AREGBESOLA IS ABOVE BOARD AND BEYOND REPROACH
BY OLUMIDE LAWAL
There is nothing more difficult to carry out, not more doubtful of success, not more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order and only lukewarm defenders in all those, who would profit by the new order. This lukewarm arises, partly from incredibility of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new, until they have actually experienced it.
It is in this perception, that the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola found himself when he came on the scene in Osun State. When its progress was at the lowest ebb. Infact, inert. But the Ijesa born politician, was determined to go the whole hog of making Osun State an Eldorado, no matter what. Only an administration with the heart of steel and grim resolve could accomplish such feat.
Setting out to achieve his avowed goals expectedly met with resistance from those, who profited by the old order of doing things in Osun State. It was they first and the larger populace last. To the glory of God, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has opened up Osun State to certain level of socio-economic development. In the course of his first term in office, far-reaching infrastructural facilities were put in place to international standard with frugality. Roads, hitherto considered unpassable and difficult to rehabilitate, saw the magic wands of Ogbeni Aregbesola and residents of such areas heaved a sigh of relief. Shout of “ONA BABA ONA, rent the air.
For the first four years of Ogbeni Aregbesola in the saddle, workers’ salaries and pensions were paid as and when due and his government was regarded as worker-friendly. Even certain percentage of the workers’ salaries were paid as 13th month bonus. But now, that the world is witnessing economic recession, Governor Aregbesola should device a means and a solid one too, whereby payment of workers’ salaries and pension would not suffer unduly. It is said, that a labourer’s wages should be paid before his or her sweat dries up.
For workers to remain on empty stomachs for several months in certain cases, speaks volume. The government should be prepared to invest in human capacity. If certain projects have to be scaled down, so be it. According to Uruguay President, Jose Pepe Mujiba, who in anyway goes to work in an old Volkswagen bettle said and I quote “it’s no mystery-the less poverty, the more commerce. The most important investment we can make, is in human resources”. Osun economy is tied to workers salaries and pensions, we are ‘naked’ industrially. What do we do, should the black gold, known as crude oil dries up? In Osun State, we should start setting the pace, by looking aggressively into areas, where we can buoyed over internal revenue and jobs generation.
All the cries by State Governors about accrual from crude oil to their States is diminishing, only show laziness on their parts, as to how to source for alternative revenues. First Republic was without crude oil and those in governance served their people well. Osun State should not be in the league of those who will depend absolutely on oil revenue. But for all that I know, our governor is working round the clock to leave enviable legacies behind him after 2018, which is around the corner. He should put in place, a formidable economic team, that is truly indigenous, to fashion out the way forward for the State. An Economic Team, that would bring back on air the sweet aroma from Osun Cocoa products industry, Ede and return the factory to production. Sir Adewale Adeeyo should speak out as the current Chairman of the Board of the Company.
Here is an ‘unsual’ governor, who like the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory, do not lay claim to monopoly of wisdom. But while, some in positions of leadership and rulership, are busy fraternizing with men of shady characters and carousing with women of easy virtue, Aregbesola like a few others, remains at his post, working assiduously to find solutions to Osun problem. Only the deep, can call to the deep. His likes, are found in other South-West APC governors, who like Ogbeni Aregbesola, are steadily transforming their states to the applause of their citizenry.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, should continue firing from all cylinders, to take Osun State to the promised land. There should be no looking back, even where detractors are busy putting one hurdle or the other on his way. Those who will stop at nothing to distract him, going by the recent satanic rumours peddled against his amiable son, Kabiru, who of course has been vindicated. Such is the price to pay for leadership, though it could be a bitter pill to swallow.
For those, who may wish to settle one political score or the other with Governor Aregbesola, they should not engage in such political pettiness of dragging the good name of an innocent youngman, like Kabiru in the mud. They should discuss issues, rather than character assassination of innocent people. Journalism should be practiced in the best interest of all.
I am quite convinced, that with the new administration of President –Elect, Muhammed Buhari, Osun, with pragmatism and political wizardry of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, will partake of the largesse that would accrue to states. Osun State progress was according to some narrow-minded people allegedly retarded in the last four years, because of Ogbeni Aregbesola “unrepentant antagonistic postures” toward out-going President Jonathan. Whatever that means! But now, that APC is in control of the Central government, Governor Aregbesola should curry the favour of the Federal Government and attract federal projects to Osun in quantum. And if need be, the governor should re-appraise the ongoing Gbongan-Akoda, Osogbo-Ilaodo roads under construction, and do the necessary things with the Federal Ministry of Works or hand over such projects to the Federal government, using his excellent relationship with the President-Elect for the good of the people of Osun State. If Governor Rauf Aregbesola, spends four terms in office, he cannot finish the development projects in Osun State. He should tread softly. Try his best and leave the rest for others.
What Governor Aregbesola needs do in Osun State, right now is to re-order his priorities and make human capacity development, the centre-stage of his administration, while continuing to plug all loop holes, that are areas of wastage to the government, even if those who profited by such old order are not happy. He should not care a hoot about their grouse, which are unjustifiable.
All he needs to do, is to pay workers salaries and pensions as and when due. With this, he would have shut the mouths of those who are living big outside their legitimate incomes. While re-appraising his capital projects, Governor Aregbesola should not forget his promise of dualising the Ede major township road. The Babangida Way. He should send Julius Berger to Ede to work, if only as compensation for Senator Isiaka Adeleke unquantifiable support for him in 2014 governorship election.
And this brings to the fore, the necessity for Governor Aregbesola, to set necessary machineries in motion to conduct Local Government election in Osun State, with the release of the result of the referendum conducted by the State Independent Electoral Commission, under the able leadership of Otunba Segun Laditan for creation of Local Council Development Areas as a prelude to the exercise.
It is baffling, that four years on, the same category of people are running the Local Government Caretaker Affairs in Osun. This is unwelcome. Is there anything more to it than meet the eyes? Where they are elected, the Local Government caretaker committee members are constitutionally entitled to three years in office. What is at stake, our dear governor Aregbesola? If it is your wish to make do with caretaker committee for the rest of the life of your administration, please extend the favour to other party members, so as to see you as a true democrat and a leader for all. You cannot afford to be dictatorial in this regard.
They may not say it out, members of APC in Osun State are grumbling over the Local Government Caretaker issue. Please do something before the grumbling becomes louder. What is good for the goose is a sauce for the gander. Everybody contributed his or her own little quota to your success at the August 9, 2014 governorship election. But what is paramount, is the conduct of local government election in Osun State, without further delay, as soon as funds are available for the purpose. The State House of Assembly should also play its check and balance role in this regard. For all I know, Governor Aregbesola will leave Osun State better than he met it. I trust in his ability to deliver.
Once again, let us engage in politics of love, affection and development in Osun State. We should continue to wish our leaders well and pray for them as a demonstration of our obedience to Biblical and Koranic injunctions. We should not behave like that man in Ekiti State, who pointedly wished our President-elect dead. May God forgive him and indeed, those who orchestrated evil machination against the Governor’s son –Kabiru, whose services are needed in his own little ways to the development of Osun as its bonafide citizen.
To accelerate the state internally generated revenue, Governor Aregbesola should embark on aggressive property tax collection, to boost the State revenue. Despite the economic down-turn, gigantic and imposing structures, called homes to the novoux-rich, are springing up at Osogbo G.R.A and other locations in the State capital and other choice areas of the State. If those involved could have so much to erect such structures, they should spare the State something substantial as property tax. Afterall, such locations in G.R.A enjoy the best of road network and electricity supply, as they are on dedicated lines from whatever you call it. Are the numerous ‘five star’ hotels that now litter Osun State paying up the correct taxes to you Ogbeni Aregbesola?
Osun shall certainly excel and be a model for other states to emulate. It should be many steps ahead of others. We all have our patriotic roles to play. We are ready to do that, if the Governor provides a level playing ground to do so. He should not give room to those, who will tell him, only those things that are sweet to his ears. They cry Hossanah today, crucify him tomorrow.
A public Affairs Analyst, write from Ede, Osun State.