OPINION: Osun Progress Report

Nigeria, no doubt, is a great country.  Despite the recent events that have put our existence as an entity in a serious doubt, we still have many reasons to have faith in this nation that one day, the true essence of leadership will manifest in form of better living conditions for the people of this country.

When my father, whose life had been built around academics, made his intention known to his immediate family about ascending the throne of his father, we all kicked. Why would someone whose future looked bright in the academic environment become a king in a remote village mainly populated by scores of uneducated people? Just Why?

Two things were paramount in his mind. First, according to him, becoming a king is a perfect platform to bring about the desired changes needed in his community back home as his academic background put him in a good stead to get the job done.

Secondly, he, alongside other brave men and women had started the agitation for the creation of Osun State from the old Oyo State but their dreams didn’t become reality until 1991 when the then military administration gave its blessings.

While he had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve, to us, his immediate family, his aspirations were quite vague.  Later, we were all proud of him, as the decisions he took obviously gave birth to legacies that have definitely outlived him.

To my late father, Oba (Dr) Solomon Oyewole Babayemi, the Olufi of Gbongan, improving the lives of the people through developmental projects was paramount to him, even at the expense of his own family.

He died a fulfilled man as he ascended the throne of his forefathers and was the Secretary to the Osun State formation committee.

And while I have been less than impressed with the slow rate of development in my state in recent past, I have nothing but admiration for the Aregbesola-led administration for its bravery in confronting the demons militating against the progress of Osun by turning the fortune around for better within the shortest time.

It is worthy to state here, however, that prior to Aregbesola’s assumption of office in 2010, I had thought the people of Osun would suffer the same fate of underdevelopment that had plagued the state during the past administrations before him.  However, he has proved me and other doubting Thomases wrong with laudable projects.

Being commissioner of works for many years in a cosmopolitan state of Lagos, the Governor has brought his valuable experience to bear in managing the state and must be commended for his positive initiatives.

And Harvey S. Firestone, an American businessman and one of the first global makers of automobile, though late, perhaps, seems to have witnessed what is currently happening in the state when he described true leadership saying  “the growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”

Though the administration has done significantly well in agricultural sector, the Governor accepted recently that there was much to be done to improve the tourism sector, saying his team has not lost focus.

Aside the massive rural electrification project, the ministry, through its Community Development Department also executed over 61 projects which include the construction of primary health centers, recreation centers, blocks of classrooms, market stalls and palm oil processing centers and the government’s presence is being felt everywhere through its rural developmental agenda.

The beauty of the rural developmental agenda lies in its intervention in women empowerment programmes as over 600 women had been trained in different vocations with the present administration distributing N12.2million to the beneficiaries to reduce poverty and enhance social economic status of rural dwellers.

Babayemi wrote from Gbongan via DAILY NEWSWATCH