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OPINION: Makinde And The Return Of Political Pessimism In Oyo State | By Martins Sijuwade

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In the International Court of Justice Report of 1992 at page 93, The Honourable Judge Bola Ajibola KBE of the International Court of Justice made the following remarks: “Again I ask myself what is justice in a case of this nature? Justice is to maintain international peace and security, to take effective measures to prevent and remove all threats to peace; to suppress all threats of aggression or any form of breaches of peace in any part of the world. To me, justice requires prompt action to prevent deterioration of peaceful co- existence… No man goes to sleep when the house is burning”. Without donning the garb of preposterousness, the security rooftop of Oyo state is burning seriously and uncontrollably.

All over the world the importance attached to security of lives and properties is nulli secondus. Larger attention is given to it for security is the bedrock of human existence. Dead men don’t negotiate business and they don’t contribute their quota to national and state development. It is now so unfortunate that a key man to the Governor of Oyo State and the Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Surveys was attacked by unknown gunmen in his house killing his driver and his orderly heavily wounded. The cypher hereinafter posited is that if the life of a serving Commissioner and the henchman of the Governor is not safe, whose life and property is? Nothing can be further from the truth other than saying that security under the watch of Governor Seyi Makinde is at its lowest ebb. Seyi Makinde’s government is taking us back to the Hobbesian era when life was solitary, nasty, brutish and short.

Like W. B. Yeats said in his classic poem The Second Coming, “things have fallen apart and the centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” For emphasis sake W. B. Yeats stated in his poem as follows”:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Things fall apart the entre cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

The world has not fallen apart. Oyo state is.

In disparaging the roles of bad governance it is quite instructive to remark that one of the factors holding back our democratic process is that some office holders are not prepared for the jobs they were voted to perform. The greatest threat to governance is to elect leaders who find themselves overwhelmed by the challenges of office because they were never prepared in the first place. Ever since the emergence of Governor Seyi Makinde as the governor of Oyo state, his became the tale of a man who was never prepared for governance. From a rubber stamp State House of Assembly headed by a young man who was not also prepared for the seat of Speakership, and down to charlatans who left various political parties to find retirement benefits for themselves within the corridors of Seyi Makinde’s government, the recent comatose state of Oyo is and can be largely attributed to unpreparedness of Seyi Makinde and his arrays of political office holders.

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Or how best can one describe an attack on a serving Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Surveys of Oyo state right within the comfort of his house by unknown gunmen? The government of Seyi Makinde is condescending into failure; failure is staring at the face of the leaders who unfortunately met themselves unprepared for the major task of governance. Mockery of the system it is for a government that has no answer for the insecurity in the land. It is a colossal mockery for a government to pay lip service to the populace assuring them of a secure and safe state when on the contrary the high and mighty and the middle classed civil servants and citizens are scampering to safety with no hope in sight.

Governor Seyi Makinde in a bid to show off and over-impress the people embarked grossly on misplaced priorities and is always all out to disparage the antecedents of the immediate past APC led government. Makinde via his lacklustre attitude to governance has tremendously proven that Oyo is being taken like 10 years backward: the popular pre-Ajimobi era. Before the election of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, pre-Ajimobi Oyo state was always a war zone.

Ranging from the criminality perpetrated along the Molete axis, down to the notoriety of street urchins at Bere/Oja-Oba down to Oje, Iwo Road and the unrest always recorded at Foko and Oke-Ado, Ajimobi came to power minding the fact that governance without adequate security is a failure – colossal one for that matter. As the Chief Security Officer of the state, Ajimobi brought the Oyo State Security Trust Fund (OYSSTF) to limelight to provide for the wherewithal of fighting insecurity. He brought the Operation Burst and Joint Task Force which really worked like a magic wand in nipping criminality in the bud. Like a Cyclop, Ajimobi restored sanity, sanctity and order to Oyo state. The facts can be verified: no Commissioner or public officer was attacked under the nose of Senator Abiola Ajimobi when he was in government.

As it stands now, it is audible to the deaf and visible to the blind that Governor Seyi Makinde does not have a clear-cut blueprint on how to handle the matter of security. It is therefore not surprising that instead of building institutional countercheck to insecurity, Governor Makinde is busy lavishing borrowed funds on misplaced projects and flying all over the world. What is the problem? The problem is the successive cohorts of opportunist politicians and their ever available collaborators who are continuously using public offices, politics and power for themselves for self enrichments with the mass of the people getting steadily poorer by the day.

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The procurement of some patrol vehicles was made public on 20th November 2019 and in the evening of the same day, unknown gunmen attacked a serving Commissioner under the watch of the Governor at his home claiming his driver’s life. Seyi Makinde should know as a governor that outcome policies based on consensual, participatory, and transparent processes are more easily sustained than lone, solitary-minded, eccentrically dogmatic viewpoints. By implication, institutions of good governance that embody such processes are critical for development and should encompass partnerships among all elements of civil society representing different shades of opinion and ideology.

Before this can materialize, it is fundamental that a solid foundation of effective organizations and enabling institutions is a necessary precondition. Once a governor fails to take initiative and is always fond of putting his eggs in one basket, then it frequently results to underperformance. And the most paramount performance index rests solely on the issue of security.

The present ruling party in Oyo state and its drivers have no direction. It’s a tale of confused drivers looking for confused passengers. They have degenerated to political miscalculations that have fallen below the expectations of the people. In a scenario similar to Seyi Makinde’s government, the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Russia Nikita Khrushchev in his book titled Krushchev Remembers, reported that “after the Nineteenth Party Congress, Stalin created among the new Presidium members some wide-ranging commissions to look into various matters. In practice, these commissions turned out to be completely ineffectual because everyone was left to his own devices. There was no guidance. There was nothing assigned for these commissions to look into, so they made up their own assignments. Everyone in the orchestra was playing on his own instrument anytime he felt like it, and there was no direction from the conductor”.

Those appointed by governor Seyi Makinde in various capacities cannot boast of having achieved anything spectacular other than media noises, television misdemeanors and radio cacophonies. This best summarises the infamous and inglorious roles currently being played by the charlatans under Seyi Makinde’s administration. His appointees practise what we can best refer to as political shenanigans. Their orchestra lacks a conductor: always embarking on aimless adventures. The founding fathers of Oyo may not be that happy in the heavens with Governor Seyi Makinde paying mere lip service to governance.

Clarion call is hereby made to the Commissioner for Lands of Oyo state who was attacked and who escaped death by thin air and indeed the entire cabinet members of Seyi Makinde’s government to immediately resign from Governor Seyi Makinde’s cabinet as the recent attack shows that cabinet members’ lives are not secure. A government that cannot adequately secure its cabinet members will definitely fail to secure the lives of the ordinary citizens.

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Seyi Makinde should know that security is serious business no one can play politics with. He seems not to have a firm grasp of the issues surrounding the state’s security and terrain. This is a Governor who spends more time outside Oyo state than inside. He prides in coasting all over the world and abandoning his primary responsibility of governance and security stability. Seyi cannot be blamed: he lives most of his adult life in the South-Southern part of the country. He barely knows the Oyo terrain and landscape and those who are meant to be his eyes can’t really see farther beyond their nose. It’s a tale of the one-eyed man leading the blind. The Ibadan people with their witty sagacity had long posited that in the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is King. He leads his cabinet and they follow him sheepishly.

Governor Seyi Makinde should borrow leaf from the technocracy of the immediate past Governor of Oyo State Senator Abiola Ajimobi. He should not be too arrogant to approach the elder statesman at his Yemoja Street residence in Oluyole Estate, Ibadan. After all Seyi Makinde had confessed to the Oyo public that most of Senator Abiola Ajimobi’s policies are valuable and priceless. Government should be in continuum and pride and party politics should not step in place of good governance. If Governor Seyi Makinde is not prepared for the office, at least he can seek the way from those who have gone ahead of him in the journey.

Seyi Makinde has failed the people and he should face it. He should look at consulting the experienced to salvage Oyo’s dwindling glory.

 

 

Martins Olamiji Sijuwade, a legal practitioner and the President of Global Social Thinkers’ Institute, an organization concerned with good governance, accountability and public transparency writes

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Opinion

Makinde’s Concession of Agbowo Complex: Is 4.9Billion Naira Equal 50years? | By Moruf Smith

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Yesterday, Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde flagged off the concession of the long moribund Agbowo Shopping Complex to Messrs Whitestone Global Limited at a cost of 4.9 Billion Naira on a long lease of 50years!

 

The company was given a mandate to renovate the complex to a commercial real estate and a 4-star hotel within 24 months. In his remarks at the flag off event, Governor Makinde took a swipe at the immediate past administration of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi which signed an MOU with Agbowo Mall Infrastructure Development Company Limited to remodel, redevelop and rehabilitate the expansive complex at a cost of 8 Billion naira. The said MOU was said not to have seen the light of the day until the tenure of the last administration wound up.

However, the concession of the complex by the current administration was not a smart move. It was not well thought out. Everything was wrong with the concessional arrangement; from the funding of the concession to the long lease of 50 years. It’s worthy of note to revisit the story behind Agbowo Shopping Complex.

The complex was constructed by the administration of late Chief Bola Ige in 1983 on 30 plots of land. The complex was being managed by Oyo State Housing Corporation and had been a source of employment and job opportunities for the teeming people of the state while it contributed to the economy of the state and a source of revenue to the government. But Agbowo Complex suffered neglect and mismanagement as successive governments in Oyo state made no effort to resuscitate the sprawling monument until the administration of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi decided to renovate it.

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The immediate past administration signed an MOU as explained above but a protracted court case remained a clog in the wheel of progress on the renovation of the abandoned complex. It’s however not clear whether the present government has resolved the issue of the court case on the complex before the governor went ahead to initiate the concession.

It ought to be commendable that, at last, pragmatic efforts were being made to get Agbowo Shopping complex up and running. But what cast doubts on the sincerity behind the latest flag off of the concession arrangement are the manner of funding and the years of lease. It would be recalled that during the first tenure of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Oodua Group under the chairmanship of Bar Sarafadeen Alli and Mr Adebayo Jimoh as the Group Managing Director, embarked on construction of Heritage Mall and redevelopment of Cocoa Mall in Dugbe Business District at the cost of 3 Billion Naira.

Construction of Heritage Mall was wholly financed by the Oodua Group, costing 2 Billion naira while Cocoa Mall redevelopment was carried out in partnership with Frontline Developer Services Limited, costing 1 Billion naira. Oodua Group is owned by governments of Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states. After the construction and redevelopment of the two malls, Oodua Group outsourced the facilities to a consortium of facility managers who see to the functionality and maintenance of the malls. Heritage Mall and Cocoal Mall, housing Shoprite, cinema house and other important stores are doing well as we speak.

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If Oodua Group, jointly owned by states in the south west, including Oyo state, could finance construction of malls and other facilities without concession or long lease, what stops Oyo government to toe the same more viable path? 4.9 Billion naira is too paltry to seek concession and long lease for. If the present government is still creditworthy, it should be able to get a consortium of local banks to finance the project after which the government can also engage a consortium of real estate managers to manage the facilities.

It should not take more than ten years long to repay the local banks the loans and interests from the purse of the state while revenues from the management of the rejuvenated complex will have been accruing to Oyo state. This is unarguably a win-win situation for government in terms of increased revenue, for people in terms of employment and job opportunities and value chain, for investors in terms of return on investment and for facility managers in terms of professional engagements.

The present concessional arrangement of 4.9 Billion naira equals 50 years is a win to Messrs Whitestone Global Limited, a win to people in terms of job opportunities but a huge loss to Oyo state in terms of revenue as acute depreciation will have befallen Agbowo Shopping Complex after 50 years of its renovation when the state is expected to take it over. It may not be wrong to dwell on the allegation that the administration of Seyi Makinde may be preparing Agbowo Shopping Complex for personal gains of its principal.

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Even if Governor Makinde was going to spend 8years in Agodi, it will take another long stretch of 44 years for the state to recover Agbowo Shopping Complex from Messrs Whitestone Global Limited, which must have fed fatter and become chubbier on Oyo state’s patrimony. If we spend three years to prepare a man for madness, when is he going to storm market?

If Messrs Whitestone Global Limited manages Agbowo Shopping Complex for 50years to recoup 4.9 Billion naira and interests accrued, when will Oyo state begin to reap her investment and profits on the complex?

 

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Opinion

Why Is Ajimobi’s Mausoleum A Subject Hypocritical Outrage? | By Maroof Asudemade

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Nigerians derive a kind of unexplainable pleasure in brazen hypocrisy. The latest in their display of mischiefs coated in feigned outrage is about the grand Mausoleum constructed by the family of the deceased former governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

This writer must confess that he held initially that the resting place was vainly flamboyant when the video of the Mausoleum was sent to him. But after making some enquiries as to the intent and purpose of the tomb, he’s convinced that there was nothing vain about it and that it’s the best way the Ajimobi family thinks it fit to honour and keep memories of their illustrious patriarch.

Mausoleum is a phenomenon that has been embraced in all continents of the world. It was invented by Phythius and named after King Mausolus, a Persian satrap of Caria in Harlicarnassus near the modern Turkey, whose grieving widow had the Mausoleum done to immortalise him. The large Mausoleum housing the remains of King Mausolus was reputed to be one of the Seven Wonders of the world! Since its invention, mausolea have been regular features of burial and internment arrangements, cutting across continents and religions, especially among royal, political, military and economic leaders around the world.

Mausolea are monuments. Monuments represent the histories and the heritages of peoples of the world. Without monuments, histories and heritages are lost to generations who need them to develop a sense of history and to recognise past glories in which they must exude pride. But when a people choose to sneer at a monument because of flimsy consideration of vanity, then, it’s no curse that such people already have courted extinction.

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The ‘vanity’ that mausolea are tagged to be began and spread from ‘saner’ climes after which the insanity of adopting them in Nigeria afflicted us. Almost all known deceased leaders in politics, economy, royalty and military and professional endeavours had mausolea constructed over their remains in their sprawling premises. Mausolea came into the consciousness of Nigerians when the ever sagely Obafemi Awolowo died in 1987 and a mausoleum was constructed over his embalmed remains which visitors and tourists continued to troop to see even after many years before his corpses was decaying and he had to be buried appropriately. Since then, mausolea are being constructed by families of deceased eminent Nigerians as an indication of how immensely they cherish the lives and the memories of their departed loved ones.

When Mike Adenuga lost his mother, he spent several millions of naira to construct a mausoleum to house his mother’s remain. In Nigeria today, deceased eminent Nigerians who had mausolea built over their remains included Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi, Sani Abacha in Kano, Olusola Saraki in Ilorin, Oba Okunade Sijuwade in Ile-Ife, Tayo Aderinokun in Lagos and a host of others. Even Dino Melaye built a world class Mausoleum for his mother’s remains! We can all see how vanity drives our eminent men and women to have mausolea that hold no pleasure to them built on them! Don’t Yoruba elders say ‘he who isn’t entitled to a bonus calls it unlawful’? Only a poverty of acute proportion will make one attach vanity to every luxury in life.

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If all these eminent men and women mentioned above embraced vanity for having mausolea built on their remains, let me regale you with a burial story of a sincerely altruistic and the only truly radical and activist lawyer Nigeria has ever produced, Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi. No one can associate an atom of corruption to the late fiery lawyer! He lived a good life despite that he was an excessively incorruptible man. Yet, he planned his burial immediately he was told of his terminal lung cancer. He instructed that he wanted to be buried in gold casket! And, yes, Gani Fawehinmi was buried in gleaming gold casket! So, Gani too was vain! If Gani did not elevate vanity while alive, why would he elevate vanity in death?

No one is justified at all to wail about the vanity of life to the families of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi. What could be more vain than having to lose a man larger than his existence, an illustrious colossus for that matter? If losing Ajimobi to the inevitable death does not define life as vanity, one wonders what else will? Senator Ajimobi lived a good life, worthy of emulation in all ramifications. Yoruba elders say, ‘a dowry paid on a bride depends on how cherished the bribe is’. Therefore, it’s also apt to conclude that ‘Ajimobi was befittingly buried based on how so much he was cherished, loved and adored by his families’.

 

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Opinion

Is the word bankrolling derogatory? | By Onike Rahaman

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Subject:

Given the harsh reactions and ill-mannered responses of Femi Fani Kayode to the question asked by The Daily Trust Correspondent during the interactive session held with the journalists in the Cross River State yesterday, the action of FFK which has been largely condemned, considered as social misconduct and irrational forced me to carry out further search of the extensive meanings of the word ‘bankroll’ .

 

Up till now, I have not got any hints, tips or information on the derogatory meaning of the word bankroll to have prompted FFK outbursts of anger.Even my dictionary of insulting words didn’t include such entry.

 

Background information:

Chief Femi Fani Kayode in the past few days had been touring some states meeting the governors in those states.

He was in Calabar the capital of Cross Rivers state when he was asked by Eyo Charles the Daily Trust Correspondent in the state that who is bankrolling his tour.

Fani Kayode became livid with anger and said, ” What type of stupid question is that?

Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to? I will not take any questions from this man. What type of insulting question is that? Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything?

Who do you think you are talking to? Go and report yourself to your publisher… Don’t insult me here… I could see from your face before you got here how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. Who do you think you are talking to?”

While some people have blamed the reporter for asking a denigrating question, others insist Fani Kayode displayed pride as it is the duty of journalists to promote accountability. Who do we blame?

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A. Eyo Charles the reporter.
B. Chief Femi Fani Kayode.

Semantics of the word that ignited the anger of Femi Fani Kayode:

Bankrolling:

1.Cambridge English Dictionary: verb. informal.
‘To support a person or activity financially’

2.Collins Dictionary:

VERB
‘To bankroll a person, organization, or project means to provide the financial resources that they need’.

[mainly US, informal]
The company has bankrolled a couple of local movies.

3. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:

bankroll:Informal-to provide the money that someone needs for a business,a plan etc.

4. Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
bankroll verb
bankrolled; bankrolling; bankrolls
Definition of bankroll (Entry 2 of 2)
transitive verb
: to supply money for (a business, project, or person.
5.Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners:
bankroll:to provide the money for something.

My Take:

What then could have infuriated the former Minister and Lawyer with the question asked by the timid journalist for him to have acted oddly and reacted annoyingly in a way that has exposed him to public ridicule?

The whole scenario is a pointer to the fact that the man lacks emotional intelligence, maturity, decency and capacity to handle stressful situations.

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