….lists Palliatives implementation, Healthcare, Education, Road network, Farmers’ plight among others
10th September, 2023.
AN OPEN LETTER TO ARAKUNRIN ROTIMI AKEREDOLU ON HIS RETURN TO NIGERIA AND EXPECTED IMPACT ON GOVERNANCE IN ONDO STATE
I will like to start this letter with an
effusive appreciation of the benevolent mercy of the Almighty God over your life as well as your wonderful restoration to good health.
I am now fully convinced that of a truth, there are powers in the names that we bear as individuals. Your name is Oluwarotimi and it is indeed proven that Almighty God has always been standing firmly by you. It is my solemn prayer therefore, that the abiding presence of God shall continue to lift you far above the vicissitudes of life.
Sir, while you were on medical vacation in Germany, I saw on first hand a committed demonstration of genuine love for you by the good people of Ondo State. The civil servants, market men and woman, artisans, religious leaders, pensioners, commercial drivers and motorcyclists, students and even the youths in Ondo State turned to emergency prayer warriors as they sought the face of God concerning your restoration to improved health. At the end, God prove that He is still very much in the business of answering prayers. The people of Ondo State could not have been happier today that the good Lord has indeed given ears to our voice of supplications over your health challenge.
Your Excellency, now that God has safely brought you back home, stronger and better; I am nonetheless patriotically constrained to bring you up to speed with happenings in Ondo State while you were away. It is equally more important to bring to your attention sectors of the state where the same people that prayed and fasted for you, now need your immediate intervention.
It is not an understatement that governance almost got grounded to a halt at a point while you were away in Germany. The State Executive Council appeared sharply divided across lines of loyalty and patronage at the early stage of your medical vacation. Although the business of governance later picked up in Ondo State; albeit without the expected synergy amongst political appointees and
consequentially, with lower level of performance output.
Your Excellency, it may interest you that while other states of the federation were ingeniously proactive in responding to the hardship that befell Nigerians as a result of fuel subsidy removal; sadly, the Sunshine State became reactively inept and docile. The truth be told, your absence has terribly slowed down the pace of governance and level of development in Ondo State. Sad enough, political gladiators that ought to get themselves busy with the real business of governance during your absence; rather, chose to seize the opportunity to focus on their political succession ambitions ahead of the 2024 governorship election.
As you may have been briefed Your Excellency, some states have since creatively moved far beyond the the level of much vaunted distribution of consumable palliative items to their citizens. Ogun State and few other states for instance, have come up with the idea of purchasing and distribution of CNG buses and solar motorcycles to ease the burden of fuel subsidy removal on their citizens. Also, a good number of states have since effected marginal increment in the salaries and wages of their public servants in a proactive bid to cushion the effects of petrol subsidy removal. In addition to increment in salaries of workers, Ogun State government had also recently paid N40,000 Peculiar Allowance to her workforce; all in a bid to bring relief to the citizens.
The Sunshine State that I know before now has been a trailblazer in the formulation of impact yielding policies. However, the recent turn of events while you were convalescing in Germany has seen our state sank so low in the pecking order of churning out much needed policy frameworks. The best reaction we have seen from Ondo State government during your absence on fuel subsidy removal was the composition of a Palliative Distribution Committee which has practically done little or nothing. This is definitely not the best that our state could offer and this sad dysfunction witnessed in the last three months in the governance of Ondo State was apparently due to your absence.
Your Excellency, it should be well noted that some important sectors of our dear state are now palpably begging for your attention. To start with, the health sector of Ondo State has now become grossly understaffed due to the active migration of the health workers to overseas countries. The remaining workers in our health sector have sadly become overstretched and they are equally desperately seeking their own escape routes to European and Arabian countries. Unless a deserved urgent attention is given to this issue, the remaining few qualified health workers may soon be lost to the current trend of migration.
Also, some of our health facilities in Ondo State lack essential working tools and equipment that are critically needed to save human lives in real time. It has been confirmed that some important lifesaving medical tests can no longer be carried in any of the government owned hospitals across Ondo State because the required machines have either stopped working or never available. It is a sad reality that UNIMED Hospital patients that need CT Scan and other critical medical tests are being referred to private health facilities in Akure, MeCure in Lagos or ABUAD Teaching Hospital in Ado Ekiti. This trend can truly be reversed with the deserved commitment and political will.
More so, the current economic realities in the country has now necessitated the need to bring back the withdrawn school shuttle buses. Even as schools in Ondo State are getting set to resume for a new session, I strongly opine that the best palliative that can be given to our students and their parents is to return the withdrawn shuttle buses to the roads.
An average parent with children in secondary schools within Akure metropolis will need a minimum amount of N2000 daily to cater for transportation of their children to and fro schools. This is a clear pointer that the real palliative needed at this critical time by students and parents in Ondo State is the return of school shuttle buses and not consumables like rice, beans, gari, pastas, vegetable oil, sugar, salt and noodles.
I will also like to call your attention to the non-functioning state of street lights within Akure metropolis. Truth is that a high percentage of these street lights
have either been destroyed by motorists or no longer functioning. This has sadly denied the state capital of the deserved lightening at night as well as the aesthetic beautification. It is however a general belief that the performance of any governor is readily judged by the outlook of the state capital. To be honest Your Excellency, Akure is no longer look like a state capital at night, compared to capitals of other south western states.
It is also quite saddening that Akure is fast becoming one of the dirtiest state capitals in Nigeria. It is my measured opinion that the company saddled with the responsibility of managing waste in the state capital has not lived up to expectations. The company obviously lacks the right tools and equipment to deliver on effective waste management.
Also, company’s approach of first allowing huge garbage to gather to a distasteful level of an eyesore within the state capital before getting the garbage cleared is very wrong. This reactive approach of waste management is not acceptable as it is sadly making dirt and humans to compete for spaces within akure metropolis.
Also, the issues of flood across the state, planned clearing of cocoa plantation in the government reserve and the impassable Owo-Ifon road equally deserve prompt attention of Your Excellency. While it is acknowledged that Owo-Ifon road belongs to the federal government, it is equally an undisputable fact however, that the road in question is plied daily by the people of Ondo State. Immediate intervention of the state government will undoubtedly bring a lot of relief to the long suffering people that have since been cut-off from their homes and sources of livelihood.
It is likewise pertinent that Your Excellency should promptly summon a meeting between the state government and the owners of cocoa farms within the government reserve with a view to finding amicable solution to this disturbing issue. More so, the issue of flooding being witnessed across the Sunshine State should also be exhaustively discussed with concerned persons and professionals. The meeting should expectedly identify flood prone places in the state and also come up with measure to prevent, minimize and mitigate effects of flooding in Ondo State.
I will like to reiterate here for the sake of emphasis that this open letter has been largely informed by my undying quest for a better, peaceful and well governed Ondo State. Also, this letter is equally borne out of my desire to ensure that the administration of Arakunrin Akeredolu finishes well and strong by bequeathing enduring legacies to would be successor.
While I once again thank the Almighty God for restoring our Governor to sound health, it is also my solemn prayer that the good Lord that has brought you this far shall never abandon you.
Oluyemi Fasipe (@YemieFash)
Ondo State Youth Representative.