Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s second coming may not be smooth sailing. Rotimi Agboluaje in Ibadan examines challenges ahead of the jinx-breaking governor.
The April II election that brought Governor Abiola Ajimobi to the office is not the end as the governance goes beyond mere winning an election. Though Governor Ajimobi of has secured a second term mandate, thus breaking the age-long political anathema, the victory is not the end of the whole thing. Apparently, as sweet as the victory may be, the challenges ahead are enormous.
Political Unity of the State
To start with, according to political analysts, the issue of unity is very crucial. In every human setting, especially political one, the importance of unity cannot be overemphasized. In fact, nothing productive can come of an organisation or social setting that is devoid of cohesion. To say that the government is a product of varied groups of people and a conglomeration of many political parties is to state the obvious. From the merger of the then All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the government cannot shy away from the irreducible fact that he owes many interest groups returns on their efforts. How the governor will carry members of these legacy parties along and do justice to their yearnings and expectations will put the governor’s leadership and problem-solving skills to test. Besides, during electioneering, numerous aggrieved members of the opposition parties defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Curiously, these groups of people would be expected to be integrated to the party, this can only be done by giving them positions in the government to be constituted soon.
Related to integration of latter days defectors is the appointment of people into the government. Doubtless, innumerable groups, politicians, intellectuals, professionals and others toiled assiduously for the actualization of the second term ambition. Expectedly, every human wants rewards for his or her efforts and justifiably want compensated for his or her contributions to any system. Interestingly, those who had contributed in one way or the other to the victory of the governor would be expecting benefits. However, during the valedictory service held May 28,the governor said he would prune the numbers of ministries from 23 to I5 and reduce the numbers of the political appointees. Going by this statement, to say the least, 30 per cent of the members of the immediate past state executives would not make it back to the Agodi Government House. With this, how the corporate guru- turned-politician would justifiably compensate those that worked for his re-election, both the original party members and the defectors, remain a litmus test and daunting challenge to the governor. Moreover, while being sworn in on May 29 at the Liberty Stadium, the governor declared that he would be governor of all irrespective of political leanings. In his words:” I will be the governor of all. I will be governor to my friends and my enemies; to my supporters and detractors”. With statesmanship statement, the governor had spoken like a father of all in the state irrespective of the role anybody might have played during the electioneering. Many cynics and observers are of the view that it would be difficult for the governor to live true to his words. They contend that the statement that he would be governor to all is just one of the political rhetoric that usually characterize inauguration of an administration. As difficult as it might be seen to live true to the statement, it still remains a taxing exercise on the part of the governor to prove the cynics and doubting Thomases wrong.
Second Term Fever
Perhaps, an area where residents of the state are waiting to appraise the governor whether the second term is a deserving mandate is his performance in the next four years. Evidently, the governor, in the first term, had done exceptionally in various sectors. From peace and security, environmental beautification, infrastructural development to agriculture and others. Many have opined that it would be difficult for the governor to sustain the development streak. While some have the view that the achievements are just to secure the second term mandate which has become a reality. Those who hold this thought cited that many second term governors in Nigeria mostly under-perform, maintaining that it is just a matter of months that the tempo of development in the state would be slowed down. To prove those who hold this view wrong, the governor needs to surpass his first term achievements despite the dwindling revenue from the Federation Account.
Ex-Governor Rashidi Ladoja Challenge
Importantly, though Governor Ajimobi has been declared as the winner, the opposition Accord still believes that it (Accord) won the election. Consequently, it refused to sign the final result at the state Independent National Electoral Commission office. As a result what the party described as manipulation of the election, the party and its flag bearer, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has dragged the governor and APC to the election tribunal to challenge Ajimobi’s victory. In an interview, Ladoja had said that the people of the state were mourning because of the outcome of the poll. He vowed to explore all legal means to retrieve what he called his mandate. Though the ruling APC may dismiss the matter as a storm in a teacup, candidly speaking, it is not a matter that should be taken with levity.
Local Government Elections
To put it blandly, this is still a big challenge to the government. Another challenge before the government is non-conduct of local government election. As it stands now, even for some years now, there are no democratically elected chairmen at the third tier of government in the state. Many analyst and politicians especially from the opposition camps have challenged the governor and wondered why an election has not been conducted at that level of government. Those from the opposition camps are emphasizing that the ruling APC is afraid of being defeated, hence, its refusal to conduct the local government election. As the governor has clinched secure term mandate,it would remain daunting task and taxing storm to weather. To this end, as Governor Ajimobi starts the second phase of his journey at the Agodi Government House,it remains to be seen how the man who broke an anathema would rise above the challenges and prove the cynics wrong.