The reaction of Governor Ajimobi of Oyo State following a protest by students of the Lautech has once again shown the disdain with which government officials see the ordinary Nigerians.
It is very common to hear people we elected (or those who maneuvered their ways into government), saying they are not accountable to the masses as all they are after is their well-being and that of their families, without caring about any other person.
Gov. Ajimobi showed his true colours when he addressed the students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), who stormed his office to protest the closure of their school which has lasted for eight months.
The governor showed his real self when he made sure the students know who is in charge and who the constituted authority in the state is. In a manner unbecoming of a governor, Ajimobi ‘washed’ the students, throwing insults at them and even denigrating their status as students, to the cheering crowd of his Exco members.
In a trending video showing Gov. Ajimobi daring the students to try him, he boasted that as the governor of the state, he is a constituted authority and should be respected even if he doesn’t pay salaries of civil servants.
At a point, he even ordered the arrest of a student which was rejected by the other students and seeing that the youths were not ready to back down, he went on and on, rambling about how he is ready for them if they should try him.
He dared the students to go ahead and do their worse, threatening that they will meet repercussions from security agencies.
This is what ensued between an elected governor and the students in the video:
“You complain that your school is shut for eight months. Am I the person who closed your school? If this is how you want to talk to me, then go and do your worst. If you want to be troublesome, I dare you. I'm ready for you, let's see what happens then.
You should have little respect for constituted authority, no matter what. And if somebody of my caliber meets with you... eight months of what?
This is not the first time schools are getting shut. So what? It's not to come here and sing 'it will be rough this time.' To be rough for who... is it for me?
You mean it will be rough for me? Is it for me? Me? Bring that boy here for me. Let me tell you this. You must face the reality on the ground and the reality is this:
Number 1. Your management, the Oyo State government, and many governments, they lack funds. If they lack funds, they have to help the students but if you come here shouting at me, I am not gonna talk to you.
And if you want to start trouble, go ahead. This government will not tolerate nonsense from anybody. What I want now is, as you have come, you should plead: 'boss, they've shut our school. Dear Governor... Is this one a student? What course are you studying?
What course are you doing? You know something? With your behaviour, I'm not going to talk to you again.
So if you want to do anything, go and do it. I will wait for you. We were holding Exco meeting, I came out. This is all of you. You are just very few.
This is the constituted authority for Oyo State. Even if I don't pay salary or I don't pay this, the fact is that I am the constituted authority. It does not remove that authority.”
But who can blame Governor Abiola Ajimobi and others like him? It is on record that Ajimobi's daughters attended schools in the UK. If his child who was supposed to be in school was at home for eight months, would he ask the questions he asked?
Like other governors and other elected officials in Nigeria, Ajimobi and his family travel abroad for medical checkup whenever they have a headache or a toothache.
Even the president traveled abroad to have his ear checked, so who are we to blame the constituted authority in Oyo State?
Schooling in Nigeria has become a nightmare to the students and their parents and the ‘constituted authorities’ do not give a hoot because their children attend ivy league schools abroad, no wonder Ajimobi could tell the LAUTECH students that they should beg him to reopen their school.
No wonder he asked them if closing their schools for eight months was no big deal and that he was ready for them if they dared try him.
No wonder he could tell the suffering students that even if he does not pay salaries, he is still the constituted authority in the state and no one can challenge him.
No wonder a state governor can open his mouth to tell students that he was not the one who shut their school and as such, they should not take their insolence to him.
Who can blame Gov. Ajimobi for living up to the billing of elected government officials who have decided to be the Lords of the Manor?