Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola
According to Yomi Obaditan a self-appraisal of the political situation in Osun State is imperative in the light of the efforts of the present administration
It is true that the State of Osun has experienced tremendous changes that earned the state recognition nationally and internationally first as the best manager of the education ministry through the collaborative efforts of Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola and his amiable deputy governor, Mrs. Grace Titilayo Tomori- who doubles as the Commissioner for Education in the state.
The Federal Ministry of Environment did not fail to give kudos to the state for its proactive steps on the flood control by giving the state an award for its performance.
In the poverty index of states in Nigeria, Osun comes second, thus positioning the state as the second best managed state in Nigeria. Osun is also rated as the state with the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics. Infrastructure development in the state is noticeable everywhere you turn to. Agriculture revolution is afoot.
The late American President, Abraham Lincoln once said that “nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character give him power.” Why did he say so? He said so because as a man who had power, he knew that power was the true test of character. Power in the hands of a person with integrity, is highly beneficial, whereas power in the hands of a tyrant is disastrous.
The people of Osun are now in the best position to judge whether the Aregbesola administration has benefited them more than the previous administration. It is difficult to find a household in Osun that has not benefited directly from Aregbesola’s administration.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, on October 6 1978, while accepting the presidential candidate nomination of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) stated “the office of the President carries with it enormous obligations and responsibilities. It is not at all an office of pleasure, nor is it one of unmixed pomp.
On the contrary, having regard to the democratic setting in which the office will be held, having regard to our present economic, political and social circumstances, having regard to the legitimate yearnings, and the crying and pressings needs of our people…it is an office which, to make real success of it will, ipso facto demand, from its incumbent, a kind of industry, self-discipline, public probity, tolerance, vision and sagacity which have no precedence here in Nigeria.
“So it is clear that the executive presidency of Nigeria is an office which should not be adventured, light-heartedly, recklessly or with one’s mind suffused and dominated with self-regarding, ethnocentric, or tribal prejudices, predilections, and partial affections.” Awolowo’s philosophical statements are applicable to the office of the governor as well. The office of a governor is not a tea party, if much impact is to be made on the lives of the citizenry.
The message to our political opponents who want to wrest power from Aregbesola is a message of goodwill. It is also a message that encourages self-examination. Aristotle said life not examined is not worth living. All the political offices have their rights guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution. Political aspirants make the political arena more interesting if it is conducted in accordance with the rules.
However, the big question is: do the aspirants possess the quality of good leadership? How many, after getting a mandate, will remain self-disciplined, prudent, tolerant and sagacious?
Aregbesola is unique and that explains why his administration is unusual. Given the funds at his disposal, and the level of the peasant economy of the state, the record of achievement so far recorded is amazing when compared with the immediate past administration. It is not a fluke to be adjudged the second best managed state considering the position of the state on the federal allocation table and the position of the state in previous ratings.
Osun is 34th position on federal allocation table. The state was also the worst state in the South-west geo-political zone in terms of the poverty and unemployment index of 2011 - which was based on data collected in 2010. The radical changes, therefore, confirm astute leadership.
There is an old saying that “champions don’t become champions in the ring they are merely recognized there.” Aregbesola made his mark in Lagos under the leadership of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He left a remarkable impact that has not been surpassed till date. Just as he puts his life on the line in Lagos for the betterment of the people, he is doing the same in the State of Osun. Aregbesola reminds one of the famous words of President Theodore Roosevelt that: “it is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Roosevelt was known for action. Many are of the opinion that of all the leaders his nation has produced, he was one of the toughest, both physically and mentally. Aregbesola shares these attributes with Roosevelt. He sometimes works round the clock just because he is in a hurry to right the wrong.
He once said: “In our state, this very year (2013), is very significant for us. Every politician operating a four-year political calendar knows that the third year is crucial. That is the last year for an incumbent to impress the electorate. This year, therefore, will be the culmination of the silent revolution that had been going on in the four corners of the state. We have exerted much efforts in job creation, agriculture, education, culture and tourism, roads, rural development, healthcare, social welfare, youth development, urban renewal and so on.
“These are overwhelmingly coming to fruition this year. It is indeed the year of great deliverance for the people. It is going to convince our people beyond any shadow of doubt that government, indeed, is serious business and will make the desired impact when serious people man it. This year, will therefore, bring the consolidation of the first phase of our pact with the people and the beginning of the next phase in our development march in Osun.”
The governor is optimistic that the prospects for success is there and that the year will better the previous years. The optimism of the governor is based on the planning and the programs that his administration has put in place. For instance, the Lagos food exchange market is put at N3.5 billion per day and with the railway services, the O’REAP (Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme) is expected to feed the Lagos domestic markets and bring to Osun State nothing less than 2.5 billion naira weekly. This in turn will positively affect the funds that will be circulating for the development of the state.
The N30 billion bonds already secured will also go into capital projects, and given the financial health of the state according to the capital market, Osun will certainly be the best for this in the coming financial year. The youths will also have cause to smile as the recruitment of another 20,000 batch of youths will soon be announced, bringing succour both to the youths and their parents. Democracy, therefore, to the people will be what it should be: government of the people, by the people and for the people.
The Aregbesola administration is working on a sustainable growth and development process that will transform Osun and situate it at a level far, far beyond what it is now. All the government is asking from the good people of Osun is understanding, cooperation and goodwill that will certainly foster the much expected all-round development: That is maximum good to the maximum number of people.
The Aregbesola administration has become a phenomenon due to the fact that the schemes being executed have made international institutions like the World Bank to commend the state and have as well attracted the UNESCO and Federal government agencies, leading to one award after the other. The administration, therefore, offers its hands of fellowship to our friends in other political parties in the state to join this train. We are going on a journey that is open to all who love and cherish good governance as well as development.
*Obaditan is a Media Aide to the Governor of Osun State