Thursday, 26 May 2011

Will Senator Ajimobi get a Double?

The ancient city of Ibadan has been the capital of the pace setter state for a long time now. Since the time of patriots such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the town called Ibadan has remained the most influential of all towns in Oyo State. Without doubts, it is clear that none other is ready yet to claim this position from Ibadan except if the city, being the largest in West Africa will itself finally be made a new state. However, that citizenry welcomed idea is yet to obtain adequate attention at the federal arm of the Nigerian government. As such, it is still unlikely that Ibadan will stop being the capital of Oyo state.

The recently concluded elections have witnessed many changes among which are a more fairly regulated electoral standard, greater participation of the elite citizens and the transfer of power from a leading political party to a diversity of revolutionary parties. And in Oyo state, these changes have been felt and enjoyed. The residents of Ibadan are particularly ecstatic about the change that seems to have originated from Lagos and is now spreading towards other states in the South West region of Nigeria.

But as old as Oyo state is, our fledgling democratic leadership is yet to witness the existence of a particular governor in office for two successive terms. They have always had a cause to leave the position or be voted out by the people. Historical records further show that since the time of late patriots such as Obefemi Awolowo and Ladoke Akintola, one period of tenure and a few years has been the maximum time spent by any governor who lived in Oyo state during his tenure.

And so, a newly generated rumour has gained wings about this peculiar event. The core Ibadan people, having an eye for history, claim that the city has the culture of vomiting its leader once one tenure has elapsed. This claim which has been the talk of the town over the years has recently evolved into an adage. So, when the former governor, Otunba Alao Akala, asked to be re-elected through votes, many of the opposing Ibadan locals simply said it was impossible for the city to house the same governor twice; the adage was quick to prove the claim valid.

But one would wonder if the change that has heralded the newly elected (but yet-to-be installed) governor of Oyo state, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, would also see him through a second term in office. When asked by a radio presenter during a live interview, the governor said he would be ready to leave the office after serving for four years (or one term). However, we know that in Nigeria, it hardly happens that a governor who has performed well or even fairly while in office will sincerely refuse to contest for a second tenure in office. Axiomatically, every governor wishes to have a re-go at the prestigious position.

So, I submit that Senator Abiola Ajimobi will desire to be re-elected into the office of the executive governor of Oyo state after his first tenure. However, my take on whether or not he will achieve it and prove wrong the aged superstitious Ibadan belief of no second-tenure depends on two factors. One, he must be of good character. And by good character, he is expected to relate with the people of Oyo state as a privileged servant. This also implies that unlike his predecessor, he must not be generally perceived by his state’s residents as an orally impolite leader. In other words, he must think before he talks and demonstrate a heart of service at every simple opportunity.

Secondly, Mr Governor must readily show a sense of development and a mind of innovation. His touches must change Ibadan’s outlook and solve the most common or prevalent problems of the entire state before the end-of-term bells starts jingling. Idling at the tenure’s beginning and getting busy towards its end insinuates that the leader wants to play a fast one on his followers. Readily, he must carry along the public and imbibe the culture of “let us” rather than “I am”. I believe that these actions and continual eagerness to show governmental transparency and accountability will not only transform Oyo state but also earn him a first time second tenure and prove wrong the jinxing adage.