The handover ceremony of the Ibadan Inland Dry Port (IIDP) and exchange of letters at the Oyo State Governor’s office, Ibadan, was one that left several humourous jokes, yet an experience worth learning from. From the Transport Minister’s teasing remarks of Oyo State Governor’s political displacement to the Oyo Governor’s reply on Amaechi’s secret romance with Ibadan finest delicacy of Amala, Gbegiri and Ewedun… MMS Plus brings you the narrative!
Last week, the active Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi led a transport sector critical tour of the proposed IDP and the adjoining Lagos-Ibadan railway. Rather than allow the Chinese constructors or Oyo citizens lead the tour, Amaechi led, driving a jeep with the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi while over twenty vehicles followed.
The Minister led exquisitely driving with skill and professionalism befitting a Formula One (F1) Motor Sport world-champion driver, while the rich delegation from the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Oyo State Government, Federal Ministry of Transport, security officers as well as newsmen followed until he drove to a dead-end without sufficient room for the vehicles to turnaround. Over thirty minutes was spent on that spot with the Chinese constructors analyzing the possibility of creating an alternative route before settling for the option of all vehicles going backward. The latter option took another twenty-five minutes as the vehicles took turns to avoid the risk of falling of the narrow path. Thankfully, all vehicles left successfully.
Earlier in the meeting, the fiery Minister had revealed another meaning of the acronym “IDP”. IDP has been popularly used to refer to Internally Displaced Persons or Inland Dry Ports, but Amaechi said it also meant Internally Displaced Politicians, referring to the Oyo Governor who had lost the Oyo South Senatorial District to Dr. Kola Balogun of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In the gubernatorial race, Ajimobi was also unable to secure the seat for Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as PDP’s Seyi Makinde, emerged winner of the Oyo State gubernatorial election.
“IDP has three connotations in Nigeria, Internally Displaced Persons, Internally Displaced Politicians and Inland Dry Port. Today, we are here to talk about the Inland Dry Port” Amaechi said.
Neverthesless, Amaechi reserved special praise for the governor who has the record as the first to be reelected as governor of Oyo State – a feat that birthed the slogan “Koseleri” (It Never Happened Before).
In an effort to match the Transport Minister’s humour, the Oyo Governor, Ajimobi said he only recently realized Amaechi’s Ibadan-connection, explaining that Amaechi’s other name ‘Rotimi’ was short for “Oluwarotimi”.
Ajimobi said that he always heard rumours of Amaechi’s frequent visit to Ibadan without the pleasure of hosting him but he had stopped being offended as he came to terms that Amaechi was in love with the Ibadan special delicacy “Amala”
“Everyone here knows that Amaechi set the pace for the development in infrastructure and socially in Rivers State; but not everyone knows that he visits Ibadan severally. Several times he doesn’t visit me when he comes around. I only find out that he was in one ‘bookateria’ eating amala always. Eventually, I decided not to bother again because I found out that he loves amala so much, with gbegiri and ewedu, that it wasn’t just the projects that brought him to Ibadan, but also to have a taste of amala. So, we welcome you, always!” Ajimobi said.