Nigeria’s problems are multi-faceted, but many would agree that the biggest of her hydra-headed problems is leadership ineptitude. This is not for the lack of quality human resources but because of mental poverty aided by years of wrong decisions as regards choice of leaders.
Every four years, Nigerians get the opportunity to elect leaders to direct the nation in different capacities, but since 1999 Nigerians have continued to suggest that they might be incapable of reposing their mandate for all the right reasons. If this was not the case, how would one explain that Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the constituted authority of Oyo state, got a re-election in 2015 despite his near failure in his first four year term?
Amidst the jamboree of breaking the second term jinx that accompanied Mr. Ajimobi’s re-election, he made six promises to the people of Oyo state while he also adopted the manifesto of his party, All Progressive Congress (APC).
Of all these promises, not one has Mr. Ajimobi accomplished satisfactorily. At best, all he has are myopic stumbles on what could have made significant impacts in the lives of Oyo state residents.
On education which appears the worst failure of this administration, the United states trained administrator promised to “take seriously the upgrade of schools to functional, modern models of learning. Their physical infrastructure will be ensured and our commitment to the mental development of our children, as well as upgrade of their teachers, will be irrevocable.”
Contrary to this lofty promise, what governor Ajimobi has done in this regard is but poorly executed media propaganda to claim success in a sector in which he has failed woefully.
The schools in Oyo state have not seen any improvement either in functionality or physical structure. There are still classrooms that should at best serve as pens for goats. No functional libraries, neither are there laboratories that can prepare the students adequately for their 21st century competitive space.
In 2012, The Ajimobi led Oyo state government celebrated the progress Oyo state made in the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) examination, considering the rise from 34th position to 23rd position. One would have expected that a government with education as one of its core agenda would consolidate on the progress and steadily improve the quality of education, which in turn leads to great ratings. Rather, according to WAEC latest ranking, Oyo state has taken steps backward, sitting comfortably at 26th position.
Mr. Ajimobi, who enjoyed the best education Nigeria has ever offered, closed down secondary schools for seven weeks and only re-opened the schools after apology letters were sent to him by the heads of the affected schools. Even more, Students in both secondary and tertiary schools under the leadership of self-praising Ajimobi have had to go on demonstrations just to get the attention of the governor but all their agitations fell on deaf ears.
He implemented public-private partnership reform, which parents and many stakeholders in Oyo state have largely criticized as profit oriented, at the detriment of poor citizens of Oyo state. Mr. Ajimobi in his uncharismatic way, detained union leaders who led protests against his autocratic reform.
Thankfully, Ajimobi listened to the voice of reasoning and instituted a committee that gave birth to a more participatory system- School-based Governing Body Policy. A glance through the white paper for the policy revealed that it might be what Oyo state schools need to be revived and survive, if the government will indeed do its part.
However, knowing who our leaders are, this might just be a means to outsource the financial responsibilities of the state to the newly formed body. We have seen situations where government roles were sublet to the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). PTA, an association that ought to perform supervisory role, employs and pays teachers, and performs other duties that ought to be government’s. One can only hope that this new body would not become an extension of PTA.
Also, let’s not forget the “constituted authority” video clip that broke the internet shortly after he met with some angry students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH).
Prior to the meeting with the governor, the students of LAUTECH had been at home for over seven months because of poor funding of the institution amongst many things.
Yet, in the path of the worst administrators ever, Ajimobi asked the students; “so what if your school had been closed for months?” After all, it was not the first time a school would be shutdown, and definitely would not be the last. In fact, LAUTECH was re-opened after the eight months strike, only for it to be shut down again barely two months after.
It is important to note that LAUTECH was rated best state university in Nigeria for two consecutive years, 2003 and 2004. Now, LAUTECH sits at the 21st position and is ready to go further down if Ajimobi continues to celebrate “tutorial centre” as his cardinal achievement.
In fairness to Ajimobi led Oyo state government, funding of LAUTECH ought to be a joint responsibility of Osun state and Oyo state. The two state governors have refused to make available the needed funding. I need not be a clairvoyant to know that they probably had a tea party on it and waved it aside to face other issues close to their hearts, like funding media propaganda that makes them look good in all this insanity.
Not only has Ajimobi left Oyo state education to rot while he continues to wear well sash agbada to distribute school uniforms, he has not fared any better in the health sector. Ajimobi listed as part of his achievements, “statewide N200 health insurance scheme”. Under the new insurance scheme, residents are expected to pay N200 as registration fee and N650 as monthly premium fee.
Oyo state general hospitals have not received necessary attention from the government. Except for few interventions from private companies and organizations like MTN, USAID, there isn’t much to say about the health care in Oyo state. Adeoyo hospital for instance cannot adequately cater for the health needs of the residents, yet Mr. Ajimobi claimed to have provided free health care services for more than 300,000 people in Oyo state, and posed an insurance scheme made only to milk the residents, as a remedy to the state’s health challenges.
The government of Oyo state is bereft of innovation and even when it looks across the road to copy from Lagos state, it would still manage to do a lousy copy and paste implementation. The Oyo state beautification scheme has been a sham, Ajumose bus is nothing compared to the BRT buses in Lagos.
Need I say again that Mr. Governor was educated in the United States of America and received the best of education Nigeria has ever offered? How he manages to show off all the cat puke he displays as achievements is baffling. Ajimobi, with all his 26 years experience, working with multi-nationals both within and outside the country, has failed to live up to acceptable standard for a 21st century leader.
It is indeed an honest question to ask if governor Ajimobi has any shame at all.