When I decided to put pen to paper to write this piece, I had a crisp degree of certainty in my mind, that, the citizens of Ondo state are not fools. Apart from their industrial savvy which they pride on so much, they are also very politically aware. But, as certain as I am, there are now existent instances, circumstances and people who are hellbent to dilute my certainty about the warm people of Ondo by saying, “Yes, Ondo people are fools!”, resoundingly at that.
Don’t be bemused, I’ll tell you why and how.
I’ve been following events in the political sphere of Ondo state since 2011, months prior to the 2012 gubernatorial elections in the state. So, to a tenable extent, I know the good, bad, and ugly realities about both the electorate and electees therein. I know that the average Ondo electorate actually does not do political partyrism per se, yes, they do have loyalties tied to fraternal sentiments, and yes, they can be tendinously opinionated, but, at the core of cores, what the Ondo citizen will almost always embrace when it comes to political choices, is that one they believe has true prospects to yield palatable dividends across board.
They are not the kind of people that will easily pass as sheepishly foolish, but unfortunately, as I said, some of their own are indeed calling them fools. Chill, I’ll tell you.
It’s election year in Ondo state, and expectedly, the gladiators have started the macabre dance of political promising for some months now. Among these individuals gunning to govern the sunshine state in the next four years (at least), are some guys who have looked the proud people of Ondo state in the eyes to call them thoughtless fools.
Who are these individuals? Well, let me cut to the chase.
1. Governor Mimiko and his minion, Eyitayo Jegede
I came into Ondo state on the 16th of January 2016 to tend to a dear project, and till now, 7 months after my port, the civil servants in the predominantly civil service state, have not been paid salaries. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7….7 months. Compared to other states where the anomaly of unpaid salaries had also occurred, Ondo state sits on stupendous wealth of resources and revenue potential. But, thanks to the goblet of vicious visionlessness that Governor Mimiko has drank from for the past 8 years, mile per mile in Ondo, anyone with a good nose will perceive the stench of poverty that paints the lives of the people all over Ondo. From Akure to Akunnu, Akoko to Akotogbo, Ondo town to Ose town, the ill livelihood consequent of a dead economy is obvious in sight for both the blind and the keen eye.
When I then heard that this same Mimiko guy, under whose watch the main essence of governance has been evidently absent, had anointed one of his minions, his Attorney-general and Commissioner of Justice, Eyitayo Jegede, to succeed him, I wasn’t alarmed, because I know how mulishly forlorn some Nigerian politicians can be. But, as “unbothered” as I was, I still got a tad miffed that Mimiko, who drunk on FAAC (Federal allocation), had also hid behind the nascent dwindling fuel prices, to complain that there’s no “enough money again from Abuja”. That, a governor, who in 8 years couldn’t transmute Ondo’s wealth to blissful revenues for her people, to at LEAST pay salaries amongst other things within his job description, had the nerve to dole out cash to fund a dissident PDP congress, the effrontery to dole out cash to buy a nomination for his anointed, the gall to dole out cash to finance a dissident primary where his Jegede emerged, and then, the brass to fill all of Ondo with posters and billboards of Jegede….yet, no money to pay salaries at least.
Seeing all that, I don’t know how else one person and his Eyitayo, can boldly call Ondo people fools, right to their faces.
2. Ayorinde, Alasoadura and Ajayi.
Hmmmn, trust me people, this trio are not democrats. See, when I heard that almost 50 people had expressed an interest to become the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming elections in Ondo state, I first laughed.. Then, I knew within me that that ridiculous figure surely had people who would be easily pass as “spills”, but, objectively, these trio are neither real contenders nor spills, they are merely pseudodemocrats. By their gubernatorial ambition, Dr. Bode Ayorinde, Mr. Tayo Alasoadura and Professor Ajayi Boroffice, have called the people of Ondo fools.
Something really bemuses me about this governorship aspiration of these three men who presently, are serving members in the Nigerian legislative arm of government. What this means is that, just months ago sometime in 2015, Ayorinde (Member, Federal House of Representatives), Alasoadura (Senator, Ondo Central), and Ajayi (Senator, Ondo North) were on these same streets of Ondo, canvassing for peoples’ votes into the federal positions with verve, nerve and jabber, just some months ago. Let me help us rephrase, it means that barely 2 or 3 months into their terms and entrusted mandates as Rep and/or Senators, they just decided to “change their minds” to just become a Governor. …hmmn, how sadly convenient. Here and there in present day Ondo, these trio have used the spent cliché, “I’m in the guber race to serve” in their campaigns, as they hope to nick their party’s ticket. Well, to me, it’s either these trio are basically politically concussed or are just out to call Ondo people fools who also suffer from retrograde amnesia. I don’t believe Nigerian politicians should be this aimless in pursuit, in fact, I believe that contrary to the “I’m in this race to serve” crap this trio have kept selling, they are mere political carnivores who overly ogle at the seat of power for power sake, not service as they claim. If they wanted to serve, why ditch the service they swore to give on behalf of the people of Ondo in Abuja, just some months ago?
Well, political concussion….the curse of having epileptic fits of ambition, na disease, and unfortunately, these trio are out to damn the people of Ondo to it as if dem be fools who have no other choice than to down them through their throats.
Get me not wrong, Jegede, Ayorinde, Alasoadura and Ajayi Boroffice all have the constitutuional right to vie to govern Ondo, at least politically, but, the civic truth is that, while they posses the constitutional wealth to contest, they suffer a moral bankruptcy to do so, and the latter is the real currency needed to stand a chance at winning.
To all of this, there’s a lil’ funny twist – among the same Ondo people who I described above as not foolish, these 4 gubernatorial aspirants have “supporters”. Not farfetched, right? Oh yeah. But, see, I can affirm that 50 percent of these “supporters” of Jegede or Ayorinde, Alasoadura or Boroffice that you see in pockets on the streets of Ondo or on social media, are merely innocent and hungry. 10 percent of these supporters are people who eat directly from the tables of these four. 40 percent who call themselves ardent followers are simpletons in denial, because it is easily commonsensical to know that these 4 guys do not deserve to ride on the backs of the Ondo people twice within a couple of months in an unconscionable crave for political posturing.
In many ways than one, I’m very interested and invested in the bigger picture of a Nigeria that works, we’ve made many mistakes as a democratizing populace, and at every opportunity I get to make a submission as a keen observer, especially regarding exercising franchise, I try to stay objective enough to air an averagely acceptable truth.
Now, let me drive home my “beef” with these four guys I mentioned above and some of the aspirants who actually got forms, unbeknownst, to just register relevance.
Ondo is the most naturally endowed state in Nigeria, should be the richest state in Nigeria. Ondo should be the state with the brightest economy in Nigeria. Boundless hectares of visibly arable land, Ondo’s got it, tenable ounces of Crude oil, Ondo’s got it. Billion-dollar worth views in the hills of Idanre, Ondo’s got it. Amazonian stretch of forest reserves and an untapped coastline, Ondo’s got it. Bitumen, cocoa, ore, iron, glass, timber, Ondo’s got all in abundant measures. I’ve seen great stuff in the 7 months here..But, just like her father, Nigeria, Ondo has lacked Promethean leaders. And now, we all know, that Ondo is in debt, bad debt; and is accruing more debt…and, a prospective lender, has become a shameless serial borrower…200 billion naira worth of debt as at the last estimate. And now, Ondo instead of being known as the brightest, most industrialized state in Western Africa, is merely tagged a “civil service” state. Shame.
In short, Ondo state is on the death row; and we all know that. Behind the “molegoke-moleso” dramas that have pitted the path of both the PDP and APC towards the November elections, lies a true position, which clearly presents that what Ondo state needs right now is pragmatic, professional, visionary, technocratic and reasoned leadership. Simple!
Ondo needs an evidently hands-on and business-minded individual to lead her from the front, not as commissioner or special adviser, but from the front. She does not need some other round of politicking. What Ondo needs right now is practical leadership that is almost apolitical and just practical. A leadership devoid of the shenanigans of overt politicking. She needs the politics of (reviving her) economy, not the politics of power, she needs the generosity of tested ideas, not the gambit of ambition, hence, my displeasure at Boroffice, Jegede et al for thinking otherwise.
The primary elections of the APC will be held soon, that of the siamesed-PDP is still ectopic and undone, and as valid as the Ondo north rotation agenda is, what Ondo needs right now, the sole parameter that should be considered as touching the sake of preference of priorities is the governor who understands the basics of wealth generation basically.
Despite what Governor Mimiko and Jegede thinks, this their ‘Eyi’ may not ‘Tayo’, no matter how well he flashes wry smiles on billboards and posters, Ondo people cannot be that foolish as they think; to a host of them, trust me, all they see on Jegede’s poster is a tragicomedy. Then, the APC, they are poised to win come November, they have the ante judging by Mimiko’s 8 year flak of slack, and the news have had it for weeks that one of the aspirants has been endorsed by party leadership and some influential groups within the state. Thankfully, the person is neither Ayorinde, Alasoadura, nor Ajayi.
So, in a way, I still posit, that the people of Ondo are not foolish….init?
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