Of Hypocrisy and Buffoonery: Xtraying Akeredolu’s Three Years In Office by Wándé T. Àjàyí

A few weeks ago, Ondo State was forced to take notice of the celebration of the third anniversary of the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu SAN administration as executive Governor of the sunshine state. Earlier before now, the people had carried on with their businesses with firm believe that they are in the hands of autopilot who seldomly remind them of his existence via vituperative utterances.

Since 1999, Ondo State is one unique state that have had a fair share of virtually all political parties. From Alliance for Democracy in 1999, to PDP in 2003 and Labour Party in 2007, the State chose APC in 2016. The uniqueness of Ondo State in the choice of political parties is worthy of investigation. The State electorates have chosen from a variation of political party with a look at its statuses. We’ve tasted ALL what Nigerian political system can offer. We’ve had a bite of PDP, APC, AD and even had a taste of the third force in LP. In all, it is safe to say that the State can effectively advise others on which party suits better. For three solid years, Ondo State have had a taste of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) at the State level. Yes, it’s already three years ago that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu SAN took oath to defend, protect and govern the people of the Sunshine State. Time, they say, waits for no man. Like yesterday, it’s three years and we will have to take a look at the performance of the APC administration compared to what we had in the past.

A chronicle of this Akeredolu led administration has left a sour taste in our mouths as it is laden with lies, hypocrisy, buffoonery and uncouthness. What started like a joke with the convocation of a doomed talk show termed an education summit some months after inauguration ended up a well executed plan to drastically inflate the tuition of state owned tertiary institutions by over 500%. The summit also recommended the transfer of missionary schools back to missions and scrapping of mega schools to pave way for refurbished primary and secondary schools across the state. The summit even advised that teachers are recruited to meet up with UNESCO standard of a teacher per 20 students. Aside the hasty implementation of the tuition increments, none other recommendation of the summit has been effected.

Like the Governor said when the increment issue was at its peak, “education is not for the poor and students can’t continue to pay tuitions not enough to buy a pair of shoes.” This is despite the Governor going on record before the elections that he will sustain the #25k tuition bequeathed to him by his predecessor. He argued the increment will enhance performance of the students. I wouldn’t want to dwell much on the issue as it has turned out to be counterproductive with over 60% of students dropping out as they couldn’t afford the new fees, thereby increasing the high rate of criminality and prostitution in the host communities. The governor even had people to buy forms hoping they would be recruited to teach in our primary schools that is wickedly starved of teachers.

Before the increment, AAUA students was getting awards and performed excellently well whenever they go out to compete with their colleagues. Since the increment, no student of AAUA has been awarded. Like a friend said, students now possess a preoccupied mindset which will hinder their concentration level, thereby affecting their academic performances.

Without a clear cut health policy, this administration acquired a $500,000 loan to buy medical equipments and concentrated it on white elephant projects like the Akure Teaching Hospital, Owo Medical Village while leaving Primary Health Care in the hands of mediocres as against the previous administrations’ prioritising PHC. Akeredolu has prioritised urban health care. With this, over 80% of Ondo State’s indigene are without direct access to health care. With the obvious degradation of the Mother and Child Hospitals scheme, maternal mortality rate has skyrocketed to an all time high.

Since November last year, Ondo State Water Corporation stopped dispensing water to homes. A few weeks ago, the Governor launched a new water scheme, yet aimed at fattening the internally generated revenue of the state at the detriment of indigent members of the society. One would ask, what will this Government ever give to it’s citizenry without charge? This is despite the obvious capital flight occasioned with the refusal of the government to patronise local contractors.

Gory as it seem, there exists some reasons to be joyous about this government and chief of it is the drive by the Governor to get marijuana legalised for commercial and medicinal production. As he rightly argued when he met Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Ogbese Weed is the best medically endowed leaf in Ondo State and beyond which must be turned into a source of revenue generation. Nigerians pay lots to import CBD oil, made from marijuana, to treat cancer. We can get it manufactured quite cheaply here under the watchful gaze of drug law enforcement officials.

On one of those Thursdays preceding the 2012 gubernatorial election in Ondo State, ‘Public Square’ a convergence of ‘highly notorious set of naysayers’ were at their best when they described the achievements of then Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko as ‘cosmetic projects’. It went viral not too long after with virtually everyone who cared about how they were being governed either defending the assertion or refuting it. For long, I’ve wondered what would be used to term what Akeredolu is doing. Any suggestions?