Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, have spent the first hundred days in office as governor of Ondo State. He was sworn in as governor on February 24th, 2017, succeeding the veteran political actor and physician, Olusegun Mimiko, who completed two term as governor.
Before the governorship election of November 26th wherein Akeredolu emerged winner of the contest, he had contested the governorship seat on October 20th, 2012 on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) alongside Mr. Olusola Oke on the ticket if the People’s Democratic Party, both of whom lost the election to Olusegun Mimiko of the (then) Labour Party, who spent unprecedented two term office like none before him.
Akeredolu won election – at his second attempt – defeating Eyitayo Jedege, SAN, of the People’s Democratic Party and Olusola Oke of Alliance for Democracy (AD) to emerge as the 6th civilian governor of the state.
For the people of the state, the emergence of Mr. Akeredolu sprouted shades of optimism and pessimism with different persons, depending on each man’s shape of standing and points of assessment, but for the governor and recipient of the highest votes, it was a blank plate, offering the legal luminary new opportunity to prove both believers and doubters right and wrong.
Akeredolu’s eventual election was not as tough as he had it in 2012 since he enjoyed – even as he confessed – the advantage of being backed up by the President with relevant power accessories and the governors of his ruling (All Progressive Congress) party- who deployed dumbfounding dosage of both human and material wherewithal in his favour, factors which altogether placed him at taller advantage over other aspirants and soft landed him in victory.
There is no denying the fact that Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, had relative advantages in both pre-election politicking and afters. Apart from the presidential shoulders that he got and rode on, his victory was not challenged in the courts, thereby placing the beard postal in a conducive mental climate to do the business of governance that he swore to do with undivided attention and seriousness.
There is the pervasive impression that the governor ought to hit the ground running since his was soft landed on the said plural fronts. Even the major opposing political association, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), party of Akeredolu ‘s immediate successor even boasted to the effect that the government of former governor Mimiko did lay enduring legacies and foundation in the various sections of governance upon which Akeredolu is comfortably sitting. Other claims add that the former government left over 20 billion naira in the state coffers, from which he’s been handling pecuniary issues with relative ease – and which Akeredolu neither affirm nor deny.
Shall we then be safe to say that the governor truly stepped unto some measure of ease when the same Akeredolu inherited heaps of salary areas that even the acclaimed sum left is not sufficient to offset? When one weighs the debt left against the cash left, it may not really worth any serious difference, which perhaps accounts for Akeredolu ‘s decision to begin payments to the workforce from the month of his entry to office. Opinion has it the bearded governor is only, by so doing, trying to score mere political point when weighed on the strength of logic and the fact that government is a continuum.
Akeredolu, having attained this rung, shall be scored. He has recorded fair achievements, from road repairs, serial signing of MoU to enhance development in specific sections of governance, top of which is the plan to link Lagos to Ondo by road-over-the-seas, infrastructural intervention at the University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, and of course, the reinstatement of disengaged members of staff of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko and the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, respectively. We shall add that he has paid salaries as and when due since he came on board.
The governor, by the efforts said, had started well, yet he has to amplify these efforts beyond initial ‘gra-gra’. Memoranda of Understanding is good, but they have to be taken farther to fruition, which is the real spelling of governance , as against mere mention for messaging political ego and deluding the public. Road repaired and constructed have to extend to the rural areas for commerce to thrive and rural residents to access the cities with less stress. Reinstated staff need the right initiation in order not to abuse the governor’s good gesture and portray same as political victory above work ethics.
As for the payment of salary, more often, poor leadership and abuse affect followership’s psyche so much that we forget that salary is the right of the working people, a constitutional matter and responsibility of government, just as the provision of social amenities, security of lives and properties, and the people oftentimes blindly accord pedestrian accolades to public servants for doing the businesses of governance, the purpose for which they are elected. In silly climes like here, salary payment wears the garb of achievement because the people are used to the deeds of leadership irresponsibility.
That Akeredolu pays salaries is commendable, yet it’s no special deed for its part of his responsibilities under the law. What the people should rather celebrate is still missing – the upping of the state income by ingeniously improving on the Internally Generated Revenue, which is the only way the state can be gain some weight above its present meagre exchequer.
Having spent a hundred days in office, it would not be hasty to begin to ask him questions in relation to his planned programmes of action. The state is still largely depending on the monthly drops from federal purse, her income remains what it was at Akeredolu’s inauguration, the moribund industries he promise to revive are still there in their dead situation. Health, Education, Commerce and even Agriculture receive no obvious attention up to now.
People wonder why governor Akeredolu, after a hundred days in office, is yet to form his cabinet, a situation which alongside other factors is portraying the government as one that trades inertia and lethargy. The people worry too that he is being operating without evidence of preparation for the exalted office and with no blueprint for governance. Critics say his assemblage of citizens to come up with ideas and ideals with regard to the various departments of government shows him as a man built by emergencies.
Even the governor’s own admission, the other day, at All Saints’ Church, Anglican Communion, Jericho, Ibadan, where he described his emergence as “a miracle” and the fact that he wasn’t sure of victory, give poor impressions- statement which has since yielded multiple semantic implications, stout of which is the fact that a person who considers own emergence as a miracle could not have been prepared for governance, the same interpretation which some believe is responsible for the seeming docility that appears to be the present situation in the state.
Shall we then judge the governor by his message at Jericho since governmental functions are at best tepid or shall indulge in some feelings of faith that the governor is yet doing the groundworks that shall in no time yield successes and change the face of the state? It is the governor’s job to make the state work. Whatever meaning or judgement the people shall make will be largely dependent upon the actions or inactions of governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is duty bound to determine what the people gets and what he gets in form of scores after now.