Exactly on the 3rd of February this year-2014, Oyo State clocked38 years. The State was created in 1976 by the then military government led by Late General Murtala Mohammed from the then old Western State which was divided into Ogun, Ondo and Oyo states respectively.
In 1991, Osun state was carved out from Oyo state which as of today is having 33 local governments. Since then, we have had both military and democratic governments.The battle forthe Agodi Government House since the first, second and third political dispensationshas been producing a one-term government,thus making it a myth that no government/party can rule Oyo State twice.
Governance is a herculean task wellknownto everybody and is even more cumbersome when we fail to recruit the right candidates forthe right office. The best football teams always featured the best legs with a good coach. Sameapplies to governance which must provide a goodandharmonious cabinet of people with integrity in order to have good governance. Good governance thus signifies the competent management of resources and affairs in a manner that is open, transparent, honest, accountable, equitable and responsive to people’s needs and problems. It concerns the state’s ability to serve the citizens and give value for the State money spent on projects. The 1994 World Bank’s Experience Report states that good governance “… is epitomized by predictable, open, and enlightened policy making (that is, transparent process); a bureaucracy imbued with professional ethos; and a strong civil society participating in public affairs; and all behaving under the rule of law”. Anything short of the above definitions and concepts is mis-governance.
Historically, Oyo is noted for its prominent historical and physical landmarks in art, science and culture. Up till date, the exploits and brilliance of our warrior-forefathers in the old Oyo Empire are still beingtalked about. We are proud to have the first University College established in 1948 (now the University of Ibadan), the first general teaching hospital in Nigeria (UCH), the first television station in Africa (NTA Ibadan), the first ever international sportsstadium built in Africa (Liberty Stadium, now ObafemiAwolowo Stadium), the first skyscraper to have been built in Africa (Cocoa-House), the first Five-Star Hotel in Nigeria (The Premier Hotel, Ibadan). Almost all these were sacrificial and innovative initiativesof late Chief Obafemi Awolowo whospent government money to better the lives of the citizens. Now, thirty-eight years after the creation of the State (from 3rd of February, 1976) and fifteen years of democratic government in the state (from 29th of May, 1999), we have not seen any major development in the state apart from the endless continuation of roads construction and rehabilitationwithout modern improvements of side-walks, drainage system and traffic signs by subsequent governments with all manners of looting from the treasury.
Regrettably and without any controversy or argument,and judging by my recent visits to other South–West states to see infrastructural developments and best ways to touch peoples’ lives, Oyo State is the least developed State out of all states in the geo-political zone in the last seven years and three and a half years respectively in terms of infrastructure as I am writing. Most people cannot even see beyond their noses, especially those who in the recent times have never travelled out of the city to other States to see what is called infrastructural developments and best ways to touch people’s life. To me, this ugly development stemmed from the fact that no government has ever served in Oyo for two terms. The two-term government jinx would be broken if the government in power is able to fulfill itspromiseswhile alot of work has to be done to put the State in her pace-setting phenomenon.
I will like to start with my area of specialization which is road traffic safety. Without any political bias, all the present Staterepresentatives– be it the executive or legislative arms – need to do is just take a ride by themselvesone day and drive round the cities they are representing and see for themselves. Fromthe State capital, take the disorganized Agodi-Gate, just a stone-throw to the seat of governmentthrough theclumsy Iwo Road bridge round-about, down to the grid lock at Ojoo-Odogbo by-pass, through the NISER-Orogun-UI route to Sanngo to the ever-busy Dugbe-Challenge – Moleteaxis. The scenes that would confront them would be made up ofstreet hawkerswith their highpatronage at Mokolaroundaboutbikes troupe, UI entrance jam-lock and Ojoo truck drivers’ menace. Almost all of these roads are constructed without side-walks and efficient drainage mechanism and befitting Bus-Stops erected for commercial drivers to pick their passengers as they like. The same visitationscan also be done in main cities of Oyo, Saki and Ogbomoso, to mention but the big names.
Meanwhile, for any government to win the votes of the people of Oyo State, it hasto do more with the following possible dividends of democracy: by recruiting the best professionals in the cabinet and stop compensating some families with sensitive posts which I regarded as democratic stupidity in a State with sea of qualified professionals for the herculean task of governance; education should be made free, compulsory and qualitative with rehabilitation of all public schools and structures and no child must be left out there hawking and begging for alms during the school hours; provision of free medical services and rehabilitation of State hospitals with modern equipment and drugs; rehabilitation and construction of all roads network in the State with side-walks and drainage facility; commitment to zero pot-holes in all the State roads; provision of jobs for unemployed graduates; planting of trees and flowers as beautification on our roads should be left toprofessionals; introduction of effective and efficient management boards on traffic safety, waste (can’t the authority find out why refuse are not dumpedin the middle of the road in other States), tax-collectors,etc.;provision of safe and cleanpotablepipe-borne water in all homes as an average person in the city may use 200 litres (50 gallons) of water for their personal use each day. Is there any other usefulness for Asejire, Eleyele and Osegere water-plants?.
In addition,civil servants and pensioners salaries and allowances must be paid before the month ends; re-establishment of the State newspapers; make provision to build public libraries with free internet services within the vicinity;medical centers and Mini-Sports centers in all thirty-three local government areas (Is there any public library around your area?);provision of undisrupted electricity supply to improve the standard of living and quality of live; provision of functioning street lights in the interior and urban areas to be maintained (and not only selected areas for visitors or decoration); provision of visible and reflective road signs and streets naming and numbering; provision of public toilets in all main city-centers; and the creation of more industries, investmentand result-oriented research on agriculture, science and technology.
Aji se bi Oyo laari, Oyo kisebienikookan(literarily meaning:Oyo is the pacesetter and never copy others). This is the time for greatness and let us leave behind a life of mediocrity. Governance is a complex system that needs capable hands to be able to achieve those dividends of democracy for the citizens who have to be characterized by three key values of accountability, transparency and participation. When this is done,the party or government in power wins the support of the populace which guaranteesthem areturntopower for the second term.To beat those politicians,we have to smarter and realistic and vote for the best candidate as our choice dictates our future. Leaders are not made or born, but they are self-made. This is a time for a real transformation and not transaction. It is time to seek for leaders that do great things we have known our forefathers for. Oyo State is big and rich enough to decide for themselves and accommodate all their dreams.
Adewale T Akande,
An Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain. firstname.lastname@example.org Tel;0034632511469 (Spain) / 002348125896631(Nigeria)