As the administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi in Oyo state clocks six years today May 29, opposition parties in the state have assessed the administration, giving averge scores in some areas and low scores in other areas.
At the weekend, the governor’s aides came face to face with state representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Accord Party.
The panel was on CEOAfrica’s Community Today.
On the panel were Hon. Asimiyu Alarape (PDP, former speaker of the State House of Assembly); Akeem Azeez (SDP Publicity Secretary) and Nureni Adeniran(Accord Party General Secretary). On the governor’s side were his Executive Assistant on Political Matters, Moronkola Thomas and the Commissioner for Information, Toye Arulogun.
The heated debate covered various sectors on the state. Below is a summary.
Safety and security has been the highest and one of the most prominent area of achievement of the present government. According to Thomas, before the governor came on board, a strong air of insecurity ruled the state but Governor Ajimobi’s tenure changed all that by degrading thuggery in the NURTW, going tough on criminals, setting up a Security Trust Fund and creating inter-agency synergy in security matters
The peace, stability and safety, Thomas said, formed the bedrock for the rest of the development programmes that followed.
Ajimobi ensured safety and security and massive development followed – Thomas
Members of the opposition agreed that there has been relative peace but they argued that it was achieved by the cooperation of other parties in the state as they refused to be tempted by the provocations of those allegedly sponsored by the ruling party.
Accord Party’s Adeniran stressed that the insecurity of the past was overblown by the present government but said that while he gives the present government some pass mark on security, armed robbery, incessant attacks by “one million boys” and resurgence of political violence need to be checked.
Thomas said that another strong area of achievement of the present administration is in the construction of access roads across the state as well as the flyover bridge in Mokola aimed at reducing traffic gridlock in the area.
He said the government, in an attempt to upgrade the cities and aid commerce, have in the past six years, either completed or still constructing access roads across the state.
But Adeniran argued that most of the road constructions were cosmetic and done in areas visible to visitors to the state. He accused the government of neglecting roads leading to the hinterlands. He pointed out that most of the investments in road construction have not yielded the commensurate impact on the common man on the street. He argued that the Mokola flyover bridge apart from being a far cry from a modern bridge, and had not even solved the gridlock it was aimed at solving.
Government neglected roads leading to hinterlands and focused on the ones visitors could easily see – Adeniran, Accord Party
Commissioner for Information, Arulogun, said that the government’s achievement in Education, especially in the setting up of School Governing Boards, is about the only initiative that could not be tackled by critics. According to him, Ajimobi has modernized Education. He said the establishment of the new Technical University would revolutionalise tertiary technical education.
Ajimobi modernised education in Oyo State – Arulogun, Commissioner for Information
While the government aides said more primary health care centres have either been built or old ones resuscitated with medical facilities supplied, Alarape argued that his visit to the general hospitals in the state have been left to rot and suffer as no new equipment were procured as claimed by the government.
Government neglected General hospitals in the state – Alarape, PDP
Arulogun said that workers in the state have enjoyed up to 300 per cent increase in salary and allowances since Ajimobi took over the mantle of leadership.
According to him, the government has been hugely welfarist. He admitted that the past two years have been challenging due to the financial crisis in the country. He however pointed out that the government had applied ingenuity in solving the current salary crisis.
Government had no investment strategy of financial plan from the beginning – Azeez, SDP
But Akeem Azeez pointed out that the government should not have been in salary crisis if it applied foresight from inception. He said states that took advantage of investment opportunities, responsible fiscal procedures and planned for the future, are currently not having the kind of salary crisis Oyo was having. He wondered why the government’s debt profile was rising and there is nothing to show for it.
He said the government should have deployed the Parish Loan refund to the payment of salaries.
Arulogun however argued that it was not financially expedient to run a civil service dependent economy that drives the government to borrow to pay or to channel monies meant for development to payment of salaries.
Thomas went on to reel out numerous achievements of the present administration in the state which include attraction of $65million worth of foreign investment, revolution in the Agricultural sector, human capacity development and general infrastructural developments.
Members of the opposition met on a common ground which said that the government could have achieved more in six years.