By Sola Fasure
Saturday March 9, 2019 marked the 100th day in office of Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola as Governor of the State of Osun.
After serving as Chief of Staff to Governor Rauf Aregbesola who served two glorious terms from 2010 to 2018, he was elected as Governor on November 27, 2018.
Governor Oyetola was not a novice to government when he took the mantle of leadership. He came with a formidable and intimidating résumé, replete with sound educational, private and public sector background, comparable to his closest opponent in the election that ushered him in.
Armed with two degrees from the University of Lagos, a commanding presence on Broad Street, Nigeria’s financial capital, the last eight years as the Chief of Staff to the immediate past Governor and without any personal baggage or scandal, it is beyond dispute that he was well prepared for the job.
The office of the Chief of Staff is the hub of government and Oyetola brought integrity, competence, wisdom, maturity and uncommon grace to that office. He made the government to run seamlessly.
By the middle of Governor Aregbesola’s second term, it was clear to most people in the government (and even outside) that Oyetola fit the bill of a worthy legacy successor. This is why most of them supported him to succeed Ogbeni Aregbesola.
In contesting the governorship election, Oyetola could not have been seeking personal fortune. He had been a person of means. At any rate, Osun is not an ideal place for political bounty hunters. She is only rich in potential. It is therefore his goal to realise these potential and make Osun a prosperous state and a pride of her people.
Oyetola is suave and urbane – a well-polished gentleman – who is a thorough progressive. He has been able to cut a persona of a bourgeoisie with a sound grounding in democratic social welfarism. This implies that as a bourgeoisie, he knows how to create wealth. He balances this with genuine interest in the welfare of the mass of the people, in a democratic system. For him, wealth creation is not for self, but for the common good. The honey-dew of it is his determination not just to create wealth, but to entrench the culture and practice of wealth creation in the state. This puts him as a thinker and social democrat in the mould of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
He is not flippant and not known for making platitudes. This is because he is a full barrel. Those who have worked with him know that he is a visionary realist. He doesn’t make promises anyhow, telling people what they want to hear, as is the standard practice among the political class. He promises what is reasonable and realisable. However, when he makes promises, you can take it to the bank.
His private sector background must have taught him that leadership entails tapping the brains of as many people as possible in a collective effort at agenda setting, goal pursuit and realisation. That is why he never shies from telling those he meets to always pass their ideas across. For him, no one can do it alone.
One thing is clear in his first 100 days – it is continuity of his hard work and sleepless nights in running the affairs of the state. It is also the continuity of the good governance that transformed Osun in the past eight years.
One hundred days, by any standard, cannot afford any administration to roll out the drums. It is a period of intense engagement and putting in place the foundation for a maximum eight-year tenure.
Therefore, in the past 100 days, he has met with all the peoples of Osun across the local governments and wards, obtained their demands and observed their needs, especially the most critical. He has also met with stakeholders and development partners – governmental and non-governmental – obtaining their favours and commitment to critical assistance and partnerships.
He has established a pattern of involvement in the five critical areas of governance. These are human development, infrastructure development, economic development, workers’ welfare and security.
Since coming to office, he has paid full salaries to workers every month as and when due. He has also made commitment to offset the accumulated arrears the moment the opportunity presents itself. He met with the 20,000-strong cadets of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) and promised not just to retain their services but also to increase their monthly allowance.
Starting with healthcare, the revitalization of Ejigbo General Hospital has commenced. On completion, the hospital will have full complement of state-of-the-art equipment, safe water, new children’s ward, medical personnel quarters and asphalted internal road network. Adequate personnel will be available. For easy access, the 3.42-kilometre Ejigbo-General Hospital/UNIOSUN Junction Access Road linking the city centre to the health facility, is being fully rehabilitated. The project has three months completion period, hopefully in May, 2019. It will cost about N300 million.
Also, Ifetedo General Hospital revitalization has started and is getting full attention.
This rejuvenation of health facilities has been extended to nine Central Hospitals/Comprehensive Health Centres and Three Hundred and 332 healthcare Centres, covering each of the 332 wards in the state. This will make quality healthcare equitably available to all citizens and residents irrespective of where they are staying. Basic medical equipment, HIV test kits and other consumables to the tune of N87.7 million have been procured for the PHCs.
Construction of 10 roads across major towns has also commenced. These are Ita Akogun-Ayetoro Road; Ile-Ife-Ijebu Jesa-Iloko-Ilesa (linking Ilesa-Akure Expressway) Road; Orita Cottage-Oke Gada Road, Ede; Isare-Ifofin-Iloro-Akewusola Road, Ilesa; Ikirun (Idi Esu)-Iragbiji-Ororuwo Road; and Dele Yes Sir-Baba Fansanmi-Okefia R/A, Osogbo. Others are Araromi-Anaye Market Road, Iragbiji; Mobil Petrol Station-Idi Oro Junction-Court Junction-Odebara Junction-Agodi Junction-Alasunkala Junction, Ejigbo; Ikire (Naira & Kobo)-Apomu-Ikoyi Road (linking Ife-Ibadan Expressway); and Odo Ori-Adeeke-Iwo Road (linking Ibadan Expressway), Iwo.
Many of these roads were wreaked by the heavy rains of last year, which brought untold hardship to motorists and other road users. With their rehabilitation, huge relief has now been brought to users of the roads as economic and social interactions have now been enhanced in the state.
To support the empowerment of rural farmers and facilitate movement of goods, there is an on-going massive grading of rural roads being undertaken by the local government councils. The councils are collectively grading not less than 500 kilometres of roads after Governor Oyetola gave them the mandate in January.
On security, Oyetola’s administration has refurbished 20 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) which have since been deployed to protect lives and properties across the state.
Seven fire stations have also been refurbished while15 fire vehicles have been repaired. These will assist in combating fire outbreaks and other emergencies across the state.
Government has taken steps to strengthen quality education in the state. On 7th February, 2019, Governor Oyetola flagged off distribution of state-of-the-art school furniture , computers, learning aids and games equipment (including Table Tennis, Basketball, Athletics, etc) to schools across the three Senatorial Districts in the state.
The most exciting however is the first State of Osun Economic Summit meant to generate a robust and sustainable economic development template that will launch the state into a boom.
With all arrangements already in place, the stage is set to ignite what will be the most significant activity in the state since its creation in 1991.
The blocks are being built as the direction the administration is going is getting clear. It is an encouraging one with the governor steadying his feet to provide quality leadership for the state. Success definitely is assured.
Fasure lives in Osogbo