As the eight-year tenure of Senator Abiola Ajimobi as governor of Oyo state gradually runs to an end, he is bidding the people farewell with the commissioning of projects as well as mending fence. AGBOOLA BAYO writes.
Senator Abiola Ajimobi as governor means different things to many people. To some, he is the architect of modern Oyo, while to others, he is not especially as it concerns the welfare of the people since 2011.
If his words are anything to go by, there is no doubt the sustenance of peace stands out as his most valued achievement.
Under-pining his scorecards
During his investiture as fellow of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP), University of Ibadan, he said that he stepped on toes and took difficult decisions to put an end to the state of anarchy he inherited in 2011. According to him, “Before I came on board, Oyo state had been taken over by violence and brigandage being perpetrated by members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) who were being used by some powerful politicians in the state.”
Ajimobi said in putting an end to the rampant violence, said he summoned the courage to step on toes and take difficult decisions in the best interest of the state.
“For you to attain sustainable change, you must be prepared to step on toes. Be prepared for the backlash because those legs will definitely fight back. We thank God for giving us the opportunity to serve. If there is anything we want to be remembered for, it is peace and security. It is the foundation of government and the basis of governance. As I am standing before you, I still have some days and hours. So, within that period, we will still continue to maintain peace. It is what we are known for and that is what our legacy will be,” he said.
Ajimobi also emphasised the need for the in-coming administration to ensure that it sustains peace as a matter of priority to be successful and deliver the dividends of democracy.
Corroborating Ajimobi’s feat in bringing back peace to Ibadan and Oyo in general, the vice-chancellor of the university, Professor Idowu Olayinka, said Gov Ajimobi deserves commendation in the area of sustaining peace particularly for demonstrating the conviction to restore peace.
“The point has been made by the organisers of this investiture that they were not looking for a saint. Nobody is a saint. So, Gov Ajimobi is also not a saint, but you cannot get anybody more deserving of this honour than the governor. The point has also been made that Ibadan was the capital of the old Western Nigeria in the First Republic and at a time it also became a garrison headquarters. What we used to hear everywhere was ‘Up National’, ‘Up National’. But, in the last eight years, things have really stabilised. Now that there is peace, we just hope that it will be sustained. The reality of the situation is that over the last eight years, the governor has demonstrated how to maintain peace and ensure security of lives and property.”
Prof Olayinka added, “The very first function of any government is to ensure security of lives and property and all of us will attest to the fact that he has achieved distinction there. So, we congratulate him on this achievement. Eight years ago when he mounted the saddle of governorship, there were only two universities in Ibadan, UI and Lead City, but now we have seven universities, including the state government-owned First Technical University. We can directly attribute this to the reigning peace in the land.”
The historic commissioning of projects
To cap it all, Ajimobi embarked on farewell/ commissioning/renaming of streets, projects across the state as highlighted by the commissioner for information, culture and tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun, who said the decision to rename the roads and institutions was reached by the State Executive Council at its meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. According to him, the process towards the amendment of enabling laws for those institutions would commence immediately.
Arulogun said the affected renamed roads and institutions are the first flyover by a civilian administration in the state constructed at Mokola now to be known as Transformation Flyover; Challenge – Efunsetan road to be known as Lam Adesina road; Ijokodo – Apete road is to be called Ambassador Olu Sanu road; the newly constructed Zonal Mediation Centre, Ogbomosho will be named Justice Atilade Ojo Mediation Centre; the Ilorin Express Junction-Ikoyi – Takie – Palace – Ogbomoso Grammar School road is now Soun Oyewumi Ajagungbade road, while the Ibadan/Oyo Express/Iseyin-Owode with spur to Akesan-Palace and Old Ibadan-Oyo road is now Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi III road. Eleyele-Dugbe ANCE road is now Oba Saliu Adetunji road and Idi-Ape – Bashorun Akobo road is now Abiola Ajimobi way; the Ibarapa Polytechnic Eruwa to now be called Adeseun Ogundoyin Polytechnic, Eruwa, College of Agriculture, Igboora will be Lam Adesina College of Agriculture, Igboora; Maternal &Peadiatric Centre, Olodo Ibadan is named Abiola Ajimobi Maternal & Paediaitric Centre; Elebu road is now officially Alao-Akala Way; Monatan – Olodo road now Rashidi Ladoja; Onireke-Agbarigo road will now be known as Onikepo Akande road and Festac Road, Mokola now Adebayo Faleti road.
Fifteen days to the end of his eight-year tenure, Ajimobi made good his promise to commission key projects as he inaugurated the ultramodern Oba Akinbiyi Model School at Mokola, Ibadan.
In his words, Ajimobi said his administration had committed about N46bn to funding state-owned tertiary institutions in the last seven saying, “We have spent close to N46billion on the funding of state-owned tertiary institutions in the last seven years. If you divide it by seven, it means we have spent close to N7bn every year on education.
“As an administration, we have presided over the most focused, prudent and responsible management of available resources for the maximum benefit of our people for eight years.
Underpinning every step we have taken is our desire for quality in whatever we do. Aside from the three model schools, renovation of several blocks of classrooms in over 100 secondary schools across the state was recently carried out to create conducive learning environment. Contrary to some uninformed opinions, this administration has succeeded in repositioning all tertiary institutions owned by the state, setting them on the path of financial prudence for sustainable management and development.”
Royal fathers also applauded Ajimobi
The following day, Senator Ajimobi headed for ancient Oyo town to inaugurate the dual carriage way in the town constructed by his administration named after the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola, as well as other projects with the governor appreciating Oba Adeyemi for his fatherly role and support spanning his two tenures, which he said had proved bookmakers wrong.
“People predicted that my relationship with Baba Alaafin would not last on my assumption of office in 2011. I’m proud to tell them now that we are flexing daily in our relationship and this is the eighth year of my administration. No governor since the days of the Western Region had ruled the region or Oyo state for eight years, not even during the military misadventures. I want to sincerely thank Baba for his supportive roles and prayers which contributed to our success story”.
The Alaafin while receiving the governor into his palace said the people of Oyo will always remember Gov Ajimobi as the purveyor of unprecedented achievements with far-reaching effects on the lives of the people of the state, saying, the governor stands unique for immortalising statesmen and heroes of the state.
“We shall always remember you for good because of these achievements which have far-reaching effects on the lives of our people. You have done so much to be remembered for, my governor. I read in the newspapers recently that you have named major projects after important people that have impacted on our dear state. This is highly commendable. We should not wait for people to die before honouring them after they might have contributed immensely to the progress of the society while alive. The name of the Olubadan now adorns the Eleyele-Dugbe-ANCE road as Oba Saliu Adetunji road.
“When you look at the age of Olubadan (90), you will appreciate this gesture better. He did not have to die before being honored. I’m sure he will not forget the governor for honoring him in his lifetime. I was overwhelmed when you (governor) contacted me to inquire about who had traversed the legal profession from the Oyo Empire and I mentioned Justice Adejumo Kester of which you trusted my judgment. We appreciate the governor for this honour. It is not common for people to be honored this way. This is a wakeup call to the people that we should do our utmost best for our societies always and for leaders to immortalise such people. I pray that we will have people like you in positions of authority that will continue this trend,” Oba Adeyemi said.
On May 29, Gov Ajimobi would officially bid the people bye as governor of the state after eight years.