In the International Court of Justice Report of 1992 at page 93 The Honourable Judge Bola Ajibola KBE of the International Court of Justice made the following remarks: “Again I ask myself what is justice in a case of this nature? Justice is to maintain international peace and security, to take effective measures to prevent and remove all threats to peace; to suppress all threats of aggression or any form of breaches of peace in any part of the world. To me, justice requires prompt action to prevent deterioration of peaceful coexistence…No man goes to sleep when the house is burning”. Without donning the garb of preposterousness, the security rooftop of Oyo state is burning seriously and uncontrollably.
All over the world the importance attached to security of lives and properties is nulli secondus. Larger attention is given to it for security is the bedrock of human existence. Dead men don’t negotiate business and they don’t contribute their quota to national and state development. It is now so unfortunate that a key man to the Governor of Oyo State and the Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Surveys was attacked by unknown gunmen in his house killing his driver and his orderly heavily wounded. The cypher hereinafter posited is that if the life of a serving Commissioner and the henchman of the Governor is not safe, whose life and property is? Nothing can be further from the truth other than saying that security under the watch of Governor Seyi Makinde is at its lowest ebb. Seyi Makinde’s government is taking us back to the Hobbesian era when life was solitary, nasty, brutish and short.
Like W. B. Yeats said in his classic poem The Second Coming, “things have fallen apart and the centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” For emphasis sake W. B. Yeats stated in his poem as follows”:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Things fall apart the entre cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
The world has not fallen apart. Oyo state is.
In disparaging the roles of bad governance it is quite instructive to remark that one of the factors holding back our democratic process is that some office holders are not prepared for the jobs they were voted to perform. The greatest threat to governance is to elect leaders who find themselves overwhelmed by the challenges of office because they were never prepared in the first place. Ever since the emergence of Governor Seyi Makinde as the governor of Oyo state, his became the tale of a man who was never prepared for governance. From a rubber stamp State House of Assembly headed by a young man who was not also prepared for the seat of Speakership, and down to charlatans who left various political parties to find retirement benefits for themselves within the corridors of Seyi Makinde’s government, the recent comatose state of Oyo is and can be largely attributed to unpreparedness of Seyi Makinde and his arrays of political office holders.
Or how best can one describe an attack on a serving Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Surveys of Oyo state right within the comfort of his house by unknown gunmen? The government of Seyi Makinde is condescending into failure; failure is staring at the face of the leaders who unfortunately met themselves unprepared for the major task of governance. Mockery of the system it is for a government that has no answer for the insecurity in the land. It is a colossal mockery for a government to pay lip service to the populace assuring them of a secure and safe state when on the contrary the high and mighty and the middle classed civil servants and citizens are scampering to safety with no hope in sight.
Governor Seyi Makinde in a bid to show off and over-impress the people embarked grossly on misplaced priorities and is always all out to disparage the antecedents of the immediate past APC led government. Makinde via his lacklustre attitude to governance has tremendously proven that Oyo is being taken like 10 years backward: the popular pre-Ajimobi era. Before the election of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, pre-Ajimobi Oyo state was always a war zone.
Ranging from the criminality perpetrated along the Molete axis, down to the notoriety of street urchins at Bere/Oja-Oba down to Oje, Iwo Road and the unrest always recorded at Foko and Oke-Ado, Ajimobi came to power minding the fact that governance without adequate security is a failure – colossal one for that matter. As the Chief Security Officer of the state, Ajimobi brought the Oyo State Security Trust Fund (OYSSTF) to limelight to provide for the wherewithal of fighting insecurity. He brought the Operation Burst and Joint Task Force which really worked like a magic wand in nipping criminality in the bud. Like a Cyclop, Ajimobi restored sanity, sanctity and order to Oyo state. The facts can be verified: no Commissioner or public officer was attacked under the nose of Senator Abiola Ajimobi when he was in government.
As it stands now, it is audible to the deaf and visible to the blind that Governor Seyi Makinde does not have a clear-cut blueprint on how to handle the matter of security. It is therefore not surprising that instead of building institutional countercheck to insecurity, Governor Makinde is busy lavishing borrowed funds on misplaced projects and flying all over the world. What is the problem? The problem is the successive cohorts of opportunist politicians and their ever available collaborators who are continuously using public offices, politics and power for themselves for self enrichments with the mass of the people getting steadily poorer by the day.
The procurement of some patrol vehicles was made public on 20th November 2019 and in the evening of the same day, unknown gunmen attacked a serving Commissioner under the watch of the Governor at his home claiming his driver’s life. Seyi Makinde should know as a governor that outcome policies based on consensual, participatory, and transparent processes are more easily sustained than lone, solitary-minded, eccentrically dogmatic viewpoints. By implication, institutions of good governance that embody such processes are critical for development and should encompass partnerships among all elements of civil society representing different shades of opinion and ideology.
Before this can materialize, it is fundamental that a solid foundation of effective organizations and enabling institutions is a necessary precondition. Once a governor fails to take initiative and is always fond of putting his eggs in one basket, then it frequently results to underperformance. And the most paramount performance index rests solely on the issue of security.
The present ruling party in Oyo state and its drivers have no direction. It’s a tale of confused drivers looking for confused passengers. They have degenerated to political miscalculations that have fallen below the expectations of the people. In a scenario similar to Seyi Makinde’s government, the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Russia Nikita Khrushchev in his book titled Krushchev Remembers, reported that “after the Nineteenth Party Congress, Stalin created among the new Presidium members some wide-ranging commissions to look into various matters. In practice, these commissions turned out to be completely ineffectual because everyone was left to his own devices. There was no guidance. There was nothing assigned for these commissions to look into, so they made up their own assignments. Everyone in the orchestra was playing on his own instrument anytime he felt like it, and there was no direction from the conductor”.
Those appointed by governor Seyi Makinde in various capacities cannot boast of having achieved anything spectacular other than media noises, television misdemeanors and radio cacophonies. This best summarises the infamous and inglorious roles currently being played by the charlatans under Seyi Makinde’s administration. His appointees practise what we can best refer to as political shenanigans. Their orchestra lacks a conductor: always embarking on aimless adventures. The founding fathers of Oyo may not be that happy in the heavens with Governor Seyi Makinde paying mere lip service to governance.
Clarion call is hereby made to the Commissioner for Lands of Oyo state who was attacked and who escaped death by thin air and indeed the entire cabinet members of Seyi Makinde’s government to immediately resign from Governor Seyi Makinde’s cabinet as the recent attack shows that cabinet members’ lives are not secure. A government that cannot adequately secure its cabinet members will definitely fail to secure the lives of the ordinary citizens.
Seyi Makinde should know that security is serious business no one can play politics with. He seems not to have a firm grasp of the issues surrounding the state’s security and terrain. This is a Governor who spends more time outside Oyo state than inside. He prides in coasting all over the world and abandoning his primary responsibility of governance and security stability. Seyi cannot be blamed: he lives most of his adult life in the South-Southern part of the country. He barely knows the Oyo terrain and landscape and those who are meant to be his eyes can’t really see farther beyond their nose. It’s a tale of the one-eyed man leading the blind. The Ibadan people with their witty sagacity had long posited that in the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is King. He leads his cabinet and they follow him sheepishly.
Governor Seyi Makinde should borrow leaf from the technocracy of the immediate past Governor of Oyo State Senator Abiola Ajimobi. He should not be too arrogant to approach the elder statesman at his Yemoja Street residence in Oluyole Estate, Ibadan. After all Seyi Makinde had confessed to the Oyo public that most of Senator Abiola Ajimobi’s policies are valuable and priceless. Government should be in continuum and pride and party politics should not step in place of good governance. If Governor Seyi Makinde is not prepared for the office, at least he can seek the way from those who have gone ahead of him in the journey.
Seyi Makinde has failed the people and he should face it. He should look at consulting the experienced to salvage Oyo’s dwindling glory.
•Martins Olamiji Sijuwade LP is a legal practitioner and the President of Global Social Thinkers’ Institute, an organization concerned with good governance, accountability and public transparency.