IF you knew Oyo state, and indeed Ibadan, before now, you would have no choice but feel compelled by objectivity to write about the transformation that has occurred in the security sector of the state; It is just too impressive to ignore, and this is no farce.
15 months ago, after many years of service in Lagos, I was promoted and transferred to head the branch of my company in Ibadan. I declined it immediately. In fact, I was ready to resign. The major reason, was my experience with the high rate of insecurity in the city of Ibadan and Oyo state as a whole, while I was growing up as a young adult. Robbery and crime were always reported in droves; hardly a week went by without reports of thugs and hooligans unleashing terror on residents, or engaging in needless wars that claimed lives and destroyed properties; mayhem was a staple at major city centers.
I was a happy man when I left 10 years ago and there was no way I would move my family back there for work’s sake, or so I thought. Still, I decided to discuss with some friends who still lived in Ibadan and other parts of Oyo state. Thus, partly out of curiosity, and a need to preserve my means of livelihood in order to be able to continue putting food on the table, after so many quiet prayers were said, I decided to take the plunge.
While I was considering this move, I had made up my mind to be security conscious, and to do whatever it will take to protect my family, even to the extent of hiring private security, if need be; having lost a close friend, who was president of the Nigerian Medical Association at the time, to one of such violent outbursts in Iwo road some years ago, I was determined to leave nothing to chance.
My perception about insecurity in Oyo state was steeply rooted in that nasty experience and other sentiments that I couldn’t just shrug off. It was that bad.
However, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Months down the line, my paranoia about the security situation in Oyo state and Ibadan in particular has been impressively doused. I am proud to say that, not only have things improved, it is largely compelling and almost unbelievable.
Driving through Molete could now be hitch free? I coild now be around Iwo road past 7pm? Bere-Oje axis now rid of crime and marauding urchins? Incredible! I shared my surprise with a few of my colleagues, and they laughed at how paranoid I was.
They unanimously conceded that the present Abiola Ajimobi-led administration seemed to understand the challenges when it came in, judging by the pragmatic way it chose to tackle the menace of insecurity, a feat past administrations had unsuccessfully struggled with. In fact, I came across this comment attributed to the Commissioner Of Police in Oyo State, where he too was profuse in appreciation of the new and secure state of Oyo.
Hear him: “There are peculiarities of each state but basically one state is not much different from another; we work for the environment to work and Oyo state, since I came in here, has been very peaceful; it is one of the most peaceful states in the country”.
This comment above further cemented my new found thoughts about the security of Oyo state, and totally quelled my fears. Anyone who is even remotely familiar with Ibadan and Oyo state, will admit that this is indeed a great achievement, especially considering the crime-infested past.
I have always insisted that governance in Nigeria is not rocket-science, and that, when an administration is serious about getting something done, it would only take deploying the right strategy with the right intent, executed most importantly, by the right people; I am happy to say that the Ajimobi administration has proved me right.
Without a shadow of doubt, this is what the Ajimobi administration has achieved so obviously in Oyo state, and we must all give kudos to whom it is due.
Olusoji Akinloye, a Banker from Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo state writes.
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