BEING THE SECOND INAUGURATION SPEECH OF HIS EXCELLENCY, THE GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE, SEN. ABIOLA AJIMOBI, AT THE OBAFEMI AWOLOWO STADIUM, ON MAY 29TH, 2015
I stand before you today, acutely aware that I am standing at the threshold of history. I stand before you, humbled by that same history, the history of our 39-year-old State and the evergreen story of the labour of our heroes past in the old Western Region. I stand before you, humbled by your resilient patriotism and abiding faith in me in the April 11 election.
2. I am eternally grateful that you rose above the massive hate and smear campaigns designed to demonize our huge sacrifices and achievements of the past four years. You cared not for the tale that no governor was ever re-elected in our state. You would not allow that past history to determine your approaching future. You chose not to succumb to fear or fable. You voted as your conscience and beliefs led you. You used your votes to break the alleged jinx that hovered over our politics. We clearly heard you when you said that, like every human being created by the Most High God, our human limitations as individuals and as an administration were inconsequential, placed side by side our monumental commitment and passion to make a difference in Oyo State. We heard you clearly.
3. Since 1976 when our state was created, seven of us have stood before you to take the gubernatorial oath; 26 in all have administered our state, either as the defunct Western Region or its eventual reincarnation as Oyo State. The Almighty, in His wondrous ways, ably assisted by the audacity of your votes, has made me the only of those numerous men to take the gubernatorial oath a second time.
4. I want to pay my respect to those great present and departed patriots who incubated the treasure that we today hold delicately on our palm. I am mindful of the sacrifices borne by those 26 living and departed ancestors of our State; men upon whose shoulders, at various moments of our development, history had thrust the administration of Oyo State. To the many of them who have substituted mortality for immortality, I pay my due respect to your nostalgic memory. To the ones who are alive, some of whom are sitting resplendently here today, I salute your trail-blazing credentials, dogged patriotism and love of country.
5. Let me specifically single out the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, for mention. Today, our State still enjoys the superstructure of vision, good governance and commitment to a glorious tomorrow which fired the governmental zeal of the man I have chosen to refer to as a recent ancestor of the Yoruba race. His resilient vision was followed in tow, either by civilian administrators in flowing agbada or military officers in shining epaulettes, but who etched indelible landmarks on the sands and annals of our great State.
6. Four years ago when I stood before you like this, I literally took you on a journey into our world of a New Oyo State. I spoke glowingly about what looked like an Eldorado – a State that was a departure from the chaos of violence, brigandage and socio-political violence that seized the state like an unending affliction. I took you on a voyage to a state that would be the envy of all for its eye-popping infrastructure, a destination for all in its aesthetics and stubborn allegiance to the sanctity of the hallmark of good governance, among others.
7. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Good People of Oyo State, let me confess to you that the road to development has been unimaginably rough and coarse, threatening to inflict blisters on the soles of our naked feet. In the midst of this, our resilience and abiding faith kept us going. We fought battles against principalities sworn to the status-quo of our decadent past and forces, for whom politics, rather than love of our dear State, dictated their resilient battle to abort a flight of destiny.
8. May I state here, great people of Oyo State that, in spite of the machinations of dwindling cash from federal purse and developmental challenges, we have rewritten the environmental history of our State. Gone are those ignoble epithets appended on our state as the capital of dirt in Nigeria and headquarters of sectarian and political violence.
9. From the outset, we understood the bulwarks that an unclean environment constituted against development. Our major challenge was the psychology of a great people long left to fallow by a leadership that cared less about the nexus between development and environment.
10. Today, no matter the temporary setback in the economy, we have deposited a can-do environmental cleanliness spirit in our people, ingested a passionate disgust for filth into them and succeeded in making thousands of our people marines of our vision of a clean and sustainable environment. This success aptly mirrors the imperishable words of Rosalynn Carter who stated that a leadership must possess a recalcitrant will, powerful and dogged enough to penetrate a stony rock. To her, a leader takes people where they want to go; a great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. It is the foundation of visionary leadership.
11. The peace our state won was a war, war against the same principalities and power who perpetuated the status quo of disorder and violence. Our pedigree of peace and awareness that peace is a sine qua non of good governance performed the magic. We literally matched to the grooves of the warlords of violence in Oyo State and smoked them out with all our governmental might, vowing that we would haunt down remnants of troops of violence with the full wrath of the law.
12. In my 2011 inaugural speech, I promised to institute an infrastructural regime that would be the envy of all, especially in addressing the challenges of the state capital. I thank God for His abiding faith that has assisted us to keep faith with this promise to the great people of Oyo State. In four years, we literally showed our people the texture of road infrastructure of great quality, alien to Oyo State in decades, foreshadowing within it a promise that we could do more if our people gave the go-ahead with the power of their votes. We dualized all entry points into the zones and won the accolades of millions of residents and those who daily come to our state for businesses transactions.
What 2015-2019 has in store for us
13. The policy thrust of the government from 2015-2019 shall be guided by the manifesto of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as our personal desire to leave imperishable legacies that will carve out immortality for us as individuals and government. We will productively utilize our learning curves of the first four years to transform Oyo State into a place of pride. The cardinal thrust of our administration from today till May 29, 2019 shall be:
– Consolidation of peace and security in the state
– Deepening inclusive and transparent governance
– Widening the scope of infrastructure development and upgrade of the 2015 Urban Renewal Initiatives
– Human Capital Development founded on quality education, skill acquisition and healthcare delivery
– Re-engineering of our socio-economic infrastructure for economic emancipation and progress, with a goal to repositioning the finance of the state
– Revitalization and development of agriculture and agro-allied industry for value addition
14. In a bid to achieve these, we will make human capital development the cornerstone of our policies. Indeed, every of our cardinal programmes shall be founded on a solid superstructure that is fixated on human capital. Thus, none of the programmes shall be executed without firmly prefixing within them the quest to better the lives of our people.
15. We will take seriously the upgrade of schools to functional, modern models of learning. Their physical infrastructure will be ensured and our commitment to the mental development of our children, as well as upgrade of their teachers, will be irrevocable. We will rededicate ourselves to a healthcare programme that is premised on qualitative health for a greater number of people.
16. Our urban renewal initiative will be consciously primed on the need to create employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed people in the state, as well as capitalize on the need to ensure a surging traffic of investors keen on platforming on the transformation of the state into an urban metropolis. Our urban renewal programme will be founded on a waste-to-wealth initiative that will utilize waste for generation of electricity and exploit its urea by-product.
17. With the realization of the paucity of funds from the federal purse, we will re-engineer our finances and economy towards the financing of our lofty milestone projects. We will in this wise restructure our finance to improve the economic viability of the state and reduce our dependence on federal allocation without which we, at present, cannot meet our financial obligations, not in the least payment of salaries and wages.
18. In all these, the widely tested and effective Public Private Partnership will be explored in bringing development to our people. We will utilize the effectiveness of the tripod of purposeful political leadership, unalloyed commitment to a peaceful Oyo State and exploration of the God-endowed arable lands at our disposal for the realization of our goals.
19. Let me restate that I am indeed humbled by your abiding faith in me as an individual and the administration which it has pleased God to put me at the helm of its affairs. I am not unaware of the privations you went through in voting for me and our party. Inside the scorching sun, beaten by recalcitrant showers of an audacious rain, your abiding faith in my candidature was as sweeping as a talisman. Many endured unprovoked attacks and searing hostilities to get us to where we are today. To you all, I am profoundly grateful.
20. I also acknowledge the persistent and consistent determination of those who, exploiting their inalienable democratic right of choice, diametrically opposed our candidature. Their doggedness fired our zeal and determination to break a jinx which though was mythical, held everyone spellbound by a pervasive belief in its efficacy.
21. I seize this opportunity to congratulate my opponents in the April 2015 elections for running a competitive race and giving our people a genuine opportunity for choice. I extend my hand of fellowship to them. Their spirited challenge broadened the space for responsible self-governance, deepened our understanding of civic duty and the healthy practice of democracy. The result is that we have effectively banished the era of amala politics which impoverished the public space and neglected the crying needs of the vast majority of our people by servicing the personal interests of a tiny few. On this day, let me openly proclaim an end to petty political grievances, unfounded recriminations and fastidious fascinations with political dogmas of the past which have only strangled our politics and deadened our collective drive to move forward as a movement of dedicated people desirous of a New and Modern Oyo State.
22. One thing I assure you all is that, I will be the governor of all; the governor of my friends and foes. I will offer all my shoulders to lean on in time of your sorrow and my palm for a ‘high-five’ in your moments of exciting happiness. I will care for the vulnerable in our state, protect those afflicted by existential hazards and misfortune and bring smiles to the faces of those hit by the harsh sun of the time.
23. Our victory at the polls was not the fruit of any human wisdom. It was not a victory that any single man can lay claim to being its architect. It was one which only the Almighty has sole claim of being its patent. In His quest to break the frontiers and contours of the myth of a Second Term of office in Oyo State, God used the clergy, clerics and all those who made countless supplications to Him on our behalf in churches and mosques. To these known and unknown supplicants, I profoundly appreciate your spiritual and intercessory dialogue with God on our behalf.
24. My appreciation also goes to the top echelon of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for its abiding faith in us. Let me first pay homage to the brand new President of the Federal Republic, Muhammadu Buhari, for the refreshing hope he holds for our country and the vision of our party to be the governmental game-changer that this nation desires. I am convinced that the President will bring on board a fabled personal discipline to a Nigeria that is yearning for salvation from decades of leadership challenges. Permit me to also single out our National Leader, a symbol of resilience and the innate power in man to break the frontiers of limitations, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Nigeria owes this enigma a great appreciation for his selfless sacrifice for our quest to swim ashore from the stagnating ocean of hopelessness and collapse, for which a brighter hope abounds today.
25. I similarly pay homage to our National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, for his unshakeable belief in us and our mandate. This vortex of appreciation to the leadership of our party would be half-filled without an acknowledgment of our own Baba Omo Kekeeke and former Acting National Chairman of our party, Chief Bisi Akande. His fatherly contributions and sleepless nights of guidance on the right path of sustainable leadership are stories that will occupy copious portions of the story of our success. Let me use this opportunity to also appreciate my deputy, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, whom I have variously described as the most loyal deputy in the world. He stood by our mandate through thick and thin. So also do I appreciate our State Chairman, Chief Akin Oke, for his unshakeable commitment and belief in our dream. Same goes to all our party leaders and members for their unwavering commitment.
26. Let me appreciate my wife, Florence, a woman I find convenient to call my Masterpiece of Nature. When the artillery fire of our political opponents got to its unbearable crescendo, this woman offered the soothing balm that massaged my aching and sagging will. At moments when the political heat was oven-hot outside, she cooled the fire with her God-endowed wisdom-laced words and pieces of wonder-working advice. She has proven to be my Number One friend, critic, partner and confidant. So also are my children, with whom I share the challenges of office.
27. For me, this victory is a call to rededicate myself to the people of Oyo State who waddled through the unpleasant puddle of our political opposition’s bitter politics. It is a victory of our total trust in God in the face of talismanic powers of marabouts.
28. It is time to repay those faithful voters who thumb-printed us back to Agodi Government House with a society that they and their children’s children can be proud to call their own.Neither I, nor this government, can single-handedly navigate Oyo State from economic doldrums. We have to collectively do it. None among us should fall for the fiction that our economic stagnation and the ills that plague our polity can be cured by government and its runners alone. Never again must political affiliations dictate our loyalty to Oyo State. Let us learn a lesson from the sunbird and canary who, early in the morning, collectively begin the proclamation of the gospel of a sweet future ahead, through their sweet songs on the tree top. Let us pick ourselves up, as that song-star counseled, dust ourselves off, and start all over the work of forging a New Modern Oyo State. The hills that stand as barrier against us are not as high as the joy that awaits us.
29. Ours will not be a government of solely the rich or solely the poor but a government of the lowly and high people of our state. We will demonstrate abiding commitment to the common will and initiate policies that frown at the tyranny of a privileged few. We will exhibit governmental fidelity and open the drawers of Oyo State money for all to see.
30. Let me say categorically that the power we sought and which you freely gave us through this feat of a Second Term in office is the power to do good. Our government must match this feat of yours by governing you even better now than we did during the first term. Each day in this next four years, our administration will turn a new page of this new chapter in the governance of our State, bearing in mind not just the promises made, but the dedication needed to fulfill the pledge given. Our resolve is stronger, our commitment firmer and our purpose clearer as we strive to meet the needs of our people.
31. To the people of Oyo State in general, I say the CHANGE and the TOMORROW you yearned for are here. Let us all join hands to make that change touch and benefit the lives of every citizen of Oyo State.
32. Long live Oyo State
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I thank you all for listening.