The inauguration ceremony of the new Ogun governor, Prince Dr. DapoAbiodun, started with a lecture on Thursday 23rd of May 2019, at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto area Abeokuta. It was a day that will not be quickly forgotten by all the attendees, as there was a lot to take home as lessons. There was also a question and answer session.
The lecture was attended by those who matter in Ogun State, including paramount rulers, like Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, the Olu of Ilaro and paramount ruler of Yewaland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, the Akarigbo of Remoland, other first class Oba like Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, the Osile of Oke Ona Egba to mention a few. Prominent politicians like, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Bode Mustapha , Abiodun Akinlade, Senator Gbenga Kaka, amongst others were also present.
The lecture was chaired by Mr. Fola Adeola, a successful businessman and politician. He is a member of the Commission Africa and is the founder of FATE Foundation and a co-founder of Guaranty Trust Bank GTB. While the lecture was delivered by Professor Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy and management expert, Fola Adeola took the audience into a world of his own when he analyzed during his remarks what Dapo Abiodun needs to do to run a successful government.
He said “When the governor elect called me, I was far away in Austria, and he requested that I chair this event, and I accepted with a bit of reluctance, I was happy for him, because I have been here before. I gave recognition address, 16 years ago at the swearing in of my dear friend, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. It seems to me that that after each election victory, there is a declaration of a new dawn, by the new office holder. The problem is that soon after the declaration of that dawn, that place invariably returns, and in regards between the dawns and the dusts, there is little, if anything, for anybody to cheer. So, my reluctance was out of reputation fatigue, I am tired. We are here again after another election. The governor elect has requested me to talk on the subject of Governance in public administration. What does that really mean?
At the beginning of a new dawn, committees are set up, that inspire hope, the best of the state’s mind are rolled into those committees. This time has not been different. In this case, the governor elect has set up even more committees than in the previous eras, if it was based on that alone, we should believe. But we have seen committees before, we have also seen them transition into four years administrations where nothing happens.
In respect of the recommendations that they made, and you know what, as they say in my own branch of the Nigeria union of road transport workers, nothing spoil, aanbayi noni. Maybe what is different is the theme, Good governance, a very loft ideal, with costly implications. Does Mr. Abiodun have this to give? Does he know what good governance means? Governance? Willful submission of the self to rules and regulations, a state rule by laws, not by men, is that what Mr Abiodun wants to do? I don’t believe him, why not? Because winners of an election, the drivers of the dawns are accountable to no one. Like his predecessors, he now holds our state cheque books in his pocket, and has no means to consult us before he uses it. Can he really be saying that his own tenure will be different, that he will submit himself and his friends to the best interest of the state and that the agenda he will execute will be for us, and not for any other purpose? I went to a high school in Lagos, Methodist Boys High School, and the motto of the school, Not For Us But For Others. Is that what you plan? Don’t get me wrong, most government do complete projects with the state cheque book. We have seen few and fewer cases these days of imaginary bridges and phantom projects. Certainly in Ogun State, it will be uncharitable to say we have not invested and seen significant investment in Infrastructure, we just want a human being, that will bring that infrastructure alive for the economic growth of the state. As the Yorubas say, aankoleaaokoma, taa loo maagbele ta, it is the same Yorubas that say, eni baa moo wuralaantaa fun. Do we know what good governance is? And it can be sold to us, or are we just here for the celebration of another dawn? Do we know when to say we have enough of bridges and roads? Estates in the name of our presidents? Do we know how to ask for quality education? Mr. Abiodun, are we people to whom Governance can be sold? Finally does Dapo Abiodun have the goal to serve? Does the governor-elect know what good governance means? And is he prepared to and able to deliver it? We have established that he has some Courage. We have established that he has some Humility, Pat Utomi will come and tell you what they say in the classroom, but aside defining submission of self and cronies, and I have seen them in my short time here, dancing around.
It is in their DNA to do so. If they are indeed and they focus on Good governance which I define as submission of the self and cronies for the laws and best interest of this state, development that anchors economy, not just buildings, schools that provide knowledge to participate to the changing global economy, not just buildings with fans in every local government so that we can say we build schools, we build quality primary health care, not just hospital buildings, even if this is your sole legacy, you would have given Ogun State, possibly Nigeria fresh breath, and you would have had the praise and adulations that will likely be poured out today and in four years to come. If on the other hand, you do not, you need not worry, the bar is so low, that the heavens will not fall, you will only be like the rest, and may God help you to be a better man in governing Ogun”.
While reacting to the remarks and lecture, Dapo Abiodun admitted that there were many challenges confronting Ogun State, such as of scarcity of funds and disconnect between the Government and the Citizens, but expressed the confidence that with conscientious efforts and good governance, some of the challenges would be significantly addressed, if not totally eliminated.
He said: “In the course of my campaign which cut across the length and breadth of the state, I saw the abundant natural endowment and vibrant youth’s population and felt the enterprising spirit of the people. But the deplorable conditions of our infrastructure, the less than dignifying living conditions of an average citizen which is part of the unmistakable disconnect between government and the citizenry also steered us in the face. “Citizens have become cynical of government and trust, which is an essential element of the social contract between the government and the people, has been badly impaired.
“Indeed, the wide gap between the potentials and realities on ground showed that there is a missing factor in catalyst and an enabler. I have no doubt that the missing link is good governance. “Sequel to the electoral victory, three major steps have been taken as part of the preparations of the incoming administration to match actions with words in determination to realize the mission to provide good governance.
“The tasks ahead are daunting, the challenges are many, the resources are limited, yet, I am confident that once we have the most important currency in our people’s bank, which is the trust of our people, we will be okay. “We will be coconscious oriented, we will be accountable, we will be transparent, we will be responsive, we will be equitable and inclusive, we will be effective and efficient, we will follow the rule of laws and we will be participatory”. “These are non – negotiable principles that will underpin government operations and our definition of good governance”.
“I will submit myself to the will of the people; I will invest in human capital, I will remain humble. If it has gotten me these far, I don’t have any reason to change. “Let me assure you that we will carefully study and stick to today’s conversations and synergize them with other suggestions such as that of the work groups’ reports.”