Amosun, critics trade words over achievements

By Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta   |   08 September 2015   |   2:42 am  
AMOSUN-OK

Amosun, Governor of Ogun state

OGUN state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun is one of the governors who enjoyed immense goodwill when he assumed power in 2011.

He was a very popular politician in the state, having won convincingly, the senatorial elections in 2003.    But he started having problems, especially with the civil servants over some of his policies before the April 11, 2015 governorship election, which frightened his supporters that he might lose his bid for second term, but he won.

There is fear, however, that the governor’s popularity has waned since his assumption of office last May 29 as majority of the ordinary people who sent him to the hilly, Isale-Igbein, Abeokuta Government House, are now complaining.

They are sad that three months after his second term inauguration, he has been operating without Commissioners or political appointees, except the Secretary to the State Government (SSG).

Besides, they are accusing the government of “abandoning” all the landmark projects his administration embarked upon during his first tenure.

The projects include six-lane roads across the major cities, overhead bridges and Model Schools. In addition, the people are accusing the governor of highhandedness, citing the recent sacking of a Permanent Secretary and some teachers to support their case.

There is fear, however, that the governor’s popularity has waned since his assumption of office last May 29 as majority of the ordinary people who sent him to the hilly, Isale-Igbein, Abeokuta Government House, are now complaining. They are sad that three months after his second term inauguration, he has been operating without Commissioners or political appointees, except the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). Besides, they are accusing the government of “abandoning” all the landmark projects his administration embarked upon during his first tenure.   The projects include six-lane roads across the major cities, overhead bridges and Model Schools. In addition, the people are accusing the governor of highhandedness, citing the recent sacking of a Permanent Secretary and some teachers to support their case.’’

They also talk of the government’s demolition exercise which they said has rendered many traders jobless and others homeless. For example two years after the government demolished shops at Lafenwa market to pave way for the construction of the Abeokuta-Ayetoro six-lane road, the place is yet to be put into use. Some of the traders are therefore gradually returning to site.

An affected trader, Titi Adelakun told The Guardian, “All of us (traders) are angry with him (Amosun), if he knew he was not ready for the project, why did he demolish our shops and drove us out of business which is our only source of livelihood.”

Commenting on the present situation in the state, a People Democratic Party (PDP) Stalwart, Ifekayode Akinbode said, “No true born indigene of the state will not be worried about the change of event in the State. It is very sad that virtually nothing in the state is working again”.

On Amosun’s delay in appointing his team, Akinbode said, “Democratic governance is not supposed to be a government where one man dictates the pace”.

Akinbode who served as Special Assistant in the immediate past administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, said “Amosun is running the state with only his Deputy, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga and the SSG, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa.”

According to him, “This is not about politicising issues. All the roads are abandoned; the major roads in the state are in poor state. The workers’ pension deductions have not been remitted and the governor has not been consistent.    “In July he promised the workers that he was going to remit it, today nothing has happened.

You will recall during the election that the governor gathered all the civil servants at the Cultural Centre where he promised that before October, 2014 he was going to give housing loan and car loan to all the workers.

Till today nothing has been done about it”.     But the government insists that there is no cause for alarm, that very soon a cabinet would soon be put in place to allow the government to hit the ground running.

Giving reason why the government is yet to fully take off, the APC’s State Publicity Secretary, Sola Lawal said, “There is need for taking stock of what has happened before, review the present as well as project into the future.

And I think that is what the governor is doing. It is not that governance is not taking place”.     Lawal assured that “political appointments will come, but there is need for proper planning.

This was the same thing they said, that the governor was slow at the beginning of his first tenure, but at the end of that tenure people saw the fantastic transformation that took place all over the state. The people should give the governor some time on the appointment of political office holders. They shall be appointed soon”.

On the abandoned projects, the APC scribe said, “That is not true, as a matter of fact, in many places across the state work is still going on at all the sites of the projects. For instance, work has not stopped in Sagamu, Ijebu-Igbo and so on.”

Giving reason why the government is yet to fully take off, the APC’s State Publicity Secretary, Sola Lawal said, “There is need for taking stock of what has happened before, review the present as well as project into the future. And I think that is what the governor is doing. It is not that governance is not taking place”. Lawal assured that “political appointments will come, but there is need for proper planning. This was the same thing they said, that the governor was slow at the beginning of his first tenure, but at the end of that tenure people saw the fantastic transformation that took place all over the state. The people should give the governor some time on the appointment of political office holders. They shall be appointed soon”.

Lawal insisted, “There are several projects going on in the state, all of them cannot be done at the same time, some will be done now while others will be done later. But you can be sure that these projects will all be completed.”

When a question was posed to him on whether Amosun was running a one-man administration, Lawal’s answer was, “How can he run a one-man administration when you have the bulk of the civil servants, the topmost echelon of the Civil Service assisting him in the administration of the state.

The past commissioners handed over to the Permanent Secretaries in their various ministries and they are administering the state with the governor.”

However, an APC Chieftain, Chief Doja Adewolu who also spoke to The Guardian, sang a different tune on why Commissioners are yet to be appointed saying, ‘’We (APC) are working as a team that is why none of the APC governors has appointed any political appointees. They are waiting for the President to do so first.

The Change we talked of is total, hence we can’t work individually.’’     On the sack of the Permanent Secretary and some teachers over an alleged ‘’offensive’’ examination question, a case cited by the critics to support allegations of tyranny against the governor, Adewolu said,  ‘’We want to maintain discipline in the entire public service.

The governor knows nothing about the sacking of the teachers; it is entirely the decision of the Civil Service Commission. And the state government has come out with its clear position on that. The governor cannot be involved in mundane things like that”.

On Amosun’s incessant demolition exercise, the APC chieftain affirmed, “You cannot make omelet without breaking an egg. For development to take place some people have to sacrifice and mind you houses demolished were built illegally on government acquired land.

Owners who built legally have already been paid compensation.’’    Adewolu also spoke on the on-going construction of Amosun’s multi-million naira private residence in Abeokuta, saying ‘’Yes, it is true that he is building such a house and it is because he wants to be the first governor to reside permanently in Abeokuta after leaving office.’’

But Akinbode dismissed all the defence of Amosun by Lawal and Adewolu insisting that, “they are defending the indefensible. The model schools that he (Amosun) promised that he would complete by 2012, we are now in 2015 and they are yet to be completed. Look at every sector, the health sector is in total shambles”.

In his view, the sacking of the Permanent Secretary and the teachers is an indication that “the state is gradually drifting to a tyrannical system of government and this is a very sad development”.

On the demolition exercise, Akinbode said, “Any government that does not carry human face is going to fail. A government should represent collective aspiration of the mass of the people.

This same government asked these people to come to the Home Charter for their documentation and some of them paid money for the process and yet their houses have been marked for demolition.    “He (Amosun) should listen to the voice of the people, nobody is perfect but as a governor who rode on the popular mandate of the people on his first term when people actually voted for him, it is important for him to listen to the same people.”

On the governor’s private residence Akinbode said, “On this issue, the question of morality comes to play here, he is a private citizen when he leaves office, but when he is still in government he is expected to exercise some level of decorum.    “I do not think it is morally right, because of the economic reality in the state today.

Even if he has the money, he should be able to view it from the perspective of somebody that has the interest of the ordinary people at heart. I am not saying that he has no right to build his own house, but at least he must be able to have some level of decorum to reflect the present reality of the economic hardship of the citizens of Ogun State.”



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