COVID-19: Governor Abiodun’s show of dexterity praiseworthy

The governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun has shown to be a quality leadership personified. The governor has once again caught the high regard of Ogun residents following the adroitness with which he handled the criminality perpetrated by One Million Boys in some parts of the state recently, and the manner in which he current renders leadership to cushion the effects of lockdown that stare residents in the face in the wake of COVID-19 is also exemplary.

No doubt, the governor’s handling of One Million Boys in the early weeks of lockdown and the ongoing delivery of palliatives are demonstrations of Thomas Jefferson’s maxim: “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government”. Without being immodest, everyone knows that the entire good people of Ogun are enjoying maximum security now, while the vulnerable have been direct beneficiaries of palliatives donated by both Federal and Ogun State governments, and individuals. More importantly, residents have commended the governor more for his compassionate policy regarding the three-day relaxation window per week during this lockdown.

Going down memory lane, Ifo, Ado-Odo/Ota, Ewekoro, Obafemi-Owode and Sagamu Local Government Areas were invaded by hundreds of criminals called One Million Boys a few days after the lockdown was pronounced. The youth criminals raped, maimed, killed, robbed and destroyed property for weeks, moving in buses from one location to another day and night with audacity. They had a field day for days. They wrote letters to communities notifying them of their intention to invade on a particular date. They rode on lockdown. Peace in the state suddenly evaporated. National mass media, as well as social media, were awash daily with the reports.

Residents of the affected LGAs and their relatives home and abroad could not sleep with their two eyes closed. Many of them in areas close to Lagos State turned emergency night watchmen and formed vigilante groups, setting up bonfires, wielding sticks, machetes and other improvised weapons. They believe in this dictum– Nobody is free until everybody is free– by Fannie Lou Hamer.

Worried by the rising level of wanton destruction of life and property by the One Million Boys, Abiodun swiftly mobilised all security agencies, giving them a marching order to arrest and prosecute the men of the underworld. Indeed, the governor felt it was double jeopardy for the masses to suffer criminality amidst lockdown during COVID-19. No sooner had the Iperu prince gave the order for peace than the gangsters were raided in different locations. On Sunday, April 12, 2020, Ogun Commissioner of Police led the parade of 150 criminals with their weapons at the Eleweran Police Headquarters in Abeokuta to the glares of journalists and members of the public.

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Like a typical nursing mother that would never keep calm at the cry of her baby, Abiodun’s stand on dealing ruthlessly with criminals across Ogun irrespective of whose child is involved is praiseworthy. This brought quick intervention to the recent ugly incidence of armed robbery.

Undoubtedly, the state government’s provisions to security operatives helped in the arrest of the unscrupulous elements in a single raid. Besides residents’ sigh of relief, their hope for water-tight security has been boosted by deployment of adequate security apparatuses to keep tabs on cultists and gangsters who might want to foment trouble in the future. Since the assumption of duty, the accomplished businessman has always affirmed that his administration has zero-tolerance for criminal activities with vows that perpetrators would suffer venomous measures.

It would be recalled that in August 2019, the governor launched the State Security Trust Fund (SSTF) after its passage by Ogun State House of Assembly. He appointed a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Bolaji Balogun, and Opeyemi Agbaje, Chairman and Secretary of the SSTF respectively. The Fund committee swung into action immediately and procured over 100 patrol vehicles and 200 motorcycles equipped with necessary gadgets, which were inaugurated by the Inspector General of Police during Governor’s 100 Days in Office celebration. The SSTF, through the funds raised from various corporate organizations, has been providing necessary supports and logistics for security agencies to enhance their efficiency.

It is important to always remember the saying that security is key to the development of any nation as no reasonable investor would want to put his capital in an unsecured economy anywhere in the world. Prince Abiodun’s dynamic leadership should be commended as his efforts during this hard time is a signpost of his unflinching readiness and commitment towards making the Gateway State more peaceful and attractive to genuine investors.

It would do more good for residents and citizens to always applaud the oil magnate for fulfilling the most critical aspects of his responsibilities as the chief security officer. Indeed, with Abiodun at the helms of affairs, Ogun State is in a safe hand as he is truly the right peg in the right hole.

Olamide Lawal is Special Assistant on Youth and Sports to Ogun State governor



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