6 June 2003

Nigeria: Senator Rasheed Ladoja: a Well-Deserved Victory

Lagos — The election of Senator Rasheed Ladoja as governor of Oyo state in the recently concluded gubernatorial election is a good omen for the state. After late Chief Bola Ige's tenure that spanned from 1979-83, it could safely be concluded that the amiable and highly focused senator is another personality that possesses the necessary wherewithal to give the state a new direction and new beginning.

His background and antecedent speak volume. Senator Ladoja has obviously cut a niche for himself in the private sector. He is a director of one of the leading and fast growing bank with a network of more than 80 branches. He is a successful shipping magnate. He also has tremendous interest in the oil sector. This is in addition to his interests in many small scales enterprises here and there. His involvement in the politics of the land is also laudable. Though. he has been contesting for elective posts before 1993, but his foray into senatorial election in that year remains the most historical in his political adventure. This was the year he was elected the senator of the Federal Republic.

His other attempts afterwards at governorship did not yield dividends until this year when he was overwhelmingly elected governor of Oyo state. He therefore has in abundance political and business pedigree to flaunt. And, the people of Oyo state will surely be better for it because they have not elected a neophyte and political green horn as their governor.

To be a success, this writer will like to give the following advice to the amiable governor. There is no gainsaying the fact that most AD governors failed because they dominated their cabinets with tired, praise singers and mediocre who normally should not be in the corridor of power. Senator Ladoja at 50 + can still be regarded as a member of young generation. He should therefore opt for young resourceful, vibrant and result-oriented professionals in his cabinet. He is lucky that Oyo state, one of the leading states in academic pursuit has legion of these professionals. This is not to disregard the party's contribution in view of the fact that he rode into power courtesy of PDP. However, he should be mindful of the fact that if his government fails, the whole blame will be laid at his door steps.

In the last three decades, the successive political governments have not been having appreciable relationship with some notable traditional rulers in the state. Of particular reference is the perennial case of my town's traditional ruler, Alaafin of Oyo. Senator Ladoja should spare no effort in cultivating friendly and enduring relationship with him and even other traditional rulers in the state. They are the harbingers of our traditional heritage and, essentially they control the minds and the souls of the people of the grassroots. It is therefore suicidal for any government to engage in face off with them.

Historically, Oyo state is the home of agriculture. Senator Ladoja should develop this sector so that the state could be a supplier of agricultural products to the neighbouring states particularly, Lagos State. On a related note the Governor should attempt to open up the state economically, especially with the neighbouring countries of Togo and Benin Republics.

There is no doubt that Lam Adesina's effort with respect to infrastructural development is almost zero. The roads are in deplorable state. Drainage system is terrible. Water is not flowing. I was at my town a couple of weeks ago and it was pathetic watching people drawing water from the streams and broken pipes. It's as bad as that. These must receive attention from the in coming administration. The Senator Ladoja's administration should also initiate the funding of small scales enterprises with the sole aim of providing jobs for the unemployed youths. In the advanced economies of the world, small scales sector is actually the major lubricant of the economy. Also, Governor Ladoja should employ his contact to draw both local and foreign entrepreneurs to Oyo state. Oyo state is a sleeping giant waiting to be woken up.

Finally, the attention of the government should be predominantly on the provision of good qualitative education, water, provision of security etc. With this. Senator Ladoja will truly find Oyo state much easier and very interesting to govern. My congratulation goes to him and his entire family for a well- deserved victory.

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