The International Writers Magazine: African Politics
OYO State is not a battleground
Adewale T Akande
The recent political imbroglio in Oyo State that caused the gruesome murder of the Chairman of the State National Union of Road Transport Workers, Alhaji Lateef Salako (aka Elewe-omo) and two other party men of the People Democratic Party spells danger as the general elections draw nearer.
Several people were said to be injured. Citizens now live in fear anytime they go out. News of kidnappings and killings are everywhere. The atmosphere is very tense especially in Ibadan. These bad politicians result to violence in settling their disputes. They result to killing, burning and maiming in order to gain acess to peoples’ treasury. This sad incident displays immaturity, opportunism, babarism and moral indiscipline on the part of those politicians and their cohorts. Terminating another human soul to gain political power! This is the greatest offence to humanity and to God.
Political parties are designed to perform certain credible roles of unity, stability and harmony in the society. The ultimate goal of participation in politics is to render service and ehance common good of the citizens. The beauty of democracy is allowing the people to participate and not creating fear. Democracy should facilitate informal accommodation and solution of conflicts. What we are now witnessing in our society is the politics of hatred, revenge and deceit. To them, politics is now do-or-die affair. These set of thugs, touts and murderers have taken control of the State with AK 47 rifles, UTC cutlasses and other dangerous weapons. This has been making it difficult to discover leaders who have the will, the ability and the vision to provide environment in which people will feel relatively secured. All we have now are rogues, thugs, criminals, crooks, illiterates and fake politicians around the corridor of government institutions. It is a curse. We can never get the best from these people. That is the end result of selecting or picking mediocrity to meritocracy. They only good at making problems, telling lies and making unfulfilled promises, exploiting taxpayer funds for frivolous personal expenses and employing tactics of deceit and blackmail. They never had anything in stock to deliver. In order to understand very well their failures, just go through the State yearly Budget details in the last ten years (or even the last year State Budget-2010) and see how much they have squandered without anything to show for it.
The pace-setter of all States has been turned to a battle ground where our elites are watching helplessly. They refuse to bear out their minds on a round table discussion with courtesy and friendliness to resolve this uncontrollable crisis. They do not bother to forget their festering grievances and admit those mistakes of the past and move on healing old wounds which is essential for future success. Our leaders have forgotten that loving each other is what gives meaning to human life. They refuse to believe that forgiveness is an act of great generosity. They have forgotten so quickly those iconic strongmen of politics of yesteryears. Where are they now with their accumulated wealth? Great leaders do not kill to become great. Great leaders do not discredit democratic institutions, distort desire for peace and democratic progress. Great leaders are always ready to give a hand to his fellow man. Great leaders make great sacrifices and ahcieve their greatness on the services they render for good of the citizens.
Oyo State have the God-given means – both human and material resources to achieve the onerous of actually restoring the state to a pace-setter that its known for a very long time. The state that is known for its reputation in the fields of rich culture, commerce, sports and education have been hijacked by dubious politicians that believe that the only way to settle their grievances is through violence, patronage and extortion. These set of so-called politicians have never appreciated the value of education, democratic principles, tolerance, accountability, friendliness, accomodation and respect for laws of the land. The state education system is on the brink of collapse. They have turn the state into rival armies of political thugs and criminals instead of concentrating on making use of the state natural resourses which are not well-tapped. What can you say of commerce in a state that cannot provide Bus-Transit Services to conquer distances and natural barriers? A victory of corruption and impunity has become order of the day. The last hope of every citizen -policemen, are now politicians in uniform. The police have been pocketed and dance to the tune of these political leaders. The criminals have field day anytime they want to operate. The life and security of the people are no more guaranteed. Private security guards are now the order of the day for those who can afford it. Some of them even employ the services of thugs. They are now using government money to bribe, buying expensive gifts to canvass for votes. They are living fat and the entire masses are growing thinner and thinner like broom sticks. You don’t need to go far to see this in Oja’Oba market in Ibadan, Akesan market in Oyo, Oja Akangbe in Ogbomoso, Sango market in Saki, and Towobowo market in Igboora.
Enough is enough. Our elders cannot be enemies forever as we do not want them to pass this down to their sons. It is much better to make way for the coming generation as one. With spirit of love and unity, working together, we can do more and more better. We have to reject those mischievous politicians with perpectual crisis, conflicts and disorder that can not lead us to the path of functioning democracy, good governance and accountability. This uncontrollable crisis is given much concern on the trust, integrity and credibility of our political elites. They should remember that “poor leadership in good times can be hidden, but poor leadership in bad times is a recipe for disaster”. It is very sad and dissaponting if our State Obas, chiefs, political elites, religious leaders and professionals can not find solutions to this political violence that discourages good-will people to contest and restricts the political space to thugs, criminals and persons of limited merits and capabilities. It is disheartening if in their time, Oyo State could not have a good governance with free, qualitative and functional education, good health services, food security, employments opportunities, adequate security to protect the lives and property of its citizenry, efficient public transportation system, undistrupted electricity supply, regular public tap-water and functioning street and traffic lights. Posterity will never forgive us if we fail to act now. It is collective effort and responsibility of all sons and daughters of Oyo State to unite and work to raise hope in making the best of the State. All eligible voters in the state should register and vote en-masse to the candidates with trust, integrity and credibility to serve the State better. That is only our weapon. That is only our voice. We should not back down. This is time for New Oyo State with a clear difference. We need a team of achievers and not deceivers, statesmen and not dubious politicians. Decisions are made by those who show up. It is more easy for these political brigandage and perpetrators if we don’t cast our votes and defent it. It is much better to exercise our political right this time around peacefully and secretly for a positive change. The truth will always prevail no matter whatever we are passing through now.. We should always remember the words of George Jean Nathan which says; “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote”.
© Adewale T Akande Jan 11th 2011
(M.ed. Educ.Mgt), (M.Sc.Political Sc.) University of Ibadan.
Author, Educationist and Road Traffic Safety Consultant,
© Jan 11th 2011