By Olamide Lawal
Governor Dapo Abiodun is demystifying perennial indulgence and vendetta characteristic of modern day Nigerian politicians, judging by the mannerism with which he is steering the affairs of Ogun State. Lamide Lawal writes.
In any part of Africa, community defines the character of one, based on the self-respect which one’s family has exuded for years. So, when one is born in a good home, one is genetically configured to radiate charity from childhood to adulthood, until death. Perhaps this thought lends credence to the belief, that compassion does not come with position of power. Charity and compassion for people is a function of good home training.
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State personifies charity in all its ramification. The kind of seed which the good people of Ogun have seen so far in him has given them the conviction that their darling state is in safe hands till May 29, 2023.
Bizarrely, Abiodun has shown charity to his electors across Ogun, without the usual media fanfare or mediated noise which has become the chief trait of modern day Nigerian politicians.
My strong belief in the Iperu Prince’s Midas touch is hinged on his self-styled swift response to folks that need his premium attention. He never looks down on any one that seeks his intervention; ever ready to receive the downtrodden even into the innermost chamber of his plum mansion in Iperu. I have never minced words about his generosity in any of my writings or commentaries in mainstream or social media. For instance, for a man with blood running in his veins and a Nigerian political office holder, absorbing 1,000 graduates and 18 permanent secretaries who were appointed in the eleventh hour of the administration of his predecessor, Ibikunle Amosun, is out of this world. Despite the controversies surrounding the appointments, Abiodun defied “Nigerian common sense, to absorb them so as to show a rare kind of compassion. The governor ensured that the appointees kept their jobs rather than satisfied his ego or brought political vendetta to bear, as usually orchestrated by most governors, especially Amosun himself. He gracefully charged them to work well in their capacities towards the growth of Ogun. In his words: Despite some flaws noted in the appointments and recruitments, my government has decided to be magnanimous as a people-centred administration and not vindictive.
There were reports that the 1, 000 recruits, 18 permanent secretaries and 5,000 freshly-promoted personnel on the eve of Amosun’s government had started looking for jobs elsewhere because of the fear that Abiodun would show them the exit door to witch hunt Amosun, that majority believe is his worst foe. Yet, the business tycoon was compassionate knowing fully well that the workers have needs to feed their dependants, and this is a lesson for all to nip political vendetta in the bud.
Looking back at 2011, the man with the longest cap played a game he couldn’t tolerate in 2011, just few period to the end of his tenure. Could it be a bait to make the administration unmanageable for the incumbent governor of Ogun State? The account of a living witness, who identified himself as Balogun, is mind-bugling. His words: On July 13, 2011, at around 11 in the morning, the then Governor Ibikunle Amosun announced the disengagement of 2000 newly-recruited civil servants from service. The 2000 workers were employed by the government of his predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. The reason for their sack by the Owu man was simply because they were employed by Daniel few months to the end of his tenure. Balogun continued, We did all we could to make him reason along with us that we were duly and properly employed. We obtained forms, paid for interview and were screened by a panel made up of 16 persons. We went to Alake of Egbaland, Osile of Oke Ona, Agura of Gbagura, Olowu of Owu and Awujale of Ijebuland to appeal to him, but he refused our pleas.
Many of us are still unemployed till date. I know of some people who just relocated from Lagos to Abeokuta after the employment. But today, we have a listening governor, an easy-going person who wants the best for himself. Abiodun does not only absorb those legally and illegally employed by Amosun, he will also pay them in arrears.
Another indigene of Ogun said, I will never forget February 11, 2019, a day that coincided with 40th birthday celebration of my younger sister. A day of terror when political intolerance reached its nadir! Many were brutalised and nearly killed by Amosun forces on this fateful day. The day Amosun supervised the removal of banners, posters and billboards of Abiodun, then candidate of APC, at the MKO stadium. The day terror was terribly unleashed on innocent party members. The day gangsters were unleashed. If our Abiodun was to behave like Amosun, perhaps those boys in ACOMORAN, AMORAN, butchers’ association would have been sent out of the state by now. But he will never do such.
He has also demonstrated a major departure from perennial indulgence of most Nigerian politicians in the appointments for diverse posts so far, by not making one of his relatives a commissioner, adviser or an assistant. Rather, the Iperu-born oil mogul scouted for successful technocrats from home and abroad, invited and engaged them to deploy their rich reservoir of experience, without giving attention to political affiliation.
And from inception, one would have seen the hands of fellowship he sent to others and even got in return barely 48 hours after his declaration as the fifth elected governor. Fellow contestants with opposition parties in the 2019 gubernatorial poll sent oodles of congratulatory messages to him and acknowledged them in his usual calm and collected nature. Without swinging this boat only to past events, the compassionate governor has included opposition members in some committees.
Engr. Razak Ojetola, one of freshly-sworn-in permanent secretaries, said he never believed that his promotion to the pinnacle of his career would be ratified by Abiodun government. Ojetola called himself a son of nobody and knows nobody at the top. I am the first in my native town, Imasai in Yewa North Local Government to become a permanent secretary.
Recently, stalwarts of oppositions, such as People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) led thousands of their followers to join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun. This is not unconnected to the all-inclusive approach of this government. Abiodun did not stop at embracing and welcoming them in their large numbers, he went on to call on those that are willing to return to the party to rejoin through the front door. He is a man that never discriminates, but ever-ready to work in collaboration with anyone willing to join in the restoration of Ogun glory. This has given credence to the slogan of his administration: Igbega Ipinle Ogun, Ajose gbogbo Wa Ni. Truly, he is working in this direction of collectiveness.
And when we thought we have seen it all, Prince Abiodun came up with his surprisingly compassionate nature during the swearing-in ceremony of Local Government Caretaker Committees, by announcing the widow of late Ipokia LG Caretaker Chairman-nominee as the secretary of the newly inaugurated caretaker committee. Or what else can be the compensation for a great loss?
Prince Abiodun also reaffirmed that his administration would continue to be just, equitable, fair to all manners of people, admonishing people to contribute their quota towards making the State great.
“We are not an administration that is here to witchhunt anybody, but to do that, which we believe is right before God and man. My agreement is with God, myself and all the people of Ogun State who voted me into office. Anything I do, I do it with a clean conscience. I just want to charge all of you that now that we have given you this opportunity, please, make sure that you justify it, do not do anything that will give us cause to regret the day we decided to absorb you. We expect that you will be role models in all the areas where you will be serving,” he said.
In her response, the Head of Service, Tpl Amope Ajibola Chokor, while charging the new workers to hit the ground running and make the government and the people feel their impact, to justify their absorption, thanked the Governor for his gesture, saying that the decision was a welcome development.
In their separate remarks, Folarin Oladapo, Badejo Ayodele and Olatunji Olabisi thanked the governor for not throwing them back into the labour market as they were uncomfortable before they were absorbed, saying the action has singled him out as humane and workers’ friendly Governor. Abiodun’s mannerism does not reflect modern day Nigerian politics, but a real democracy.
Olamide Lawal is the Special Assistant to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Youth and Sports.