THE joys of the electorate are like dewdrops, they vanish at the first stroke of sunlight; for the disenchanted citizenry of Ogun State, the emergence of Dapo Abiodun spelled new dawn of sunshine and good tidings but the governor’s conduct scalds their promised joys, like the blistering sunbeams of dystopia.
Abiodun’s PR misadventure with Laycon, the recent winner of the Big Brother Naija ‘reality’ show was ill-advised no doubt but it could also be seen as a blessing in disguise.
It earned the governor a deserved rebuke among concerned citizens of Ogun and neighbouring states and a passionate nudge to his actual responsibilities in the statehouse.
Subsequently, the governor may cuddle panegyrics showered on him by bootlickers and sycophantic aides, and dismiss this article too as a negligible reproach of his conduct. Or he could tow the path of honour and humility and truly commit to serving the citizenry of Ogun State.
He could start by hosting Aishat Kareem and her quartet of genii and give each child N5 million and a three-bedroom bungalow like he gave Laycon. Abiodun must establish the teenagers as greater role models for generations of Ogun youths.
He should consider, for instance, how inspiring it would be to youths in the state if he could institute such a culture of recognition and reward for Ogun’s accomplished youth.
By hosting Laycon and plying him with gifts, he brazenly endorsed a dangerous, irresponsible culture of living life on the sweepstakes, and unwittingly endorsed a TV show that promotes debauchery and lures young people to bend and distort into hideous forms, in pursuit of injudicious prize money.
A participant cum winner of such filth-fest isn’t worth glorification by the governor of a state reputable for producing several of Nigeria’s cultural icons and national treasures. At a time when Ogun State and Nigeria seek young men and women of unimpeachable character to inherit the task of nation-building, Abiodun must jettison acts tantamount to the perversion of civilisation.
Going forward, he must curtail his lust for applause on social media; lest it afflicts him with pseudo-repute and a penchant for cradling bogus bliss and honour.
As he aspires to competence, Abiodun must stop ignoring the death traps on Ijoko, Agoro, Ijako, Iyana-Ilogbo, Ilepa, Lafenwa, and Itele roads. He should move to repair the bloody ravines dotting Alade, Elekunmefa, Imise, Onihale, Singer, Iju, Lusada, Atan-Ota, and Igbesa to mention a few.
At Toll-gate junction, Joju, Temidire and environ, mucky pools still stagnate in perilous craters along the bypasses because these scenes of deadly accidents are inconsequential to Governor Abiodun.
While his approval of ongoing road projects may depict some smidgen of promise by his leadership, it must be acknowledged that he has done nothing special. He is simply doing the job for which he was elected, and he is being handsomely rewarded with outrageous salaries and allowances.
Governor Abiodun is about 16 months into what’s supposed to be a 48-month tenure; he could still establish himself as the best man for the job. However, he would never win the hearts of the citizenry on the pages of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Neither could he earn their trust via crafty interviews in traditional and new media.
He will earn applause when he begins to march in virtual lock-step with the citizenry’s hopes, and the promises he made while soliciting their votes.
On Governor Abiodun’s watch, Ogun State must experience development and sustainable progress. Good governance does not jostle to be seen. A serious governor spends less time on frivolities; whatever his team of aides tells him, no degree of good press or ‘hip acclaim’ could launder the grime of mediocrity and tarnished leadership.
Before he ends up as another pitiful hostage to power, it’s about time he understood that his current stint as governor could be his passport to a more purposeful, luscious life, spent in pursuit of humane exploits, and actualisation of noble dreams that could further his name and his clan beyond the transience of power and deceptive affluence.
NIGERIA’s youth grew up watching their parents bemoan their fate and curse the times, in response to the ghastly government. Unlike their parents, they would not stand on barrel-heads just to spout and be seen.
A few months ago, a frustrated, jobless youth, in answer to a leading question posed to him by an online news medium, said, “Let us give our leaders a mass burial.”
His thought process, while condemnable, was indicative of brewing dissent and disillusionment among the youth. But the government failed to pay heed.
Several months later, the youths are marching on the streets, in protest against excessive use of force, unfair profiling, and extra-judicial killings allegedly committed by men of the ‘defunct’ Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).
The protests, initially dismissed by the political class as the juvenile bombast of idle youths, have metamorphosed with more decisive manifestations.
This has incited jitters among the ruling class. President Muhammadu Buhari, in what has been deemed a remarkable first, in the timing of his response to national conflict, promptly approved the proscription of FSARS and accepted the protesters’ initial demands – apparently to pacify and neuter the fast galvanising movement.
The Inspector General (IG) of Police, Mohammed Adamu, subsequently announced the establishment of a Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) but the protesters have dismissed it as a ruse, and persisted in protest, while widening the parameters of their demands to include an end to outrageous earnings of public officers, poor police salaries, power failure, and nepotism, to mention a few.
Some have argued that the opposition is funding and inciting the protests but the youths have emphatically disowned any protester whose presence on the street is funded by some anonymous puppeteer. Twitter pulses with their disavowal of such elements.
Of course, their measures may be worrisome, and their rant paced with venom and expletives earnestly directed at the political class but it would be foolhardy to dismiss their intent and rage.
While the protesters must eschew violence and the inclinations for hate-speech, the government must be tactful and modest in defusing the tension lest it degenerates into all-out carnage and an unwieldy crisis in the long-run.
Let the government be guided by the synergies of the protesters at adapting and mutating through an ad hoc coordination in repelling armed goons sent to disrupt their rallies in Lagos and Abuja, handling logistics, dealing with tribal toxins, fake news, and reassembling with gusto.
Severally, I had warned that the selfishness and insensitivity of the political class will birth revolt and problems beyond its middling abilities. Well, their sins have incited the rant and rage of young Nigerians.
“We are the monsters you made,” claims the protesters. From #EndSARS, #EndSWAT, their cacophonous chant spiritedly segues to the formation of a Youth Democratic Party (YDP).
Is YDP a momentary whim mooted in the rhapsody of bromidic bliss? Will the protests peter out as the government hazards a hasty resolution of the universities’ strike with the academic union?
What is the impact of the lingering protest on pop culture, rural poesy, and the youth’s political awareness? These are worthy of discourse next week.
Read the original article on The Nation