The past three months have been some of the most challenging period of his life of Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State. Olufemi Adediran writes.
Trying to settle down
Governor Abiodun, an oil magnate, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated other candidates in a keenly contested Governorship election and became the fifth civilian governor of the state on Wednesday, May 29.
Within this period of three months, the governor had has made some important decisions for over three million people of the state, that he had probably never made before.
Parts of the few achievements of the Governor include the setting up of the State Security Trust Fund, to raise funds from both the private and public sectors to fight insecurity in the state.
The governor, through the newly resuscitated public works department (OGROMA), has started the repair of some roads, including federal roads as these roads connect the state to the neighbouring Lagos state.
The roads are, Ikorodu – Ogijo – Shagamu road, Epe – Ijebu – Ode road and Lagos – Ota – Abeokua road.
The launching of the state job portal is arguably the biggest achievement of the Governor in the last hundred days in office.
The job portal, according to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Job Creation and Youth Empowerment, Mr Lekan Olude as at Tuesday, September 3, has registered over 100,000 unemployed youths who will be matched with available jobs in the state.
The governor has also launched the Anchor Borrowers programme to assist youths who are interested in agriculture with farm inputs.
As successful businessman, the governor boast of many years of private sector experience, but as the state helmsman, he is operating on an unfamiliar terrain.
Given the governor’s wealth of experience in the private sector, many people in the State believed that he has so far performed below their expectations.
In their views, Governor Abiodun has not only failed to impress the people of the state in his first one hundred days in office, but he has also failed to score solid points in their scorecard.
They argued that Governor Abiodun was not prepared for office and they have not failed to register their disappointment with the governor performance so far. The governor, according to them, has only a few things to show as his achievements for his hundred days in office.
For the people with this opinion, the first hundred days in office of the governor have been that of partially fulfilled promises. While some of them are complaining about the slow pace at which the governor is running his administration, others are of the opinion that governance appears to be at standstill.
The reason for their assertion is that, after three months in office, Governor Abiodun is yet to form his cabinet by appointing his commissioners who will work with him to actualise his visions for the state.
Governor Abiodun, unlike his colleagues in the South-west states of Lagos and Oyo, Babajide Sawon-olu and Seyi Makinde, respectively who were sworn-in on the same day have appointed their commissioners. But in the interim, the governor had set up committees to act as advisory bodies to him and to also give his government policy directions.
N7bn borrowed from banks
Some further observed that the governor is running government like his private company. For instance, the governor at a meeting with the leadership of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the first month of assuming office disclosed that he inherited an almost empty treasury from his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and therefore borrowed N7billion from banks, who he referred as his friends, to pay the May salary of the civil servants.
This decision of the governor generated a lot of backlashes from his critics, especially the opposition parties of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and Labour Party (LP).
The opposition parties faulted Governor Abiodun for allegedly obtaining the said loan without seeking the necessary and constitutional approvals either from the State Executive Council which is still yet to be formed and the state House of Assembly which as at that time had been inaugurated.
They accused the governor of breaking the law by obtaining that huge sum of money as loan without taking the proper procedure, arguing that the state affairs is not a private sector which he can run as a dictator.
Also reacting to the N7billion loan, the immediate past Commissioner for Finance in the State, Adewale Oshinowo, on debunked Governor Abiodun’s claim that he met an empty treasury in the State, insisting that Senator Ibikunle Amosun-led administration left behind the sum of N18.3billion in the State. Neither the governor nor any of his aides have come out publicly to refute Oshinowo’s claim till today.
One of the things, according to Blueprint investigations, that is delaying the governor from appointing his commissioners is the battle for his survival at the Ogun state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
Blueprint gathered from a reliable source in the governor’s camp that he might be awaiting the outcome of the tribunal before constituting his cabinet.
The governorship candidate of the APM, Hon Adekunle Akinlade is challenging the victory of Governor Abiodun at the tribunal and the three-member tribunal, led by Justice Yusuf Halilu after hearing of both parties’ written addresses and submissions last month, reserve judgement till further notice.
The governor is also accused of doing what his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, was widely condemned for, and that is owing workers in the state salary deductions.
Governor Abiodun since his inauguration has failed to remit three months workers’ salary deductions, a development the workers are now getting uncomfortable with.
‘Ogun on auto pilot’
Giving an assessment of Governor Abiodun’s performance in the last one hundred days, the state chairman of the Labour Party (LP) Comrade Abayomi Arabambi said “Ogun state administration is on auto pilot.”
Arabambi said, “Dapo Abiodun came into office with tons of promises that among very many include, rehabilitation of public schools across the state, immediate payment of pensioners, building of health care facilities across the state, a quick readdressed positive security in the state, it should be noted that the security situation in the State has become alarmingly worse, these are some of the promises he (Governor Abiodun) made at his swearing – in ceremony.”
“He (Abiodun) failed woefully in all of these. His first hundred days in office are mind – boggling failure. He has logged catalogue of mis- steps depicting serious lack of direction, his government has been loaded with misdirection, a government without motion.”
“Till today, he has no executive cabinet in place as a result of the puppeteering by the political goliaths who manipulated him into office”.
“But he was quick to set up useless and unproductive committees all over the place, borrowed N7billion in his first week in office that would be repaid with N500million interest without a Legislature approval in place. Even those with half a logical mind in Ogun state know that Dapo Abiodun and his Ponzi scheme government is a disaster.”
“In addition to the foregoing, it is sad that some of his very sheepish followers could think that signing OGROMA (Ogun State Road Maintenance Agency) and MAUSTECH (Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology) bills into law are achievements. These untenable scores by the stomach – infrastructured elements celebrate distribution of relief materials to flood victims, an invisible palliative work on imagined roads, hoping to revoke the most appreciated legacy project by the citizens, commercially friendly Itoku Adire Mall in Abeokuta and so many other, we shall on paper claims.”
“Should one talk about Dapo Abiodun and his government’s scheme to cause violence across the state by illegally imposing his political yes – men on the elected transport executives in the state, the attempt to desecrate the institution of traditional Obas in the state? By and large, the state has been sentenced to a very pitiful governance by evil federal forces for as long as it takes the judiciary to remove the pretending governor,” the LP chairman said.
A chieftain of the APM also criticised the style of leadership of the governor, saying the governor “is a political neophyte in a sophisticated political state like Ogun”.
But those in the governor’s camp have continued to defend the actions of the governor. They claim that his predecessor set a trap for the governor by not properly handing over to him.
To prove their point, Azeez Bisilimi, a politician and member of the APC, told Blueprint, “the governor is taking his time and assessing properly what he met on ground and putting good and strategic measures in place on how to go about tackling numerous problems his administration inherited from the immediate past government in the state.”
“You can see that activities are beginning to pick up now. You would agree with me that his newly created public works department has become visible at notable some areas across the state. They are working round the state now.”
He appealed to the people of the state to be more patient with the APC administration in the State, saying he was confident that the governor meant well for the State and he would perform very well in the state.