HE, who comes to governance in Nigeria and wishes to be on the good side of history, must do so with a good dose of creative ingenuity mixed with the power of vision. He must come with candour laced with uncommon courage to dare where angels feared to tread.
And to leave impressionable imprints on the sands of time one must be propelled by policies and programmes that are people-oriented, pragmatic and purposeful as Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has done since November, 2010.
The factors that fuel such feats come from an inner nudge to do one’s best and let history be the ultimate judge.
Driven by the will to win against seemingly insurmountable odds, staked high against his frail figure, Ogbeni Rauf Argebesola came into office as Osun State governor eminently qualified with a wealth of experience and determination to make the desired change.
For instance, as commissioner for Works in Lagos State, the roads and bridges constructed during his tenure remain enduring legacies till this day. These as well as the solid infrastructure the admirable administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu laid formed the foundation built upon by the current Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola-led administration.
Mounting the saddle as a critical thinker, Aregbesola saw the need to reposition Osun within the constitutional framework of fiscal federalism. So came: ‘The State of Osun,’ complete with its anthem and logo and the Omoluabi as the driving mantra for morality and responsibility in governance as well as a means for the citizens to have a sense of self-identity. Though back then lesser minds tried, vainly to rouse a rabble, they were soon reminded that before him Alhaji Lateef Jakande did the same in Lagos State.
If Shehu Shagari as the then president did not bath an eyelid why should anyone now? And come to think of it-if we truly want to imbibe the doctrines of presidential democracy as the United States which we claim to emulate then every state needs such a distinct identity. Not just for its name sake but also to imbue in the citizens self pride in what rightly belongs to them, rather than being seen as a mere appendage to an overlord of a federal government.
That singular re-branding of Osun State was a right signal for the ground-breaking and epoch-making achievements soon to be unfolded from the fecund mind of the man fondly called Ogbeni Aregbesola. He knew from the outset that he needed to assemble a team of top technocrats to drive his vision which took some thorough thinking. It was that team that came up with the now hailed Six-Point Integral Action Plan.
And aware that no meaningful progress could be made in the absence of peace, communal tranquility and progress have reigned supreme in the state since he came on board in line with the sixth item on the Six-Point Integral Action Plan. At the inception of the administration, one major step taken in the line of enhancing justice and facilitating the judicial process was the institution of the Peace and Reconciliation Panel.
That formed the platform for victims of “various acts of oppressive threats, intimidation and tyranny” to table their plights. The intent of this, as defined and demonstrated by the administration, was not to punish, witch-hunt or black-list anyone, but to reconcile all opposing parties in every dispute and entrench peace in the true spirit of Omoluabi.”
Before then there were series of communal conflicts arising from chieftaincy disputes and/or land boundary disagreements. It would be recalled that the erstwhile PDP-led administration in the state put in place forceful enthronement of royal/traditional fathers in many communities where such stools should ordinarily be declared vacant. But these have since been amicably resolved. The Aregbesola-led administration pacified the aggrieved parties; letting them see the need for peaceful resolution rather than taking the laws into their hands.
One other area that deserves commendation is that of reducing to the barest minimum the culture of wanton waste that characterized local government administration in the state. It was the practice during the years of immediate past regime for party chieftains at the community level to grace the premises of local government council secretariats all over the state. That was especially on pay-days to collect unmerited salaries. The consequences were grave as the councils were unable to achieve or execute impact-making solid infrastructure or put in place capital projects for the benefit of their people.