The scary incident has refused to fade away from the memory of Oba Frederick Obateru Akinruntan, the Olugbo of Ugbo and Chairman, Ondo State Council of Obas. It was a gory auto crash in Ore. Eighteen precious souls perished in the accident.
Oba Akinruntan was traveling somewhere when he witnessed the heart-rending incident. It gave the monarch the jitters. And since then, he was afraid to use the road until the Ore interchange bridge was built by the Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu government.
“Before now, I told someone I was scared to pass through that road since the day I met eighteen people dead in an accident on the road. But now look at what Akeredolu has done for us. That bridge is like Lagos and the United States bridges,” Oba Akinrutan said.
The Ondo state stretch of the Benin-Shagamu expressway used to be notorious for incessant auto crashes and gridlocks. For years, commuting on that portion of the road was a nightmarish experience.
Several people had lost either their lives, limbs or manhours at that portion of the road. The problem was attributed to the complex nature of the Ore intersection. But with the flyover, the story has changed. It has tamed the thirst of the road for blood.
Oba Akinruntan recalled the sad incident last Thursday while justifying the support of traditional rulers in the state for the second term bid of Governor Akeredolu.
The monarchs had met and put the performance of the Akeredolu government on the royal scale. The result of the exercise was that the government had an excellent performance rating. They, therefore, endorsed Akeredolu’s reelection aspiration.
Expectedly, the endorsement drew adverse criticisms from certain quarters. Some scoffed at it, saying it lacked electoral value. “Traditional rulers don’t vote,” they claimed. But if Kabiyesis don’t vote as argued by these fellows, why did the royal approval become a source of pains for them?
The blind critics need some education here. The royal pat on the back of Governor Akeredolu has its greatest value in the encouragement it conveys. With it, the governor will be encouraged to do more good for the people of the state. Such an approval from critical stakeholders like Kabiyesis gladdens the heart. It gives emotional satisfaction and exposes the mischief of those who are fond of denying the obvious.
“It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever – the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it,” said Vince Lombardi. That was exactly what the traditional rulers did. They love their subjects and want the best for them. So, they must encourage the governor to do more.
There were also those who wrongly believed that the endorsement was procured. This is a big insult to the crowns. Our Obas only saw the truth and said it. The endorsement of Arakunrin Akeredolu stemmed from the bottom of their hearts.
Also, Governor Akeredolu is not known for deploying the resources of the state for selfish ends. The remarkable achievements of his government are as a result of the prudent management of the little resources of the state.
Is it not preposterous of the critics to expect the monarchs to gloss over the various monumental achievements of the Akeredolu government? They expected the traditional rulers to ignore the flyover that is now saving the lives of their subjects. They expected the Kabiyesis to take their eyes away from the industrial revolution taking place at the Ondo-Linyi Industrial Hub, Ore.
The government is making efforts to ensure that the state has a seaport. All necessary things have been done to achieve it. The seaport is the future of Ondo state. This is what the traditional rulers in the coastal region of the state are aware of. Did anyone expect the monarchs to pretend not to be aware of this great thing in the offing?
Did anybody expect the Kabiyesis to deny the massive road projects all over the state? Did they expect the Akoko Obas not to appreciate the leveling and reconstruction of Oke Alabojuto road? Did they want the monarchs to say the reconstruction of Oke Oka road meant nothing to them and their subjects? In the past, the two roads were responsible for the death of many compatriots.
Schools in the Sunshine state now look good and are conducive for teaching and learning. Today, the state boasts two teaching hospitals. The Mother and Child hospitals have been increased from two to seven, cutting across all the three senatorial districts.
Governor Akeredolu is sweating profusely for the state. And the monarchs know this. Did any critic expect them to ignore all the development strides achieved by the government?
The Kabiyesis know the kind of politics being played in the country. It is adversarial. Another government may come and discontinue the life-changing programmes and projects of the Akeredolu government. That’s why the Obas want continuity. The continuity of good work!
*** Oyewamide Wande Ojo is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Akeredolu on Media and Publicity