OPINION: Aregbesola Is APC’s Best Ambassador

Ogbeni's Potrait -  (6)For me, the APC couldn’t have a better ambassador. The man is the personification of the APC Roadmap. All his programmes are sustainable and impact on every layer of the society. Everyone is taken care of; the civil servants, farmers, youth, women, politicians etc.

I have been privileged to work closely with some people within the All Progressives Congress and I must say, it is always an honour to hear them talk. Of course, not everyone  in the APC illuminates the room with their wisdom or does the most impressive things. We have dumb people too, corrupt ones as well. But, I have seen some of the smartest people work their magic with brilliant ideas and amazing work and I feel so proud knowing we have them on our side.

For a long time, I always considered Governor Raji Fashola as Nigeria’s best performing public office holder. Who could you blame me? Lagos speaks for itself. When I first arrived in this city in the latter part of 2008, I never experienced the horror show everyone threatened Lagos would be. Oshodi was cleared and made motorable before my very eyes, as I reported all the happenings as a journalist working for NEXT. I also love the man’s style. I looked up to him and still do. But, I think someone else is taking his spot in my heart and that person is none other than the incumbent governor of the state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

I believe Ogbeni’s style of leadership, which I have heard being called “Government Unusual”, is the kind Africa needs today. It is a style that is aggressive and passionate at the same time. It is one that seeks to comfort the grassroots and satisfy the political class simultaneously. Ogbeni is using all the machinery of governance to energise his people to excellence. No single household in the state hasn’t been touched in more ways than one by the many sustainable projects the man has embarked on. And the branding – Osun’s and Ogbeni’s – is near-perfect.

I have told the story of my first personal contact with Ogbeni so many times but I’ll do so again here. It was the in September 2010 at Camp Ribadu in Abuja and Ogbeni was giving us a pep talk. He said so many things but the one that I would never forget was his promise to give Osun students an e-tablet. At the time, the election tribunal sitting on his case was in its third year and there was little hope of him winning. What audacity did he have to be making such plans?

I found out later that Ogbeni’s plan for his dear state had been ready many years before he sought the mandate to lead it. He was well prepared for the task of governance; leadership didn’t come to him by chance. Honestly, leadership shouldn’t come to anyone by chance. Our present president is an easy example of a headship calamity.

When you consider what Ogbeni has achieved in Osun state as a whole in the time he has been governor, you will agree that it is amazing. Here is a man, who while recognizing the limitations of the funds that would be available to him, refused to allow said limitations to hinder his dreams. By blocking most of the leakages through which funds disappear, exponentially increasing the money generated internally, structuring payments for contractors in a manner beneficial to the state and uncovering innovative ways to get almost interest-free loans, the man has been able to do the impossible. Today, all six of the governor’s agendas are being met; Banish Hunger, Banish Poverty, Banish Unemployment Promote Functional Education, Restore Healthy Living, Enhance Communal Peace and Progress.

When a governor designs and implements a programme that takes 40, 000 youths off the streets, simultaneously injecting N2.4b into the grassroots economy over the space of three years, you must applaud the genius in him. When he also launches a scheme that sees all 750,000 children in public schools clothed, while 3,000 tailors are empowered, you must doff your hat. When you see hundreds of kilometers of intra-state roads being built, alongside superhighway interstate roads, with the payments phased to suit a small state, you should marvel. And when you discover that the state has been surviving on no more than N3.2b per month this year, you should scream.

That is the governance Ogbeni is putting out there. A government that is responsible and caring. A government where the masses are at its core.

It is crucial to note that in spite of the 34th position of Osun on the Federal Allocation table, Ogbeni’s developmental programmes have never taken a pause. Osun has never, in its 19 years of existence, generated no more than N300 million as IGR. Today, it is generating about N1.6 billion. The 433 per cent upsurge in IGR in about three years was achieved without any increase in tax. From the latest figures released, Osun has the seventh largest GDP in the country. And growing.

How Ogbeni does this and still retains his humility and lean frame is astonishing. His energy is boundless and his vision is sure. His control of Osun politics is not in doubt. Even the children know the symbol of the party and scream “Change!” each time the word APC echoes.

For me, the APC couldn’t have a better ambassador. The man is the personification of the APC Roadmap. All his programmes are sustainable and impact on every layer of the society. Everyone is taken care of; the civil servants, farmers, youth, women, politicians etc.

The style of governance that blends welfarism with a firm eye on the economic and intellectual emancipation of the people is what I hope the APC will imbibe at all levels of government. In Ogbeni, they have the symbol of what needs to be done. With a broom in his hand, and God by his side, he is leading his people out of poverty and into prosperity. His four more years is a done deal!