AS AKALA PREPARES FOR SECOND TERM
Expectedly, as the race to the 2011 general elections hots up, various groups of people, especially politicians will gird their loins to struggle for political office in the coming dispensation. The race is usually hot, very competitive, with every potential political office seeker trying to outwit one another.
In any contest, there are rules of the game and of course, every one is expected to abide by the rule, but not so in politics, because here anything goes and many Nigerians believe that you should use any weapon to win the battle to the hot seat. Indeed some are so desperate to the extent that they see it as a matter of life or death.
While some engage in campaigns of calumny, blackmail, character assassination and outright lies about their opponents, the notable ones amongst the politicians rather discuss issues, highlighting that they intend to do or have done while in office. One noticeable noble politician in this category is Otunba Christopher Alao-Akala who has been advocating for 'merit votes'.
A critical look at the political scene in Nigeria will reveal that quite a large number of politicians have resorted to using cheap blackmail and campaign of calumny on the opponents rather than orchestrate their programmes and policies to convince the populace.
It is therefore not surprising that when the incumbent Governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala signified his intention to vie again for the Gubernatorial seat come 2011, a deluge and barrage of blackmail, calumny, backbiting were heaped on his personality, relegating into the background their own programme, policies and issues in relation to the election, which are required to convince the electorates. The opposition has even gone a step further by employing 'machinery writers' to attack the personality of the Governor, pouring vituperation on him just to discredit his candidature. But the people of the State are better informed, they see and feel the impact of the administration with the execution of people-oriented projects which have improved their well being.
It is on record that the Governor had however refused to be involved in this campaign of calumny, attacks and blackmails, rather he has concentrated on spreading the dividends of democracy. As a matter of fact, he refused to be distracted from his focus which is to fulfill all his electoral promises while taking the oath of office on 29th May, 2007.
Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala stated then that having received the mandate to govern Oyo State , his main task will be to improve the lots of the masses through the execution of people-oriented projects spanning all facets of life. He specifically promised to give Ibadan, the State capital a facelift and make it a clean and tidy environment; he promised to embark on road construction and rehabilitate existing ones; he promised to create more jobs and alleviate poverty through granting of soft loans; he promised to create enabling environment for industrial growth; he promised to put smiles on the faces of the workforce of the State and many others.
The crucial, relevant and pertinent question to ask at this critical moment is: Has he lived up to expectation? Has he been able to keep to his words as promised at the swearing in ceremony in the full eye of the public, such that he deserves a second term as the Governor?
Today, the city of Ibadan is adjudged as one of the cleanest in the country, a far cry from how it was prior to his assumption of office in 2007. With the employment of over 3,000 street sweepers, the purchase of refuse bins and compact trucks, Ibadan now wears a new look as the government has continuously provided the necessary wherewithal not only in establishing a cleaner and tidier environment, but also sustaining same.
The major roads within the Ibadan metropolis, aside from being dualized have been adorned with street lights which has naturally added to the beauty and glamour of night ride to the delight of both motorists and commuters. In the same vein, the strategic junctions have been equipped with traffic lights for effective and efficient control of vehicular movement.
This is indeed a monumental achievement when compared with past administrations which refused to address the environmental problem bedeviling the state capital. It is indeed an incontrovertible fact that the Akala administration surpassed the immediate past administrations in all the sectors of the economy, given the rapid development of all infrastructures in all facets of life. For instance there has been massive construction of new roads, rehabilitation of existing ones in all the zones in the State.
As a matter of fact a visit to the Oke-Ogun area of the State will attest to the fact that the Akala's administration has made unprecedented monumental achievements in the area of road construction and rehabilitation. Most areas that never had a taste of asphalt now have a feel of well tarred road thus enhancing free flow of traffic which in turn has accelerated the socio-economic development of the area.
It is on record that Alao-Akala has made good all his promises and kept faith with his words in all the sectors of the economy.
In the education sector, there is no community that has not benefited from the construction of a new classroom or renovation of dilapidated ones. It is in realization of this feat that the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) adjudged the State Government the second best and awarded it a sum of N400 million which the administration, in its wisdom ploughed back into the system for the execution of further developmental projects to make teaching and learning more conducive.
Today the sector has modern farming equipment, the farm settlements across the state have been rehabilitated and farmers given soft loans to boost food production. Therefore as we are gradually moving towards the 2011 general elections, it is advisable that all interesting parties discuss issues, rather than blackmail, lies, character assassination, and let the opposition against Akala come out to controvert the claims of unparallel achievements by Alao-Akala rather than engage in cheap blackmail.
Good a thing, the electorates are enlightened, they can see and feel these achievements. The opposition should therefore stop this campaign of calumny as it is retrogressive and will not augur well for the growth of our democracy. Let it state in clear terms what it intends to do and what it has done while holding forte in any public office. Akala has always laid bare his monumental achievements and this has placed him ahead of all other contenders.
• Mr. Mobolaji Ayandiji
Arometa Area, Sango/Polytechnic Road, Ibadan