How Ajimobi is governing without commissioners

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Oyo state has not had commissioners for almost a year. What does this suggest about Gov Ajimobi?

Later this week, Governor Abiola Ajimobi would be celebrating the first year anniversary of his second term and, as expected, he is going to make reference to the fact that he is the first person to ever rule the state twice, back-to-back. While this is quite commendable, another record may be set this May 29, it will could be the first time since recorded history that the state would be without commissioners one year into an administration.

Over the weekend, the state government announced some appointments. I was hoping it would be the highly anticipated list of commissioners but my balloon was deflated when I found out it was just a list of special advisers and not commissioners. In the first announcement, the governor’s spokesperson, Yomi Layinka, said Governor Ajimobi approved the appointment of Dr. Gbade Ojo and Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin as his Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff respectively.

Personally, I was hoping Gbadegesin would return as the commissioner for health. Ojo had been a commissioner in the previous administration. Their conversion to the new roles may suggest that the governor may not appoint any commissioners anytime soon.

The governor also appointed Seyi Adisa as Principal Private Secretary to the Governor and Mr. Segun Abolarinwa as Special Adviser on Security. Other Special Advisers appointed by the governor are: Mr. Niyi Ajao, Information Communication Technology (ICT); Mr. Biyi Oloko, Bureau of Internal Revenue; and Hon. Matthew Oyedokun, Solid Minerals.

The list also included Ms. Folakemi Akinleye, Special Adviser, Public-Private Partnership; Mrs. Rose Oyedele, Due Process; Mrs.Tolu Sadipe, Projects; and Mr. Tope Fajana, who is yet to be assigned a portfolio.

Uncle Layinka then said there would be more appointments, and they actually came in few hours later. In yet another statement, Layinka said Ajimobi approved the appointment of Alh. Waheed Gbadamosi as Special Adviser, Environment, and Mr. Dayo Iyaniwura as Personal Assistant to the Governor.

In his usual fashion, he said there would be other appointments soon. The question on my mind is ‘will the next list be that of commissioners?’ A part of me believes the governor may not announce commissioners anytime soon because of some obvious reasons even though Uncle Layinka affirmatively said he will appoint commissioners soon when I visited him some months ago.

Or how do you describe spending one year in office without commissioners? His Excellency may think he is doing fine without the commissioners – just as heaven is yet to fall because the governor did not conduct local government elections. Furthermore, I visit Oyo State Secretariat once in a while, I’ve written about the place here, and I can attest to the unnecessary waste of resources that go on unabated at the various ministries even with ridiculous offices and appellations.

So, instead of appointing commissioners that will increase the burden of governance and strain government resources, Ajimobi is appearing to be relying on just special advisers while he makes the decisions. But the danger therein will be the inability of the governor to have full grasp of what is happening across board even as he is touring the world in search of ‘investments’ and only-God-knows-what. This is already manifesting in critical sectors such as health, works,education, labor and infrastructural development just to name a few where maximum efficiency cannot be said to be attainable.

Instead of attempting to forge ahead without commissioners, what the governor could do, I believe, would be to block avenues for wastage and revenue loss. The state is in dire need of technocrats and commissioners to oversee specific areas – instead of just a few people who aren’t professionals but are only lucky to be close to the governor.

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