Before we all become the victims of strong lamentation about unproductive political adventure which some have already embarked upon to form new government in Ondo State come February, 2017; it is of critical importance to isolate ourselves first from all these political slogans that have enveloped the atmosphere of all communities, towns, villages and cities in our state. From continuity to change agenda and from rescue mission to progress agenda and of course many other slogans in town.
The very first assignment we all need to do is to ponder on our current collective problems and other challenges confronting us as citizens and as residents of the State. This is what would help us to collect and analyse to get the ideal candidate we need to become the Governor Ondo needs not the governor some people needs or wants to gain new political power or sustain power for self-interest. All these unnecessary shouting of slogans will not save our dear State and if care is not taking in electing our next governor, we may land the State in fresh troubles, crises, low productivity and slow pace development.
In 2015, we were all in a rush to replace Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the People’s Democratic Party without taking a close look and examination to analyse the man being projected as an alternative to Jonathan. Today, if we have to be very sincere with ourselves: we all know we have ran into a fatal political accident which we might find it very difficult to recover in relation to what Nigeria’s economy has become in the last one year.
Today, if you interview every ten Nigerians you meet on daily basis, seven or eight out of ten might tell you they didn’t voted for President Buhari. Now, the question is who voted Buhari to power? The simple answer is we were all responsible but due to the fact that nobody wants to associate him/herself with failure, hence; the need to dodge responsibility of voting President Buhari to power. But the truth remains that either we associate ourselves or not, we are all critically suffering the economic recession Nigeria has been ran into. Before we will put a government in power in Ondo State and abandon it after few months, we still have the ultimate opportunity and power to avert the fatal political accident which may prevent us from getting the fruits of a working and productive democracy through projects delivery, social and economic benefits.
The forthcoming governorship election in our State should be a fight for survival of our people driven by fresh ideas to create values, deliver projects and services to the people of Ondo State. The way and manner at which some people are talking about it especially within the political class is as if it is a war and battle against ethnicity, senatorial districts and zones while some of us have forgotten that they are married to and have friends from other districts and work in other zones as well.
I am not against the protection and projection of the interest of the people in my district for instance; to attract development. We should not forget that a governor is a not magician that will do everything alone when elected to office. He/she will need the support of other people from other districts apart from his/her own to move the State forward.
For the sake of development and our people, we must refrain from all these ethnic and senatorial district political war or else, we are already on a trajectory to plunge the State into district collision in which battle line may be drawn. Ondo State is one and it is not constitutionally permitted to produce three governors at a time. Zonal or districts agitations will not take the State and its people anywhere. Our focal contribution at this stage should be to search, pray, support and vote a man who will move the State forward to service the interests of the majority.
Before you shout continuity or follow change or better still support the rescue mission or you go for progress, put them side by side and initiate critical decisions not base on sentiment or self-driven interest, and then call for how to engage these candidates to tell us how we stand to benefit if elected. It is not by fire or by force; every citizen of Ondo State has the right to go for the candidate he/she believe will turn things around for good and for all.
The major problem with our political space is of the fact that we often mix politics with governance which in the real sense are different and should be given different shots to achieve positive change, growth and transformation. The development and the under-development in Ondo State today are as a result of effective leadership and also those that have paid lip service to leadership within the political class. I have always maintained that the problem with democratic performance in Nigeria is not political parties but those we have in them occupying leadership roles running governance like personal properties. Our problem is not caused by the APC nor the PDP or other political parties in Nigeria. The same way there are bad governors in the PDP is the same way we have them in the APC as well and vice versa.
Governor Ambode of Lagos and Governor Ayade of Cross Rivers States are products of continuity in their States with one in APC and the other in the PDP. It is one record that these two governors are trying their best today to leave their States better than they met them.
Before we become victims of political rape again in Ondo State, we still have the opportunity now to prevent failures, low and under performance by joining hands to work and vote for credible candidate not political party he represents. In education; we are on course as a State and more effort must be made to consolidate on what we have on ground. In modern agriculture; our state is not yet on the move. In transport; we are on course as a state. In health care system; we have made appreciable progress under Olusegun Mimiko. In job creation, technology and entrepreneurship development; we are far from being on the move. In infrastructure and economy; much need to be initiated, implemented and monitored for growth and performance. In commerce, trade and industry; we are far behind average and many other aspects need to improve.
The governor Ondo State needs is not a governor for districts or zonal agitations to satisfy ethnic divides. We need a competent and brilliant governor who will transform Ondo State from a State of only civil service to a State that owns and harbour entrepreneurs, emerging businesses, companies and multi-nationals. We need a governor who will listen, act and empower the teeming youths to become their best to make the Ondo proud and add values to the State. We need a governor who will be ready to open up all districts and zones according to their God-giving capacities in terms of human, natural and capital resources to grow and develop. We need a governor who will construct roads and build collapsed bridges in the State for the good of the people. We need a governor who will bring light to where there is darkness in Ondo State and above all, we need a governor who will secure and protect the people of Ondo State. Ondo government house is not available for a lazy man.
So, before you shout change or team up with continuity or make bond with rescue mission, ensure you put the interest of the State and the people at heart. If you and I support and work for the credible candidate with greater plans for the State and the people; we shall not become victims of political rape and dircetionlessness for the next four years. Ondo State will be great!
Oludaisi Omokungbe is the Executive Director of Youth Hangout Africa (youthhangoutafrica@gmail.com)