GUBER RACE:HOW AKALA COMBED OYO
The campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) flag bearer in the Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, was quite revealing and interesting. It brought into fore his popularity, acceptance and his monumental achievements since 2007.
To those who never had the privilege of criss-crossing the state, they had close contact with the people. They were exposed to their culture and also the economic potentials of the various localities.
Prior to the campaign, Alao-Akala had assured his supporters: 'This time around, just wait until we get to the field. We have less to do on the field as our work will speak for us, unlike in 2007 when we had to tell the people that we will deliver the dividends of democracy to their doorsteps. Now, we thank God that we have been able to fulfill our promise, so when we meet them, our work will speak for us, our work will do the talking.'
The governor flagged off the campaign with the inauguration of the renovated Atiba Hall to the delight of the people of Oyo zone. The hall had been in a terribly state of disrepair, and had since lost its glory as a tourist centre. The campaign train at every point was treated to tumultuous welcome, fanfare and jubilation by the enthusiastic crowd.
From the agricultural plains of Oke-Ogun, the state's food basket, down to the various habitations of the great people of Ibarapa, Ogbomoso, Oyo to Ibadan, it was a demonstration of solidarity, appreciation and total support for Alao-Akala. At each point of call, encomiums, accolades and words of appreciation were generously showered on the governor to acknowledge his superlative performances.
All the prominent traditional rulers, who hosted the governor publicly identified with his good work, describing his tenure as unprecedented in the areas of provision of roads, rehabilitation of schools and maternity centres, poverty alleviation and other infrastructural development. The Alago of Ago-Oja, Alhaji Ganiyu Busari Arogundade II in Atiba Local Government, assured the governor of total support of his subjects. He described Alao-Akala as an exceptional, God-fearing and a listening leader. The monarch said he has mandated all his subjects to vote for the PDP candidates.
In Ibarapa axis, the Eleruwa praised the governor for the establishment of the College of Agriculture in the area. He also commended him for embarking on road construction which accentuated economic activities in the area. Oba Kingsley Onikola Olufiji, Onidere of Idreeland, said the construction of the Ofiki bridge, having been abandoned and which had cut them off from the surrounding villages had endeared Alao-Akala to their hearts and they have collectively resolved to back his second term bid.
Also, the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Ganiyu Adekunle Salawu described the governor as a man of honour who has demonstrated honesty by keeping to his vows. The Aseyin said the establishment of a campus of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in the zone has made them proud of having the much long-awaited higher institution in the area.
The campaign train also journeyed to Saki, Okaka, Okeho, Otu Igbojaiye, Igboho, Ilero, Kisi, Iwere Ile, Ago Amodu, etc. The campaign train traveled the entire area on asphaltic tarred roads and completed each trip in a record time. Akala built the road network linking the major towns. All the traditional rulers unanimously praised the governor for the rare feat and prayed for continuity.
When Alao-Akala visited the Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, minced no words: 'Alao-Akala is a pride of the state. He mounted the saddle and he has performed wonderfully well, therefore, I and the entire people of Ogbomoso are solidly behind you.' He listed the completion of the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital and the College of Medicine complexes in addition to the road network all which had boosted the economy of Ogbomosoland.
Speaking at the various campaign grounds in the Ibadan zone, the governor reeled out series of achievements from road rehabilitation in some remotest parts of the city, the completion of the dualized roads within Ibadan metropolis which have been adorned with street lights and traffic lights, provision of infrastructure, rehabilitation of the 80-year-old Adeoyo Maternity Hospital with modern equipment and medications, the renovation of the Mapo Hall, beautification of Ibadan and the general cleanliness of the city. Alao-Akala said Ibadan as the state capital and political headquarters of the South West deserves the best treatment and hence no amount of money will be too much to arrogate it a pride of place.
The Moye of Olubadan, Chief Ajibola and Mogaji Isiaka Elegbaowo, on behalf of the Mogajis of Ibadanland, acknowledged the performances of Akala. Baale of Oke Itunnu, Chief Fijabi and Baale of Bodija, Alhaji Rasheed Adesokan, stated in unequivocal terms that Akala deserves a second term based on his achievements. They spoke on behalf of the Baales and chiefs in Ibadan North Local Government area.
The Onido of Iddo, Chief Ademola Ishola, described the governor as a great achiever, a man of honour, humane, compassionate and God-fearing. He said Ibadan people were appreciative of Akala's efforts in uplifting the status of Ibadan.
Indeed, as the governor rightly pointed out at the commencement of the campaigns, the good deeds actually spoke volumes for him. And the people acknowledged that as much.
Meawhile, The Akala/Arapaja Campaign Organization has appealed to public and civil servants as well as artisans in Oyo State to vote for the Akala/Arapaja gubernatorial ticket in the forthcoming governorship election.
A statement by its director of Media and Communications, Mr. Morohunkola Thoma pointed out that the administration of Otunba Alao-Akala has taken workers' welfare to an enviable level with the prompt payment of workers' salaries and allowances.
The statement said the recent announcement by the governor that he was committed to the national minimum wage of N18,000 is highly commendable: 'That singular decision Akala took is not only commendable, but also portrays him as worker-friendly whose major interest is the welfare of the ordinary people.
'Alao-Akala never sacked any worker since 2007 despite the insinuation being made by the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that only university graduates should have anything to do with government and that non-graduates should be pushed out.
'The governor holds teachers in high esteem. No wonder, he has been paying the 27.5% salary increment which up till today, the Lagos State Government under the ACN has failed to pay.He has also recruited 3,000 additional primary school teachers since he came on board in 2007.
'Unlike Chief Isiaka Ajimobi, who has demonstrated lack of understanding of the current issues on workers welfare, Akala has increased workers' car and housing loans beyond what they were in 2007. He has provided new cars for civil servants, judges and magistrates and he has made the working environment a conducive one.'
•Ojo is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.