The Governor of the state of Osun is an unusual governor. Everything about him is different. His pace of work is phenomenal and his style is unconventional. He likes to be different. That is why he calls himself simply Ogbeni Rauf. He is one Chief Executive who does not take No for an answer. He believes the state has lost a lot of time and it needs to catch up fast. That is why he is in a hurry to achieve. And all his aides know this. That is why they have also become frenetic in their pace.
Since he came in, all he has been doing is to find lasting solutions to the challenges facing the state.
That is why he has been voted The Governor Of The Year at the City People Awards. To understand what drives the Osun Governor you need to know his background.
Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola was born in the month of May, 1957. He had is primary and secondary education in Ondo State, and later attended The Polytechnic, Ibadan, where he studied Mechanical Engineering and graduated in 1980.
An Associate member of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers (AIIE), Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and a Fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Association of Technological Engineers (NATE) and Certified Marketing Communications Institute of Nigeria (CMCIN), Rauf Aregbesola has a wealth of experience garnered through dint of hard work in both the public and private sectors such as the Nigerian External Telecommunications (now renamed Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd). and Lagos Airport Hotel before establishing his own Engineering Services Company, Aurora Nigeria Limited, in 1986. The company has since its establishment handled numerous major projects for both government and private organisations in most states of the federation.
Politically, he has been remarkably active and forthright. His involvement dates back to his undergraduate days when he was Speaker of the Students’ Parliament (1977/78) at The Polytechnic, Ibadan and the President of the Black Nationalist Movement (1978-1980). He was also an active supporter of other progressive student movements nationwide, which earned him, for instance, the life membership of National Association of Technological Students. In June 1990, he became an elected delegate to the SDP Inaugural Local Government Area Congress. In July of the same year, he was also a delegate to its first National Convention in Abuja.
Ogbeni Aregbesola, as a pro-democracy and Human Rights Activist, was a major participant in the demilitarisation and pro-democracy struggles of the 1990s. He is equally active in community associations, especially in Alimosho, his base, where he remains the Secretary to the LGA Elders’ Forum to date. Prior to his appointment as the Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure (1999-2010), he was Director of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation (BATCO), which engineered the electoral victory of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Governor of Lagos State in 1999. He performed similar feat using the platform of Independent Campaign Group (ICG) to ensure the re-election of Asiwaju for a second term in office. Since his appointment and reappointment, Ogbeni Aregbesola has continued to impress all with the strength of his commitment to selfless service, diligence, sincerity and tirelessness in the administration of the vast Ministry of Works and Infrastructure. Significantly, he was saddled with the responsibility of supervision of the Public Works Corporation and State Electricity Board, widely acknowledged as being responsible for the outstanding success being recorded by the present Lagos State administration especially in road rehabilitation/maintenance and street lighting.
After more than 3 years of relentless battle to regain his mandate, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was sworn in as the Governor of the State of Osun on Saturday, November 27th, 2010.
Since his assumption of office, he has kept his promise of lifting the state, which has now been dubbed Ipinle Omoluabi (the State of Virtous) through the introduction of populist programmes such as the employment of 20,000 youths, under the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, giving the state a new lease of life through rebranding and other such programmes.
He has strategically captured the focus of his government in what is called the 6-Point Action Plan: • Banish Poverty • Banish Hunger • Banish Unemployment • Restore Healthy Living • Promote Functional Education • Enhance Communal Peace and Progress.
He initiated a free health programme, called Jigi Omoluabi, which is designed to assist the people of the state through free eye tests and free eye glasses.
Convinced that agriculture remains the best means to generate needed revenue for development just as the Awolowo’s government did, the Governor is embarking on a massive agricultural programme under the name O-Reap.
He declared a 90-day emergency on the environment in Osun State which was aimed at clearing debris in the state. On assuming office as Governor of the State of Osun on 27th November, 2010, Ogbeni Aregbesola began the humanitarian and re-branding of the state from himself, adopting the title Ogbeni, simply Mister, in difference to the singular Excellency of the Almighty God. In just a year, the chronicle of his achievements is in volumes, simply to be summarised as a chain of “O-Models”, the most astonishing being the engagement of 20,000 youths in the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) within its first 100 days in office, an accomplishment that is not only unprecedented and belongs in the league of world best practice, but has become an example for others to follow.
The strings of awards that have trailed the life of the symbol of Oranmiyan are eloquent testimonies to all that has been said about him. Earlier in his working life, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was decorated with the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) Badge of Excellence at the Kujama Satellite Earth Station of the Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. His other awards include, but not limited to:
• Ambassador of Goodwill for the state of Tennesse, USA
• State Headquarters (Boy Scout) Commissioner of Engineering Awards
• Humanitarian Service Merit Award
• Award of Excellence in Building Construction and Engineering, Nigerian Society of Engineers Merit Award (Contribution to Engineering Discipline)
• The Best Commissioner in Lagos State Award
• The Grassroots Achiever of the Year Award
• The Lagos State Most Distinguished Commissioner of the Year Award
• ECOWAS Community Service Gold Award
• Worthy Ambassador of the Youths Award
• Special Award for the Support of Journalism Development
• National Council of Muslim Organisation Distinguished Merit Award
• Distinguished Corporate Achievers and Gold Award
• The People’s Forum Award for Excellence, Religious and Traditional Titles to his credit include:
• Aare Musulimi of Alimosho
• Aare Fiwagboye of Lagos
• Balogun Musulumi of Ijeshaland.
In his spare time, he demonstrates great flair for music, dancing, travelling, reading and religious programmes. Ogbeni AbdulRauf Adesoji Aregbesola is the Fourth democratically elected Governor in the State of Osun, a devout Muslim, a committed Welfarist and an activist of many degrees and parts. He is indeed a quintessential politician with a vision, mission and passion. Above all, Aregbesola is a realist and a goal-getter, an amiable personality and of course a dynamic and pragmatic Governor of the people. Baba Kabiru as he is fondly called is happily married to Mrs. Serifat Aregbesola. The union is blessed with children
Culled from City People