Dapo Abiodun: Grace galore, bountiful showers at 64 - oguncitynews


Tuesday 28 May 2024

Dapo Abiodun: Grace galore, bountiful showers at 64

By Kayode Akinmade 

THOSE who live by their strength may readily explain how they surmount odds; those who live by the power of the Almighty need no such explanation. They work hard, but they let God be God, directing them as unmoved mover creatively structuring their paths that eventually yields boundless rewards. That is the story of the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun (MFR, CON), as he clocks three scores plus four, and five years in the saddle at the Gateway State, Nigeria’s top investment destination. May 29, for many governors, is just the day they assumed office; for Abiodun, it is the very day of his birth, and so the celebration is always multi-pronged. The Royal Air Force has a motto that both instructs and motivates, and captures Abiodun’s trajectory: Per ardua ad astra (Through difficulty to the skies). It’s been a long, tortuous, often lonely journey for the Ogun state helmsman that many loved to mock in the days he sought a lawmaking ticket; those days when he swiftly congratulated winners and immediately collapsed his structures into their own in the interest of the party, elevating the future above the present, confident that his time would come, and trusting in the grace of the One who gives and, adding no sorrow to it.    

 In his epochal document, My Early Life (1968), the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, left as a gem for all generations: “After rain comes sunshine. After darkness comes the glorious dawn. There is no sorrow without its alloy of joy; there is no joy without its admixture of sorrow. Behind the ugly terrible mask of misfortune lies the beautiful soothing countenance of prosperity. So, tear the mask!” When you look at trajectory of Dapo Abiodun’s political life, you see that the words of Nigeria’s sage fit right into the tapestry of his odyssey. Abiodun got into office decades after he first thought of doing so, and the battle when he announced his interest in the Oke Mosan top job couldn’t have been fiercer. Those for whom he literally put his life on the line in the days gone by decided that he was an enemy that must be stopped by all means: the yellow vests usually worn by his supporters was treated like disdainful rags and his posters and billboards were pulled down in blind rage. Abiodun did not have the luxury of a handover note, and even the vehicle in which he rode on inauguration day was borrowed from a neighbouring state. What a truthful but incredible story !


If getting into Government House was arduous, living in it was/has been war. There was no trick the naysayers, confounded in their refusal to embrace the reality of their exit from power, did not deploy to take him down. They deployed hack and hired writers buoyed by the rustle of currency notes; they deployed blackmail and character assassination. They scoffed at his projects, including international Airports and dry ports altruistically designed to lift the Gateway State into international reckoning. For each road he did across the state, they mocked him for the one not yet done. They called him a non-performer, but could not fault the verdict by local and international agencies that recognized his genius in ICT, agriculture and business development, in education and the arts, and in the health and housing sectors. When he would not budge, they went after his men, cooking up stories to break marriages and demoralize his leadership, but they failed with embarrassing rapidity.

The last four years have been so turbulent for his administration. The Iperu-born prince and business mogul has faced character assassination and political betrayal by diverse camps of crooks and laissez-faire personalities. But when many believed that there should be a casting down, the Almighty Gid decreed a lifting up. Today, as he celebrates his 64th birthday; it is evident that God has put an end to his political travails. When you look at what he has gone through in the last four and a half years, you can only give thanks to the Almighty God. Court cases, blackmail, the threat by his predecessors and opposition vote buyers; the treachery by certain devious party men who hobnobbed with the opposition after riding to power on the ticket of his generosity—the list was literally endless. Many thought the music had ended for Abiodun after his first four years, but God did His wonders. Many naysayers believed he would not survive the grand betrayal, but he did, and today treachery has buried those who hatched by it in hot lava. They are like fish out of water, and birds shorn of wings. Abiodun is 64, in good health, and with a great record. It is The Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our sight. 

The dark night is past, and Ogun is on the way to a glorious dawn. Those who thought he could not do well in government and cast aspersions at his personality are now serenading him for what he has done. It is no coincidence that his remedy for the economic anguish in the land remains unmatched, his palliatives alluringly novel. From students to civil servants, and artisans to market (wo)men, everyone has a sense of belonging. Ogun students in higher institutions got N50,000 each while their counterparts from other states got nothing; those in the lower levels got N10,000 each. Thousands benefited from his festival of surgeries; civil servants enjoyed cash and food packages: rice was sold at half the price. Buses, tricycles and bikes running on CNG crashed transport costs, and special food markets charging half the normal prices of foodstuff eased the pains of the populace. Close to 600 kilometres of roads have been done, but of course much more remains to be done because of Ogun’s massive size. Recognizing his genius, the Federal Government appointed him a member of its economic team. The economy is recovering, thanks to the President’s ingenuity and the vision in appointing Abiodun as part of Nigeria’s economic brainbox. Most analysts say that Prince Abiodun’s ISEYA mantra has been a massive success, yet he is conducting a multidimensional survey to solidify the feedback mechanism.

Significantly, the political atmosphere is calm. Ogun, once a war zone, is at peace. Blood flowed before him; now, it is commerce conducted in tranquility that pervades the state. Instead of thugs and touts, entrepreneurial youth rule both the public and private spaces. Those who fed from trouble and piled up weapons of war in the dark days have been pushed into irrelevance. In Abiodun's Ogun, peace is the common currency of life, and troublemakers have no hiding place. The governor has no enforcers, only supporters who love good governance. As the international relations and public policy experts Roshan Paul and Sarah Jefferson contend, “Peace is a pre-requisite for development as a whole because it creates an enabling environment for the fundamentals of a society’s progress: human capital formation, infrastructure development, markets subject to the rule of law, and so on. In the absence of peace, education and health structures break down, systems to provide infrastructure disintegrate, and legal commerce is crippled. Critically, peace also frees up resources, both financial and human, that would otherwise be diverted to controlling (or creating) violence.”

Governor Abiodun is a man of his word, and the people love him for it. Says the Bard of Avon: “The purest treasure mortal times afford is spotless reputation—that away, men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.” As he moves into the middle of his second term, we wish him greater strides in office. Happy Birthday to the People’s Governor.

Akinmade is Special Adviser on Media and Communications to the Governor of Ogun State.

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