Abiodun Komolafe writes that the new administration must work hard to leave its mark
In a solemn but highly impressive ceremony, Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola of the State of O sun bowed out as its chief executive while Mr. Gboyega Oyetola has been sworn into office in his stead.
But, is Oyetola’s administration the beginning of a new era in Osun? To an extent, yes, it is! At least, the governor is taking over the reins of power, fresh, from his predecessor, after an eight-year stint. However, granted that the government is All Progressives Congress (APC)-led; and he campaigned on the slogan of ‘continuity’, he must define his government according to his vision, leadership style, and based upon the underpinning philosophy of his world outview.
In his inaugural address, Oyetola harped on the need to sustain the gains of the previous administration. Among other promises, he vowed to convene an Economic Summit within the next 100 days to address the topical issues of job opportunities for the unemployed, wealth creation, and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the state, among other pressing issues.
These are noble intentions. All the same, the governor needs to prioritize a visit to all the local government and local council development areas in the state to ask the people for their needs from the state government. Without doubt, this is an indirect kind of ‘Thank you’ tour to the electorate for voting him as their new governor.
Sentiments apart, the welfare of the state’s civil servants and pensioners should be a matter of priority for the new administration. Already, the idea of using a disproportionate percentage of the state’s resources on salaries is anomalous. One only hopes that Osun workers would be more dedicated to duty, shun truancy, improve productivity and stop fighting useless battles.
Next is the provision of potable water through micro and macro water schemes to guide against epidemics and water-borne diseases. This is where a timely completion of Ilesa Water Scheme and related projects across the state becomes imperative. If this is achieved, the people will spend their hard-earned resources on other necessities of life; and they will be happy!
Osun as an agrarian state needs several farm settlements to advance its residents’ farm produce, provide job opportunities for many youths and encourage rural development. Incidentally, these are areas where the state is bound to have a comparative advantage.
Tourism sector has become a kind of money-spinning venture globally. A discreet investigation into the sector by yours sincerely revealed the existence of more than 80 centres of tourist attraction in the state and an addition of more than 400 hotels between 2011 and 2018. The development or improvement of the various tourism sites in the state such as Erin-Ijesa and Olumirin Waterfalls will fetch the state government huge resources, help reduce unemployment and alleviate poverty. Thankfully, too, Osun Osogbo Scared Grove is not only seen as a symbol of identity for all Yoruba people, the grove, declared a National Monument in 1965, has, as far back as 2005, been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Government can also go a step further by establishing craft villages in each of the three senatorial districts to promote indigenous, ‘Made-in-Osun’ products.
Closely related to the aforesaid is the need for the government to embark on massive youth empowerment, and vocational skills acquisition programmes. It is not only that countless societies have used this approach to address, or curb, unemployment crisis, it is indeed, the way of the future!
Opening-up the rural areas through the construction of rural roads to link the major roads is also as important as provision of rural electrification services to areas where such is needed. So, this government must strive to support Osun Rural Access and Mobility Project (Osun RAMP) to deliver on its core mandate. Through this, rural communities will be able to transport their produce and other goods to the city, thus, make good money and become less-dependent on government. Besides, the administration must encourage prompt payment of taxes, particularly, more from the informal sector to upgrade the state’s IGR.
Health Care Delivery System across the state must also be improved upon with adequate drugs and medics to enhance the medical welfare of the citizenry.
One major challenge of our Nigerianness is the collapse of reward system. Since absence of sanctions is a recipe for impunity, appropriate mechanisms for feedback and reward and sanctions must also be reactivated in the state. ‘Wait for your time’and other refrains that fail to take into cognizance the changing dynamics in politics, wherever they exist, must be investigated with a view to dealing them the right blow. After all, turning gold to god or thinking that money is everything has never been seen to augur well for participatory democracy.
Imperium est continue remittatur! It therefore behooves the governor to aspire to complete the projects initiated by his predecessors even as he is statutorily bound to initiate fresh people-oriented ones that will be beneficial to the generality of the people.
I have no doubt in my mind that Oyetola is an administrator of note. Ahead of February 2019, no stone must be left unturned, nor efforts spared, towards ensuring that all intra-party conflicts are amicably resolved.
Over the years, Osun has shown to set the stage for the progressives’ electoral victory in Nigeria and Oyetola’s tenure cannot be an exception. Well, to say that there are no challenges ahead is to be unfair to democracy and good governance. For instance, why did the ruling party almost lose the plate to the opposition in the succession battle? Was it a case of the electorate not appreciating the direction of development as canvassed by the-then outgoing administration or that of the government not doing enough to blow its trumpet to a fatigued electorate which, in any case, was not immune from new tunes? In my considered opinion, that’s why the call for the evolvement of a new political order in the state cannot, at a time like this, be overemphasized.
Komolafe wrote from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State