Adelabu’s Governorship Declaration Speech – A Departure From Patronising Politics To An Horizon of Tantalising Possibilities

“In this context therefore, my gubernatorial ambition is intended to enrich politics with ethics, to mix the soil of knowledge and professional competence with water of experiences in the service of humanity within the Oyo State context in Nigeria and the interdependent world. I hope to give practical expressions to ideals of humanity in my Dear State as the Executive Governor come 2023 InshAllah.”
– Adebayo Adelabu

THERE were two obvious takeaways from the Speech delivered by Chief Adebayo Adelabu during his 2023 Governorship Declaration/Press Conference held at the Adegoke Adelabu Foundation Hall, Jericho, lbadan on Monday, 9th May, 2022. The first is that the 2023 APC Governorship Aspirant is indeed an erudite man of research and very deep and eclectic thought. All through the 41-paragraph speech, the man of figure regaled his audience with indepth and far-reaching statistics, both local and international to convince them of his robust knowledge and readiness for the job he was applying for! The other takeaway from the speech is that; if indeed it was the former Deputy Governor of Central Bank that wrote that piece, then whoever is going to take up the job as his Speech Writer if he eventually emerges the Governor comes 2023 would be in for an Herculean task! I tell you for free, a professional Speech Writer couldn’t have done a better job than those words Adelabu had penned by himself!

IN the introductory to almost the middle part of the speech, the grandson of Adegoke Adelabu Penkelemesi, the crowd puller and serial winner of the Western Region politics of the First Republic perhaps for the first time in his several public presentations revealed himself as a philosopher and great thinker like his grandfather. From his opening salvo through the mid session of the speech, Adelabu with compelling and riveting words, solemnly took the audience to the higher plane and essence of what he described as politics of humanity. Hear him; “It may not be improper to describe this event as MY DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT TO THE CAUSE OF HUMAN PROGRESS. It is indeed a commitment and determination which issued from my convinction that every manly man is born to be a Reformer, a Remaker of what men have made, a Renouncer of Lies and a Restorer of Truth pertaining to what should be done to promote public and human happiness. This convinction is daily energizing my political career.” I bet, Plato, Aristotle or Socrates couldn’t have done better.

WARMING himself further into the expectant mind of his audience, the Ibadan-born Chief took them through his enviable pedigree, to his academic cum professional sojourn and his current attempt to re-enact the political heroics of his grandfather “by virtue of being a grandson of the meteoric Nigeria’s founding father called Adegoke Adelabu whom numerous Nigerians eulogize as PECULIAR MESS.”

BUT then, a politician would always reveal himself to be one. The 2019 APC Governorship Candidate would momentarily take his listeners on a memory lane as he reminded them of the trajectory of his defeat in the 2019 Governorship election which as he explained, “l lost the election under very controversial circumstances.” From thence, Adelabu expectedly lampooned the Governor Seyi Makinde-led Government. In his words; “The last three years have provided me the sober opportunity to review our state of the nation, as it concerns Oyo State. After this introspection, I come to the humble conclusion that our dear state can be better than what we have at the moment. This is definitely not the best we can offer at the Pace Setter state.” Adelabu further scored the current PDP Government in Oyo State low as he added; “I have observed the deficiencies of the present Oyo State Government being led by Engineer Seyi Makinde. These deficiencies point unerringly to an unspeakable lack of understanding about what is called Government Business.”

EXPECTEDLY, Adelabu highlighted the various aspects of governance where he feels Governor Makinde has failed abysmally. Hear Penkele again as he dressed down the PDP Government. “…the current Oyo State Government is failing daily and woefully on fundamental departments of Government business. For instance, Security of lives and properties which is the true end and aim of Government is a distant achievement for Seyi’s Government. His Government has enthroned Thuggery and hooliganism as the official controllers of Oyo State. The indigenes and residents in the Pacesetter state can not sleep with their two eyes closed talkless of doing businesses of life with peace and progress.
The Excellency of Government is no longer excellent in Oyo State in the light of our sordid performance in the Environment, Education, Health, Security, Agriculture among others.”

AND as he attempted to let the follies of Governor Makinde sink home, _Penkele_ offered some alternative positive rays of hope as he reeled out what would be his major focus of governance after he had clinched the ticket of his party and would have won the 2023 Governorship election in the Pace Setter State. With infectious persuasion, the first class Accounting graduate from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife OAU) highlighted what he termed a “7 POINTS AGENDA for the good people of Oyo State namely; “1. SECURITY OF LIVES AND PROPERTIES,” “2. MECHANISED AGRICULTURE AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION,” 3. INDUSTRIALIZATION AND EMLLOYMENT CREATION”, “4. HEALTH,” “5. EDUCATION,” “6. ENVIRONMENT,” and “7. GOOD GOVERNANCE & INNOVATIVE IDEAS.”

SOUNDING like a cliche and reminiscent of the 13 Points Agenda of the Late President Yaradua’s administration and the 9 Points Agenda of President Jonathan’s government, _Penkele_ provided loads of indepth statistics relating to local and international landmass, agriculture, transportation, energy, health, environment and housing to highlight the potentials and Eldorado that Oyo State could have been if its governance had been in the hands of a competent Administrator who is actually worth his salt and not a dealer who sees “Government Business” as “a trade which any man does for his personal aggrandizement.”

THE age-long _Omoluabi_ and gratitude ethos of the Yoruba equally reflected in the narrative of Adelabu’s Declaration speech as he eulogised his late benefactor and immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi “who bestowed upon me the privilege to be an eminent figure in APC. ” In paying such glowing tribute to the memory of the _Koseleri_ of Oyo State politics, Adelabu projected himself as a compelling candidate of APC for the 2023 Governorship election who would not only be a grateful Governor to members of his party but to the entire electorate and citizenry of the State if he eventually emerges victorious at the polls.

WHILE the substance and the lexical construction of the Adelabu Declaration could be described as top notch, there were few avoidable errors that the compelling speech could have done without. Sticking out like a sore thumb in that speech was the pedestrian spelling error of the word “EMPLOYMENT!” How on Earth did that word came out as “EMLLOYMENT” in Adelabu’s speech beats one’s imagination. While such error could be rationalised as the “printer’s devil” as they say, such excuse may not hold much water especially when the erroneous word was printed in capital letters!

EQUALLY fundamental was the more serious error of Adelabu repeatedly referring to the Governor as Executive Governor! This error appeared in Paragraph 7 of the otherwise most enthralling speech. For crying out loud, the extant Nigerian Constitution refers to the political position and even the person occupying it as “Governor” and never “Executive Governor”. Perhaps, Adelabu took a que from the imposing signpost erected at the entrance to the Office of the Governor of Oyo State at the Secretariat, Ibadan. The signpost most pitiably reads, “OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR”! For the benefit of those that would be receptive to leaning, referring to the Governor of a State in Nigeria as “Executive Governor” is absolute illiteracy or error which a person in the calibre of Adelabu should not be seen to be committing. Ironically, when most Governorship aspirants and candidates print posters and go for electioneering campaigns, they hardly offer themselves to the electorate as vying for “Executive Governor” but “Governor”!

AS it is, the yesterday’s Governorship Declaration by Penkele had come and gone. However, the predominant theme that runs through the speech was that of some tantalising possibilities from a man who seeks the ticket and candidature of his party for the second time running. And from the antecedents of this particular aspirant, he sounded as someone who is eager and would readily put his words in action if electoral fortunes smile on him both at the APC Primary and the Governorship election comes 2023. But then, haven’t the Nigerians nay Oyo State electorate heard of so much promises at the turn of every election?

Akinsola Ige, Esq is a Public Analyst. He wrote this piece from Ibadan, Oyo State.

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