How Abiodun personifies omoluabi, compassion
In any part of Africa, community defines the character of one based on the self-respect which one’s family has exuded for years. So, when one is born in a good home, one is genetically configured to radiate charity from childhood to adulthood until death. Perhaps this thought lends credence to the belief that compassion does not come with a position of power. Charity and compassion for people is a function of good home training.
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State personifies charity in all its ramifications. The kind of seed which the good people of Ogun have seen so far in him has given them the conviction that their darling state is in safe hands till May 29, 2023. Bizarrely, Abiodun has shown charity to his electors across Ogun without the usual media fanfare or mediated noise which has become the chief characteristics of modern-day Nigerian politicians.
My strong belief in the Iperu Prince’s midas touch is hinged on his self-styled swift response to folks that need his premium attention. He never looks down on anyone that seeks his intervention; ever ready to receive the downtrodden even into the innermost chamber of his plum mansion in Iperu. I have never minced words about his generosity in any of my writings or commentaries in mainstream or social media.
For a man with blood running in his veins or a Nigerian political office holder, absorbing 1,000 graduates and 18 permanent secretaries who were appointed in the eleventh hour of the administration of his predecessor, Ibikunle Amosun, is out of this world. Despite the controversies surrounding the appointments, Abiodun defied “Nigerian commonsense” to absorb them to show a rare kind of compassion. The governor ensured that the appointees kept their jobs rather than satisfy his ego or bring political vendetta to bear, as usually orchestrated by most governors. Abiodun gracefully charged them to work well in their capacities towards the growth of Ogun. In his words: Despite some flaws noted in the appointments and recruitments, my government has decided to be magnanimous as a people-centred administration and not vindictive.
There were reports that the 1, 000 recruits, 18 permanent secretaries and 5,000 freshly-promoted personnel on the eve of Amosun’s government had started looking for jobs elsewhere because of the fear that Abiodun would show them the exit door to witchhunt Amosun who majority believe is Abiodun’s worst foe. Yet, the business tycoon was compassionate knowing fully well that the workers have needs to meet for their dependents. This is a lesson for all to nip political vendetta in the bud.
The account of a living witness, who identified himself as Balogun, is mind-bugling. His words: On July 13, 2011, at around 11 in the morning, then Governor Ibikunle Amosun announced the disengagement of 2000 newly-recruited civil servants from service. The 2000 workers were employed by the government of his predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. The reason for their sack by the Owu man was simply because they were employed by Daniel few months to the end of his tenure. Balogun said: “We did all we could to make him reason along with us that we were duly and properly employed. We obtained forms, paid for interview and were screened by a panel made up of 16 persons. We went to Alake of Egbaland, Osile of Oke Ona, Agura of Gbagura, Olowu of Owu and Awujale of Ijebuland to appeal to him, but he refused our pleas.
“Many of us are still unemployed to date. I know of some people who just relocated from Lagos to Abeokuta after employment. Today, we have a listening governor, an easy-going person who wants the best for himself. Abiodun does not only absorb those legally and illegally employed by Amosun, but he will also pay them in arrears.”
He has also demonstrated a major departure from the perennial indulgence of most Nigerian politicians in the appointments for diverse posts so far by not making one of his relatives a commissioner, adviser or assistant. Rather, the Iperu-born oil mogul scouted for successful technocrats from home and abroad invited and engaged them to deploy their rich reservoir of experience without giving attention to political affiliation.
From inception, one would have seen the hands of fellowship he sent to others and even got in return barely 48 hours after his declaration as the fifth elected governor. Fellow contestants with opposition parties in the 2019 gubernatorial poll sent oodles of congratulatory messages to him and he acknowledged them in his usual calm and collected nature. Without swinging this boat only to past events, the compassionate governor has included opposition members in some committees.
Engr. Razak Ojetola, one of the freshly-sworn-in permanent secretaries, said he never believed that his promotion to the pinnacle of his career would be ratified by Abiodun government. Ojetola called himself a son of nobody and one who knows nobody at the top. I’m the first in my native town Imasai in Yewa North Local Government to become a permanent secretary.”
Recently, stalwarts of oppositions such as People Democratic Party and African Democratic Congress led thousands of their followers to join ruling All Progressive Congress in Ogun. This is not unconnected to the all-inclusive approach of this government. Abiodun did not stop at embracing and welcoming them in their large numbers, he went on to call on those that are willing to return to the party to rejoin through the front door. He is a man that never discriminates, but ever-ready to work in collaboration with anyone willing to join in the restoration of Ogun glory. This has given credence to the slogan of his administration: Igbega Ipinle Ogun, Ajose Gbogbo Wa Ni. Truly, he is working in this direction of collectiveness.
When we thought we have seen it all, Prince Abiodun came up with his surprisingly compassionate nature during the swearing-in ceremony of Local Government Caretaker Committees to announce the widow of late Ipokia LG Caretaker Chairman-nominee as the secretary of the newly inaugurated caretaker committee. What else can be the compensation for a great loss?
Abiodun’s mannerism does not reflect modern-day Nigerian politics.
Olamide Lawal is the Special Assistant to Governor Abiodun on Youth and Sports.