It started like comedy on September 30 when the shadowy Ogun State chapter of New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) petitioned the State House Assembly, asking that the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, and his Deputy, Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele, be impeached over a spurious allegation that both of them had abdicated duty.
Interestingly, the petition was presented on the same day the Governor returned from his trip to the United Kingdom. The NNPP alleged that the Governor had failed to transmit power to his deputy prior to his departure to the UK as the constitution stipulates. The party’s Chairman, Olaposi Oginni, submitted the petition at the House. But even as he prayed the House to commence the impeachment proceedings immediately, he still went ahead to address a press conference where he accused the Governor in a move that can only be subjudice, thereby revealing a diabolic intention against the Governor. He even vowed to approach the courts if the House Assembly failed to accede to his request.
Hardly had the NNPP comedy subsided when the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) took over, unjustly faulting Governor Abiodun and his Deputy as if choreographed. Deliberately oblivious of the unity with which the Dapo Abiodun Administration has piloted the state since its inception in May 2019, the PDP alleged that power to run the state had been handed to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tokunbo Talabi, instead of the deputy governor.
The state’s PDP Chairman, Sikirulahi Ogundele, also demonstrated deliberate ignorance when he described Governor Abiodun’s trip to the UK as the height of insensitivity to governance, an uncharitable comment that was only meant to heat up the polity at a time all hands are on deck to move Ogun State forward. The opposition party’s campaign of calumny is as laughable as it is ridiculous. It had the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Kunle Somorin, the Chief of Staff, Alhaji Shuaib Salisu, and the Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Waheed Odusile, to contact to get authentic report of the situation on the ground. But it instead opted to play to the gallery by selling spurious matters to people of the state all in the bid to set the people against the Governor with a view to causing distraction in governance.
It is just as well that against their expectation that Governor would still be away in the UK on October 1, he returned just in time to oversee the Independence celebrations.
After being apprised of the shenanigans by the opposition, Governor Abiodun said he would not be deterred from his goal of turning Ogun State to a hub of good governance, a target he had set for himself from the day he was sworn in as Governor in 2019.
At the 2021 ‘Odun Omo Olowu’ held in Abeokuta over the weekend, the Governor used the opportunity to review his governance strides and projected on the future plans. He reiterated that the welfare and prosperity of the people of the state, irrespective of age, gender, religious or political affiliations or their geographical location, were his government’s priority.
The transparent public finance management which guarantees a more prosperous life for the people has been Governor Abiodun’s forte, to the admiration of even his critics outside the state.
Prince Abiodun is not unaware of the current political development in the state which puts the Administration literally on the firing range of the opposition. Nonetheless, he is determined not to lose focus, despite the ceaseless scathing criticism that has trailed his government in recent months. For a fact, the government has recorded unprecedented strides in the provision of qualitative governance for the people. Many of the inherited abandoned projects have been completed while new projects have been initiated.
The critics have conveniently ignored the fact that Governor Abiodun came into power at a time the civil servants were reduced to rubbles after several months of being owed salaries, even as the state’s coffers had been left empty by the preceding administration, forcing the new helmsman to use his wealth of influence in the private sector to approach several banks with a view to raising money to offset the backlog of salaries. They have also deliberately forgotten how Governor Abiodun set about correcting the glaring inadequacies in infrastructure across the state, improved education in all the local government areas, encouraged farmers on yields, rejuvenated the water works in Abeokuta that was long abandoned and attracted investors, in addition to his effort to link Ogun State up with neighbouring Lagos State in an unprecedented economic collaboration. They also conveniently forgot about the widely acclaimed fight by the Ogun State government against the Covid-19 pandemic, an effort that earned the state recognition across Nigeria and beyond.
From all the foregoing, it is just as well that Governor Dapo Abiodun has resolved not to be distracted. For the people’s Governor, it can only be forward ever and backward never.
- Bola Afolabi writes from Abeokuta