It is telling the obvious to say that Nigeria, as a nation, presently travels unusual path. An unusual sojourn that sees it cascading through delicate valleys in its battle with infectious economic disorder that threatens convenient livelihood of a preponderance, sweeping political corruption that depletes confidence in leadership per minute, the many afflictions of the payless workforce , insurgency and its allied, poor condition of social facilities among other unpleasant realities of the present.

Eyitayo Jegede
Eyitayo Jegede

The situation, as it stands, affects her whole as it does, expectedly, the parts, and compelling leadership both at the central, provincial and local levels of governance to look inward for panacea. At the state level, governors of states now are being pressured by these harsh realities to think out of the box in ensuring that they stay afloat economically despite the dwindling financial fortunes of the federation. States endowed with other natural resources, beyond and besides oil deposits which is now fast ebbing, now are more precautious than before, doing the needful to tap into their hitherto unexplored potentials as a route of escape out of the present hitches.

This situation, though unpleasant, seems to hold the key to certain solutions. Solutions to wasteful dispense of government’s resources, unnecessary usage of fund, lack of financial discipline and foresight and the sweeping inertia on the part of government in relation to alternative sources of income to government. But something is more important. It is not enough to realize the need to grow the internally generated revenues as a way of upping the exchequer. Having a serious manager with a thorough sense of mission to man the affairs of government is fundamental, because growing economy without strict financial discipline is equal to nothing.

Of the states richly blessed with plural endowments, Ondo State stands tall. As a state, Ondo too has its economic bruises and it is not unlikely that the state is willing to defeat her own share of the challenges and prosper. Its ability to win the present economic war and eventually evolve unscathed will be determined by her readiness to do a number of things and do them correctly. Ondo state must realize that the situation into which it is plunged is as dire as critical, and that it requires a higher dose of discipline to survive. The state must be ready, beyond identifying her human and natural resources and potentials, to hold the bull by the horns; it must be ready too to grow these potentials into ventures that will generate cash for government to meet its responsibilities, it must grow these resources too to keep her youths gainfully employed and creatively busy, it must, as a matter of compulsion, plunge all economic loopholes to enable it meet workers’ need and provide basic amenities, and above all, be disciplined enough to choose a leadership that is disciplined enough, capable enough, creative enough and ready enough to make things work. Achieving this will also require that the citizenry gets serious and sincere enough not to allow emotions reign over reasons. Constituents should be careful enough not to allow political detractors dissuade them from choosing a leader on the basis of competency, ability, pedigree and credibility. Choosing leadership on the strength of ethnic, religious, political or geographical affiliation, besides being undemocratic and a deliberate barrier to distinction, is allowing emotions rule over reason, which will only yield the usual result and perpetuate the complacency that has tied development to the base. States that have chosen leadership on the strength of distinction and competency are, evidently, the better for it. Yes, it is not unusual in this clime to have public officers concentrate development in their province of origin, an experience which has often motivated the clamour for power rotation among political gladiators since the impression now seems to be that the socio-economic prosperity of a province is dependent on its ability to win political power, turning the show to a turn-by-turn thing.

Much as this style pays the actors who use same to message political ego, it leaves the people suspicious even of sincere intents. While this may not be exact in the case of Ondo State, it is rather important that the state gets it right as it prepares to elect a new leader. Issues should be about the ability, credibility and pedigree of a candidate and not about pure pretences. A ready example is the case of Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, a popular aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who hails from Akure, the state capital and the constituency with the hugest population density, who battles with the contention from some quarters against the retention of the governorship seat in the Central Senatorial District of the State after governor Segun Mimiko whose two term tenure expires by February 2017. Eyitayo Jegede, a former Chair of the body of Attorney General of the 36 states of the federation, has his popularity rising beyond geographical, political and emotional borders despite arguments and counter-arguments against a candidate from the central.

Many believe that the argument about zoning or rotation of the governorship position is only a device of divide in the hands of the political elite, and there is the believe that Jegede, while he held sway as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Ondo state, brought a great deal of difference to bear on the ministry, and holding same as one factor which contributes to his popularity with the people. It is on record that his tenure as an Attorney General saw the Laws of Ondo State reviewed for the first time since the creation of the state in 1976. The establishment of Court of Appeal happened during Jegede’s tenure and the new criminal Justice Administration was enacted and signed into law. It was during the same time the establishment of zonal offices of the Federal Ministry of Justice and the National Industrial Courts in Ondo State, among other feats. These achievements are worthy. They are worth taking a personality serious for.

They are good grounds to stand to demand the peoples’ confidence. They constitute huge signposts of abilities and capability. Those of the stance that Eyitayo Jegede’s political pursuit should be supported must have been enamored by these distinctions and pedigrees as an accomplished professional whose credentials bear high hope for the oil-rich state and thus canvassing support for him. These canvassers deserve audience, for where politicians seem to have made no real difference in governance, giving technocracy a try won’t be out of place. This option which Eyitayo Jegede typifies appears the likely way out