A former Governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, on Thursday pleaded for forgiveness from those he offended while he was governor of the state between 2007-2011, saying “none of our actions were deliberate or personal vendetta.”
To this end, the Ogbomoso-born ex-police officer has given reasons why he is contesting for the governorship seat of the state again.
By next election in 2015, it would be almost four years after he left the saddle following the defeat by the incumbent, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the then defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now All Progressives Congress (APC).
Alao-Akala, at the official declaration of his intention in the gubernatorial election of the state under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said in the last few months, he had received emissary from across the state, urging him to come out once again and contest for the post of the governor of the state.
Addressing thousands of party loyalists and supporters at the PDP secretariat and Watershed Events Centre, Old-Ife Road, Ibadan, Akala said: “I must say that these past three years, I have had time to reflect on our performances as I believe many of you have. Did we satisfy the yearnings of the masses? As a government, did we provide the much needed succour for the people? Were the masses impressed by our people-oriented policies and programmes?
“It is indeed gratifying to note with a deep sense of modesty that we made positive impact on the lives of the people, as attested to by the greater majority and also the international community.
“The World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Federal Ministry of Transportation recognised our contributions by giving our government awards based on our performances on local empowerment programmes, agriculture, roads, transportation, education, health and the environment among several others.”
While stressing that he ran his government with human face, Alao-Akala however regretted that “the present is characterised by anti-people policies as evidenced in the wanton destruction of means of livelihood; imposition of higher taxes; capital flight and outright dismissal of public servants on flimsy excuses.
“Our government was characterised by friendly policies, people-oriented projects, accelerated commerce through micro-finance loans at zero per cent and without collateral, rural development, job creation, that is, by using home-based and local contractors for minor and major contracts, opening of new roads in the rural areas, release of grants to schools, which enhanced educational development; respect for the work-force and job security for public servants.
This is in addition to the purchase of skip-eaters for environmental sanitation, purchase of fully equipped ambulances, renovation of public places such as Mapo Hall, Atiba Hall, repositioning of Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) with modern equipments and opening of new radio stations in Ogbomoso and Oke-Ogun axis.
“And more importantly, our administration established good and qualitative leadership as against the present situation where we now experience leadership of a group managing director running state affair as a private enterprise.”
He said if given the opportunity again, he would re-invent the 13-point agenda he pursued vigorously in his first coming, stressing that, “I have heard the cries of market women whose shops were destroyed and means of livelihood taken away.
“I have listened to the agonies of landlords whose houses were destroyed without compensation. I have seen civil servants and top ranking officers of government sacked ignominiously, but today I come to you with a message of hope and assurance of a better tomorrow. You shall be duly compensated and those unjustly sacked shall be reinstated.
“You all have seen how our rating plummeted, with government of the day struggling to pay our children’s WAEC fees. Before I left three years ago, we constructed over two thousand schools with two awards from UBE, but today our children are learning under dilapidated classrooms,” he said.