By Toye ARULOGUN
Every day marks the beginning of the rest of our lives.
Life is a mystery yet to be unfolded. Life throws all kinds of curves.
No one will get out of life alive.
Life and Death are the twin reasons I believe in the supremacy of God – the giver and the taker of life.
The finality of death is overwhelming.
Exactly two months ago, Sola Ogunkoya, called me to announce the death of her husband – Tolu Ogunkoya, Regional Director, Media Reach OMD, my friend, brother and business partner.
This was in the middle of my preparations and countdown to the Yoruba Cultural Festival organised by the Yoruba Community Abuja.
Since then, I have kept a very low profile and switched off Facebook except for the 80th birthday congratulatory message to my mum and of course recently my wife’s tag of pictures from my mother in – law’s 90th birthday celebrations on the 15th of June in Uyo Akwa Ibom State.
Essentially I have been trying in my quiet moments to decipher the essence of life, and understand and appreciate its complexities.
To make matters worse and reinforce the fact that life is a mixed bag of joy and sorrow, I lost Martha, my Ibadan-based German Shepherd pet dog, on Wednesday, June 14 and Suzzie, my Lhasa Apso breed on Thursday, June 15 while i was away in Uyo for the activities to mark Grandma Uyo’s 90th. With all of these, I naturally assumed a ”Calm Down” position, staying on my lane and “deying” my “dey.”
For Tolu’s early passage to the great beyond, I have been wondering and pondering how to dimension and put into proper context a top-drawer success in the marketing communications industry only to end up this way.
My conclusion, which I have shared with a few, is this; When your friend or family member shuts the door, kick it open and see how or what he or she is doing. When your friend or family member builds a wall, break down the wall to find out what is happening behind the wall. If need be, call for support if the wall is too big or too high for you alone to break.
Through some recent engagements, I have come to terms with the reality of his passing. Watch this space for a befitting tribute which i know not a few have been expecting.
While celebrating the joy of attaining 90 years by Mama Ayo Orebo Udo; my first wife who was gracious enough to give me her daughter as a second wife, I have been tapping into the 90 years of anointing and grace for the same and even more years.
For Suzzie and Martha, their deaths one day apart remain a mystery to me. While I suspect poisoning, from a very spiritual point of view, I am not oblivious to the fact that it is typically not a good omen when such happen. Rest assured, I know what I am talking about.
This has been my rhythm in the last couple of weeks, going under the radar and hibernating until I was jolted by the news of Governor Seyi Makinde’s decision to elevate eleven Ibadan High Chiefs to Obas on July 7, 2023.
Why the jolt?
This was the same reform implemented by the Abiola Ajimobi administration which Governor Seyi Makinde criticised its implementation before, during and after, culminating in a reversal by him upon the joining of the ancestors of the immediate past Olubadan of Ibadan, an Oba, Saliu Adetunji.
It is very much on record that Seyi Makinde sang to high heavens the “ If it is not broken, why fix it ?“ chorus in rejection of his predecessor’s elevation of Ibadan High Chiefs to Obas.
My questions to HIs Excellency right now are: (1). “What have you suddenly realised to precipitate this volte-face?” (2). “What is now broken that needs to be fixed?”
I am therefore coming out of social media space hibernation, using this Sunday, June 25, 2023 which is the 3rd memorial of Abiola Ajimobi’s demise, to pay tribute to “Archipelago”, bringing to the fore some of his major policies, especially those in the mould of the elevation of Ibadan High Chiefs to Obas which Governor Makinde threw into the recycle bin with condemnation but have been brought back to his desktop without explanation, acknowledgement, or reference to the efforts of his predecessor who passed on to the great beyond three years ago today.
These major policy somersaults and about-face are goofs and gaffes by Makinde’s administration, which in my well-informed opinion, are driven by a strong desire to denigrate and desecrate the Ajimobi brand. Unfortunately, because of the sinister motives, in all of these instances, he has made 360-degree turns going back to his vomit or leaving the state in limbo in those specific areas.
Makinde’s administration has displayed enormous propensity and proclivity for throwing Ajimobi’s policies into its recycle bin with so much fervour and political relish. Unfortunately for Makinde, more often than not, in no time because of a lack of superior policies, the administration brings them out of the recycle bin surreptitiously after “giving a dog a bad name and hanging it.”
Come along with me, please.
Schools governing board (SGB)
One of the best policies of the Ajimobi Government sent representatives to study. It was a master stroke policy in 2017 which saw representatives of all major stakeholders on the board of secondary schools in Oyo State. With the firm belief that education stands on five pillars – Parents, Teachers, Students, Infrastructure and Curriculum plus the obvious fact that government alone could not fund education, the SGB was an ingenious conceptual framework to accelerate development in the education sector.
Each School Governing Board was composed of two representatives of lead stakeholders, one accredited representative of Parent Teachers Association, one accredited representative of Old Students Association, one accredited non-partisan community leader, the head boy or head girl of the school, the School Principal to serve as the secretary, the Local Inspector of Education (LIE) and one representative of Local Government Council/Local Council Development Area.
Makinde jettisoned the SGB policy claiming the Ajimobi government appointed APC members to the boards. When I heard this directly from him on the radio via an audio file sent to me by “observers”, I knew development in the education sector in Oyo State would go south as there was no iota of truth in that assertion.
Members of the SGB were not APC members rather they were individuals, families, faith based organisations representatives who were spending their time and resources to develop schools in which they were stakeholders.
Today, he has retraced his steps bringing the SGB out of his recycle bin, but too late to rescue Oyo State from WAEC’s delisting of 50 schools for Exam malpractice. Having stopped the payment of the One Thousand Naira per term levy in his first term inaugural speech, schools now lack funds, crippling performance, thereby earning the state the 33rd position out of 36 in the country as of August 2022 released WAEC results.
Elevation of high chiefs to Obas
A very thorny issue which attracted huge negative reverb for the Abiola Ajimobi Administration. Koseleri took the bold and courageous step of elevating Ibadan High Chiefs to Crown wearing Obas after due process. They did not see what he saw. Mischief makers took advantage. The structured and unstructured media went to town, castigating and lambasting. Songs were written and produced – Ar’Oba fin. (Disrespecters of the King).
By July 7 2023, Oyo State will be back to where Ajimobi was courtesy of Makinde’s recycle bin.
Let us wait to see who will not wear the crown.
First Technical University
A first-of-its-kind University which the Government at its establishment stated categorically was not a University of Technology. It is Nigeria’s Premier Technical University, grounded in entrepreneurial practices, innovations and sustainability. The University was established by the Oyo State Government to bridge the skill gap. Typical of my people, they spread the rumour it was owned by Ajimobi.
Makinde deployed this untruth as a campaign message. When he became Governor, he refused to visit the University until he concluded an investigation into the ownership of the university. When he found out the institution did not belong to his predecessor, he did not get back to the people but assumed the position of visitor in the Oyo State-owned University.
Shortly after winning a second-term ticket, Makinde renamed the University after SAAA as a guilt offering.
Certainly, a prophetic Freudian slip. Little wonder, the institution today is called Abiola Ajimobi Technical University.
Safety and Security
The Ajimobi award-winning security architecture was also thrown into the recycle bin. Operation Burst, the joint task force security apparatus, was relegated to the background. Oyo State once again degenerated into a state of violence, brigandage, killings and robberies which had been long gone in the eight years of the builder of modern Oyo State. Thanks to Makinde’s just-ended romance with the NURTW bringing them to the fore by the instrumentality of the Parks Management System (PMS).
With the Governor using and dumping Auxiliary, he has gone back to his recycle bin to put the Ajimobi security model on his desktop for review, starting with the composition of the NURTW leadership.
Can Makinde’s Security Vote pay for the lives lost during Auxiliary’s reign of terror?
Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State, was ranked alongside Aba as the dirtiest cities in Nigeria. Koseleri 1 engaged West Africa Energy to pilot waste management. A new waste ecosystem emerged, giving a breath of fresh air with Government vehemently opposed to street trading.
There are quite a few more in the recycle bin, but let me stop here. It is already a long read.
As we remember Ajimobi today, we salute the courage and boldness which supported his vision, mission, core values, plans and the Oyo State Future Strategic Profile, which he painted and drove us all to work towards.
Oyo State can reach its El Dorado easier and faster with a cursory look inside Governor Makinde’s recycle bin.
Toye Arulogun is the president of Spirit of Nigeria Radio