OPINION;Iyiola Oyedepo: Separating Truth from Bitter Propaganda- By Wahab Oba
Jaundiced and largely riddled with needless mischief, it was everything but a true assessment of the administration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed. More than anything else, perhaps, the only shock about the piece is that Oyedepo, who had never seen anything good about the administration of former governor of the state and serving Senate President of the Federation, Dr Bukola Saraki, has acknowledged that the latter layed a solid foundation for the emerging greater Kwara and left so much to cheer as governor of Kwara for eight years.
While the commendation is a clear departure from the negative perception of everything that is not from the stable of the opposition, it nevertheless shows, that falsehood, as with evil, can only triumph temporarily, as truth and well-doing would always overtake them in the long run.
And then, absurdly crude and provocatively contemptuous, he went off the mark: “Bukola gave us what we did not need”. Kwarans do not need the International Aviation College, Metropolitan Square, Cargo Terminal, Overhead Bridge, Shonga Farms, Kwara State University, the Diagnostic Centre or even the wrongly ascribed International Vocational Centre? And, you ask: By whose judgement? In this 21st Century? This is irrational by all parameters. Oyedepo should have gone a step further to tell Kwarans what we needed since his wisdom is greater than all cabinet members of the Saraki’s government combined! That was a cabinet that paraded a mix of the young and the experienced, agile, resourceful and progressive hands in the likes of Dr Amuda Kannike, Dr Ahmed Alli, Dr Bola Olaosebikan, Mallam Bolaji Abdullah, Barr Razak Atunwa, Abdulrahim Adedoyin, Alhaji Saka Onimago among others.
Yet, Oyedepo, typical of the proverbial leopard that would never change its spots, tripped off and drifted into falsehood and deceit. Not only did he stand truth on its head, he labored in vain to give it a fine coat so the unsuspecting can be deceived. While facts are clear for everyone to see, it can only be mischief taken too far to suggest that the government had no plans of its own, but rode and operated on what Saraki handed over to Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed ! While governor Ahmed will be delighted to implement well-thought out programmes by any patriotic Nigerian, not to talk of a former governor who has been recognised as a performer even by the opposition, truth remains that nobody or better still, leader, can come into government without having its own clear-cut programmes. But like the time tested words of wisdom that the goat of one’s enemy cannot bring forth any thing good, no one is deluded that this government can score any pass mark from Oyedepo.
So, it can only cut the usual pattern of propaganda and needless mudslinging for cheap points for Oyedepo to suggest that while Governor Ahmed Abdulfatah was coming into office in 2011, he had no plan and scripts of his own to execute. How could that be possible? Preposterous as this is, it is wrong, too, to benchmark the government of Dr Ahmed Abdulfatah with Saraki’s – not when the circumstances are different.
Need Oyedepo be reminded that Governor Ahmed emerged on the mantra of continuity which metamorphosed into the Shared Prosperity Programme? Under Strategic Infrastructure, the programme has evolved into the operation no pot holes, completion of the A’Division – Offa Garage road, completion of Ganmo Afon Rd, Lafiagi Township Road and renovation of School for the Special Needs, among others, all in the first 100 days of the Abdulfatah administration. While Oyedepo was not specific in his wide claims about the roads, what is certain is that no road has ever been meant for a life time. No matter the quality, roads always succumb to wear and tear over time. . And, where this happens, a responsible government, as demonstrated by Governor Abdulfatah, moves in to effect repairs or renovate, as necessary. So, what is Oyedepo saying? And if some of our roads have gone bad as a result of the volume of traffic, does that take away the fact that the Operation No Pot Holes was successful until dwindling allocation forced a lull? The truth, which Oyedepo deliberately twisted to suit his purpose, is that those portions that call for repairs now, which the government also recognizes, were not necessarily those repaired in 2011.
Criticism, like talk, is cheap. And, it could be seen that glib talk pours in Oyedepo’s court. Yet, graciously, like in the Saraki’s case, Oyedepo admitted that the administration is even doing something – and had done some hospitals in the face of increasing paucity of funds following the growing downturn and dwindling federal allocation to states. But rather than armchair criticism, one only wished he could take a trip outside Ilorin metropolis to have an on-the-spot assessment of the renovated and equipped hospitals with modern equipment within the needs of the people juxtaposed with the available resources. To demonstrate the governor’s commitment to meeting the health needs of the people, six additional hospital projects have been earmarked for completion before the end of the administration as funds come in. These are in Oro, Ilofa, Erin-Ile, Civil Service Clinic in Ilorin, Jebba and Cottage hospital in Ilesha Baruba. How else could a governor be committed to the welfare of the people?
It is not a subject of disputation the number of new roads the Dr Ahmed Abdulfatah administration has rehabilitated and completed in the last five years, which were clearly captured in the governor’s 5th Anniversary Report made public on 29th May 2016, Democracy Day. Unfortunately, it depends on where and on what Oyedepo had his mindset. How would he have derided the construction of the Ijara Isin-Isanlu Isin road to which communities he belong? Other road projects included, but not limited to the Arandun-Rore-Ipetu-Aran Orin road, Share-Oke Ode on going road; completed Share township road, and the Oko Bridge at Oro Ago. The construction of the Oloro Palace way, among other projects, elicited a Thank-You visit to the Governor by Oloro and other traditional rulers in the area. The current administration has executed rural electrification works, cutting across communities and places like: Owode kekere, Alasoro, Idera Alawan, Osin Aiyekale and Amberi communities, as well as procured and installed transformers at Akunyu faje, Otte Oja and Olofe in Asa Local Government Council; as well as Obbo Aiyegunle, Ganmo, Oke Ayo Share, Share Water Works. The state government had equally extended rural electrification projects to Falokun community and Kabba Kajola in the last three years. In 2015 alone, the government procured a total of 105 transformers, which were distributed and installed across the state.
On rural roads grading, this current administration has moved into communities such as Agunjin-Agbeku-Ada-Edidi, Ita Amon-Oloje; Idofian-Igbo-Owu-Maloko-Igbaja; Sabaja-Owa-Onire-Owu falls; Idera-Owode-Afaro, to mention but a few. As you read this, the Omu Aran Fire Service will soon be commissioned, as government continues work in communities like Irede, Gaa Akanbi, Oke Ogun, Royal Care Hospital road, among others numerous to mention with traditional rulers from the affected communities daily paying a thank-you visit to the governor. Projects such as the World Class School of Engineering at Kwara State University, Malete and completion of Harmony Diagnostic Centre, as well as, purchase of more training aircraft for the Aviation College, including the award winning energised Community Health Insurance Scheme are some of the accomplishments of Governor Ahmed.
To put the records straight on the administration’s strong and untiring support for agriculture, the Agro Mall is not a financial institution but a one stop shop for agriculture inputs, equipment or services even as about 172 farmers benefitted from the N214m loan through the government’s Off Taker Demand Driving scheme in 2014.
The Mall is a coordination centre to create access to agric inputs, equipment, agric extension, market and agric finances. This is aimed at fast tracking the state’s agricultural development by providing easy access to import, equipment and credit facilities at no additional charge to farmers. The activities of the mall are well publicized and genuine stakeholders have benefitted from this as the mall continues to sensitize farmers, organize awareness programmes and biometric registration of farmers. The Mall has succeeded in connecting some commercial farmers in the state to international markets through its Farmers Export Window in which a group of farmers are already under a contract to supply about 50,000 MT of maize and 70,000 MT of soya beans over a period of six months.
On water, while Ilorin metropolis water reticulation has reached 95% completion and would have been test-run but for the activities of vandals, more than a hundred and thirty boreholes were drilled through the Ministry of Water Resources between last year and the current year. Boreholes drilled based on needs assessment include but not limited to Ekan (Ile-Tara), Obbo Ile, Isare-Opin, Budo Gbada, Edidi, Laduba, Ago Oja, Ekerin, Ilupeju, Gaa Osi, Tunga Bello, Kuguji-corner, Atiku village, Ilesha, Budo Aiki, Teme, Ipata Oloje, Isanlu Isin to mention but a few. Yes, we may not have gotten to required level of our water requirement, but the reality is that work is on going on every facet of our needs.
What appears like dancing naked in the rains just for the purpose of discrediting a resourceful and purposeful administration of Governor Ahmed, is Iyiola Oyedepo assessment of performance in the housing requirement of the State. He failed to understand and appreciate the truth that no matter how hard any government tries, it will never meet all housing needs of the people as a result of dynamism in population growth. At best, a government can only map out a strategy to achieve set targets base on scale of preference and available resources.
To establish what is needed is to be certain of what is required to achieve success. To take action is even more shrewd. Since government is a continuum as Oyedepo rightly admitted, the most reasonable thing for one administration is to continue where the previous stopped. That is the definition of continuity which Iyiola tries to ridicule. Governor Ahmed has set the pace by embarking on 1000 housing units. The next APC government in the state will take this to another level. Pitiably ignorant of things happening around the state, it seems convenient for Oyedepo and his ilk to imagine and concoct lies counting on luck to discredit a government that is obviously working and contributing its best to affect the people positively though hugely financially challenged on all fronts.
Again, in Oyedepo’s twisted imaginations, Governor Ahmed invaluable contributions and labour for the growth and development of Kwara State, do not count. In fact, to him, he simply sits in the office and does nothing! Or, perhaps, has no idea whatsoever about what managing a state entails though he had been a commissioner and played crucial roles in the success story of the now acknowledged administration of former governor Dr Bukola Saraki. It is sad that Oyedepo like the mythical Ojuju Calabar, has conditioned himself to seeing and representing nothing but the diabolical. So, where others see an administration, which like others in Nigeria, is weighed down by lack of funds but improvising alternatives to finance projects, Oyedepo prefers undue political grandstanding.
Life is a reflection of what we give as contribution. So, it is said that anyone, who would want others to appreciate his or her talent, must himself or herself, appreciate others’ talents. Rather than indulging in wasteful initiation of new projects while abandoning uncompleted but useful and expensive projects, part of Governor Ahmed’s legacies are the smiles and hopes of patients, through the Harmony Diagnostic Centre, who hitherto were hopeless as a result of inadequate diagnosis of their ailments, and access to affordable health care through the enlarged award winning community health insurance scheme.
The fulfillment of a life time ambition of those young pilots trained at the Aviation College gives Dr Ahmed a life time joy for positively impacting on their future and the wellbeing of their families. The commencement and completion of world class School of Engineering at the Kwara State University, Malete, is a lasting footprint of Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed.
Governor Ahmed will be the happiest man on planet earth to see thousands of our youths graduate from the completed Ajasse Ipo International Vocational Centre, a centre directed towards providing a new directive in artsanship from this subregion. Reducing waterborne deceases through provision of portable water; infrastructural development; strengthening the state’s financial base through the Kwara State Internal Revenue Services; diversifying the state’s economic base through agriculture, solid minerals and investment drive among others are the landmarks of the Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed’s administration.
Truth, however, remains that no matter how hard evil tries, it will never triumph over good. The same way subjective criticisms will not stop the good works of Governor Abdulfatah in Kwara State, whether or not Oyedepo appreciates them. Kwara will surely keep moving forward as Governor Abdulfatah seeks to leave a lasting legacy through a deliberate action of executing people-centered projects in fulfillment of his electioneering campaign promises to the people of the state.