Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, on Saturday literally stood still as Governor Abiola Ajimobi flagged off his reelection campaign for the February 2015 gubernatorial election, just as national leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) lambasted the Federal Government for grounding the economy of Nigeria through massive corruption and gross administrative ineptitude.
The historic Mapo Hall, venue of the event, and its environs witnessed an assemblage of an unprecedented tumultuous crowd, while the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, former Governors Segun Oni and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former acting National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande and other leaders of the party also graced the occasion.
Also on hand to solidarise with Oyo First Lady, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi were the First Lady of Osun State, Mrs. Sherifat Aregbesola and former First Lady of Ekiti State, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi among APC women leaders.
The ecstatic crowd, most of whom were dressed in branded Ankara uniform attire, held broom which is the symbol of APC, waited with bathed breath from the beginning of the event to the end.
Governor Ajimobi, while addressing the gathering, expressed happiness at the large turn-out of party faithful and the citizens of the state, which he said was a demonstration of the faith and confidence they had for him and his administration.
He used the occasion to reel out some of his key achievements since he came on board as the state’s helmsman, which had led to the rapid social and economic transformation, unprecedented in the history of the state.
For instance, he said his administration was the first to construct a 7,000-capacity ultra-modern market for traders at Scout Camp, Challenge, Ibadan to accommodate traders displaced from the street free of charge, with N20 million free to trade.
In addition, he said 6,000 traders had benefitted from N300 million interest-free loan to boost their trade, stressing that this was aside the N120 million interest-free loan which had earlier been made available.
Governor Ajimobi said that it was during his administration that citizens now sleep with two eyes closed because of the pervading peace and security which had attracted at least eight industrial giants to the state.
He also added that the construction of the first flyover by any civilian administration at Mokola in Ibadan as well as the upgrade of Agodi Gardens, hitherto a jungle, to a first class resort were part of the dividends of his administration’s transformation agenda.
He also noted that his administration was the first to implement and pay the 142 per cent increase pension arrears, coupled with mass employment of teachers and 20,000 youths under the Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo State (YES-O).
If re-elected, he promised to deliver more dividends of democracy, one of which would be the employment 40,000 youths and widen the scope of the ongoing social and infrastructural revolution in the state.
The national leaders of the party, in their respective remarks, lampooned the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government for mismanaging the country’s resources directly and through acolyte, describing it as a curse and symbol of retrogression, backwardness, poverty and oppression.
For instance, Aregbesola said the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) was a façade being led by a leading PDP figure and through which billions of accruable oil revenue were diverted to advance the re-election bid of President Goodluck Jonathan.
He alleged that the said PDP figure lifts kerosene at the rate of N40.90 per litre and sell to marketers at N95 who now sell to end-users at N120, leaving a margin of N25 per litre which, according to him, is being channeled to the funding of Jonathan’s re-election campaign through TAN.
Aregbesola warned that another four years of PDP at the national level would spell doom for the country and its people, saying that Nigerians were ready to put a stop to this.
To Tinubu, the Federal Government allegedly diverts 400,000 barrelsof oil per day and President Jonathan, who claimed to be in firm control of the country, feigned ignorance of what he called serious economic sabotage.
“They steal 400,000 barrels of oil everyday. Yet, President Goodluck Jonathan said he could not see this and he claims he is still in charge. He is no longer fit to rule this country. Let us send them pack on February 14 by voting for APC at the national level and for Ajimobi on February 28,’’ he said.
He described Ajimobi as sensible, reliable, focused, visionary and consistent, judging by what he termed the governor’s unprecedented achievements in the last three and a half years.
“Governor Ajimobi has demonstrated that he has vision, capacity and capability to make people the cornerstone of his administration. This is what Ajimobi represents in Oyo State and he has been consistent with it.
“Today, when you drive through Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, you see beautiful scenery, clean environment, good road network, new flyover, Asejire Waterworks, Agodi Gardens, new markets, you will be proud of having somebody like him in the saddle. Indeed, Oyo is now a huge construction site,’’ he said.
Tinubu said it was regrettable that in spite of all entreaties to former Governor Rashidi Ladoja to team up with Ajimobi to develop Oyo State, he (Ladoja) insisted on floating a party that lacked regional or national spread.
Describing the Accord Party governorship candidate as an ingrate, he said that he had nothing to offer the people of the state, having demonstrated gross incompetence during his tenure as governor.