Recently, the governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, addressed his constituents in a live, statewide broadcast. The terms of the address were unusual. The tone was tough, literarily lacerating. It was laced with candid, categorical points and conveyed forthright monitions. The governor spoke in his characteristic undisguised manner; blunt and bluff, a style both his enthusiasts and critics have come to know him for.
He speaks frankly. Since his first day in office, the governor has identified with the people every inch of the way; He has kept faith with the governed. His tone and temperament in this instance took that shape because he knows the particularity of this time. ‘These are trying times in our national life and even at the level of our dear State’, he said. A credence to his sapient reading of the sociopolitical situation. He knows we live in tough and trying times as Nigerians and has demonstratively conveyed this understanding in his approach to governance.
The timing was right. The motive was apt too. He could not wait a minute more while atrocious elements hurt the existing fragile peace in the towns. Beyond security briefs, the governor reads the rythms on the streets; he keeps unflinchingly tab on constituents’ conducts, following them through the routes and closely gauging the gage of events in constituent communities. He even accurately translates events as they daily unfold. Little wonder therefore that early echoes in form of feedback applaud the governor’s punctual locution.
The messages were concise, clear and unmistakably straight. “We have noticed some serious matters that we need to address before they degenerate into an unmanageable proportion.” Akeredolu identified illicit influx of strange faces into the state, occultic activities and lawless conducts of hoodlums, and irresponsible use of the social media as challenges requiring immediate, drastic steps. He said the urgency of the need to frontally address them and he did just that with dispatch.
For him, the people already have enough worries to contend with. From raging internal security bruises the country battles to severe economic dislocations. It is true that we have a motley of other polemical themes in a collective plate for which denouements yet elude us. These ailments we may elect to either debate or decorate lending ifs and buts. We may find or sprout emotive alibis if we care, depending on individual’s mental and material posturing. The concensus, however, is to the extent that Nigerians are living in unusual times, and Akeredolu would not stand a sadder addition.
Before this time, the governor has been audibly heard and conspicuously seen acting his convictions on subjects of concerns to the country and her people, often on the side of the people, and unapologetically too. Governor Akeredolu speaks his mind and does not mince words, irrespective. His watchers and followers of events in Ondo know a different man leads the state at this time. It does not matter whose interest is involved, you can trust the virulent legal luminary to be on the side of truth.
As a leader, Akeredolu places consistent primacy on the security of lives and properties of citizens as he swore to do from the get-go. And he has been true to this. His roles in the making of the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Operation Amotekun, gave him out plainly as a leader who is driven more by the peace and prosperity of his people. It was no surprise therefore that he showed up with big red flag to those fanning embers of war, and those prodding criminal actions. And just when inchoate, his words reverberates, so that no one cries fowl when the consequences drop on errant laps.
The imports may be dire where government expresses itself in full wrath. It is only reasonable that for citizens to eschew
violence or its portraits. And since Akeredolu keeps his words when he says it, little wisdom should help heady hoodlums to forthwith renounce lawless tendencies. The same way senses should prevail on their enablers to desist and choose a new path in the interest of peace. To do otherwise is to give choose doom and attract the ire of the laws.
Every sane society needs invulnerable leader in a season like this. At a time when the world faces ominous signs on both sides, when communities trudge under the weight of sociopolitical tempest; when order and communal peace become menacingly compromised with insurgency and criminalities posing pellucid as new norms, the need for a different leader becomes even more critical if a state must stay afloat. And for Ondo State, Akeredolu has acted truly capable, showing the guts it takes to guide the state through a stormy time.
This example, at any rate, is the minimum that leadership should be. After all, leadership becomes lethargic and hurts all when progressive principles are compromised for political patronage. The governor works and wants a sane, secured and successful Ondo State where everyone feels safe, By his own nature, Akeredolu is frolicky, and so enjoys an artmosphere of peace. He encourages a clement climate where every man operates at his best. And that is what his words are meant to achieve. To instill discipline, install order and nurture continued progress.
***Akinbami is the Special Assistant to the Governor on New Media & Archives.