Memo to Yoruba Governors (1)

THERE is a worrisome situation of serious underdevelopment in Yorubaland due to poor governance with even little possibilities within the existing  dysfunctional structures not being explored.

A restructured Nigeria along federalism has been and remains our ultimate but the Yoruba say that ‘ayangbe aja dun, sugbon ategun ko lenu a je kaja togbe’ (smoked dog meat is delicious but the mouth will not feed on air until the barbecue is done). This is why we need to call attention of our governors to some good things happening in other zones even within the present bad arrangement which shows there could be lack of imagination or lethargy in our own space.

We are known for our achievements on the education front in Yorubaland and this is with great gratitude to the sage, Oloye Obafemi Awolowo who launched over 500,000 children against ignorance in a day when he started the Free Education programme. I stared into space the other day when his daughter, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, called my attention to the fact that we now have illiterate children born by educated parents in the same zone.

N-Power beneficiaries appeal to FG for timely payment of stipends

The Punch report on the results of 2016 WASCE results published on August 17, 2017, had this pathetic commentary:

“However, the South-West states, often regarded as leaders in the education sector, put up a less sterling performance in the examination. Aside from Ondo, Lagos and Ekiti which emerged in the seventh, ninth and 14th positions respectively, Ogun and Osun states, with 53.24 per cent and 46.77 per cent respectively, were outperformed by five northern states, including Borno, to emerge in the 19th and 24th position nationwide.

“At 36.69 per cent, Oyo is the least performing of the South-West states. It emerged in the 29th position nationwide, falling further below Adamawa, Ebonyi, Kano and Katsina states.”

Oyo and Osun states’ positions worsened in 2018 edition with the former dropping to  26th position while the latter was relegated to 29th .

Abia, Rivers, Edo, Imo and Bayelsa that emerged the best performing states in that year are not yet in a restructured Nigeria.

The 2019 results chart has further reinforced that something has gone wrong in the South-West with only Lagos among the best 10 states, as Abia, Anambra and Edo states led other Nigerian states in the 2019 performance ranking chart of the West African Examination Council.

The top 10 performing states at the 2019 examination are Abia, Anambra, Edo, Rivers, Imo, Lagos, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, and Ebonyi.

While Adamawa, Osun, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kebbi, Katsina, Gombe, Jigawa, Zamfara, and Yobe occupy the bottom 10 of the chart.


Full ranking of states

performance at 2019 WAEC:

  1. Abia 2. Anambra 3. Edo
  2. Rivers 5. Imo 6. Lagos
  3. Bayelsa 8. Delta 9. Enugu
  4. Ebonyi 11. Ekiti 12. Kaduna
  5. Ondo 14. FCT 15. Kogi
  6. Benue 17. Akwa Ibom 18. Kwara
  7. Ogun 20. Cross River 21. Taraba
  8. Plateau 23. Nasarawa 24. Kano               25. Borno             26. Oyo 27. Niger              28. Adamawa     29. Osun              30. Sokoto  31. Bauchi            32. Kebbi             33. Katsina          34. Gombe          35. Jigawa            36. Zamfara        37. Yobe


Siting at 26 and 29 positions, Oyo and Osun are the worst performing states in Southern Nigeria. I wept for my state of origin when I read Governor Gboyega Oyetola on 9th July promising workers in the state to sustain full payment of salaries months after inauguration:

“I will not only sustain the payment of your full salary, but by the grace of God, I’ll pay your arrears. I will prioritise your welfare,” the governor said.

I would sound idiotic to myself to stand before my employees today and be promising them to pay their salaries in  full. The promise can only be a testimony to the ruination of a state.

I have listened time and again to Pastor Tunde Bakare giving the testimony that but for the free education programme of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he would have ended up a carpenter. What a waste of human potential would that have been if a man of his intellectual endowment had ended in life making beds and seats for people. But how many children can speak in like manner today?

How would those in charge of our affairs explain the state of education in Yorubaland   to Awolowo if he were to appear on Mapo Hill today?

How forlorn leadership focus has become in Yorubaland came to the fore again on 26th August, 2018, when  Kebbi State govenor, Atiku Baguda, played host to the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, in his office.

Bello had gone to inform him of the plan to develop an Inland Container Depot (ICD) and a Truck/Trail Transit Park in the state.

Bagudu assured the management of NSC that any people-oriented project embarked upon by them that will ensure trade facilitation and sustained economic growth will be supported by his administration. As part of measures to earn more from the popular staple food and shore up the economy of the state, the governor said three giant rice millers, Wocat Rice Processing Mill, Dangote Rice Processing Mill and Dadangari Rice Processing Mill are working at full capacity with the state earning about N150billion from sale of rice in 2017 alone. He equally stated that Kebbi State as an agrarian state has enormous potential in agriculture coupled with acquatic splendour that positions the state as part of the Blue Sea economy.

Bagudu, however, did not mention that the investment that led to the generation of N150billion from rice growth in one year came from Ambode’s  Lagos. Ogun is the home of Ofada rice and Ekiti the land of Igbemo rice, but this investment travelled to Kebbi State.

In 2018, the combined Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo states was N66.27billion less than Ogun State’s N84.55billion. When you add the total incomes of these five South West states outside the receipts from federation account, you have the exact amount of what Kebbi State made in rice through Lagos finance in one year!

Lagos State Commissioner for Information in 2016, Mr Steve Ayorinde, did announce that the state government had acquired land in Ogun, Ondo and Osun states for farming. Ayorinde told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt that the land was acquired for large scale mechanised farming.

The commissioner, who did not disclose the quantity acquired, said the state was planning to acquire more land in Oyo State. The decision has to do with economic integration of the South-West states he added.

It would be a pleasant surprise if that acquisition has translated to anything beyond that announcement as I pen this…

  • To be continued.

…The warning from Alaafin

Our fathers from the depth of their wisdom said that when two children are cutting a tree in the forest, the elder watching from a distance knows the direction the tree would fall in.

On June 24, 2019, the Alaafin of Oyo wrote to the President a letter entitled: “Yoruba Question In Nigerian Connudrum.” It was a wake-up call on the collapsing security architecture in the country at large and the South-West in particular due to unhinged activities of criminal Fulani bandits and pseudo-herdsmen.

The monarch threw several serious warnings in the letter. I quote one of them:

“On top of it all is the menace of professional kidnappers usually in military uniforms. What is more worrisome about the kidnapping notoriety is what looks like impunity which these kidnappers enjoy their nefarious activities. After due consultations with Yoruba leaders and as the pre-colonial head of the Yoruba nation, we are worried by the audacity of these lawless people in effecting their illegal acts in broad daylight on our usually bushy highways without any arm of security being able to do anything. Worse still is the confidence with which they demand ransoms and collect such illegal levies at designated spots without any arm of security being able to lay siege on them as it was the practice in the recent past.

“Now, we cannot even talk of parading suspects, when in actual sense, no major arrests have been made in this part of the country. Without arrests, we can not talk of their facing the law. Unfortunately, and painfully indeed, in the face of the apparent helplessness our security agencies, where do we go from here?”

Weeks after the letter was issued, anti-kidnap policemen went to Taraba State to effect the arrest of a notorious kidnapper. The crack team credited with the smashing of notorious kidnap rings, including Evans and those who made away with a district head in Daura, succeeded in putting the kidnapper in chains.

On their way back and with songs of conquest on their lips, soldiers whose ‘oga’ has been alleged to be in several conversations with the arrested kidnapper opened fire on them and killed three of the best the police can boast of in tackling the menace of kidnapping. The kidnapper is a free man today and possibly plotting the next kidnap while we are “investigating”the killings the Army already admitted with viral images of the killers. Only in Nigeria!

Where do we go from here is Alaafin’s question.