Nobody knows how Governor Seyi Makinde and Mukaila Lamidi aka ‘Auxiliary’s love story began. But it seems that touchy-feely tale has come to a screeching, heartbreaking end and people who don’t know how it all started are now sharing views on how it ought not to have ended. Isn’t it nauseating to poke your nose into matters that don’t concern you? Two love birds suddenly becoming estranged should be enough of a lesson that there is more to what we see in the public. But what if all of this bittersweet drama indeed concerned you after all?
Whether as a resident of the biggest West African city, Ibadan, or as someone that claims Oyo as a state of origin, maybe this story matters to you. That your Governor of the last four years and the next four years had the audacity to wine with a notorious ex-convict should be enough to take your breath away. But it might not take your breath away if you hadn’t encountered the violent storm of ‘baba rili’ and his gangster. Perhaps, the story is better told by those who have unfortunately encountered them in their prime days. “Disturbing”, “Troubling”, and “traumatic”, to name just three of the most widely used words. Enabling the supreme rein, and recklessness of ‘Auxiliary’ for the past four years has been an unsettling reality people have struggled to contend with.
Probably, his elevation was Seyi Makinde’s biggest administrative malfeasance. Essentially so, the whole idea behind the creation of PMS out of NURTW was rooted in creating an atmosphere of fear, panic, and apprehension that will ripple through the hearts and minds of the Governor’s adversaries and perhaps the public – if you think the Governor is cool, calm and collected, innocent with gentle mien, bear in mind he has battle ready ‘luca brasi’ of this world. Clearly, the scars of the past four years will forever be etched on Governor Makinde’s first term: OMITUNTUN 1.0 is incomplete without the story of ‘aare Kiriji ajagunla’ and his horrendous escapades. Indeed, the wound inflicted on innocent civilians from across the city is yet to heal and those who lost their loved ones in broad daylight like the murder of Rahman Azeez at Iwo Road are still mourning! The story of Auxiliary and his notoriety is not chilling, no thanks to the government that enabled his atrocities.
Of essence, Governor Makinde was quite lucky and strategic not to have allowed the excesses of his rabble-rousers, troublemakers, and official louts to dent his re-election bid. He could have been nailed by people. Or be punished at the poll for that single decision to give terrorism another name — PMS. But election in the state is quite complex and complicated. Consequently, it is difficult to pin down factors that will swing votes to just one variable. And as we saw in the build-up to the last election, that ‘Auxiliary’ tough love was a recurrent, fascinating yet embarrassing topic, especially in the Governor’s camp. Opposition milked it as voters were urged to reject the Governor’s promise of a better deal in his second term. Unsurprisingly, ardent supporters of the Governor like his social media dingbats knew defending the ‘Auxiliary’ gaffe is ultimately wishing themselves evil. They knew standing behind a decision that could hurt and hunt them is potentially dangerous. So instead of sounding honest and sensible, they preferred muddying the waters of conversation by tagging anyone who stands against Mr. Governor dalliance with ‘auxiliary’ as an ‘enemy’ of the state.
At the heart of the NURTW/PMS/TRANSPORT WORKERS brouhaha in Oyo state is always the question of leadership, revenue generation, and careful control and calibration of politics of the underworld. Like the proverbial he who pays the pipers dictates the tunes. Overbearing Governors like the late Otunba Alao-Akala and the incumbent Seyi Makinde have always sought to plant their bootlickers at the helms of their affairs. We saw the havoc wrecked by NURTW in the days of Otunba Alao-Akala and we were all witnesses to the PMS reins of terror in the last four years. Incidentally, what we also know is that other Governors particularly Lam-Adesina and Rashidi Ladoja might have had shared relationships with the transport workers but their togetherness was strictly formal. Notable among past Governors that stood firmly, gingerly on their decisions not to turn transport workers into political tools was the late Abiola Ajimobi.
Instead of toiling a similar path of controlling the affairs of NURTW leadership from his office, Senator Ajimobi allowed them the freedom and independence that bordered on confident humility albeit with consistent and constant input from the government. Ajimobi made it crystal clear that he’s a no-nonsense man. And that he will not allow miscreants to jeopardize the state’s peace and stability. He was a man of his word and even in death, people still respect, revered, and admired his exceptional courage. You may disagree with Ajimobi on many fronts, but impossible to disagree with the ways he deftly, artfully, and masterfully handled the knotty issues of NURTW. As a matter of fact, one of his public speeches on NURTW has been resuscitated since the love lost between the Governor and Auxiliary became a trending topic. Crucially, one effective way to control the excesses of NURTW is not to seek to control the affairs of the union. Ajimobi’s simple riot act was such a huge, colossal, and astounding success that many had thought Governor Makinde would replicate a similar feat in the interest of the people.
Quite to the contrary, Governor Makinde had another plan in mind: to empower and commission ‘Auxiliary’ as the poster boy for his transport sector reformation. First as chairman, then later as disciplinary committee helmsman. What a mockery of morality! Amusingly, whoever suggested the making of ‘auxiliary’ as the PMS disciplinary committee chairman must have been an evil genius. How else do you want to have a discipline union with an indiscipline leader? Contradiction you call it. But ‘the auxiliary’s PMS mission was a spite. And for those four years, it worked, perfectly fine. Other transport union leaders like Hamidu Were, Lateef Akinsola aka Tokyo, and Abideen Olajide aka Ejiogbe went AWOL.
They knew government’s power is enormous and wouldn’t dare to do anything that will land them in hot water. Interesting to know that the same set of people sandbagged by this government in the last four years is equally the one being sought after to rescue us from the clutches of ‘auxiliary’ and his boys. Makinde’s government must reflect on how they dragged the state to this disappointing stage. They might have won re-election, but still, they have a serious job to do in stamping out the free reign of local terrorists they have empowered and enabled for serious growth and development to take place. Enough of a cosmetic approach to governance.
OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion about Issues affecting Oyo state, published on Saturdays. He can be reached via @TheGMAKing on Twitter, firstname.lastname@example.org and 09065176850