Before I was invited to be part of the team to go on an inspection tour of the projects that the governor of Ogun State Senator Ibikunle Amosun was doing, I have heard so much about those projects already from people who had visited Ogun state for one reason or another. On two or three occasions that I also had cause to visit Abeokuta for some engagements, I had encountered some of the road projects.
All entry and exit points in Ogun State have become construction sites. And the road projects are so massive that even a blind man who cannot see what is going on can feel the equipment that are making noise. But despite this project hoopla, the man Amosun was still in media deficit.
He is one governor that you may not see his face or hear anything about in major newspapers for two or three days except when he is attending the wedding ceremony of the daughter or son of a political chieftain in APC or when he is fighting his godfather and Ogun State lawmakers or when he is attending funeral ceremonies. His persona had overwhelmed his hardwork image. Though the man is strategically positioned in the Lagos-Ibadan press axis, he is consistently a victim of media bypass.
Though the man is the landlord of the Arepo media Mafia, he lacks the leverage to enhance his work image to the public. Amosun has one of the best journalists in Nigeria as his commissioner for information, yet, he is still under-reported.
So, what went wrong? Thank God I went on the tour with the governor and other media chiefs like Bayo Onanuga, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Soji Akinrinade, Yakubu Mohammed, Sam Omatseye, Sola Oshunkeye, Segun Ayobolu, Eniola Bello, Gbenga Adefaye and others. The reason(s) for the governor’s media scarcity became so clear to me after the tour.
Amosun is a man of tomorrow that is ruling a society that is opposed to tomorrow. This contrast produces complex paradox that is responsible for Amosun’s media deficit. Does Amosun expect to be celebrated for doing a Six-lane road with drains, walkways and street lights when the godfather has not eaten? Does he not know that elaborate projects of this magnitude are affecting the percentage of returns expected by the godfather(s)? What is wrong with Amosun? He is modernizing an ancient town with what he calls “Ogun Standard road when those who ruled before him are still alive.
Can’t he see that what will bring glory to him will confer shame on others? What he is doing today in Ogun State is casting aspersion on the integrity and image of those who ruled Ogun state yesterday. When the godfather was angry with him, it was because he was making his failure very visible. Amosun is a man of transcendental vision whose perceptive instinct is tormenting his adversaries. The network of conspiracy against Amosun is such that even his own party people now constitute themselves into opposition.
Amosun’s adversaries are not the masses who lined the roads to wave to him as the convoy drove past. His adversaries are the elites who are challenged by his passion and zeal for rapid development. It is the elite who feel threatened by the high cost of such rapid development to their own personal material accumulation.
It is the elite that are the governor’s major headache because they are the people who indulge themselves in the intrigues of competition, rivalry, envy and power tussles. The masses’ major expectation is to be pampered with good infrastructure and welfarist programmes that can alleviate and deflate the pressure of lack. From Itoku to Lafenwa from Sapon to Sango, From Agbado Oke Aro to Alagbole, Yakoyo to Ojodu, the people were excited about what was going on around them. But are the godfathers happy? What is wrong with Amosun? Why must a man who was beneficiary of the godfather’s political support dump his godfather for the masses? Amosun is a man of strong discerning power.
He knows the godfather gives support but he cannot give the votes. It is the people who have the votes. The godfather believes in bribing the voters on the day of election but Amosun feels projects are more ideal as incentives for voters than pecuniary inducements. The godfathers are always interested in dictating the pace of action because it guarantees them subservience and obedience from the godsons. The conspiracy against Amosun is so terrible that one cannot but marvel at the way he is still forging ahead with his projects. Work goes on 24/7 everyday including Sundays at the various sites almost at the same tempo. There is no sign at all that any of the projects will be abandoned. Amosun is determined. He is an accountant, he is having it smooth with funds. He is not looking back because his hand is on the plough. But his adversaries are unrelenting to. They will force him to look back. If the godfather cannot do it, then the next godson will do it.
What is wrong with Amosun? Does he not know that the template of performance that he has set up is on the high side and the next godson does not want it too high. He is envious of a legacy that will be difficult to match. He is also building his own pyramid of hate when he is yet to customize his power. In our society, we kill initiatives and run down ideas with our mouth because we are afraid of comparative assessment.
The next godson is an incubating enemy because he must not be seen to be friendly with a governor that has rubbished the achievements of the godfather. Why for God’s sake must members of the same party establish fraternities of hate for a performer like Amosun? If it is the collective wish of leaders that all their projects and programmes must be people-focused, why must there be disagreements among them again over what the governor is doing.
What is wrong with Amosun? Already, he is constructing roads with six lanes which he called the Ogun Standard road. In areas like Sapon and Itoku, he is doing ten lanes. If he is doing all these, what will the next godson use for his own campaign? In addition, he is building modern pedestrian bridges (installed with A/C) and bus stops which look like mini event centre with seats and cover. He is building model schools, model markets existing side by side some fine apartments and so on and so forth.
With all these, what will the next godson tell the people that he wants to do? What is more, Amosun is providing a 20-year infrastructure for a town like Aiyetoro. A town that will be satisfied with asphalt overlay for their “Onikolobo roads” is now a proud owner of the Ogun standard road (six lanes) with two of the lanes being used as a median for now. I came up with two theories when I saw what the governor is doing in the state. One, he is either compensating the people for having endured delayed development since the state was created, or two, he is a man that is in a hurry to actualize his vision of development suspecting that the man coming after him may be a “jegudu jera” governor that will clean up whatever money he was going to leave behind. What is wrong with Amosun? Why is he building beautiful luxury gated estates in the state when he can build “ultra modern” estates like the ones built by his predecessor in Aiyetoro? Who does not know that these days “ultra modern estates” mean “uncompleted sheds’ fit for goats and cows.
That is another reason for Amosun’s media deficit. His achievements, initiatives, innovations, modernizing projects must not appear in newspapers because they irritate his predecessors and remind them of their inadequacies and failures.
There is something about power of the media: It can cause blackout and it can illuminate. Unconciously entangled in the intrigues of power, the media put Amosun’s numerous projects in the dark and a hardworking man is presented to the public as a very indolent governor who has nothing to show for the people that voted him into office.
Whereas governors who never did half of what Amosun has done were given unstinting adulations while Amosun was unfairly abandoned. It would have been understandable if Amosun is a governor in one remote part of Nigeria. But he is actively and strategically located within the Lagos-Ibadan press and yet he is shut out completely. It was a wise decision by Amosun to have taken the “big men” in the media on a tour of just a fraction of his projects for them to see how unfair they have been to him. Is it still appropriate to ask the question: What is wrong with Amosun?
RE: FALANA AND HIS BUSINESS
I want to thank Macaulay Ugwummadu for his rejoinder to my piece on Femi Falana. I will only reply to just two of the issues raised.
First, he wrote: “But the supervening analogy or conclusion was completely irrelevant as he veered off into the unfortunate talk about the demise of Mr. Falana’s son-in-law after his short marriage to his daughter…..”.
My dear brother, I did not veer off at all. The reference to Falana’s son-in-law was to support my statement in the preceeding sentence the he (Falana) had attained the status of a grandfather. If the linkage was not powerful enough, I tender me unreserved apologies to the family. I am a Yoruba man and under no circumstance would I invoke the spirit of the dead for mischief.
Second, he wondered why I chose Falana to articulate the contradictions in the society and went on to express his confusion about the presentation of my views. In this respect, I have no apology if the piece is not clear to Macaulay. But I want to say that I do not know of any other person in Nigeria that is best suited to be the protagonist of a satire on the Nigerian struggle than Femi Falana. I rest my case.