From the little I know about you as the peoples' Governor whose ultimate goal is to leave behind a legacy of service to our state, I am addressing this letter to you and sharing it with the public because the issue it seeks to address relate to public interest which is often randomly debased in Nigeria by our political leaders. I am a concerned citizen of Ondo State who appreciates your track record but will not shy away from telling you what I think you need to hear in your well known desire to continue to do your best for our state.
Some in our state think you are overrated and overreaching just throwing money at problems and looting the treasury while mistaking activities and political grand standing for concrete achievements. The great majority of us disagree with that characterization of you because you have touched so many lives in our state because of many of the great things you have done. I am always the first to come to your defense on that at every opportunity as many of your close associates and supporters like Wole Akingbasote would confirm
I feel uncomfortable addressing you as "Your Excellency" because I see "Your Honor" as being more appropriate given your humility and your disdain for meaningless protocol and hero-worship nomenclature which many of your other counterparts in many states have internalized as an entitlement from our colonial heritage. Not even the best of the British Prime Ministers or the President of the United States is ever addressed as "Your Excellency" because leaders in those countries are honored and judged by posterity only for their contributions to society and humanity during their tenure but more so after they leave office. I would consider you a great leader if our people are still saying about you some of the good things they are saying today just like they still say about Pa Awolowo and Pa Adekunle Ajasin.
I am not a member of your political party but I hold you in very high esteem because of your performance which is well known and documented beyond our state. I care enough about you and your outstanding services to our State as our former commissioner for Health under two administrations and as Secretary to Government and Federal Minister of Works for a short time before your election as Governor. The Labor Party which had no grass root support in our state before you showed up has, all of a sudden metamorphosed into a force to reckon with because of you and your people-oriented style and retail politics which are second to none among your peers.
Like the great majority of our people I supported you on principle in your protracted court battle against Olusegun Agagu who had stolen your mandate for close to four years before he was sent packing by the Appeal Court. You came to office promising to serve the state to the best of your ability and that is precisely what you have done. You are a great Governor in my book even though you are not perfect but your heart is in the right place, and you deserve all the encouragement and support you can get from all of your citizens at home and abroad.
I am addressing this letter to your Honor for two reasons. I just read a news report about the action of your River State counterpart, Governor Rotimi Amaechi who took an action similar to the one I am recommending to you with this letter because if I don't do it, there is no way you are likely to ever get to know about it from your ivory tower. Most, if not all of our political leaders including our President and Governors, all live in a cocoon or bubble. They are rarely in touch with the stark realities of our country and the urgent needs of their states or the need to do something about what they observe as they travel within our country from one state and Local Government to another.
While accompanying the Nigerian first lady on a trip from Port Harcourt to Okrika on official business, Governor Amaechi and the first lady's convoy observed a ramshackle Government-funded school built in a neighborhood that was not conducive to learning. The school premises which had been encroached by hoodlums, roadside hawkers and petty traders and by private buildings whose owners have shown little respect for the rule of Law was so filthy that the Governor was embarrassed to even show it to the first lady. The Governor took a decision right there and then to buy and demolish all the properties creating the eye sore around the school to make room for a more congenial and hygienic environment for the school. Governor Amaechi pretty much followed your good example in Ondo State and your capital beautification projects which have become a showpiece for most of your colleagues in Nigeria with the possible exception of Governors Fashola of Lagos State, Oshiomole of Edo State and Ajumobi of Oyo state to mention a few.
The particular school in question in your State capital is the Oshinle Community Primary school located at Oshinle Quarters. The school is located at the backyard of 18, Ayiloge Street, the first building in the area where two members of your current Cabinet once lived as tenants in Akure more than 35 years ago. I have to know because the particular building was one of my properties in Akure. The complex of 8 flats was built in the location more than 10 years before the community school was built in the neighborhood thru a community effort led by Engineer James Olusoga, a retired top civil servant and former Commissioner for Works in Ondo State and now the current High Chief Olisa of Akure.
The tenants I am talking about are your current Chief of Staff, Dr. Ademujimi from Idanre and his wife now a commissioner representing another Local Government in your Cabinet. Another past tenant in the building among others was Surveyor, Adamo Idowu Babalola who is now Kabiyesi, the current Onitaji of Itaji. The Ademujimi s should both know what I am talking about because they both lived in the building for years and they experienced first hand the nuisance of living so close to a public school with all the inconveniences that entailed. Dr. Ademujimi was at the material time serving as associate Doctor under Dr. Dairo of Idanre, and his wife your newest commissioner was a school teacher at the time as I recall.
The school compound or campus is separated from all the surrounding buildings with a fence but the space available to the school is so small that any rational person would question the rational to build the school at the location thereby turning a low density neighborhood into a squalor-filled noisy ghetto. The dug-up pit toilets the school uses have poisoned all the well from where the owners and tenants of those surrounding buildings get their drinking water. It is an eye sore and a big health hazard for people living around the school in a country where water-borne diseases like like typhoid have killed so many people the last time I checked.
The school is now totally surrounded or en cycled now by private buildings many of which were built before the school was built in the neighborhood. The school is unfit for a village talk less of a state capital. I am not asking your Government to move the school because the school was built there to serve the Oshinle community. If the school cannot be moved to another location, I want to respectfully suggest that your Honor uses your good offices as Governor to buy off and demolish all the structures including mine to provide needed space and a football field and other needed facilities for the school just like you did when you built many of the beautiful parks in Akure and most of your beautiful chartered schools and Mother and Children Hospital and the dualized Arakale Road which remain as some of your imperishable legacies as Governor.
The second issue I wish to draw your attention to is the terrible damage that land speculators and trespassers have been doing to the reputation of your Government. It is a development well known to all of your traditional rulers in your State including Kabiyesi the Deji of Akure, the current Chairman of the State's Council of Obas. The mere fact that you have a certificate of occupancy and a Deed of Conveyance to any piece of Land in Ondo State is no guarantee that such lands cannot be trespassed by hoodlums just breaking the Law or just taking the Law into their own hands as if the state is not governed by the rule of Law. The Ministry of Lands which is supposed to be the custodian of such documents to protect such land owners have been known to collude with surveyors and land speculators to wreak havoc on plot owners across the board. The development has reached epidemic proportions you need to know about if you are not already aware. Your Honor may need to draw the attention of your Commissioner for lands before the development irredeemably tarnishes your reputation and that of your Government.
I stand ready to provide to you more information to substantiate the points I am raising in this write-up if necessary. I seize this opportunity to assure your Honor of my highest consideration and esteem.
Dr. Wumi Akintide
1040, Neilson St
Far Rockaway, NY 11691