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Gov Abiodun’s failed attempts to flaunt his Forbes Award is a lesson for politicians

No governor or president needs an award to justify his/her administration’s performance.

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State (OGSG)
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In the views of many Nigerians on Twitter, Governor Abiodun is not on the list of governors who have covered themselves in glory since 2019. Reactions to his recent self-aggrandising exercise on social media validate this sentiment.

In Nigeria, politicians crave publicity for doing the barest minimum. They expect the public to praise and worship them for performing the most basic of their constitutional roles.

In fact, anytime Nigerian politicians take to social media to repeatedly flaunt a particular achievement on the face of their followers, the goal is to drum that feat into them such that it becomes registered in the mind of the people as campaign material.

Recently, governor Abiodun deployed this familiar technique to display his Forbes award on Twitter. He repeatedly posted the award with his photo on the social media platform for days on end.

The governor seized the moment to highlight his administration’s performance and authenticate the claim that his government has, in the area of industrialisation, done so much to deserve recognition from Forbes.

Basking in the euphoria of this ‘unprecedented award’, the businessman-turned-politician within the space of eight days, made three separate posts about the gong on his Twitter page.

Of course, when an international platform like Forbes recognises a politician as one of the best political leaders in Africa, the tendency to roll out the drums cannot be suppressed. But tweeps who have been less impressed with Prince Abiodun’s administration in Ogun state would not give the governor the flowers he persistently craved. Instead, his award show-off on Twitter earned him a barrage of unpalatable feedback he didn’t bargain for.

The comment section of the first post which garnered over 840 quote-retweets is at best a reality check for the Ogun state number one citizen.

Rather than celebrating his purported achievement, the bulk of the comments questioned the governor’s integrity and the credibility of the award.

Undaunted by the discouraging and disparaging comments that followed the first post, the governor on Sunday, January 15 redisplayed his Forbes award as though he was bent on reminding his critics that the feat was a testimony of his administration’s strides in Ogun State.

But again, the online public who follow the state’s development process won’t buy the story. They swarmed the comment section of the second post to debunk the governor’s claim.

Many reactions to the tweet suggested that the governor bought the award because Forbes has a history of giving recognition to people who were later exposed as fraudsters. Several other comments suggested that the governor has not done anything to deserve any international recognition for his performance in Ogun state.

Apparently, due to the overwhelmingly negative comments from residents of the state on Twitter, the governor was forced to take down his second post about his Forbes award, but that wasn’t the last you’ll hear of it.

On the night of Friday, January 20, 2023, at 9:35 pm, Governor Abiodun posted another visual showing his picture and his Forbes award certificate with an inscription that reads: “Prince Dapo Abiodun bagged the Prestigious Forbes Award for the year 2022 as Forbes Best of Africa Governor in Industrial Revolution”.

At this point, it appeared the governor was rigidly engrossed with being the main character in a story his online followers were not interested in.

He perhaps craved the flowers so much that every time his effort to push his Forbes award’s narrative falls flat like a pack of cards on Twitter, he invents another tale to keep the agenda alive.

Again, like the first and second Twitter posts, the third was not any better. Out of the 56 comments under the post, only six people congratulated him. The rest wondered why the governor thinks he deserves the award when the state’s reality contradicts the governor’s claims.

So, here’s the problem. Why was he so desperate to persuade Ogun residents about the genuineness of the award and his performance as a governor of the state?

The performance of a diligent governor speaks for itself. Not an award or any recognition from anybody. If the award is not in tandem with the economic reality of the residents of the state, it’ll never count as campaign material because the people are now more aware of their political leaders’ performance.

In October 2022, the Federal Government honoured the governor with the same award he received from Forbes but reactions from many residents of the state suggested that the governor’s industrialisation claim is nonexistent.

Similarly, in July 2021, Governor Abiodun claimed that his administration had completed a total of 325 projects across the state in two years. Unfortunately, he did not disclose where the projects are situated.

Dismissing the governor’s claim, a traditional leader in the state, Eselu of Iselu, Akintunde Akinyemi in an interview with Premium Times said he was not aware of the 66 projects the governor claimed his administration completed in the Yewa region of the state.

The era when politicians pull wool over the peoples’ eyes is over. As a governor, it’s either you perform or the people show you the way out of the government house. If it could happen in Osun state, it can happen anywhere else.

Awards are no metrics for political leaders’ performance. No one cares about how many awards you’re honoured with if the people cannot feel or see the impact of your claims.

No governor or president needs an award to justify their administration’s performance. If your work shows, the people would blow your trumpet to the high heavens.

*Pulse Editor's Opinion is the viewpoint of an Editor at Pulse. It does not represent the opinion of the Organisation Pulse.

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