Ladoja: Deconstructing politics of untruth
By Festus Adedayo( Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Oyo State)
THERE is this Greek mythology about Sisyphus, King of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). This myth is very apposite in the discussion of the politics of former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja and leader of the Accord Party. Punished for what was considered a chronic act of treachery by Corinthians, Sisyphus was compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill and to suffer the humiliation of watching the bolder roll back downwards and to repeat this action forever. A mid-level officer in the oil industry, Ladoja’s entrance into Oyo politics was at a time when the petrel of Ibadan politics, Lamidi Adedibu, had gained hyper ascendancy and notoriety. Broth of lies, half-truth and outright illogicalities are administered on political victims like hemlock. A number of such victims have died from the unpleasant aftermath of this scary political tactic. The tragedy of it is that Ladoja passes on this irredeemable lie-peddling bolder-rolling of Sisyphus and churns out generation of political minions. Mr. Dotun Oyelade is a new recruit of this weird political methodology. “To Oyo Workers, A Greek Gift” (Sunday Tribune, January 19, 2014) is its manifestation. The traditional prayer session of handing over a new year to God by the Oyo State government was his tool.
At that event, Governor Abiola Ajimobi had taken a cue from the corporate world where he worked for 35 years. The practice is to identify high premium performers called Quality Champions, who bent over backwards in the preceding year in contributing to the lot of the company. Even though their rewards may not be astounding, selecting Quality Champions is a way of motivating other staff and inducing their optimal performance. Research has shown that, a healthy rivalry innovation, it spurs performance and productivity in other members of staff.
Oyelade’s first port of call was the woman who knelt down at the prayer ground. Why a man and his party would advertise open disdain for God and the art of reverence for Him as this is baffling. Oyelade was not done with his binge of assault on truth. “Expensive Mohemian suit” – whatever that meant – was what Ajimobi adorned at that event, he wrote. Televised live on the state broadcasting service, those who watched that programme would be alarmed at that bare-faced lie. Ajimobi wore a flowing white agbada! In symbolic logic, once your premise is faulty, every other thing built on it would be compromised. In saner climes, for this sin of uncircumcised lie, Accord Party and this minion of its would be hurled stones of societal disdain. If Oyelade had eye challenge and couldn’t decipher his beloved Mohemian suit from agbada, I innocently presume he doesn’t have an audibility challenge as well, or else, he would have heard Ajimobi say the money given to the Quality Champions was from his personal purse. But Oyo State people are used to Ladoja and his henchmen’s assault on and disregard for truth and all things bright and beautiful.
For a start, old civil servants who have attended such interdenominational service over the years confessed that never in the history of the state had the service witnessed such an unprecedented attendance by workers. Now, Oyelade quarreled with the governor for identifying Quality Champions at the Water Corporation of Oyo State who did the unthinkable of restoring water supply to the state, 17 years after. This is either naivety of modern art of motivation of workers or complete mischief wrapped in a silk of lie. Within that period, Oyelade’s master who inflicted an almost four years of naivety and governmental ignorance on the state, held sway.
The Accord Party publicist now went on a roller-coaster of lies. Having worked with a boss who did not demarcate between state and personal money, Oyelade’s idea of reward to workers is the traditional Alao-Akala ATM image, so Ajimobi’s reward for the Quality Champions may be “insulting”, but in about three years, Ajimobi has re-written this mis-governmental cue and personifies that imperishable adage that between the fish-giver and fish-bait giver, the latter is more desirable.
As a junkie in need of a fix makes a sloppish hold of anything he touches, Oyelade thereafter made an amateurish job of psychoanalysis, analyzing the mood of the mammoth crowd and coming to incredibly fraudulent position that is determined by the queer methodology of Accord Party. His conclusion was that the workers were just tolerating the same government that had done for them what in geography Nikolaj Copernicus did for the rest of mankind: a revolutionary shift of paradigm.
Let us go to the fundament. A few yards from the venue of the service is the Governor’s Office complex, home to hundreds of offices of civil servants. By the time Ajimobi came on board, that complex, built by Obafemi Awolowo, without being hyperbolical, was comparable only to a pig-sty.
When Ajimobi took a maiden tour of the personal office of the governor, he was alarmed. Inside the governor’s personal toilet stood a big black pot filled with water. This was where Akala scooped water to flush out his excrement! The complex was rat-infested and littered with rodents’ excreta.
General Adeyinka Adebayo and PDP’s Isa Yuguda, on a recent visit to the Governor’s Office, could not hide their fascination with the office’s recent incredibly aesthetic face-lift. Ladoja and Akala couldn’t care less. The question people ask is why these fellows, who built magnificent personal edifices, occupy pig-sty offices? Isn’t it then an oxymoron that workers, whose workplace dignity had been restored by Ajimobi, endure their messiah?
The Ajimobi administration has trained over 14,000 civil and public servants, including teachers, both within and outside the country. Astounded by the bureaucratic injustice of stagnating 345 typists of the Ladoja and Akala regimes who waited to retire on meager Grade Level 04, tears of joy welled on the faces of the typists when Ajimobi ordered them to be trained as Secretarial Assistant/Data Processing Assistants. At the moment, ten civil servants are undergoing in-service Post-graduate Diploma courses in Public Administration and Masters in Public Administration at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
During Ladoja and Akala’s time, payment of pension arrears to senior civil servants was war. Pensioners even sued Akala. Not only has Ajimobi paid the 142 per cent pension arrears but today, they see him as their friend. This mindset also informs the recent approval of enhanced pension allowance for retired Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries.
Till date, Ajimobi has promoted 12,000 teaching and non-teaching staff and has, for the third time running, paid the 13th month salary arrears of all public servants. He provided 100 43-seater buses to the people of Oyo State, ten of which were deployed to free shuttle of workers to and fro work. Yet, in the hollowness of Oyelade’s pseudo psychoanalysis, such enthralled workers must be enduring the governorship of a man whose performance is akin to revolution.
By the time Ajimobi came into office, car and housing loan facilities were insulting tokenism. He jerked it up by over hundred per cent, such that GL 9 and 10 officers collecting N180,000 now go home with N450,000 car loan and housing loan previously a million naira for GL 12 officer is now N2 million.
Civil servants feel a sense of pride, through the aggressive infrastructural revolution in the state and the rewriting of its deplorable image as centre of filth. The truth is, any visitor to the state, who had once been there during Akala and Ladoja years and meets these two now, would be inclined to committing assault.
Akala and Ladoja, who are ex-and present principals of Oyelade, are two wrongs that can never make a right. No sane Oyo indigene would pray for their return to the seat of power. Even from the seeming inconsequential, anyone who desires a governor they can be proud of in the public, in terms of mental acuity and physical presentation, cannot wish for that ten-steps-backwards into infamy. While Akala advertises voyeur and sybaritism that do not fit the image of an Oyo person known for hard-work and excellence, Ladoja is poster-boy of that wrong impression that an Oyo State person is a Sule – a barroom argot for a nitwit. In Ajimobi, you had the apt celebration of intellect, agility and deportment as a 21st century Oyo governor.
Adedayo is Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Oyo State.