It was a British political publicist, Ernest Benn, who said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy,” but a report titled “Amosun’s uncompleted model schools abandoned, rot away in Ogun communities” that was published on 31st December 2022 affirmed the submission of the aforementioned publicist. The political season is in its top gear and we have to be careful of the things we read and listen to as most narratives, at the moment, are steeped in propaganda and outright lies.
Anyone who is a native of Ogun, a resident or lover of Ogun might not forgive the past administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun for the many difficulties and problems he has plunged the state into. Oftentimes, achievement is always the herald of comparison. Before Senator Ibikunle Amosun departed from office as the Governor of Ogun State, he stamped discomfort on the faces and the minds of the people of Ogun State. From the demolition of houses without adequate compensation of the victims, abandoned road projects— a disheartening challenge the current administration inherited from him— the huge financial debt attuned to N202bn on road construction alone, to the N27billion unfinished Model School project.
Senator Amosun literally turned the state into Augean stables such that it would only require a cool headed and visionary person to clear the mess. It is where Amosun’s government went deficient that Abiodun’s government has picked his gauntlet of work from. While Amosun focused on Ogun Central alone, Abiodun in the last four years has sprinkled his project around the state and usefully converted some of Amosun’s unfinished projects to use.
The livewire of any nation at all is education. Therefore, at every point in time, a nation stands between education and destruction. A nation survives and triumphs in promoting its quality education and it dies and perishes by neglecting its education. Education is life; ignorance is death. While education was ailing in Ogun State, Sen Amosun almost euthanized it by coming up with his misplaced priority to build 26 “world-class” model secondary schools across the 20 local governments in the state.
Several people who worked with him during his “regime” did not only complain about his intransigence and narcissistic nature, they also groaned about his habit of one-upmanship when planning policies and events with other members of his cabinet. This negative attitude has become public in his ego-tripping quest to ruin Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, an institution named after the greatest benefactor of education in Ogun State, by relocating it to another venue. All attempts to prevent the relocation by leaders in the state, staffers, parents, and students of the institution fell on his deaf ears: he was the god. Power drunk. And he could do anything he likes: that’s his nature, his love for power is on the same wavelength with his love for using it in a catastrophic way. That singular action has adversely affected both the financial vigor and academic strength of the school.
In some areas such as Oke Odo Community in Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu North Local Government, Amosun hijacked acres of land from farmers without consulting or compensating them. Their crops were destroyed, they lost their land and means of livelihood but they revel in the fact that it was for a course that would develop their community, unfortunately, it ended up being an unfinished project that would not benefit the community and those who had made a sacrifice for the project. The story is almost the same in several local governments.
However, the purpose-driven and financial-savvy administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun has tweaked some of the model school buildings and put them in use. For example, the Tech Hub on Kobape Road on the outskirts of Abeokuta was one of the supposed Model Schools that was moribund for 8 years. Similarly, the one in Ikenne was converted into a 128-bed Isolation and Treatment Centre for COVID-19.
It was reported that more than N218.380bn would be needed to complete projects within the period under review. Sensibly, it would be unwise to expect the current administration to adopt the debt of the past administration and finance a project that is both misconceived and a misplaced priority when there are other pressing priorities that would be beneficial to the overall wellbeing of the state and its people.
If Amosun could almost euthanized education in Ogun State with the example of the model schools and Moshood Abiola Polytechnic amongst others as listed above and Prince Dapo Abiodun is implementing the Universal Basic Education Act to the letter; has resuscitated MAPOLY and the former Tai Solarin College of Education (now renamed after Oba SK Adetona) that were gasping for life before he came to office; ensuring free education for all children in Primary and Junior Secondary Schools and the welfare of teachers is being given utmost priority to ensure that best brains are attracted and retrained in the system, he should be commended and respected.
For Amosun and those who have not spared their time to assess Abiodun’s levels of commendable achievements, the feeling would be equivalent to a story of Usain Bolt, a retired Jamaican and the greatest sprinter of all time. Some people are always miffed by his style of celebration after defeating other contestants in a competition. He will spread his hands to show he is the real champion racing to breast the tape after which he would start to chest-thump.
In one of the Olympics finals, my friend and I watched the finals of the 100 meters where I knew he would win. But seeing Ashafa Powel, Justin Gatlin and Yohan Blake, I felt one of these great sprinters might have a neck-to-neck race with him. After all, my friend wanted the young Yohan to win. The race began and Ashafa Powel seemed to be leading until Bolt bolted like a lightening, surpassed all of them and made jest of all of them again. My friend felt bad and sad and I sermonized him: “Personal hatred doesn’t diminish a champion just as reproach doesn’t diminish the sweetness of honey.” Those statements are truer with Prince Dapo Abiodun as he keeps energizing the education sector of the state.
Temidayo Akinyele, a public commentator, writes via [email protected]
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