Traducers are at it. Malefactors seem to be in a party. They are gloating that Mr Abiola Ajimobi somehow did not succeed as governor because his party failed to produce a successor in the recent governorship battle for the Oyo State prime seat. More so, since he did not win his senate bid.
In a fight against memory, such critics want to pretend that his two-term eight years as governor of Oyo State did not exist and did not count. They want to believe it, and others ride on such a hollow illusion.
After Winston Churchill led the British through the most harrowing years of its history, the people voted him out. They said it did not matter that he was the lion that roared ahead of his countrymen through the Second World War, above the rubbles and tragedy of the trauma. They dismissed him as a warmonger and they said they wanted a man of peace instead as prime minister. His foes conned the majority into repudiating the orator and statesman, who would later be regarded, by common consent, as the best English man who ever lived. Just as Awolowo is to the Yoruba race.
When Bill Clinton was president, he gave the United States the greatest economic expansion in history. Yet Americans rejected his chosen successor, Al Gore, and gave the crown to George W. Bush, the man who led them to an absurd war that would kill so many Americans, obliterate the economic gains of the Clinton Years and sow the seed of the Islamic insurgency that gave birth to Al Qaeda and ISIS arising from the conflagration of Sept 11, 2001.
In the memory of politics, sometimes the big picture suffers. But Senator Ajimobi does not need to shout to the rooftop about all he has done. People will not forget in a hurry that before he became governor, the state, especially in heartland of Ibadan, was a cesspool of factional turbulence. We had the menace as legacy from the man of amala politics, Adedibu, who had transformed populism into a grassroots excuse for blood and death. Or road transport workers who saw any febrile moment as a platform to throw scare into Ibadan streets, leaving deaths, fear and trembling in their wake. Came Ajimobi, came calm.
Nor can it be forgotten in a hurry what he accomplished in infrastructure work of many kilometres across the state. Is it the roads like dualisation of several interchanges, the construction of townships roads in Ibadan, Ogbomosho, Oyo, etc, or the landmark roads like the Ife Gate, or is it the bridges that rose from the earth to cancel the tragedies of the great flood like the Mokola Bridge? Or shall we forget that Ibadan was the dirtiest city in West Africa when he took over, with grime and dust and rot and all the violations of innocent nostrils with its stench. All that is gone now. What of legacy roads like the Ibadan Circular Road abandoned for 15 years or the Asejire Waterworks left to fallow for about 17 years.
In the spirit of Awolowo, education and schools blossomed again, and he brought foreign direct investment of more than $61 billion with jobs. What of free trade zone and industrial park and agriculture. And more.
Some may forget now, but history will never forget. That’s why statesmen govern – for posterity.