The education policies of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has been described as a reminiscence of the education reforms of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, during the First Republic.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, made the observations at the public assessment forum tagged Gbangba Dekun in Ile-Ife.
A question and answer session, Gbangba Dekun is a platform provided by government for people to meet their leaders and office holders to openly assess the performance of the government on its programmes and policies.
Ooni, who was represented at the gathering by Obalufe of Iremoland, Chief Folorunsho Omishakin, said one striking resemblance between Awolowo’s education reform and Aregbesola’s current education reform is that both were antagonised.
According to the monarch, in 1955 when Awolowo started his education reforms in the then Western Region, people antagonised him but the late sage remained undaunted in his commitment to turning around the region’s education fortune.
Ooni said Awolowo’s reform succeeded at last because of late politician’s tenacity of purpose and selfless conviction for the future of the region.
He added that but for the focus and determination Awolowo had, he would have chickened out of the programme and the entire South -west region would have been the worst for it.
He lamented that a few people had failed to see beyond the immediate to see the overall benefit of the school reform process blaming those antagonizing the plans as mixing pure development issues in the education sector with politics and religion.
He commended the bold step of the governor in tackling the rot in this all-important sector, advising him not to be distracted by what some people are doing or saying about the reforms.
“Your programme too will succeed like that of Obafemi Awolowo. When Awolowo started the reform, people antagonised him. They said the programme would not succeed.
But before our very eyes, Awo’s education programme succeeded. We still can see many of the products of that reform till today. “If other regions had followed what he did in education sector in the then Western region, may be today there won’t be Boko Haram up North or militants in the Niger Delta. Or at worst, what we would have today are educated militants and Boko Haram members.
“So, like Awo, don’t be discouraged by antagonisms and criticisms of few people. Remain focused on your reform programme and you will succeed,” Ooni said.
He advised government on accountability through effective monitoring by school inspectors, attributing the collapse of previous education system to the sudden disappearance of old school inspectorate system.
Commending the governor’s sterling performance in the last three years, the first class monarch said an upright man would come to the fore for public assessment without fear, which is why Aregbesola organises such public, meet-your-leader forum for an assessment of his government’s performance in the open.
In his response, Aregbesola commended the people of the state for their unflinching supports for all his administration’s programmes.