The oppresive upsurge of Ajimobi’s watchdogs

Posted by Mayowa Okekale | 9 September 2013 | 5,579 times

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“Again, I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed – and they have no comforter; power was on the hands of their oppressors – and they have no comforter.”

Although Solomon, the writer of this passage in the book of Ecclesiastes 4 verse 1, never had Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State in mind while penning those immortal words, he nevertheless gave a crystal clear picture of what is, at the moment, cropping up in the state. Those who have been badly affected by some of the much hyped reformation policies of the Ajimobi administration can be better tell the story – of course with a lot of pain.

Recently, a friend of mine who is also a student of the premier University of Ibadan, was accused of illegal parking along Queen Cinema Road and was told that his vehicle would be towed to the Secretariat. He knew if the car was towed to secretariat, he was going to heavily pay for the recovery. So he practically, with tears on his eyes, tried hopping into the car to drive it himself so as to prevent paying the towing fee which is 10,500 naira, but one of these guys, in company of the Operation Burst Squad, was at the car door, preventing this gentle guy from entering into his car, in order to ensure that he paid the 10,500 naira and thus enrich the pocket of the government. My friend actually thought this was a joke until the car was towed to Secretariat. He, at the end, paid a sum of 20,500 naira before the car was released to him.

So, is this part of the reformation we were promised? And, who is really reforming the state? The governor or the citizens? Where does the government get the revenue which it is using to execute the reform? Of course, the masses are paying. Yes! The masses are being extorted. The administration is robbing the gentle Peter to pay Paul. Great wonder why the zealousness of these YES-O guys on the road aggravates every now and then. When you see them perform, nothing would stop you from believing they earn their salaries from their atrocious undertakings. What if these victims do not have where to get such money, what happens?

In the main, it is indubitable fundamental truism that the government we have today in Oyo State, through its strategy of reforming the state, now forcefully extorts its citizens vis-a-vis a particular channel having created Works and Transport Unit, under the aegis of Youth Empowerment Scheme Oyo State (YES-O). As far as I am concerned, not only that the Works and Transport Unit of the body has been crazily depriving citizens of their civic rights, but its cruel, inimical and oppressive activities on our roads have also been serving as another source of revenue for the current government. The state government should know that people are not animals and, as a matter of fact, should be treated with utmost leniency and kindness. On roads, on commercial buses, at garages, people speak ill of this government.

The Works and Transport Unit has unleashed countless atrocities on road users. Besides, the government has provided another set of dreadful agents as watchdogs to oversee its demolition and hellish activities – Operation Burst. This is a body that clamps down heavily on motorists, offenders of the law, motorcyclists on our roads, intimidating people with their guns and cudgels. The sight of these khaki guys would render you powerless, even if you have not contravened the law as alleged. They work for government and mercilessly treat any human obstacle that comes their way at their point of operation. Many a times, we have heard of cases where old women hawking were arrested, their goods seized and while they were put in detention. Why?

The posers are: Should a government plan to reform a state by extorting its citizens? Can there be an exemplary governance when citizens are turned into revenue-making machines? No! A good government would always think of several ways to generate its revenue and not necessarily falling back on the masses who are supposed to enjoy the dividends of democracy freely and not suppress their civic rights.

It would be recalled that the administration of Senator Ajimobi promises to resuscitate some cardinal programmes of the sage, Pa Obafemi Awolowo. No! This is never Awolowo’s ideology in practice. Truth is, the government may pretend to be Awolowo-like but it is not replicating the values, and that has been the major bane of our leadership in this country. More so, it is quite unfortunate and most pitiful, having observed the practical and empirical studies which have shown that the masses are deadly affected in one way or the other, most especially by the urban renewal programme. Traders are, everyday, vehemently complaining. We still see the displaced market women, who struggle for survival, cry like the little babies. Up to date, they still wail in poverty and anguish like never before. Some people have even lost their lives. Do we call that reformation?

We have heard of a number of terrible and dangerous cases perpetrated by this evil government’s watchdogs, YES-O officials and Operation Burst, which have left us with much anguish and outrageous pain. These people have been making Oyo State people burst into ctears through illegal arrest and maltreatment of individuals.

In the main, the urban renewal which is part of the programmes of the Ajimobi administration and which has rendered so many people of the state “shopless”, “marketless”, “foodless” and homeless lacks a great deal of sense and sagacity as it has brought much turmoil and gnashing of teeth in the land. I can authoritatively say that misplacement of priority is not equal to reformation process. It is obvious that this administration does not care for the masses and still collects from them to achieve its aims and objectives. This government should adopt and act in accordance with Maslow’s theory and be sensitive to the plight of Oyo State’s citizens.

Okekale is of the University of Ibadan. Photo shows Governor Ajimobi.

Source: News Express

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