By Oladeinde Olawoyin
Exactly 24 months ago, I went undercover for an investigative piece that exposed the state-sanctioned thuggery, undisguised terror, and extortive gambits of a band of bejeweled marauders called PMS boys in Oyo State. Pronto, this low-budget Agbadagbudu Joseph Goebbels came for my head. Together with his army of 50-kobo-per-cyber-attack doofuses, they threatened fire and brimstone, with some branding the investigative piece ‘fake news’—-the usual retort of paid dingbats.
To be sure, I funded the investigation FULLY with my money, moving across different parts of the state and spending on hotels and all that. Why? Because Oyo—and most importantly Ibadan—- affairs are (or used to be?) dear to me like that. When Mr Taiwo Adisa, Governor Seyi Makinde’s CPS (whom I respect as a much more professional publicist and senior colleague, unlike this Oyo PDP rottweiler of a spokesman) finally went on radio stations across Ibadan calling me funny names in reaction to the PMS exposé, I looked away and hoped that history would put us all in our rightful positions someday.
Between then and now, so many horrible waters have passed under the PMS bridge. I have experienced, first-hand, the terrorist actions of Auxiliary and his goons, especially around Olodo Iyana Church where he moves about in violent convoys and chase every road user off the road (This is a verifiable claim that a random respondent on that axis can/will confirm). The back of my car has been hit once by one of his violent disciples (reason I just laugh when folks ensconced in their AC-ied offices in Lagos and London attempt to repaint the Ibadan reality for those on ground, based on cute propaganda materials). Ibadan has literally been thrown into chaos and brigandage. There have been killings and bloody attacks across the metropolis, notably in Iwo Road and Ali-Iwo, all involving PMS chair and his murderous goons. Of course the PMS ‘enforcers’ have also been useful for the governor at party conventions. We saw them in Osun and former Governor Fayose confirmed that too on national TV.
In effect, the word PMS (or ‘Wulo Wubo’) has become an unsuccessful euphemism for state-sponsored terror!
. But today, many months after the piece was published and violent actions/death recorded, and barely a year into a major election, I hear that Governor Makinde is reading some phony riot acts to the same terror-loving PMS officials and party ‘enforcers’. Wonderful.
In recent months, I have had to withdraw emotionally from Oyo affairs, choosing to activate the Siddon-look button. And, oh, there has been peace of mind. While the government has done commendably well in certain areas, the degree of propaganda has been alarmingly crazy—–if not utterly disgusting—-especially when placed in the context of the rot that stares you in the face in critical sectors across the state.
To be sure, public education on certain knotty issues in Oyo is quite dicey, if not frustrating. Having been battered by poverty and hunger, especially at the height of Former Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s latter years of unpaid salary/pensions, the people’s governance expectation has been placed very low: just pay salaries and you’d be fine. And in a largely informal economy where the ripple effect of salary payment can indeed be phenomenally cyclical, that is quite understandable. Now it does not matter that with huge loans/opaque PPP arrangements being channeled toward infrastructure funding, just about anyone can pay salaries/pensions.
And then, where do we place these loans in the context of fiscal sustainability? How viable are the projects being funded with these heavy loans? How transparent are the contractual processes in the light of recent disturbing revelations about contractual malfeasance? The truth is, you stand a high chance of being lynched (as an ‘enemy of progress a.k.a ‘Ota Ilosiwaju’ who is hell-bent on stopping civil servants’ salaries) if you raise these questions in parts of Oyo state today.
The government and its paid vuvuzellas understand these sensitive dynamics quite well, and they are so artful in their exploitation of these emotions.
But then, what’s not in doubt is that the truth remains the truth, whether it’s accepted by the majority or rejected by all. It will ultimately triumph, someday. Like this case of PMS.
And so for the very few individuals in Oyo State working genuinely as the conscience of the society amid threats/attacks from paid doofuses within and without, shinning the light on critical issues so that the government and its officials can retrace their steps in areas they fail in the overall interest of our people, may you witness the Oyo State of (y)our dreams.