Why I want to return to Senate, by Ajimobi

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Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi is the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Oyo South District. He broke the second term jinx as governor in 2015. Will he return to the Senate? Group Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU examines his chances at the poll. Four years ago, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, governor of Oyo State, made history. He broke the second term jinx, thereby becoming the first governor to be re-elected for a second term. As the second term expires on May 29, the Ibadan-born politician hopes to return to the Senate, where he served as Deputy Minority Leader between 2003 and 2007. The poll will not be a walk over for him. His rivals are Adesoji Akanbi of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Dr. Kola Balogun of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The three major contestants are campaigning vigorously. If Ajimobi is re-elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), he will be a ranking senator and elder statesman whose experience will assist in guiding proceedings in the Upper Chamber. He is highly respected in the APC, where his experience has been useful in mobilisation, reconciliation and crisis resolution. When he was in the Senate, Ajimobi was not a bench warmer. As governor, he has endowed the Agodi Government House, Ibadan with honour. Ajimobi is perceived as a matured politician and a team player. As a senator, he ploughed back to the constituency. Ajimobi established the first and the largest free vocational training centre in the history of Oyo State, offering training in computer engineering, computer operations, telephone engineering, fashion designing, hair dressing, tie and dye etc. The center has turned out over 20,000 students to date, who have secured employments in many reputable industries. The center has also been recognised and certified as a partner and training center by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF). Ajimobi also identified communities that lacked potable water in his district. He sunk boreholes. He also carried out many empowerment programmes in the district. As governor, he enjoys tremendous goodwill. His greatest asset is maturity, which age, experience and wisdom could confer. He inherited a state in turmoil in 2011. Brigandage and violence had become the order of the day. Killings by factional drivers’ union defiled solution. Armed robbers were on the prawl in broad day light and banks were not insulated from their attacks. How to restore peace and security into a state of pandemonium where the rule of brawn had displaced the rule of law was his major priority. Between 2011 and 2019, Ajimobi has restored sanity. Prevention, in his view, is better than cure. The starting point was the establishment of a well-equipped joint security outfit codenamed ‘Operation Burst.’ The governor also introduced the ‘Safe City’ project. Closed Circuit Television cameras were installed in many flash points. The efforts paid off. Criminals relocated from the state. Bank robbery stopped. To avert ethno-religious conflicts, the  Oyo State Inter-religious/Ethnic Committee was set up to foster understanding in some heterogeneous communities. The governor built on this achievement by establishing the Security Trust Fund that has donated multi-million naira equipment to security outfits and refurbished many grounded patrol vans. Due to security, night life was restored. Ajimobi also fought the infrastructure battle. He was appalled by the poor environmental sanitation in Ibadan, the state capital, which earned it the unenviable sobriquet of the dirtiest state capital. The governor embarked on road construction across the state. Where necessary, flyovers were constructed. Other projects include the construction of ‘Restoration Bridge’ and dredging of rivers to avert flooding and its attendant loss of lives and property, restructuring of the solid waste management system for a cleaner and healthier environment, the initiation of the First Ibadan City Master Plan, and the Ibadan Beautification Project through the creation of green areas, parks (Temidire and Podo) and gardens (Agodi Gardens). The governor’s attention is not diverted by the electioneering. He is still supervising the rehabilitation and reconstruction of existing roads, and the dualisation of entry roads into major towns. These include the on-going construction of 110km Ibadan Circular Road, the construction of 49.02km roads and rehabilitation of 684.12km roads by Oyo State Public Works, the activation of Ibadan City Master Plan, Ibadan Drainage Master, Ibadan Solid Waste Management Plan and Ibadan Urban Flood Management programme in conjunction with World Bank. The Ajimobi administration has defended education in Oyo State. It has established the first technical university in the state. Owning to the provision of conducive leaning environment, the state got the best West African School Leaving result in 18 years. The School Governing Board was able to attract more than N2bn non-governmenta...

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