By Ojo Oyewamide
On many occasions and in several ways, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has exemplified love for the people of Ondo state and concern for their wellbeing. No toe is too big for the governor to step on whenever he is fighting the cause of the people or that of truth.
Some days ago, Governor Akeredolu did the unusual. He went out to join the Ondo State Governor’s Task Force to enforce the regulated pump price of petrol at filling stations in Akure, the state capital.
There has been scarcity of the product in the country for more than a month now. The only official explanation available is that the nasty development stemmed from the importation of dirty fuel into the country. We were told the fuel could damage vehicles and, therefore, it could not be released into circulation. The little already in circulation was recalled.
Till now, nobody is facing the music as a result of the national embarrassment? This is unfortunate. The monster of impunity is one of the major factors that have taken Nigeria to where it is today. This is the truth we must all accept if we genuinely desire getting out of the woods. Get rid of the monster and see if the country will not move forward.
The fuel shortage induced serious hardship all over the country. There are long queues at filling stations. People spend hours in search of fuel.
Trust Nigerians! We always want to profit from the suffering of others. We are indifferent to the tears and sorrow of our fellow compatriots. We seek gains in the pains of even our supposedly loved ones. This is because most of us have lost our humanity. Yet, we profess one faith or another. Only God knows what’s wrong with our conscience.
The unpleasant fuel situation has been worsened by the greed and cruelty of marketers. They hoard the product and sell it above the government-approved price. The resultant is an astronomical increase in the cost of transportation.
But the State Governor’s Task Force has been trying its best to rein in the marketers and prevent the people of the state from going through unnecessary hardship. The Task Force is headed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties, Dr. Doyin Odebowale.
Last week, Odebowale’s team was at Sunbeth Petrol Station, Oke-Aro, Idanre Road, Akure. The station owner insisted on selling the product at N250 when the Task Force asked him to sell at the approved price of N165. Apart from that, he refused to sell into cars and motorcycles. He was selling the product into kegs only.
Governor Akeredolu later joined the Task Force at the filling station and ordered that the product be sold to motorcycle and car owners at the regulated pump price of N165.
The governor’s action is a rare leadership exemplar. It was hailed by the people around, especially the commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada riders. Their loud and joyful shouts of “Aketi, Aketi, Aketi” rent the air when Governor Akeredolu arrived at the petrol station. What public approval of a leader’s action is more than that?
Governor Akeredolu has sufficiently proven that he is not an ineffectual leader in a time of crisis. He is not like Emperor Nero who was playing music while Rome was burning. No leader who genuinely loves his people will fold his arms while they suffer.
When insecurity worsened in the Southwest, Amotekun was created to tackle the disturbing situation. And when herders and their cattle made farming difficult in Ondo state, open grazing was banned. Governor Akeredolu also took actions to prevent criminal herders from turning the state forest reserves into their sanctuaries.
The governor took a lot of blows because of these actions. Today, the people of the state are enjoying the fruit of the actions in terms of significant improvement in the security situation in the Sunshine state.
The creation of the Governor’s Task Force is a laudable decision that also sprang from Governor Akeredolu’s love for his people. Also commendable is the appointment of Odebowale as the head of the Task Force.
Odebowale is a wonderful round peg in the round hole of the Task Force. An intrepid and passionate champion of social re-engineering, the university don detests man’s inhumanity against others. He always finds it difficult to take his eyes away from the dirt in the armpits of society. It is such a man that can save us from ourselves by taming the beast of callousness in us.
Widely known and addressed as High Priest, Odebowale is a high priest of justice, fairness and decent society. You may misunderstand him; you may hate the good job he and his team are doing; you may not like his gut; you may even rain curses and abuses on him; all I know is that what he is doing for the state and her people is praying for him and members of his Task Force.
*** Oyewamide is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Akeredolu on Media and Publicity