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The change Ondo people don't need

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Banji Alabi's doggerel entitled 'The change Ondo people desire' (The Guardian, Friday 5, October) inspires pity rather than vilification. The piece, which was supposed to show why Rotimi Akeredolu deserves to be Ondo State governor only betrays an apprentice

As proudly indicated at the bottom of the piece, 'Alabi, a Lagos-based attorney, delivered this address to citizens of Ondo State in Los Angeles on Sept 20, 2012'. Let us ignore the emptiness of 'citizens of Ondo State in Los Angeles' for a moment and focus on what was supposed to be an informed discourse. Mr. Alabi told his supposed audience that, 'the present economy of Ondo State ails critically' and that Aketi is the magician to remedy the malady. Surprisingly, Alabi provides no data to back his strong claim, beyond the bland lies that 'most of the citizens have lost their jobs' and that 'there is rampant poverty and hunger among the people.' Even where the grounds are mere fabrications as in this case, the writer would have at least shown how his candidate proposes to remedy the situation. Instead, and not surprisingly since the point about his ''essay' is precisely that it is totally pointless, Alabi only offers bland apologies calling the sensibilities and perceptual capabilities of the Ondo people into question, even daring to call Governor Mimiko 'Mr. Mimiko.' No offence taken, but Mimiko's degrees were not obtained from Chicago; his credentials can always be produced on request.   .

However, beyond the Plato's Cave of a jejune and vacuous blueprint that would transform Ondo State rapidly into 'the United States, Europe and Asia' (Mr. Alabi is obviously very excited), the learned sycophant can pause for a moment and consider that the man he vilifies, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, currently pays the highest minimum wage in the country (N22,000), higher than the Federal Government figure (N18,000), and that he is the first governor to be publicly endorsed by members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, as well as the NLC national leadership. Funny how such a bad governor is so passionately loved by the people whom Alabi implies are unable to judge for themselves who should rule them, isn't it? Yeah, Alabi boldly proclaims that, 'there are no infrastructure, institutions and government-sponsored programmes to encourage and nurture wealth' even though the man he vilifies has built three agricultural estates (with thousands of graduates trained and made part-owners of large, mechanised farms), 54 mega schools, countless state-of-the-art neighbourhood markets, a mechanic village, a drivers' airport, the like of which you will not find anywhere in Africa; neighbourhood relaxation centres all over the state where the people engage in indoor sports activity, watch satellite television over drinks of their choice, all at zero cost to the users; and many more. Obviously, in Alabi's estimation, state-of-the-art neighbourhood markets do not create wealth and neither does a revolution in agriculture or education. One would have loved to ask the learned fellow if there was a better way of creating wealth anywhere in the world than connecting massively with the people like Dr. Mimiko has done, but rational questions are, obviously, only for rational minds.                 .

The bold lies are unending: Alabi claims that the LP government in Ondo State 'has the highest number of political appointees in Nigeria' but provides no proof. Instead, he characterises officials of the state civil service as political appointees, saying, 'the consequence of a bloated civil service is the high cost of recurrent expenditure for the government.' Mr. Alabi, like his Aketi, who does not know the difference between the money and capital markets, sees no difference between the civil service and political appointees, yet he proclaims that he and his Aketi are the saviours of Ondo State. Surprisingly, in another breath, these same fellows who say the civil service is bloated would also claim that Dr. Mimiko has placed embargo on employment into the civil service. This is precisely why 'the future of our children' whom Alabi mentions with glee and who are already riding free luxury buses to mega schools and whose mothers put to bed in model hospitals at no cost cannot be left in the hands of political apprentices and fraudsters fronting for a bandit who wishes to add Ondo to his dream empire and use the resources of the state to fund a rotten lifestyle.

The ACN can dream on: that is a right guaranteed by the constitution. Just a few hours ago, their leader lost his constituency to the PDP, but they are bent on a sure road to perdition in Ondo State, obviously because they think that their money can sway Ondo people. By the time they beat a retreat, having received a lethal beating on October 20, their very homes would have been overrun by the opposition, leaving them politically homeless and hopeless. Indeed, Mr. Alabi pathetically claims that 'Ondo State needs peace and stability,' when Dr. Mimiko has already received an award for running the most peaceful state in the country.

Ondo State is the only state in the country where members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) have never fomented any trouble in the last three years, simply because their lives have been given a massive turnaround. Yet the very people attempting to cause trouble in the state and trying to bring down the government through one-eyed Lagos-based newspapers and an Akure-based radio station totally given to subversive activities are robbing themselves in the garb of apostles of peace. Any wonder then that they have claimed that it is only their annexure of Ondo State that can guarantee 'peace and stability.' Alabi describes his Aketi 2013 ' as a most influential and politically connected organisation (connected to whom?) whose membership is made up of brothers and sisters from Ondo State who are captains and barons (note the word 'baron') of industries (sic); professionals; academicians and eminent citizens who are resident in Lagos.' Yes, 'resident in Lagos,' totally disconnected from the political realities in Ondo State and calling the Ondo State people fools who cannot discern between good and evil.

Alabi is obviously a dreamer. He claims that, 'the most eloquent tribute to Akeredolu's candidature has been the enthusiastic reception by the people of Ondo State.' Who are these people of Ondo State? The real people of Ondo State will speak on October 20. It will be a landslide victory for the Labour Party (LP) and tragic nightmare for the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Aroloye   Yomi, a lawyer, sent this piece from Akure .                               .