By Lanre Alfred
Conflicts arise in politics and other areas of human interaction due to varying interests among individuals and groups. However, instead of resorting to force and deceit to overcome or resolve them, Governor Abiodun prioritizes truth, compassion, and transparency.
Even when politicking is at its most intense and injudicious, with hate and half-truths flying hither and thither, Governor Dapo Abiodun never returns fire for fire or wavers in his adoption of soft power – that sheer ability to shun the use of force or subtle coercion for political gains. Abiodun would rather earn the understanding and respect of his most virulent detractors, and so doing, shape their notions and disposition to him.
There is no gainsaying several dissidents and established foes from many political opposition groups have warmed up to him – thanks to his tact and diplomacy.
Governor Abiodun is so busy doing his job that he barely has time to spare for political shenanigans of any sort in his immediate domain and the country’s larger political terrain. What is even more extraordinary about him, said sources conversant with politics in Ogun State, is his ability to defy the dark forces in the political terrain known for the masterful knack for deploying subterranean tactics to turn friends into foes, and traditional allies into adversaries. Abiodun is accustomed to staying above the fray while steadily and silently putting in the works to better the lot of his people and improve the fortunes of Ogun State.
In the most volatile of times, Governor Abiodun’s resort to pacifism always separates him from those who don’t mind throwing away the bath water with the baby. Recall the stacks of stumbling blocks placed in his path by his predecessor, who preferred and anointed another candidate to succeed him. The animosity was so palpable that violence almost marred the flag presentation ceremony to Abiodun during the 2019 presidential rally in Abeokuta. Yet against all odds, Governor Abiodun went on to win the election proper to the shame and damnation of his detractors.
He would win his re-election in 2023 despite the gang-up by overweening political forces that arrogated to themselves the powers to determine the fate of the good people of Ogun State.
The political circle is a graveyard of such people who gleefully succumb to hubris with the conviction that they are smarter, more powerful, wealthier, luckier, craftier, and uniquely blessed by God; so deep is their conceit that they spare no effort to rub it in the face of their perceived inferiors.
However, Governor Abiodun’s good heart and virtuousness have always steered him to handle such characters with the grace and towering diplomacy required to consign such people to the bin. Yet, he neither gloats nor panders to braggadocio at such characters’ self-inflicted misfortune.
In politics and other spheres of human coexistence, the interests of different individuals and groups occasionally spark conflicts, no doubt. But while many would resort to the use of force and subterfuge to overcome or resolve conflicts, Governor Abiodun deploys the force of truth, humaneness and transparency. He has always held that it is best to deal with conflicts using pacifist logic and diplomacy.
His ultimate mission as Executive Governor of Ogun State is the entrenchment of good governance, peace, stability, security and prosperity in the lives of the people.
Governor Abiodun made a covenant with the people of Ogun State to build a new future for them and posterity. In doing so, he said, “I hold it as a tripartite covenant between God and me, on one part, to serve Him and reciprocate His faithfulness through the journey so far by being a tool to bring the greatest good to the greatest number of Ogun State people, regardless of creed, gender and political affiliation. On the other part, it is also a covenant with the good people of Ogun State.” He added that the people will find in him; “The conduct of Omoluabi expected of (an) Omo Teacher! I will govern with character! I will serve you diligently and sincerely! I will make your interests the core of governance! I will neither personalise nor abuse the mandate! I will not betray your trust.”
It is safe to say, therefore, that despite the onslaught of intrigues and campaigns of calumny, he has remained guided by the above ethos. Thus, when the state’s Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development carried out a partial demolition exercise in some parts of the state recently, Governor Abiodun denied the plethora of accusations that the exercise was political. He noted that in Ogun State, “We don’t have a set of laws for the common man and the VIP. That is not the way it works. There is one law for everybody. Nobody is above the law and the law is not a respecter of VIPs or VIPPs.”
He said: “We are a responsible government. We are responsible to our citizens. We are a law-abiding administration. I’m sure that everyone would testify to the fact that since I assumed office in 2019, I have ensured equity and fairness and upheld the rule of law. I have not in any way attempted to be vindictive or in any form or manner appear like someone who is trying to witch-hunt anyone.
“Having said that, these are some of the insinuations I have read on social media and nothing could be farther from the truth. You all have seen the position of the Ministry of Physical Planning, which is the ministry that is entrusted with ensuring that people adhere to our different building codes. Because if we don’t respect building codes, if we don’t abide by building laws, it means that we are nothing but a chaotic society.”
Governor Abiodun also reminded all that the new minister of the FCT, former Governor Nyesom Wike, has publicly declared that any person who builds in the FCT without approval no matter how highly placed, the building will come down. Sometime last year, the governor recalled, “When a building collapsed on Gerald (Ikoyi) in Lagos, a building that belonged to someone that I know personally, I held a press conference and said we would not allow this to happen in Ogun State. You build without approval, you build beyond your approval, and if you don’t build in line with our regulations; that building will come down.”
The governor further said that the ministry sent a contravention notice to DATKEM (owners of the demolished building) and, after that, “They sent that contravention notice in May 2022, they sent a stop order notice to DATKEM, saying you are in contravention, stop working on this project until you come and correct these contraventions. They followed that stop order with another stop order. They sent a violation order. They sealed the premises. The owners of DATKEM in their minds must have felt they were above the law.
It smirks of impunity if the Ministry of Physical Planning sends you a contravention order, sends you a sealing order and you continue with the construction in violation of the safety of all of us in Ogun State. They sent you a demolition order, but you still did not respond. You begin to sneak into the building at night to work there. You begin to attempt to grease palms so that they can overlook your contraventions. But, of course, a day of reckoning will always come.”
The governor was not done; he said, “I have said that I, Dapo Abiodun if I have a building that violates the building code, bring it down. And, by this, I am sending a strong warning to all of us across the state. Many of you have buildings without approvals. Many of you don’t even have a C or O. If you have built without approvals, the long arm of the law will soon be catching up with you. We will not tolerate lawlessness in this state. We will not be defined by lawlessness and half-hazard development when you just build anyhow.”
The hoopla generated by the ministry’s action has, however, not slowed down Governor Abiodun’s catholic and conscientious devotion to making Ogun State work for the greater number of people, not for a select, entitled people!