It’s heartwarming to see that the State of Osun is now wearing a new look, courtesy of the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. You would probably miss your way if you have not visited Osogbo town lately. A walk through the major towns and cities of the state shown that if the on going constructions works are completed the state will become a modern for metropolitan splendour in Nigeria, as it is with education, agriculture and youth empowerment.
Before the becoming of the present administration, no one ever imagined that the once lowly state can ever raise above its epithet as a civil servant state. Now, you can witness the up surge of urban renewer in the once quiet and subordinated ancient city of Osogbo. Businesses have picked up tremendously in the state to the admiration of young entrepreneurs who had in the past had problems of patronage. You could see banks springing up at every conners of the towns, especially Osogbo town. These are sings of good things come.
These developmental strides are being replicated across the 30 Local Government Councils of that state with the constructions and reconstructions of at least two earth Roads each. With this, Ogbeni has demonstrated that all hope is not lost in the nation’ quest to reclaim the golden era of the old Western-Region, which became a modern for Tropical Africa’s beacon of hope and road map for its regenerative development. The reincarnation of the same zeal as demonstrated by the late Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory is all we need to revitalise the nation’s primitive economy.
That robust economy was pulled down by impudent military boys with brazen impunity, which became the order of the day across African countries and spanned through the late 1999’s. The efforts made by the progressives in the South-West to redirect the polity in the Third and present Fourth Republic was thwarted by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP reactionary forces in 2003. They took the South-West in particular and Nigeria in general backward for the upward of 30 years. It is now the lot of the leadership of the zone to clean up the messes generated by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and his co-travellers.
President Olusegun Obasanjo will be remembered for conning his people into deception. He conducted one of the most abhorrent election in Nigerian history, thereby foisting his protégées on the once vibrant, dynamic and sophisticated people of the South-West. The rip-off that was the middle name of the PDP administration would take a great deal of efforts to bring back the old glory of the old Western-Region. That is exactly what the ACN administration is doing in states where the party governs, as it is with Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN.
While the PDP administration lasted between 2003 and and 2007 in virtually all the South -West States everyone of them professes Awoism to attract sympathy votes, yet they where all far from projecting or replicating those virtues that stood Chief Obafemi Awolowo out head and shoulder above his political peers. The late Sage was known for his remarkable integrity, ardent nationalism, principled and virile opposition and dogged federalistic convictions. The PDP Governors in the South-West at the time who pretended to be the late Sage’s followers and admirers made themselves foot-matt to those at the centre, therefore, running with the hare and hunting with the hounds at the same time. They deceived and exploited the electorate with their dresses and Chief Obafemi Awolowo type of caps.
They reframed from emulating the legend’s salutary welfarist programmes for eradication of poverty through free and voluntary education, human development, free health care delivery system, capacity building, job creation, youth empowerment, institutional and infrastructural building. It’s on record that Chief Obafemi Awolowo built the Liberty Stadium in Ibadan, the first of its kind in Africa; established the WNTV, the first television station in Africa; erected the first skyscraper in tropical Africa: the Cocoa House (still the tallest in Ibadan) and ran an effective and widely-respected civil service in the Western Region.
Virtually all the South-West PDP Governor who wore the garbs of Awoism are presently facing one probe after another. This explains the rot that attended their administration, a party that is jostling to reclaim power from a networking of progressive Governors in the zone. Nigerians are now asking questions like “on what bases are they seeking to return to power after the barefaced looting that characterised their years of the locust?” The people are saying never again!
United State’s President, Barrack Obama, reechoes Chief Obafemi Awolowo stance on governance a few days ago when he visited three African Countries that insecurity and other vices flourish in societies where governments abdicate their contractual obligations to the citizenry. “It is my strong belief that terrorism is more likely to emerge and take root where countries are not delivering for their people and where there are sources of conflict and unaligned frustrations that have not been adequately dealt with”.
Stressing further, President Obama said: “The danger we have right now, for example, in a place like Somalia, is that it’s been two generations, maybe three, since there was a functioning government inside of Somalia. We start to see some progress in part because of intervention by African nations in Somalia to clear the space and create the space for governance. But you look at what is happening in Mali, for example, right now, part of the problem is that they have a weak central government and democratic institutions that weren’t reaching out as far into the country as necessary. “We have to build such institutions of responsiveness, governance and democracy. Those things become defence mechanism against terrorism. They are the most important defence against terrorism. I don’t start with attitude of a military solution to these problems. I think the more we are giving the people more opportunity, the more we are giving the people more
education, the more we are helping to resolve conflicts through democratic practices, the less likely they are to take roots”. Even though President Obama is convinced that extremists sometimes attune to religious rationale, like any other person, he is of the view that African union and every other organisation should build up their capacity. “If they do this, they will be to able to nip terrorist cells that may be forming before they even start and gain strength”.
Unfortunately, President Goodluck Jonathan does not have any of what President Obama is talking about in his agenda. His only agenda for now is his 2015 presidential ambition and nothing more! As we speak, all the Federal Universities have been shot down, after the Polytechnics have remained closed to learning for an upward of 3 months on account of Federal Government failure to honour agreement it entered into with regards to remuneration and other sundry issues.
The development goals, which Nigeria and other poverty-stricken countries will fail to meet in two years, are in the areas of basic education, childcare, maternal health, hunger, gender equality, environment etc. With at least 10 million children out of school in 2013, Nigeria is far from meeting the goal of universal primary education. Education For All (EFA) in 2015 is clearly not one of the issues on the national agenda. The statistics on infant and maternal mortality remain as grim as ever. Extreme poverty is globally defined as living below $1.25 dollars a day; millions of Nigerians still fall below this baseline.
The leeway out of these national malaise is for the other states of the federation to borrow a leaf from the State of Osun’s populist programmes, from free education and provision of learning tools to health care. They should replicate the State of Osun kind of welfarist programmes in their various domains. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has mapped out national exit strategies to reslove the issue of unemployment in the state among others programmes. Through O’YES Scheme, he has given direct jobs to 740,000 people; and over 3.7 million indirect jobs have been created, with about N7.4 billion being injected monthly into the grassroots economy. This is the success story of Osun under the able stewardship of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in less than three years. His performances has attracted applause across the length and breadth of the state from the masses and endeared him to the people. His good work has also brought about absolute peace the people of the state are
From the outset Ogbeni is conscious of the fact that the nation deserved a lot of attention, as the leadership that should drive the people for development was missing. That is his mission in politics. He has always maintained that the capacity for a people to live good life was only possible if the nation utilised its productive capacity. He is of the opinion that unemployment was the direct cause of excruciating poverty, total insecurity and under-development the country grappling with today.
Strictly speaking, Ogbeni Aregbesola is using employment and empowerment to combat the high level of poverty among his people, which for him, is the sole reason for govenence. The OYES Scheme today is serving as a cushioning measure for drastic reduction of poverty, which is griming and excruciating to an unimaginable proportion in the State of Osun before his assumption of office.
Enyiola, a public affairs analyst writes from Osogbo, the State of Osun