Being the text of the acceptance speech by the governor, State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on the occasion of the presentation of certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the August 9, 2014 gubernatorial election in the state.
I say without equivocation that those, on whose behalf, I receive the certificate of return, are the great people of Osun, who against all odds, stood by us and made this possible. Otherwise, if the wish of powerful forces prevails, we would have by now been eased out of the Government House, even though it is illegal by law because our tenure will end by November. Glory be to God and the people of Osun, who sacrificed everything; who risks everything, to stand and support us. I dedicate this certificate to you. I thank you. Through you, God delivered this to me, not by my might, not by my strength, not by my power, it is solely because of your zeal, commitment and total sacrifice and amazing support, under the direction of God, that I am happily today qualified to receive this certificate of return. I thank you.
I thank the leadership and members of my party all over Nigeria, most especially in Osun, for their support and diligence displayed before, during and after the election. Inspite of evil forces, you were determined to survive the will of the people. I thank all our party faithful and sympathizers across the globe; the human rights organizations, progressives in general, international and local observers, including but not limited to African Union (AU) and also to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). I congratulate you for the successful conduct of the election.
I have said it before and I will say it again, that we must not fail to remind INEC the obvious lapses, which could have marred the election. Without doubt, I scored INEC 75%. However, INEC must in future elections, take seriously, the security of election materials. Please, it is still right and appropriate to be extra-vigilant with election materials. We were victims of the similar poor management of election materials, which is more reason it is important to emphasize this. In 2007, the current Speaker, Rt. Honourable Najeem Salaam from Ejigbo, Honourable Abiodun Awolola, from Egbedore, and current Deputy Speaker, Honourable Akintunde Adegboye, from Osogbo, were victims.
In 2007, the election that was conducted, without any sin, had to be voided because of the compromise of some junior staff of INEC, who were custodians of those election materials. Some unscrupulous elements influenced them to tamper with the electoral materials, which led to the loss of electoral mandate. A recent reoccurrence happened in 2011, when Honourable Nathaniel Agunbiade was almost denied of his position, but for the wisdom of the judges, who refused their tricks. He still retains the office because during the examination of the facts available, it was discovered that some unscrupulous elements in INEC voided some of the ballots after election, but God caught them. The ones they voided did not match the serial numbers of the ones they originally used during election. Otherwise, there would have been a rerun in that constituency. That is why we are appealing to INEC to please to be on alert, extra-vigilant and more determined to secure the election materials. If you do not guard those materials, they are open to all sorts of manipulations. If the integrity of the organization, as important to us as it is important to you, you should be able to protect the materials. I trust that you will do your best to prevent compromise, manipulation and tampering of election materials.
The election was largely successful, with the exception of some wards in Ife Federal Constituency, where by our own reports, a large section did not even have any election at all. Except these inadequacies, you have conducted a successful election. I congratulate my opponents, who participated in the election. I thank them for the spirit with which they contested the election. It is my belief that electoral process is an expression of a democratic process, so we must commend those who took the pains, who made the effort to strengthen our democratic process. I pray that in the same spirit of Olympic, in which they participated in the process, let them all come to us to advance the interest of our state and provide to our people, a better life. For those who chose legal option, we are not in any way inducing them not to pursue to any length the litigation of the election, but we are so confident that such process will further convince them beyond any doubt that we won the August 9, 2014 gubernatorial election fair and well. But even as they pursue the litigation, lets us all come together to advance the cause of our people by guaranteeing peace for our people, progress for all of us and ensure development.
I have no reason, since 2004, to be involved in this process, if not for the progress and development of black man on earth. It is my zeal and passion to use my God-given talent to give meaning to the black race, which today is underdeveloped internationally. I believe I can use my God-given talent, within this small pace, to make a difference in leadership. That is why since 2004, when I have privilege and opportunity that will make the world to know that the blacks are capable of effective leadership and I am proud to say that our 44 months in power has demonstrated what purposeful leadership could do. Who would ever thought that school children of close 300,000 could be eating delicious meals everyday? Who could have ever thought that 40,000 unemployed youths could be taken off the streets and made to serve their communities and yet get some remunerations or who could have ever taught that schools worthy of highly-wealthy children, could be built for children of ordinary people? Who could have ever thought that Osun could guarantee buses for our students and subsides the buses? Could anybody imagine that elderly persons, who are vulnerable, without fear, will get from government, monthly stipends? Who could have thought that every community in Osun will have sufficient government attention to make them feel that they are part of government? Who could have taught that farmers will need not to worry about money to buy agricultural inputs? Who could have taught that every child in our public schools will have their data on a computer base that will be permanent? Who could have ever thought that Osogbo, the state capital, will be gradually turning to be the Dubai of Nigeria and by 2018, by the grace of God, Osogbo will be so much transformed that any visitor, who has been away for a year, will certainly miss roads and this will not be limited to Osogbo alone; we are working on an ambitious nine-city urban renewal projects. US Habitat told me that there is no place in the world, where any government had ever embarked on the urban renewal of the size we are embarking on. We are not only developing Osogbo, we are doing Iwo, Ikire, Ede, Ila, Ilesa Ikirun and Ejigbo. Because of the predominance of Ejigbo people in French countries, that is why we take special interest in Ejigbo in addition to whatever support we are getting from the UN habitat. Also in Ile-Ife, and when I talk about Ile-Ife, besides urban renewal, there is an historical assignment we must do in Ile-Ife.
Ile-Ife is the source of all Yorubas across the globe, and there are over 33 million in the world. As the origin of our race, we are because of this rebuilding Ile-Ife. We will trace the history of Yoruba 500 years back before the contact of white men, and we are going to project where we want to be in the next 500 years. This historic assignment will be called Yoruba International Heritage City. We are going to start the project. There is no way we can complete it in four years, but with this, we are going to show the people of Ile-Ife that we are not parochial; that we are committed to the development of Ile-Ife, and we are going to see Ile-Ife in its historic and cultural context. We all go to Mecca, we all go to Jerusalem and in no distant time, we are going to have Ile-Ife that we will be proud of. At the same time, we are not going to relent in our efforts to meet other essential needs of our people. Our six-point integral action plan still stands to ensure that peace and harmony reign supreme; that we sustain sound health, qualitative and functional education.
We are grateful to God that we won this election and we want to assure our people that whatever we have done or we have seen is just the foundation of what is coming in the next four years. As I was saying, we want all, who are genuine in their profession; who are genuine in their commitment; who are genuine in their vision for Osun, to come to us, to collaborate with us to make Osun a model of progress, a model of development, a model of dignity. I thank you for your time. I pray that by the time we will be handing over again in 2018, there will be every reason to thank God.