SET­TING AGENDA FOR OYETOLA IN OSUN

Abio­dun Ko­mo­lafe writes that the new ad­min­is­tra­tion must work hard to leave its mark

THISDAY - - COMMENTARY -

In a solemn but highly im­pres­sive cer­e­mony, Rauf Ades­oji Aregbesola of the State of O sun bowed out as its chief ex­ec­u­tive while Mr. Gboyega Oyetola has been sworn into of­fice in his stead. But, is Oyetola’s ad­min­is­tra­tion the begin­ning of a new era in Osun? To an ex­tent, yes, it is! At least, the gover­nor is tak­ing over the reins of power, fresh, from his pre­de­ces­sor, af­ter an eight-year stint. How­ever, granted that the gov­ern­ment is All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC)-led; and he cam­paigned on the slo­gan of ‘con­ti­nu­ity’, he must de­fine his gov­ern­ment ac­cord­ing to his vi­sion, lead­er­ship style, and based upon the un­der­pin­ning phi­los­o­phy of his world out­view.

In his in­au­gu­ral ad­dress, Oyetola harped on the need to sus­tain the gains of the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion. Among other prom­ises, he vowed to convene an Eco­nomic Sum­mit within the next 100 days to ad­dress the topi­cal is­sues of job op­por­tu­ni­ties for the un­em­ployed, wealth cre­ation, and In­ter­nally Gen­er­ated Revenue (IGR) for the state, among other press­ing is­sues.

These are no­ble in­ten­tions. All the same, the gover­nor needs to pri­or­i­tize a visit to all the lo­cal gov­ern­ment and lo­cal coun­cil de­vel­op­ment ar­eas in the state to ask the peo­ple for their needs from the state gov­ern­ment. With­out doubt, this is an in­di­rect kind of ‘Thank you’ tour to the elec­torate for vot­ing him as their new gover­nor.

Sen­ti­ments apart, the wel­fare of the state’s civil ser­vants and pen­sion­ers should be a mat­ter of pri­or­ity for the new ad­min­is­tra­tion. Al­ready, the idea of us­ing a dis­pro­por­tion­ate per­cent­age of the state’s re­sources on salaries is anoma­lous. One only hopes that Osun work­ers would be more ded­i­cated to duty, shun tru­ancy, im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity and stop fight­ing use­less bat­tles.

Next is the pro­vi­sion of potable wa­ter through mi­cro and macro wa­ter schemes to guide against epi­demics and wa­ter-borne dis­eases. This is where a timely com­ple­tion of Ilesa Wa­ter Scheme and re­lated projects across the state be­comes im­per­a­tive. If this is achieved, the peo­ple will spend their hard-earned re­sources on other ne­ces­si­ties of life; and they will be happy!

Osun as an agrar­ian state needs sev­eral farm set­tle­ments to ad­vance its res­i­dents’ farm pro­duce, pro­vide job op­por­tu­ni­ties for many youths and en­cour­age ru­ral de­vel­op­ment. In­ci­den­tally, these are ar­eas where the state is bound to have a com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage.

Tourism sec­tor has be­come a kind of money-spin­ning ven­ture glob­ally. A dis­creet in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the sec­tor by yours sin­cerely re­vealed the ex­is­tence of more than 80 cen­tres of tourist at­trac­tion in the state and an ad­di­tion of more than 400 ho­tels be­tween 2011 and 2018. The de­vel­op­ment or im­prove­ment of the var­i­ous tourism sites in the state such as Erin-Ijesa and Olu­mirin Wa­ter­falls will fetch the state gov­ern­ment huge re­sources, help re­duce un­em­ploy­ment and alleviate poverty. Thank­fully, too, Osun Osogbo Scared Grove is not only seen as a sym­bol of iden­tity for all Yoruba peo­ple, the grove, de­clared a Na­tional Mon­u­ment in 1965, has, as

THERE IS THE NEED FOR THE GOV­ERN­MENT TO EM­BARK ON MAS­SIVE YOUTH EM­POW­ER­MENT, AND VO­CA­TIONAL SKILLS AC­QUI­SI­TION PRO­GRAMMES

far back as 2005, been de­clared a World Her­itage Site by UNESCO. Gov­ern­ment can also go a step fur­ther by es­tab­lish­ing craft vil­lages in each of the three sen­a­to­rial dis­tricts to pro­mote indige­nous, ‘Made-in-Osun’ prod­ucts.

Closely re­lated to the afore­said is the need for the gov­ern­ment to em­bark on mas­sive youth em­pow­er­ment, and vo­ca­tional skills ac­qui­si­tion pro­grammes. It is not only that count­less so­ci­eties have used this ap­proach to ad­dress, or curb, un­em­ploy­ment cri­sis, it is in­deed, the way of the fu­ture!

Open­ing-up the ru­ral ar­eas through the con­struc­tion of ru­ral roads to link the ma­jor roads is also as im­por­tant as pro­vi­sion of ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion ser­vices to ar­eas where such is needed. So, this gov­ern­ment must strive to sup­port Osun Ru­ral Ac­cess and Mo­bil­ity Pro­ject (Osun RAMP) to de­liver on its core man­date. Through this, ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties will be able to trans­port their pro­duce and other goods to the city, thus, make good money and be­come less-de­pen­dent on gov­ern­ment. Be­sides, the ad­min­is­tra­tion must en­cour­age prompt pay­ment of taxes, par­tic­u­larly, more from the in­for­mal sec­tor to up­grade the state’s IGR.

Health Care De­liv­ery Sys­tem across the state must also be im­proved upon with ad­e­quate drugs and medics to en­hance the med­i­cal wel­fare of the cit­i­zenry.

One ma­jor chal­lenge of our Nige­ri­an­ness is the col­lapse of re­ward sys­tem. Since ab­sence of sanc­tions is a recipe for im­punity, ap­pro­pri­ate mech­a­nisms for feed­back and re­ward and sanc­tions must also be re­ac­ti­vated in the state. ‘Wait for your time’ and other re­frains that fail to take into cog­nizance the chang­ing dy­nam­ics in pol­i­tics, wher­ever they ex­ist, must be in­ves­ti­gated with a view to deal­ing them the right blow. Af­ter all, turn­ing gold to god or think­ing that money is ev­ery­thing has never been seen to au­gur well for par­tic­i­pa­tory democ­racy.

Im­perium est con­tinue re­mit­tatur! It there­fore be­hooves the gover­nor to as­pire to com­plete the projects ini­ti­ated by his pre­de­ces­sors even as he is statu­to­rily bound to ini­ti­ate fresh peo­ple-ori­ented ones that will be ben­e­fi­cial to the gen­er­al­ity of the peo­ple.

I have no doubt in my mind that Oyetola is an ad­min­is­tra­tor of note. Ahead of Fe­bru­ary 2019, no stone must be left un­turned, nor ef­forts spared, to­wards en­sur­ing that all in­tra-party con­flicts are am­i­ca­bly re­solved. Over the years, Osun has shown to set the stage for the pro­gres­sives’ elec­toral vic­tory in Nige­ria and Oyetola’s ten­ure can­not be an ex­cep­tion. Well, to say that there are no chal­lenges ahead is to be un­fair to democ­racy and good gov­er­nance. For in­stance, why did the rul­ing party al­most lose the plate to the op­po­si­tion in the suc­ces­sion bat­tle? Was it a case of the elec­torate not ap­pre­ci­at­ing the di­rec­tion of de­vel­op­ment as can­vassed by the-then out­go­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion or that of the gov­ern­ment not do­ing enough to blow its trum­pet to a fa­tigued elec­torate which, in any case, was not im­mune from new tunes? In my con­sid­ered opin­ion, that’s why the call for the evolve­ment of a new po­lit­i­cal or­der in the state can­not, at a time like this, be overem­pha­sized. Ko­mo­lafe wrote from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State

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