Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (left), his deputy, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo (middle) and the Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Chief Akin Oke (right) at an inter-faith prayer session organized for the New Year 2014 at the Governor’s Office Car Park in Ibadan on Monday. PHOTO: OYO GOVERNMENT HOUSE.
There is this Greek mythology about Sisyphus, King of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). This myth is very apposite in the discussion of the politics of former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja and leader of the Accord Party. It is even more instructive for all those who find themselves conscripted into his politics. Punished for what was considered a chronic act of treachery by Corinthians, Sisyphus was compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill and to suffer the humiliation of watching the bolder roll back downwards and to repeat this action forever.
A mid-level officer in the oil industry, Ladoja’s entrance into Oyo politics was at a time when the petrel of Ibadan politics, Lamidi Adedibu, had gained hyper ascendancy and notoriety. If you were in politics at this period and you did not learn the rudiments of what they called ‘tar-brush politicking’, you were done for. Its modus-operandi was preparing a broth of lies, half-truth and outright illogicalities administered on political victims like hemlock. A number of such victims have died from the unpleasant aftermath of this scary political tactic. The tragedy of it all is however that, after perfecting this political tactic, Ladoja passes it on to anyone who has political association with him and like the irredeemable bolder-rolling of Sisyphus, he churns out a generation of political minions whose pastime is to concoct lies and splash same on victims.
Mr. Dotun Oyelade is a new recruit of this weird political methodology. Though possessing the mastery of the Adebayo Alao-Akala years of saber-rattling strategy where shameless lies were adorned in fine embroidery and brimstone is breathed on anyone who holds opposing views from you, the metastasis of Oyelade immediately he joined the Lord of Tar-brush was evident.“To Oyo Workers, A Grift Gift” (Sunday Tribune, January 19, 2014) was one of the most recent pus oozing out of Oyelade’s corruption by association and the traditional prayer session of handing over a new year to God by the Oyo State government was his tool.
At that event, Governor Abiola Ajimobi had taken a cue from the corporate world where he worked for 35 years. The practice of the corporate world is to identify high premium performers called Quality Champions, those who bent over backwards in the preceding year in contributing to the lot of the company. Even though their rewards may not be astounding, selecting Quality Champions is a way of motivating other staff and inducing their optimal performance. Research has shown that, a healthy rivalry innovation, it spurs performance and productivity in other members of staff. If ignorance was Mr. Oyelade’s crime in this instance, it would have been pardonable, especially having worked for a boss whose own understanding of quality championship was standing by the roadside and flinging bales of raw cash to scrambling passers-by.
Oyelade’s first port of call was the woman who knelt down at the prayer ground. Why a man and his party would advertise open disdain for God and the art of reverence for Him as this is baffling. The truth is that the woman knelt down in reverence to God and the anvil of His blessing on her life, who happened to be Governor Abiola Ajimobi. But when you are in Ladoja’s Accord Party, truth is the first thing you learn to disparage and Goebbels is your first subject of flirtation.
Oyelade was not done with his binge of assault on truth. “Expensive Mohemian suit” – whatever that meant – was what Ajimobi adorned at that event, he wrote. Televised live on the state broadcasting service, those who watched that programme would be alarmed at that bare-faced lie. Ajimobi wore a flowing agbada! In saner climes, for this sin of uncircumcised lie, Accord Party and this minion of its would be hurled stones of societal disdain. But Oyo State people are used to Ladoja and his henchmen’s assault on and disregard for truth and all things bright and beautiful.
Now, to the subject of the piece. Oyelade quarreled with the governor for identifying Quality Champions at the Water Corporation of Oyo State who did the unthinkable of restoring water supply to the state, 17 years after and giving them cash rewards. This is either naivety of modern art of motivation of workers or complete mischief wrapped in a silk of lie. Within that 17-year period, Oyelade’s master who inflicted an almost four years of naivety and governmental ignorance on the state, held sway. If Oyelade had eye challenge and couldn’t decipher his Mohemian suit from agbada, I innocently presume he doesn’t have an audibility challenge as well, or else, he would have heard Ajimobi say the money given to the Quality Champions was from his personal purse.
The Accord Party publicist now went on a roller-coaster of lies which contradicted the facts on ground about the relationship between the workers in the state and the Ajimobi government. As said earlier, having worked with a boss who did not demarcate between state and personal money, Oyelade’s idea of reward to workers is the traditional Alao-Akala ATM image, so Ajimobi’s reward for the Quality Champions may be “insulting”, but in about three years, Ajimobi has re-written this mis-governmental cue and sought to personify that imperishable adage that between the fish-giver and fish-bait giver, the latter is more desirable.
As a junkie in need of a fix makes a sloppish hold of anything he touches, Oyelade thereafter made an amateurish job of a psychoanalyst, analyzing the mood of the mammoth crowd gathered at the prayer session and coming to incredibly fraudulent position that is determined by the methodology of the Accord Party when it sets eye on a falsehood drive. His conclusion was that the workers were just tolerating the same government that had done for them what in geography Nikolaj Copernicus did for the rest of mankind: a revolutionary shift of paradigm.
Let us begin from the ordinary to the fundamental. A few yards from the venue of the service is the Governor’s Office complex which houses hundreds of offices of civil servants. By the time Ajimobi came on board, that complex, built by Obafemi Awolowo, without being hyperbolical, was comparable only to a pig-sty. This writer had earlier written that on the first day of Ajimobi’s assumption of office, when he took a tour of the personal office of the governor, he was alarmed. Inside the toilet of the governor, occupied by Alao-Akala, stood a big black pot filled with water. This was where the Chief Executive of Oyo State, encouraged by his massive build, scooped water and poured inside the lavatory to flush out his excrement! The complex was rat-infested and littered with rodents’ excreta.
A snail was even picked beside the Governor’s Secretary’s office. General Adeyinka Adebayo, on a recent visit to the Governor’s Office, could not hide his fascination with the incredibly aesthetic face-lift the office has received, so does anyone who witnessed the gradual disregard for excellence of the Ladoja and Akala years and who visits now. The question people ask is why these fellows, who build gigantic and magnificent buildings for themselves, believe their offices should be pig-sties? It was same civil servants whose dignity of the workplace had been restored by Ajimobi that the Accord Party megaphone claimed were unhappy at the prayer session.
For the records, old civil servants who have attended such interdenominational service over the years confessed that never in the history of the state had the service witnessed such an unprecedented attendance by workers. The reason for this will be supplied presently. Unlike the Ladoja and Alao-Akala years, especially the latter, which selected some top workers to pollute via corruptive deals between governmental helmsman and workers, the Ajimobi administration has trained over 14,000 civil and public servants, including teachers, both within and outside the country.
A little over a year ago, astounded by the bureaucratic injustice of stagnating 345 typists who waited to retire on meager Grade Level 04, tears of joy welled on the faces of the typists when Ajimobi ordered them to be trained as Secretarial Assistant/Data Processing Assistants. Again, at the moment, ten senior civil servants are undergoing in-service Post-graduate Diploma courses in Public Administration and Masters in Public Administration at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Between previous governments and immediate past government, payment of pension arrears to senior civil servants was war as the latter even sued the Akala government to court. Not only has Ajimobi paid the 142% pension arrears but today, pensioners see Ajimobi as a friend who loves them from the bottom of his heart. This mindset also informs the recent approval of enhanced pension allowance for all retired Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries in the state.
Till date, Ajimobi has promoted 12,000 teaching and non-teaching staff and has, for the third time running, paid the 13th month salary arrears of all public servants. The bid to extend this image of a friend of Oyo workers informed the provision of 100 43-seater buses to the people of Oyo State. Ten of them were deployed to give free shuttle to workers to and fro work. Yet, in the hollowness of Oyelade’s pseudo psychoanalysis, such enthralled workers must be enduring the governorship of a man whose performance is akin to revolution in the state.
By the time Ajimobi came into office, car and housing loan facilities to workers could only be compared to insulting tokenism. He jerked it up by over hundred per cent, such that GL 9 and 10 officers collecting N180,000 now go home with N450,000 car loan and housing loan previously a million naira for GL 12 officer is now two million naira.
The above is not to talk of the sense of pride that civil servants feel as citizens of Oyo State, through the aggressive infrastructural revolution of the state by Ajimobi and the rewriting of the deplorable image of the state as a centre of filth. The truth is that, anyone who had once been to Oyo State during the Akala and Ladoja years and who has the opportunity of coming there now, meeting the two former leaders, he would be inclined to committing assault.
The truth is, like the apt inscription of a poster that adorns the state capital says, the duo of Akala and Ladoja, who are ex-and present principals of Oyelade, are two wrongs that can never make a right. No sane Oyo indigene would pray for their return to the seat of power. Even from the seeming inconsequential, anyone who desires a governor they can be proud of in the public, in terms of mental acuity and physical presentation, cannot wish for that ten-steps-backwards into infamy.
While Akala advertises voyeur and sybaritism that do not fit the image of an Oyo person known for hard-work and excellence, Ladoja is poster-boy of that wrong impression that an Oyo State person is a Sule – a barroom argot for a nitwit. In Ajimobi, you had the apt celebration of intellect, agility and panache as a 21st century Oyo governor.
*Adedayo is Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Oyo State.