© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
The parable of Akeredolu going to heaven and good governance
By Yinka Adeosun
THERE are statements that you just want to read every other day, speeches you want to memorise, you drink in the text and absorb them as if they offered some therapeutic effect. Such were the speeches of the former president of United States of America, Barrack Obama. He was such an inspiration in speech delivery that the white Americans could not but support his candidacy and bear him up to victory. Mahatma Ghandi was another. So deep were some of his statements that they remain relevant several years after he has left the scene. Mandela is yet another example. A wordsmith whose words are weighed in wisdom beyond the shores of the black race.
As I listened to a short speech delivered by the governor of Ondo State at an event recently, I am convinced that he is in that office for self-aggrandisement and personal agenda. Rather than inspire, he fuelled suspicion and rebellion among his listeners. It was lacking in finesse and promise. His pronouncement betrays his pedigree as a lawyer and a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association who is supposed to be schooled in the art of public speaking and presentation.
There is a butt of the joke (or so I thought) on the lips of many residents and indigenes of Ondo State. The nucleus of the joke underscores the non- or under-performance of the incumbent governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. After his victory at the polls, he was said to have enthused that there was no work to be done, that his predecessor, Governor Mimiko had done so much work leaving almost nothing to be done. Thus, his mission in government house was simple: to come and enjoy life.
To my dismay and the chagrin of many of his listeners at an event recently, the governor unwittingly gave credence to this unconfirmed report. The venue was the annual convention of the Agape Christian Ministries which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the church. In his brief message, the presiding Bishop of the church, Bishop Felix Aderemi Adejumo had specifically acknowledged the government’s focus on industry and had requested that the governor provided infrastructure for the teeming population of the state. In his response, Arakunrin Akeredolu made little of the bishop’s request. He derided our craving for good roads, stable power supply and quality health care system. He made reference to heaven and declared that he wants to go there. He is ready to go to heaven and wondered why the congregation wasn’t ready to go.
Referring to the Bible, he stated there won’t be accidents in heaven; for the roads are made of gold. There’s stable power supply there, hence no need for a generator. “Why are you not ready to go?” The governor asked, and answered: “For me, I am ready to go” He was quick to admit that different administrations can try to solve the numerous challenges facing us as a nation, but none would be able to solve all the problems. He, therefore, advised that we should pray that Christ would come quickly.
For about twelve minutes that he held the microphone, the governor rather than inspire successfully stirred rebellion in his audience. The only good thing which was perhaps worthy of commendation was his disclosure that there are about five companies that had shown interest in the Independent Power Project which he hopes would guaranty uninterrupted power supply in the state.
To say that his audience was disappointed with him is to put it mildly. One thing that strikes me is the fact that the governor either does not understand the enormity of the responsibility on his shoulders as the number one citizen of Ondo State, or he has chosen to make light of it. Expectedly the church did not hail him as he spewed those disparaging remarks. While some grumbled, the majority showed their displeasure with their facial expressions.
Trust mama, she seized an opportunity. Rev Mrs Funke Felix-Adejumo who came next after him reminded the governor of the expectations of the electorates. “We know that the Lord cometh. And while we’re still waiting, we want light. We’re letting them know that we voted them into power. We love our politicians. But we challenge them to do something.” She went on to condemn the spate of insecurity in the land and demanded good governance.
He had also remarked that the Agape’s choir wasn’t the best, even when he wasn’t asked. Rather, he boasted that his church’s choir – All Saints Church, Ibadan – was the best. It is discouraging that the governor could consider another state as his favourite. He was not even patronising of his church in Owo, his place of origin. This also confirms the side talks at his first attempt at the office of governor in 2012. Many saw him as not well grounded in Ondo State and the issues of the state. With that pronouncement, it is evident that Ondo State is only a second-class state to Mr Governor.
The essentials of the office of the governor are seemingly lost on governor Akeredolu. He needs to be reminded that the capacity of his ability to remain in office is the provision of social infrastructures and delivering the dividends of democracy. Beyond the perks of office and the glamour that comes with it, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu should wake up from his dreams of heaven to the reality that stirs us in Ondo State and Nigeria. He would also need to be guided on the basics of public pronouncements before he becomes a nightmare to his public relations handlers.
Whatever Mimiko may have achieved, there’s still a lot to be done in Ondo State. More than half of the towns and villages in the Southern senatorial district are still in darkness for more than 10 years now. Many roads across the state are in bad shape, the army of unemployed youths is yet to reduce, industries are crying for attention and hunger is rife here.
Surely, heaven is a good place as the Bible describes it. Tuface Idibia, in one of his songs, rightly captures the mind of Nigerians: “Nobody wan die, but everybody wan go heaven”. And Akeredolu is a Nigerian too. And if the governor desires to go to heaven fast, well; he should count the cost because even God will ask him how he used his office to the betterment of Ondo State.
Yinka Adeosun writes from Ondo State.