and put it to rest, once and forever, and two, that Ajimobi has performed to best of his ability and will do more if he’s given a second term. Three, Ajimobi has to convince Ibadan and Oyo State people that his first tenure has been devoid of corruption and nepotism. He has been tagged as arrogant too, and he must dispel this unwanted and damaging appendage.

For me, continuity is important, but has Ajimobi proven it to the people of Oyo State that he should continue? It is appalling hearing people using this hopeless slogan, especially when you hear it from our so-called educated people. In any organisation, one of the strategies used in measuring performance, competency and benchmarking is what they call KPI – Key Performance Indicators, and looking back at all the civilian government we’ve had so far in Oyo State, if these people will be honest with themselves and not being politically partisan and sentimental, many of us can give kudos to only the Bola Ige and Ajimobi civilian governments. And I am saying this without any bias to the Truth. Unfortunately today, people are not interested on building for their future but love the glory of corruption and lucre, not of what legacy to leave behind for generations to come.

At the risk of some people accusing me of having collected money to write this, I think the incumbent governor has just about done enough to justify none of his rivals dislodges him.

The holistic Truth always.


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