Sometime in 2006, Senator Abiola Ajimobi was invited by the All Nigerian United Nations Students and Youths Association (ANUNSA), The Polytechnic Ibadan, Adeseun Ogundoyin Campus, Eruwa to deliver a speech (because majority of the students wanted to be associated with him).
Of course, he was a personality we all adored. We so much loved his personality, thinking he was the messiah to reshape the destiny of impoverished Youths of Oyo state orchestrated by Governor Alao Akala regime; reposition the system; and make Oyo state a better place to live. We thought with Ajimobi, Oyo State would be competing with states like Lagos and Ogun. We thought there would be decorum in the state for he (Ajimobi) is the most qualified candidate that could transform the state into what we all want.
After 8 years as Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi tried but not his best. He was later beclouded by the fantasy of the office and power. The one we all adored turned to the one we could not be proud of.
The Council of Presidents, The Polytechnic Ibadan (AOCE) led by myself (as Chairman of Council and President of the Mass Communication Department’s Association of Student Communicators), Heritage (President, Secretariat Studies Students Association), Julius Adepoju (President, National Association of Polytechnic Engineering Students ‘NAPES’), other Engineering Associations Presidents (Electrical Electronics Students Association ‘EESA’, Association of Civil Engineering Students ‘ACES’, and Association of Mechanical Engineering Students ‘AMES’), including a respected and most famous Sadiq Martins on the campus led a crusade for Ajimobi’s election into Oyo Government House, even when he was in All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2007; though he lost.
I can remember vividly that that evangelism ran through all the institutions and local settlements in the seven Ibarapa communities including Eruwa, Lanlate, and Igboora. I can also recollect the involvement of Engineer Fawole of the Civil Engineering (I don’t know if he is still a staff of the now The Adeseun Ogundoyin Polytechnic, Eruwa) as our senior eye of such political engagement. In the same year 2006, I was also the National Vice-President of the Federation of Iseyin Local Government Students (FILGS). It was a combination of different efforts in working for Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
Towards the build up to 2011, the team has expandingly re-emerged to campaign for Ajimobi on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); and lo, he won. Thank God he did; that was a relieved for us. Meanwhile, we disappeared. As at that time, I was a student of the University of Ilorin, Sadiq Martins, Prosper Abayomi, Akanmu Abidemi and co were in Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba, Julius Adepoju and the rest also went underground for academic engagements.
Sincerely, we did not bother to see His Excellency Gov. IsiakaAjimobi. We did not want any compensation nor any political appointment from him. For any doubt to this narration, I still have the video recordings and pictures of those boys, now men, who were among the few that championed the course of Governor Abiola Ajimobi. To us, the service for Ajimobi and ANPP/ACN was never a contract of getting something in return, but to contribute something serious in governance through the personality of Isiaka Ajimobi. We believed in him. All what we wanted from him (Ajimobi) was to be the governor and use his magic wand to transform the state into something better.
Then, we were tired of Governor Alao Akala’s regime and security issues beclouding our dear state, Oyo.
Everyone of us at the beginning of Governor Ajimobi’s regime was happy because the government was serious in its quest for the transformation. Under bridge (popularly known as Abe bridge), Iwo-Road roundabout was clean; flowers and beautification of the city was coming up gradually; thuggery was minimal; NURTW was reformed; Olomi area of Ibadan was peaceful; discipline was instilled in civil service and bureaucracy; other systems are gradually coming alive. Thank God someone was performing. We could see a good foundation in which some of us would eventually inherit.
“Lakuli Jalailu”, the second coming of the Governor Ajimobi, as Koseleri, was disastrous. That was when we realized there was a problem somewhere. He started misbehaving as if he was under a spell. He started interfering in traditional affairs, wanted to get back to Olubadan by demeaning the Olubadan stool.
For the first time in the history of Yoruba Kingdom, Oyo State under Governor Ajimobi produced many Obas (Kings) without territory. To what I know in the history and culture, territory and the people are the most significant element of a kingdom. Even, a State itself must have territory and people before one could referred to it as a state.
Today, come to Ibadan, I will take you to some of our Kings without people and territory. Ajimobi se bebe. It is also pertinent to state that our dear Governor can say anything he likes to anybody including the heads of communities, pensioners, elders and rulers, and youths and even the students.
The famous expression “Constituted Authority”was originated from our Governor during one of the LAUTECH students’ protests in Ibadan.
Another thing is that Governor Abiola Ajimobi is older than everybody including some of the Kings in the State. He is a Constituted Authority and thus, a god. He was the one tens of principals of the Secondary Schools in the state were prostrating for in his office for the fear of not being dismissed because their students protested. Some of the pensioners in an interaction also narrated their ordeal with the Governor. According to them, Governor Abiola Ajimobi asked, “don’t you people have well-trained children that could take care of you rather than continue disturbing me for your pension.” Another bomb also erupted, “we have not finished taking care of the needs of the living and the dead are demanding”. To him, pensioners are the dead.
My Governor can talk to anyone anyhow no matter how placed orold you are in his second term. Unfortunately for him, his tenurehas ended.
Only God knows what suddenly happened to my Governor. Higher education today in Oyo is very close to zero. ASUU, ASUP and COEASU in the state are being owed up to 2-yearsalary. My Mum, as a pensioner, is being owed more than 2 years’ salary and years of arrears. An Uncle of mine, Adeyinka Agoro with only 22 years of service, had to resign from service of the Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa because of the irregular pay and several noticeable decadence in the higher education sector. Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH), which is one of the best state universities in Nigeria, is now at the background. At a point in LAUTECH, Alumni Association had to engage in fisebilillahi for its survival. People were contributing one naira, two naira, ten naira for a state university. Ask about the status of Oyo State College of Education now Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Zero! As much as I like to lecture in the school, the situation of my friend and staff of the school, Alapini Habeeb and his colleagues, did not allow me. For the past three years, Alapinni has been receiving 25% of his basic salary. That is if Alapinni’s salary is N90,000, he has been receiving N22,500 as a salary for the past three years.
Sincerely, I do pity the poor boy. Presently, there is no higher institution in the state, apart from the University of Ibadan, that is not suffering from Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s tribulations.
At our last contact, some of us agreed that Ajimobi was not part of the class that impoverished masses; but he joined and contributed heavily to it. If not, we kept asking ourselves why should someone we worked for and believed in turned into such character we are not proud of? Why did Ajimobi leave our higher institutions into vegetable state while some of us that worked for his emergence left those schools active and vibrant?
It is unfortunate to state that I worked for the emergence of government that left our educational system in Oyo State at zero. What good things can he tell us he did to improve the education system for his 8 years spent at Agodi? Our environment is dirty; the major roads in Ibadan has become a symbol of dirtiness. Staff welfare is zero. Health sector is not worth embracing.
Edmond Obilo of Splash FM on his programme, State of Nation on March 16th, 2019 asked a question that maybe Governor Abiola Ajimobi is also a casualty in the system he wanted to rescue. Let me throw it open. Do you share Edmond Obilo’s sentiment? Though the question is a puzzle, but I don’t buy in such rhetoric.
Dear Governor Abiola Ajimobi, your famous Koseleri has turned to Koselemo; from today henceforth the Constituted Authority is being De-Constituted and your legacy is being noted. I wish you best in your future engagements and I use this medium to welcome the incoming government of our dear Governor Seyi Makinde. God bless Nigeria, God bless Oyo State.
Kolapo Abayomi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Abuja based researcher, political analyst, and commentator. He is from Iseyin area of Oyo State.