By Olumuyiwa Jimoh
The month of May floods me with great memories. This is not just because of the great events that mark it out but because it heralds the rising into mother earth of a man of destiny, a man whose life has impacted and has continued touching many lives here and abroad positively. A quintessential leader and a proud son of Osun who has chosen to write his name in the annals state of Osun with great works and service to his people.
I have always held this opinion and have consistently found it to be true that the almighty God has a purpose for all that happens. He has a reason for creating certain individuals and at specific seasons because he is the God of purpose and seasons. It is therefore not by coincidence that God will chose this month in which the struggle for the emancipation of the globe from the gyres of oppression and enthrone a fairer world to bring into existence the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. Last Friday, the 25th of May, he celebrated his birthday.
Governor Aregbesola was born into struggle and was thus baptised into a life that could as best be described as an embodiment of the struggle to emancipate the downtrodden. He was born refined in the furnace of the various life struggles. He experienced difficulties as a growing child having not been born with the fabled silver spoon but in a family of humble means. It was these circumstances that shaped his world view and imbued in him that singular determination and passionate commitment to serve the poor masses to lift them out of poverty whenever he finds the opportunity.
This has fortunately defined him and has become the building blocks for his governance activities and overall direction in state of Osun. He has been running a government that has not only transformed the state infrastructure wise, within the limited resources available to it, and the huge personnel cost thrust upon its lean purses which is one of the highest in the country, but has also transformed the lives of the people as a firm believer in the power of the people to create and energise development in any clime.
In this amiable Governor, Osun and her people have recovered their lost glory and indeed have found a greater voice in Nigeria becoming a reference point in many instances. His government has become a model of how best to deliver effective governance to a people within the context of meagre resources. He has shown exceptional creativity in this regard.
This is not surprising given his antecedents, beliefs and avowals as a growing person who is a strong believer in the people driven by rarefied thoughts of Marxist-Leninism. He has become a proud scion of this school of thought in Nigeria as he has not betrayed its dictates in his governance of Osun State this past 7 years. He has practiced what he preached and state of Osun is clearly better for it.
His Governance of Osun has indeed rekindled the hope of the citizenry of Osun state and indeed others from other states of the federation on the promises which democracy holds for the progress of humanity. He is a man under whose guidance the state has acquired value for every Naira and Kobo it has spent in projects. He has refused to join the maddening crowd of looters but insisted that good governance must be delivered to his people. That explains the great achievements at minimum cost to the state.
It is therefore our duty to celebrate His Excellencyâ€™s birthday as a shining star of our democracy so that others in leadership position in Nigeria especially our Governors would be encouraged to emulate the virtues of this MAN, and provide impactful leadership for their citizenry. That is our understanding of the thinking behind celebrating the lives of people and one of the ways of building democracy in Nigeria.
He is a man blinded to primordial sentiments. He is not ruled by where you come from and what religion you practice but believes in rewarding excellence and exceptional talents. He is not afraid of seeking out talents, nurturing them and encouraging them to grow and become better so that the community and the Nigerian project can become better served. This did not start today but has been part of his personality for a very long time.
Without sounding immodest, we would boldly say that Osun is blessed to have him as their Governor. His achievements as a Lagos Commissioner under the able leadership of Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu speak for themselves. They were the signature achievements of that regime and laid the foundation for the great standards which lagos state has become in the nationâ€™s governance structure. Osun indeed has a bright future all because of Aregbesola. We are proud to celebrate him as he marks his birthday.
He has provided guidance and mentorship to many young men and that explains the nature and number of young men who form the nucleus of his government. Providing opportunities for the youth and believing in their ability to perform has truly given many which includes people like my humble self to participate in the nationâ€™s democracy and contribute positively to the nationâ€™s governance.
â€“ Honourable Olumuyiwa Jimoh is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly Representing Apapa 11 Constituency
This great son of Nigeria has pursued tenaciously programs that unusually empowers the youth in Osun not in the obvious path which others have toed by providing Tricycles, Sewing machines even the absurd Shoe-shining equipment but he has insisted on investing on the people of the state directly making them wealth creators. He has succeeded in resetting the mind-set of the youth who have begun to see themselves as capable of generating businesses that would help Osun become an industrialised state that would no longer depend solely on the vagaries of the public sector for sustenance. This is the way to the future and no one will be surprised when Osun becomes a national leader in SMEs in Nigeria in the future.
I repeat, while the nation has failed to positively develop this and tap into its potentials, Aregbesola in Osun has identified this and is presently tapping into it. The state has therefore become a huge incubator for hatching the nationâ€™s economic progress under the determined hands and creativity of His Excellency.
As he celebrates his last birthday as the Governor of Osun, we must all see in this an opportunity to learn from the standards which he has set. He has truly raised the bar of governance in the state and those aspiring to replace him must see his birthday celebration as a time of learning and a period of redoubling their determination and commitment to serve the people of Osun.
This is a celebration of excellence! It is that time to applaud the life of a man who has fearlessly delivered effective governance to Osun people in the midst of serious opposition by the cabal that had hitherto had a dangerous stranglehold on the people of the state. We therefore celebrate an achiever and an astute but humble leader.
Our wish for His Excellency as he celebrates his birthday is that he will live long in good health and would see the seed which he has sown in state of Osun germinate into great and mighty trees. The trees shall surely become huge shades that would provide the needed cover for the people of Osun in the future and would serve as its bulwark. The foundation he has laid will truly endure and will stand the test of times.
Congratulations your Excellency â€“ the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola! We join millions of your well-wishers in wishing you Godâ€™s speed even as you march to greater heights!
Honourable Olumuyiwa Jimoh is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly Representing Apapa 11 Constituency.