As the maiden edition of WEEKLY INSIGHTS FROM ALAGBAKA with Sunday Olugbenga Abire hits us this Friday, being the birthday of H.E, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, I am curious to separate politics from governance while re-evaluating the essence of government which should be for the ultimate benefit of a greater number of people. Except for the politics of development and wellbeing, men of good conscience should avoid politics that comes with name-calling, calumny and bitterness.
By the will of God, Hon Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa became the 7th Civilian Governor of Ondo State on the 27th of December 2023. This is not just an important date etched in the history of our beloved state but one that should teach us a memorable lesson in sobriety. It re-echos the incontrovertible statement that only God crowns a king. We cannot forget in a hurry the indestructible hand of God in every man’s life.
Against known and unknown machinations of men, Aiyedatiwa sailed to the harbour like a successful fisherman from Ilaje. He didn’t just make history for himself but the entire Ilaje nation. End of agitation right? Even sceptres and crowns from Ilaje and the Southern Senatorial District of Ondo State sauntered majestically to Alagbaka to thank providence for crowning their own while mourning the demise of Aketi. What an admixture! What a life! We cannot question God. We are so limited and vain as mere men.
Aiyedatiwa whose aides had been suspended or sacked in the days of political vendetta had an opportunity to make very necessary appointments. He made just five on the very first day of work. Tongues and heads wagged. He could have waited. He could have mourned further. Others hailed. Long overdue. He should sack the enemies to stamp his full authority. He should get rid of them now before they sabotage. They have no shame. They can never like him. Everyone with their reactions in consonance with how they have perceived realities. Truly, perspectivism is a strong philosophy. Only Governor Aiyedatiwa wears the shoes and he knows where it pinches.
Given the theatrics of deep politics heralding his emergence, Aiyedatiwa had been emboldened to fear nothing anymore. Yet, he has allowed in good spirit the replication of the victory of the biblical king David expressed in the Psalms: “thou prepareth a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over”. The sweetest of victory is the one procured by God. Haven’t we read that God will fight for us and we will hold our peace?
Interestingly, Aiyedatiwa chairs everywhere today. He’s the oga that was never wanted. The ordinary fisherman that was maligned for no just cause. The most vilified Deputy who survived the court, the parliament and the terrible opinions of political Ahithophel. Twice, he was tried at the presidency and no sin was found in him. That’s not luck. Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa succeeded not just because he was lucky enough. He succeeded because God was with him, being blameless and always at his duty post.
A man who loves authority loses it but a man who enjoys responsibility gets it. Aware of the inclement economic situation majorly caused by the removal of fuel subsidy, the Governor directed the immediate payment of 35,000 naira as wage award to the Civil servants while promising that the era of percentage salary is gone for good. He unequivocally said that the Budget of Economic Resilience holds great fortunes for the state as infrastructural development will top the decision of government in 2024.
Governor Aiyedatiwa gave express approval to recruit health workers in order to promote efficiency and service delivery in the health sector while directing the payment of outstanding entitlements to all workers in the state. In the same manner, the Governor instructed through the ministry of works the urgent rehabilitation of potholes that have taken lives and caused nightmare to transporters in the state. All activities were geared towards making lives better for the people of Ondo State.
However, the approval of 1.2B naira for the payment of backlog of pensioners’ gratuity didn’t come cheaply but with a caring heart that feels the pains of others. I watched in amazement how the 2014 retirees leaped for joy at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the governor’s office when the cheque was officially presented. It was a dream come true for the pensioners who couldn’t hide their ineffable joy.
This week, dissatisfied with the dirtiness of Akure and other parts of Ondo state, the Governor, through the Ministry of Environment launched the #KeepOndoClean# initiative while ordering a critical review of Waste Management policies and operations throughout the state. The Commissioner for Environment, Mr Sunday Akinwalire and other directors in the Ministry of Environment didn’t waste time to inspect dumpsites within Akure.
In the last one year, governance had hitherto been on a snail speed in the state due to the political interregnum caused by the unavoidable absence of the late Governor. It is instructive that all these activities during the week were prioritized above political activities that have clogged the wheel of progress in the state. Governor Aiyedatiwa has set the state on the motion of cleanliness and hygienic living with #keepOndoClean# initiative, an enhanced Civil Service with prompt payment of salaries, entitlements, training and retraining, infrastructural maintenance with the rehabilitation of potholes across the state as well as care for the senior citizens with the payment of pensioners’ gratuity in just few days.
While paying condolence visit to the Olowo of Ọwọ and the Ojomuluda of Ìjẹ̀bú Ọwọ on the passing of their illustrious son and former governor of Ondo state, the monarchs assured the Governor of the support of the people of Ọwọ. However, Aiyedatiwa received several visitors who came to commiserate with him during the week at Alagbaka.
During the week, while the Governor was away in Abuja attending his first meeting as the Governor of Ondo State with the Progressive Governors, several bullets were shot in petty blackmail. Rather than dwell on it with a response, the Governor with his solid sense of humor repelled in silence. He has two responses to blackmail. He smiles and ignores.
*Sunday Olugbenga Abire is a Special Assistant on New Media to the Governor of Ondo State*