AKEREDOLU’S HUNDRED DAYS: JUGDING FROM JERICHO By Debo Ikuesewo-Akinbami

Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, at the end of today, would have spent the first hundred days in office as governor of Ondo State. He was sworn in as governor on February 24th, 2017, succeeding the veteran political actor and physician, Olusegun Mimiko, who completed two term as governor.

Before the governorship election of November 26th wherein Akeredolu emerged winner of the contest,

he had contested the governorship seat on October 20th, 2012 on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) alongside Mr. Olusola Oke on the ticket if the People’s Democratic Party, both of whom lost the election to Olusegun Mimiko of the (then) Labour Party, who spent unprecedented two term office like none before him.

Akeredolu won election – at his second attempt – defeating Eyitayo Jedege, SAN, of the People’s Democratic Party and Olusola Oke of Alliance for Democracy (AD) to emerge as the 6th civilian governor of the state.

For the people of the state, the emergence of Mr. Akeredolu sprouted shades of optimism and pessimism with different persons, depending on each man’s shape of standing and points of assessment, but for the governor and recipient of the highest votes, it was a blank plate, offering the legal luminary new opportunity to prove both believers and doubters right and wrong.

Akeredolu’s eventual election was not as tough as he had it in 2012 since he enjoyed – even as he confessed – the advantage of being backed up by the President with relevant power accessories and the governors his ruling All Progressive Congress- who deployed both human and material wherewithal in his favour, factors which altogether placed him at taller advantage over other aspirants and soft landed him in victory.

There is no denying the fact that Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, had relative advantages in both pre-election politicking and afters. Apart from the presidential shoulders that he got and rode on, his victory was not challenged in the courts, thereby placing the beard postal in a conducive mental climate to do the business of governance that he swore to do with undivided attention and seriousness.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), party of Akeredolu ‘s immediate successor even boasted to the effect that the government of former governor Mimiko did lay enduring legacies and foundation in the various sections of governance upon which Akeredolu is comfortably sitting. Other claims add that the former government left over 20 billion naira in the state coffers, from which he’s been handling pecuniary issues with relative ease – and which Akeredolu neither affirm nor deny.

Shall we then be safe to say that the governor truly stepped unto some measure of ease when the same Akeredolu inherited heaps of salary areas that even the acclaimed sum left is not sufficient to offset? When one weighs the debt left against the cash left, it may not really worth any serious difference. However, Akeredolu ‘s decision to begin payments to the workforce from the month of his entry to office will only amount to trying to score mere political point when weighed on the strength of logic and the fact that government is a continuum.

Akeredolu, at this rung, shall be scored. He has recorded fair achievements, from road repairs, serial signing of MoU to enhance development in specific sections of governance, top of which is the plan to link Lagos to Ondo by road-over-the-seas, infrastructural intervention at the University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, and of course, the reinstatement of disengaged members of staff of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko and the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, respectively. We shall add that he has paid salaries as and when due since he came on board.

More often, we seem to forget that salary is the right of the working people, a constitutional matter and responsibility of government, just as the provision of social amenities, security of lives and properties, and the people accord pedestrian accolades to public servants for doing the businesses of governance, the purpose for which they are elected. Salary payment now wears the garb of achievement because the people are used to high level of leadership irresponsibility around here.

That Akeredolu pays salaries is commendable, yet it’s no special deed for its part of his responsibilities under the law. What the people should rather celebrate is still missing – the upping of the state income by ingeniously improving on the IGR. Repairs of the roads is good but new roads should be constructed especially within the hinterland to enable rural constituents to access the cities.

Having spend a hundred days in office, it would not be hasty to begin to ask him questions in relation to his planned programmes of action. The state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) still remains what it was at Akeredolu’s inauguration, the moribund industries he promise to strife to revive are still there in their dead situation. Health, Education, Commerce and even Agriculture receive no obvious attention up to now.

People wonder why governor Akeredolu, after a hundred days in office, is yet to form his cabinet, a situation which alongside other factors is portraying the government as one that trades inertia and lethargy. The people worries too that he is being operating without evidence of preparation for the exalted office and with no blueprint for governance.

The other day, at All Saints’ Church, Anglican Communion, Jericho, Ibadan, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu had described his emergence as governor of the state as “a miracle” and that he wasn’t sure of victory, a statement which has seen yielded multiple semantic implications, stout of which is the fact that a person whose emergence he considers as a miracle could not have been said to be prepared for governance, the same interpretation which some believe is responsible for the seeming inactivity that has appeared to be the present situation in the state.

Shall we then judge the governor by the statement he made at Jericho as no serious governmental functions are presently happening in the state or shall we say he is yet doing the groundworks that shall in no time yield successes and change the face of the state? Whatever meaning of judgement the people shall make will be largely dependent upon the actions or inactions of governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is duty bound to determine what the people gets and what his scores become after now.

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