The results of the recently concluded elections in Ogun State would appear to suggest that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has begun a journey into annihilation in the polity of the Gateway state. Given the legendary corruption perpetrated by the party and its innovative villains in power since 2003, Ogun indigenes seem to have had enough! PDP’s motto includes unity, peace and progress and these have not been delivered.

As a result, there seems to have been a consensus among Ogun indigenes, home and abroad, that since the PDP’s promise of delivering the dividends of democracy and good governance couldn’t materialise in 8 years, it wouldn’t be worth trusting the party any further with their sacred future. No doubt, whilst the PDP may yet still be able to remain a major block in governance due to the juvenile skewness of our voting psychology along sub tribal sentiments, the thwarting loss of the party and its subset - PPN amongst others at the elections suggests that Ogun people have begun to take their future in their hands through democracy and electioneering.

But I am concerned. You would probably ask why. Does shutting the door at the PDP or its short-lived detachment –PPN - means opening the door to good governance and the prosperity of the Gateway state? No doubt, I marvelled at the contagious tenacity that Ogun indigenes showcased in the months running up to the elections by making concerted efforts to re-write their history through the powers of their votes. However, one important question that surely needs an answer is “to what extent are we replacing ‘same’ with the same”? What is different between Mr. Ibikunle Amosun and Mr. Gbenga Daniel? Show me your (ex) friend and I tell you who you are!
The antecedents of the political party which has taken the truncheon of governance and leadership from the PDP in South-West Nigeria do little to allay my angst in relation. Nigerians, and in particular Ogun indigenes, have made clear their desire for a change in their governance to one which is progressive, and not a mere change in the party colours worn by their leaders. Ogun did not vote for any party. Ogun voted for Change!

It is thus time for the Gateway state to march on to sustainable socio-economic prosperity and show Nigeria how to live like a decent nation, where everyone is given the opportunity of a decent education, available and affordable health care, efficient and safe transport infrastructure, security of lives and property and above all food. Nigeria can become a country where the dreams and aspirations of people can be realised. In this regard, governance cannot continue to remain in the hands of those who do not share this futuristic vision.

Ogun indigenes booted out Mr. Segun Osoba and the AD in 2003 and allowed the PDP in with high utopia. However the PDP's occupancy of Ogun has revealed the seminal ways of perpetrating colossal corruption in state governance, not to mention the politically motivated violence and killings that became their handy machinery. As such, it might yet be another gamble that Ogun has taken at this trying moment for her burgeoning democracy. Will this gamble pay off?

Ogun State Governor, Mr. Ibikunle Amosun, has prioritized education – the precursor to future prosperity - by declaring free education both at primary and secondary schools and devoting 20% of the state’s budget to education. He also gave an edict for the reduction of tuition fees in all tertiary institutions, and his government has promised to pay the registration fees for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations. Only the living and the healthy can be prosperous! As such Mr. Amosun has declared free healthcare in the state for children under five years and for the aged, as well as free antenatal care for pregnant women in the state.

Mr. Governor has begun the journey of leading Ogun state away from its recent tumultuous past, which was riddled with a consummate demonic maintenance of an anti-progressive political regime. Some would argue that Mr. Daniel started well and aimed to lift Ogun from its peril. He probably did. So what happened? Leaving aside contemptible politicking, which the majority of Ogun masses care less about, a simple explanation of why trusted and good-willed leaders turn into architects of gross mismanagement of public resources and losing their presumably visionary leadership could be what we already know, and requires no complex theorising.

Late British historian - Lord John Acton posits that ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. So how can we ensure that Mr. Amosun and current Ogun leaders continue to path this route of human prosperity and not condescend to the customary schema of mortgaging the future of unborn generations? A simple answer perhaps: all Ogun indigenes need to get involved and stop being unperturbed by the unfolding democratic process but take the future of Ogun’s political governance and prosperity firmly in their own hands. I wrote in an earlier piece that the Nigerian elite must broaden their minds beyond getting a job, feeding their families, and ‘doing well’ to encompass a profound appreciation and consequent proactive action aimed at building a prosperous state. Consequently, we cannot afford to leave decisions, contestations and altercations in polity and nation building in the hands of few individuals and subsequently moan over society’s abating situation, and constituting at that stage an outmoded irritant – crying over split milk. We have to jointly take the responsibility of nurturing the seeds of prosperity that Mr. Amosun has sown. Moreover Ogun is his state and equally ours. Omo Ogun, n’ile, l’oko, Ise ya!

Dr. Emmanuel Adegbite is a lecturer at the Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, United Kingdom. He wrote in via: [email protected]

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