The age-old aphorism, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown,” aptly encapsulates the position of Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR, the Governor of Ogun State. For him, this saying resonates profoundly, as he finds himself akin to a fruitful tree attracting both admiration and criticism. Recent times have seen him facing challenges, with stones and sticks metaphorically hurled by politically motivated detractors and those harbouring personal grievances. Whether through cyber-attacks aimed at distracting the Governor or by stirring up sentiments against him, he stands in the crossfire of opposition and challenges.
“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”, is a law of propaganda often attributed to the Nazi Joseph Goebbels. Among psychologists, something like this is known as the “illusion of truth” effect. The notion that all the roads and other developmental projects in Ogun State were solely executed by the administration of Sen. Ibikunle Amosun is a misconception that needs to be dispelled. It is important to set the record straight and acknowledge Prince Dapo Abiodun’s track record in carrying out significant initiatives in both his first term and his ongoing second term.
Adewunmi Lagos, a young and vibrant photographer, ventured to Abeokuta to document spots like the MKO Stadium and various roads, all of which turned out beautifully. Upon sharing his work on social media, a barrage of condemnation targeted the current Governor of the State. Many individuals on the thread arrogantly asserted that all the roads, particularly those around the stadium, were constructed by the former governor. Some even took the extreme step of reporting the innocent photographer’s page, despite his apolitical stance. This incident exemplifies the pettiness and negativity that certain individuals can exhibit.
When I confronted one of the most vocal critics on the thread, it dawned on me that, to the best of my knowledge and as of my last check, a commendable 80 major roads, including federal ones, have been constructed since Dapo Abiodun assumed office in 2019. His administration, in the span of three and a half years, undertook the construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of these roads, amounting to an impressive total of 400km. This achievement surpasses the road infrastructure accomplishments of his predecessors. In Ogun Central, where the commenter dismissively disapproved of him, the Abiodun government has left an indelible mark. The list of roads completed includes the Obantoko Road, Ikoritameje Adenrele/Olose Titun Vespa road, Idi Aba-Oke Lantoro road, Abeokuta-Shagamu expressway, Channels TV road in Isheri, Panseke-Adigbe road, flyover bridge at Kuto, Lafenwa Rounder-Ayetoro road, Adatan Gbonagun road, Arepo road (a long-awaited demand by the press), Somorin Kemta-Idi Aba road, Osoba-Toyin Agbado road, Itori junction road, Olomore Sani road, and the Akute-Ishasi road, among others. A factual examination underscores the Governor’s significant contributions to the state’s development in terms of infrastructure, surpassing the often-referenced achievements of past administrations.
Frequently, people express comments and condemnation driven by their selfish interests—a prevalent trait among social media commentators. A vivid memory comes to mind when a senior journalist authored a feature article rife with vitriolic words, condemning the administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun. At that time, I was a corps member with the Ministry of Information. The journalist was subsequently invited and taken on a tour around Abeokuta and Ijebu. As a witness, I recall his acknowledgement that the governor had indeed accomplished significant work. He admitted fault in forming a negative opinion without delving deeper, acknowledging that his critique was spurred by issues with the road leading to his own house, oblivious to the fact that it was a federal road beyond the state government’s jurisdiction. Reflecting on my own past, I, too, regrettably wrote caustically against the governor, fueled by ignorance and emotions, particularly regarding the Agbado–Ijoko road where my father’s house is located.
At the core of societal progress lies the fundamental understanding that governance and development constitute an ongoing, intricate project—one that unfolds gradually rather than instantaneously. It is a meticulous process requiring both time and methodical execution. It is essential to recognize that the absence of fully completed projects in a specific locality does not equate to governmental inaction. Governments, even with their vast responsibilities, operate under constrained resources. Consequently, achieving significant strides demands a collaborative effort among the government, stakeholders, and citizens to propel a state to the forefront of development.
While it is undeniably crucial to hold the government accountable for its promises and responsibilities, it is equally imperative for citizens to introspect and ask themselves whether they are fulfilling their roles as responsible contributors to the societal framework. A critical facet of this responsibility is the payment of taxes—a civic duty that forms the lifeblood of public finances. Timely and accurate tax payments contribute directly to the available resources that fuel developmental projects and enhance public services. It becomes incumbent upon citizens to ensure that they are fulfilling this obligation with diligence and honesty, recognizing that it is a shared investment in the collective well-being.
Furthermore, the responsibility of citizens extends beyond financial contributions. It involves active engagement in practices that foster environmental sustainability and community welfare. Proper waste disposal is a prime example. Disposing of waste responsibly is not merely an environmental concern; it is a civic duty that directly impacts the overall cleanliness and health of a community. By adhering to proper waste disposal practices, citizens play a pivotal role in creating a conducive environment for development initiatives. This is a tangible expression of civic responsibility that goes hand in hand with the expectations we place on our governing bodies.
In the pursuit of a progressive society, fostering a culture of civic responsibility is paramount. It transcends individual interests and emphasizes the interconnectedness of the community. As responsible citizens, our commitment to the betterment of society should manifest not only in compliance with legal obligations but also in a proactive approach to community well-being. This includes staying informed about local issues, actively participating in community initiatives, and fostering a sense of collective ownership in the developmental journey.
Moreover, the narrative surrounding governance and development should be one of partnership and collaboration. Governments play a crucial role as facilitators and implementers of policies, but the success of these endeavours hinges on a synergy between the government, stakeholders, and the citizenry. Meaningful development necessitates an environment where ideas are exchanged, concerns are addressed, and feedback is considered constructively. A thriving partnership between these entities is akin to a well-orchestrated symphony, where each instrument contributes to the harmonious progression of society.
Taken together, the realization that governance and development are continuous, methodical processes is pivotal for fostering a proactive and responsible citizenry. While accountability is rightfully demanded from governmental bodies, citizens must also reflect on their roles in shaping the trajectory of their communities. Beyond financial contributions, civic responsibility encompasses environmental stewardship, community engagement, and a shared commitment to the common good. As we navigate the path toward progress, let us embrace the collective responsibility of building a society where collaboration, understanding, and active participation propel us toward a future we can all be proud of.
Adisa, a postgraduate student of Media and Communication, writes via [email protected] from the United Kingdom