John Stuart Mill
“The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of individuals composing it”.
When in 2009, a respected newspaper described Ibadan, the capital city Of Oyo State as the dirtiest city in Nigeria, I took it as an opinion of a jaundiced journalist. At that material time, I did not have much trouble with the socio-political happenings in the said State. But it was a clear exemplification of what the late Afro-beat genius, Fela Anikulapo Kuti called “suffering and smiling”. So worrisome that the city whuch hosts the Premier University and have produced great men and women of international repute is inflicted with political leaders who are insensitive to the demands of 21st century people.
Sadly, the political consciousness and active participation of an average Ibadan man does not translate to useful dialectical altercations with the Gerontocrats who have made it their past time to perpetuate themselves in power, not minding what history and posterity would write about them.
But, it appears that light is gradually reflecting at the end of the tunnel with the new leadership in the ancient city, under the firm finesse of Abiola Ajimobi. His disposition since he assumed office has not been adjudged palatably to a cross-section of the people that I conversed with. They were full of acidic remarks of the governor, lamenting profusely that he is penny-pinching and too elitist. It then dawned on me that the previous administration whose hallmark was frivolous “Owambe” had battered the psyche and blindfolded the good people of the State to prefer Epicurean inclination to good governance which is characterized by structural, architectural and or infrastructural developments that will/can outlive the government that execute them. After all, democracy is government between the living, the dead and the unborn. The bridge built by Ajimobi at Mokola would in no doubt douse and reduce the Quotidian traffic jam which constitutes threat to well-being of the people. Apparently, the autonomy granted Eruwa, Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa campuses of the Polytechnic of Ibadan, is not only a right step in a right direction but a good reconfiguration to strengthen the educational sector in the State.
No responsible leader or led would be comfortable with a description that his/her State is associated with dirtiness, the lost glory of Ibadan is being revived. Dirtiness is giving way for urban renewal and an aesthetic environment across boards. A city is ancient by its history and cosmology and not by its philosophy and ideology.
To all intents and purposes, the relative tranquility at the ever-turbulent two-road motor park in Ibadan should be applauded. A lot of innocent lives have been lost in needless fracas caused by members of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers. Their predilection to wield subversive weapons with impunity in broad light and unleash intermittent internal crisis that often snowballed into cataclysm gave Ibadan in particular, and Oyo State in general a bad reputation to the extent that we were perceived as bunch of meat-sellers and pugnacious rogues. I make bold to say that if the rhythm and rhyme of what has started in Oyo State under Abiola Ajimobi is sustained and intensified, the State would re-claim its appellation as a Pacesetter.