By Tunde Emilola-Gazal
The story, Ali and the Angels, in one of the books that were read in primary schools in the early 70s, comes to my mind as I ruminate over the political situation in Ogun State. In that story, the king of a town, desired to have the best cloth ever made. Ali, a subject of the king, brought an imaginary cloth and told the king that it was the most beautiful cloth, only visible to those who are pure. Sinners cannot see the cloth, he told the king.
He gave it to the monarch and urged him to put it on.
The monarch put on the imaginary cloth, since he wanted everybody to believe that he was pure, sinless. Though his subjects saw him naked, they, nonetheless, told him that he looked splendid in the cloth. He felt good, his ego massaged. But the king was naked. His subjects only told him what he wanted to hear. Similarly, the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunke Amosun, is politically naked. As in the folklore story, the only thing he wants to hear is that he is a semi-god and that is what his co-travellers in his new party, APM, are telling him. But they know that Amosun is naked, stark naked.
The Ogun State governor suffers a great delusion, believing that he has Ogun State in his hands. Of course, he has the State in his hands but it is an imaginary state, an empty vessel that he holds on to. The Yorubas, in their wisdom, say that you will only know the true nature of anybody when you give him or her three things – Owo (money), Ogun (charms) and Ipo (power). Amosun has all – money, power and charms but he has failed the litmus test of Omoluwabi (quality attributes). He has mismanaged the goodwill that was entrusted to him almost eight years ago. If anybody will succeed Amosun, it is not Adekule Akinlade and, definitely, the vehicle cannot be APM.
It is an open secret that Amosun is the masquerade behind APM. This is known to, not just the residents of Ogun State, but the entire country and the world. What goodwill does Amosun have to market his party of delusion and its candidates? Is it the roads he constructed in Yewa/Awori or Ijebu /Remo? Is it the civil servants he has suffered or the workers of the Tai Solarin College of Education, many of who have been sent on untimely deaths due to Amosun’s wicked and heartless withholding of their emoluments in the last few years?
Amosun has been arrogantly referred to as the architect of modern Ogun State. This is very true. It is a new Ogun State with one of the worst road networks in the country; an Ogun State where projects are executed with the sole aim of siphoning the commonwealth; an Ogun State where only two local governments enjoy infrastructural enhancement; an Ogun State where Schools do not have subventions. Is it in Ijebu-Ode, where roads constructed over 40 years ago are being reduced in size in spite of explosion in population that Amosun and his APM apologists are hoping to have votes? Or an Ogun State, where MITROS rice, elaborately publicised to be grown in the state, is nowhere to be found, almost one year after the hoax? We knew that Ade Sunmonu Oje’s pictures of bags of sand that formed most part of the rice pyramid that Amosun invited the world bank, among others organisations, to launch, were real. Probably rice is not grown anymore in Egua where it was bought and repackaged as MITROS rice.
Amosun thinks that residents of Ogun State are fools and blind to reality. He is mistaken.
But he deserves no pity. This is karma, nature’s way of redressing injustice, at play. Those who the gods want to destroy, they first make mad. Without the slightest claim to the powers of Nostradamus, I can easily predict that Amosun will meet his political waterloo in March 2019. In times gone bye, when a king commits sacrilege, he pays the ultimate price. He would open a sacred calabash (a si igba) to pay for his deeds and exit the world. Amosun has committed several sacrileges. He is on his MISSION TO PAY THE ULTIMATE PRIZE. And, Ogun State will be better for it.
Amosun’s claim to the progressive political block is hypocritical. It was the events of 2011, which brought all sorts of characters together in the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), that led to his migration into the block. Ago lo da eyele po mo adie. But for the cruel murder of Otunba Dipo Dina, it would have been easier for the camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for Amosun to have the ticket of the ACN. Dina had to be taken out. In spite of the showmanship of pledging to find his killers and naming the Gateway Stadium Ijebu Ode after him on May 29, 2011, the judicial efforts to convict the killers of Dipo Dina was truncated by the Amosun administration, a reason partly responsible for the resignation of the first Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the administration. The Dipo Dina stadium, Ijebu-Ode, ostensibly renamed to garner public sympathy, rots away, dilapidating. It is obvious that the motive was ulterior. Those who murder sleep and have blood on their hands will never know peace. Eje ma n ja!
We cannot continue with the “Mission To Rebuild” of Amosun by proxy through APM because it is laden with corruption. In the 42 years history of Ogun State, the Amosun administration will go down as probably the most corrupt. The first road expansion done by the Amosun administration was that of Lalubu road, Abeokuta. The immediate past administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel had slightly expanded the road. It was probably the best job done by the Ogun State Road Maintenance Agency (OGROMA), which was created by the OGD administration, using engineers in the employ of the state and abandoned earth moving equipment owned by the Ogun State Ministry of Works. The Amosun administration only continued from where it was stopped and has not found anything wrong with that stretch of road till today. While the OGD administration did its portion at 50 million naira (N50m) per kilometer, the Amosun administration claimed to have executed the continuation at five hundred million naira (N500m) per kilometer. That is perhaps the cheapest rate Amosun has done roads in the state.
The model school project was also used as a conduit pipe to bleed the state. At the initial stage, each model school was contracted out for one billion naira. But it is doubtful if any contractor ever got more than half of the contract sum. The cost was ultimately increased to N1.3 billion naira and twenty-six of the schools were put up for construction. Today, many of them are in various stages of abandonment, while none of the few completed ones is functional. Sadly, many of the existing public schools in the state are crying for rehabilitation. By comparative analysis, none of those model schools has the grandeur of the structures of Adeola Odutola College, Ijebu-Ode, founded by the late Ogbeni-Oja of Ijebu, late Chief Timothy Adeola Odutola or that of Ayetoro comprehensive High School. They have become white elephant projects.
The totality of the Gateway Stadium, Ijebu-Ode, with all the facilities therein, was built from foundation at about 1.6 billion naira. Each of the many flyovers constructed by the current administration cost Ogun State N1 billion and sometimes N1.3 billion naira. For those who posit that Amosun is at least using the funds for visible projects and argue that we should overlook his propensity to siphon our commonwealth through those projects, I have pity for them. Only an intellectual kwashiorkor would support such line of argument.
One of the responsibilities of a responsible government is to ensure that its people live in harmony, peace and concord. The last seven and a half years has seen the people of Ogun State polarised like never before because of the discriminatory policies of the Amosun administration. Today, there is a wedge between the Ijebu/Remo and Yewa/Awori axes of the state on one hand, and Egba and other sections of the state on the other. The wounds of the ill so created will take some time to heal.
The Olokoola projects, proposed to be sited in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area, were deliberately frustrated by Amosun because they would be in Ijebu. The projects were not initiated in Waterside Local government just by whim and Caprice. The area has one of the largest deposits of crude oil and bitumen in the world. The Dangote refinery, probably the biggest individual refinery in the world, with the capability to provide about 25,000 direct and indirect jobs, was to be sited at Olokoola. It was moved away to Lekki in Lagos State, where its construction is steadily going on, because the Amosun administration frustrated it. The Deep Sea Port proposer for the same location suffered the same fate for same reason, just like the proposed Cargo Airport at Iperu, with complete feasibility and Impact Assessment studies, mostly funded by the private sector, was abandoned. The financial input of Ogun State in all those projects would have been very minimal but the accruable benefits are of inestimable value.
The Olokoola Deep Sea has the deepest depth in the country and, if the Port had been completed, it would have been an alternative to the already congested Apapa Port, Lagos, providing a base for maritime activities in the West-African sub-region. For obvious hatred against a section of the state, which Amosun swore on oath to treat its components equitably but has betrayed the oath, those projects were frustrated. Unfortunately, those are projects that could provide enormous financial resources for Ogun State. In spite of orchestrated infrastructural development by Amosun, most of the projects embarked upon remain uncompleted. The Ejirin Road- Imepe- Folagbade- Ibadan Raod, the main arterial road in Ijebu-Ode, just 8.5 km, remains uncompleted five months to the end of the tenure of Amosun, just like Oba Erinwole Road in Sagamu and many others across the state. Yet, he has initiated more roads where ongoing ones remain uncompleted. We won’t suffer fools gladly.
The spirit of the late founding fathers of Ogun State, Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, especially, and the grey hair of those of them who are still alive, will not forgive those who have truncated their vision of an Ogun State, where equity, peace and justice shall reign.
I am fully conscious of the implication of writing all these.
While many see peace in Ogun State, they fail to acknowledge that it is mostly a peace of the graveyard. The emperor at Oke Imosan rules with with iron hand, instilling fear into everyone. From civil servants to elder statesmen, there is an unwritten understanding to keep quiet to avoid being the target of attack, which could also be spiritual. There is a ministry of spiritual affairs, ably led by a member of the dynasty ruling us. Nonetheless, I have absolute faith and confidence in the words of Allah (SWT), the Lord of the worlds, who, ALONE, has the power of life and death.
Lord of power and Rule,
Thou gives power to whom thou pleasest,
And thou strippest off power from whom thou pleasest.
Thou enduest with honour whom Thou pleasest,
And Thou bringest low whom Thou pleaesest,
In thy hand is all good.
Verily, over all things Thou has power” – (Q3 Vs 26).
History is replete with the story of those who attempt to play God. The creator of heaven and heart does not share His glory with anyone. I put my trust in Allah. In HIS hands is my life.