BY KUNLE OYATOMI
With the 2014 governorship poll close by in the State of Osun we have ample opportunity to examine critical issues to serve as a guide or compass for the electorate and Nigeria citizens at large. It is necessary to consider these factors so that we are not misled into decisions that once placed the state on a tip overlooking a cavernous pit of no return.
We got to that point in the regime of ex-soldier Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, after the progressive era of Chief Bisi Akande. In nearly eight years of that government, the state witnessed what may yet be described as a massacre: the PDP government inflicted policies and measures that made the people lie prostrate, deprived of all manner of humanity and respect. This ancient regime pulled down the structures of good governance and the dividends of democracy put in place by Bisi Akande.
The government that followed that of the current National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) proved it was truly not the one voted into power. For if they were, they would not destroy the future of those who gave them the mandate. Their actions exposed them as impostors. They destroyed education and let schools run into decay best suited for the Dark Ages. They reminded us of the Barbarians who ruined the Roman Empire and feasted on the carrion.
They didn’t improve on agriculture and allowed the roads, industries, hospitals, civil service, etc to run aground. Insecurity reached a frightening peak as the state became a killing field. Miscarriage of justice came along to compound the situation.
The worst victim of these killer blows was the citizen. He reeled left and right under each heavy punch of the government he did not vote into power. This was the biggest tragedy: to seek to destroy the spirit of the citizen. Any government that attempts to chain the soul of a people as the PDP sought to do through its policies under is clearly the arch enemy of the society.
Truly, PDP’s regime initiated moves that were a direct antithesis of progressive governance. To be sure, it was really an unusually low period for Osun, and era that should never be allowed to return. It would have been unfair and cruel of nature not to have brought a breather for the citizens through a benign intervening administration.
That intervention came in November 2010. Nature, applying all the levers of the democratic process including the people’s power and the legal system, did step in to sweep into office Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola. He has since instituted unusual governance that is steadily obliterating the deadly effects of the unusually poor governance that preceded his era.
The governor in less than four years has put a commanding stamp on every facet of life in the state of Osun such that it is as if he’s been at the helm for a decade. He has brought far reaching changes to the critical sectors: education, arts and culture, the citizen’s way of life, transportation, civil service, agriculture and religion, where he has become the only governor in Nigeria who has offered constructive and disinterested balance on the question of religious arbitration.
The communal peace arising from the policies of a government that is not leaning (or seen to be leaning) on any religious prop is making Osun a haven of tourism, with the government now working out a scheme that would earn the state a whopping N15bn from tourism in 2015. The indisputable upshot of this revelation is that there’s abundant life without petrodollars if you have the right leadership with visionary policies.
The State of Osun under Rauf Aregbesola has proved the veracity of this assertion many times over through its unique mode of governance and service delivery in its 40 months in power.
The questions to pose: what was the missing link all along in the ancien regime that made the State of Osun to stagnate and lose its place in the community of men and women of integrity? Why is there now such a massive outburst of potential and passion to work and rebuild the state? Are there now a different set of citizens who were not available in the past to do what is being done at the moment? What was absent all along during the displaced regime was a caring, committed and disciplined leadership. We also hold the view that the huge popular verve to serve now which the state did not enjoy in the past must be linked to the presence of a leader and his team whose knack to serve selflessly is legendary and infectious. We also do not see the replacement of citizens to take the place of those who inhabited Osun in the days of PDP.
What is making the difference in the State of Osun these past three years and half is the unusual governance of the man Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola. He is proving the point that when you have a disciplined leader, you would also raise a disciplined followership. When you have a frugal and forward-looking government committed to nothing but altruistic ideology, you would bring forth citizens determined to follow in your footsteps of integrity (Omoluabi generation).
*Barrister Oyatomi, a former newspaper editor, is Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, All Progressives Congress (APC), State of Osun.