As I woke up this morning and engaged myself in some important mental transactions, I felt the stimulus to put down a one-paragraph piece to congratulate the new governor of Ondo state, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu on his inauguration. But I was greatly surprised that my pen was pushing me to write more thus making this piece epistle-like which of course wasn’t my initial plan. So pardon me. My pen has apologised to me for the unsolicited push!
Now to my message. Indeed, everything that has a beginning must surely has an ending. And so for the administration of the immediate past governor of Ondo state, Dr Olusegun Mimiko who bowed out of office yesterday after his two terms of eight years in the saddle, which of course, is the first in the history of our dear state.
Using universal indices of good governance, one might be constrained to either agree if the former governor was able to achieve some reasonable level of development or his government was a fatal disaster that the people of the Sunshine state will never pray to witness again. But in the Nigerian experience, this kind of critical examination will only be premised on which side of the divide that who ever wants to analyse that theory belongs.
Notwithstanding, one fact that will ever remain is that history cannot easily pocket the man that some people described as the Iroko of Ondo state politics. Although this nomenclature might have been bellied by the outcome of the November 26, 2016 governorship election in the state which culminated in the swearing of Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu yesterday, a man who Mimiko electorally nailed his coffin at the 2012 governorship poll.
There is no doubt that Dr Mimiko (PDP) has done his sincerest best for the state and this is evident in some sectors which places the state on comparative glory. However, the fact that the electorate chose to fall in love with the All Progressives Congress, APC and its Candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu who by the grace of God and the power of the people is today the governor of the state was indicative that Dr Mimiko’s best was not enough.
It was also an eloquent demonstration that the people of Ondo state were neither averse to change nor determine to retain what they described as a stinking status quo of squalor and underdevelopment.
Now that the white-beared legal giant has been sworn-in, it is time for him to get his cabinet right and start putting smiles on the faces of the people who defiled the scorching sun to entrust their mandate to him.
Certainly, no rational human being will expect the promised dividends of democracy to be sporadic in delivery because no one can claim ignorance of the economic challenges in the country which has, in no small measure, broken the backbones of most governors to perform effectively. But the fundamental fact is that ‘a leader is not known when things are rossy’. Good leaders are those creative people who innovatively maneuver a challenging time for the overall interest of their people.
For us, the good people of Ondo state, leadership is about all of us. We must be partners in progress with the new government since good followership is a tonic for a robust leadership. We must not always donned the toga of finding the fault lines which have hampered growth and development. We should also be patriotic enough to be change agents as we begin to Act and Think Anew.
I have to caution this pen to take a break for now. Once again, congratulations to the newest governor. All we want for him is God’s guidance to effectively steer the ship of our dear state to the much expected height!
Richard Adura-Ilesanmi writes from Sokoto State, Nigeria.