|Gov. Abiola Ajimobi|
Executive Governor Of Oyo State
Being the first governor in the annals of history of the Pacesetter State to govern the state in two consecutive terms, Senator Abiola Ajimobi marked the feat in grand style.
Though, the epochal event was low key due to the lean treasury of the state, it was still an event to remember as the governor used the opportunity to clear grey areas of his administration.
The climax of the event was the interactive session he had with select journalists in the state.
Though, the glamour that would have characterised the session was tainted by threats of protesting students of the University of Ibadan who compelled the organisers of the event to relocate to a rather confined studio of the state broadcasting station, it did not take the shine off the programme when the vocal governor tackled some inquisitive newsmen.
It was a good forum for Ajimobi’s teeming supporters to rake in some money from APC bigwigs who were mobilised for the event.
The interview was done in both English Language and Yoruba in order to carry along a majority of residents who cannot speak the white man’s language.
34 governorship aspirants jostle for seat
During the session, the governor hinted that 34 aspirants are trying frantically to be his successor. He said anybody that would step into his shoes should be a man of courage, intellect, compassion and a strong will.
He said, “But, one thing is sure, whoever will succeed me must be intelligent, brave, deep in thinking, compassionate, passionate, courageous and fearless. Most of the 34 people I talked about are not worthy of the post. Some are just pretenders.
“However, I have found at least five of them to be worthy in character and in learning. No more mediocrity in the governance of Oyo State. We have raised the bar. But, by May next year, I should be able to have a clearer picture of my likely successor, whom, I’m confident, will also be the people’s choice.”
Contrary to his initial claims that he would not be contesting any elective posts again, he confirmed a rumour that he will be contesting for a senatorial seat in the coming election.
When asked where he would retire after the expiration of his tenure in 2019, he simply said, “I might consider legislative duties. I am thinking about it. I might.”
Ajimobi taunts Ladoja
Even though, he restrained himself from mentioning the name of the former governor, his coded language was clearly understood by his discerning supporters who hailed him.
Referring to earlier comments by Ladoja who took him up on his proposed review of the 1957 Olubadan chieftaincy declaration when he said the incumbent governor should be concerned with how he would settle the backlog of workers’ salary arrears, he said the workers would have been paid if the ex-governor refunded the funds the anti-graft agency accused him of stealing.
Governor reels out achievements
He reeled out various developmental projects his administration had embarked on promising that no project that his administration embarked upon would be left uncompleted.
Among other achievements he listed include rehabilitation of several roads in the state, provision of free transportation for workers and students; subsidised transportation fares for residents in the state; provision of security of property and lives and his urban renewal programmes which had transformed the state from dirtiest to one of the cleanest states in the country.
Ajimobi said, “We have made governance in the state so interesting and engaging that we have moved to the next level. Today about 34 aspirants have emerged that want to be the next governor and we are still counting.”
In the last six years, he said that his administration had made giant strides in education, agriculture, health, urban renewal and physical planning, adding that the administration’s road construction record was second to none in the history of the state.
Specifically, he said that ongoing and completed construction of dual carriage roads, complete with road furniture, in the Ibadan metropolis, as well as all the entry points to the state, had attracted investments to the state.
For the first time, he said that Ibadan and the entire state now have a master plan that would end the regime of haphazard construction of buildings and citing of other structures.
He also said that the state was the first to launch a health insurance scheme that would cater for the health needs of the poor in the society, including surgery, with the monthly payment of N650, adding that pregnant women and children under five years still enjoy free health services across state-owned health facilities.
Ajimobi said, “For our government to still be able to make remarkable impact on education, health, agriculture, industrialization among others, we had to find ingenious ways to escape the dwindling financial resources in the country.
“Our monthly allocation from the Federation Account is still in the range of N2.5bn, while our internally-generated revenue has increased to between N2bn and N2.5bn, but our salary figure for each month is about N4.5 to N5bn.