Monday 14 May 2018

TAKEAWAYS: Photos and Notes from Ogbeni Till Daybreak: By Abiodun KOMOLAFE

‘Ogbeni Till Daybreak’ has come and gone but its memories are likely to last a lifetime.
Apart from its re-awakening-the-peo­ple characteristics, the programme, incidentally, the
fourth of its kind in the life of the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration and the first this year,
was to gauge the ruling party’s custody or otherwise of its popularity among the electorate in
the State of Osun, more so, as the state is preparing for its governorship election, slated for
the latter part of this year; and the General Elections, coming up in 2019. It’s also a show of strength sort of, especially, to the opposition that All Progressives Congress (APC) was still the party to beat in the state.

Essentially, it was a programme specially conceived and
clinically executed to, among other things, treat the government and the party to the challenges confronting the state and its people with a view to finding solutions to them.

That Nigerians from all walks of life, partook of the interactive parley in their thousands,
irrespective of their religious and political differences, was an indication that the electorate
not only appreciated the APC-led government for keeping faith with them, it also went a long way in reassuring the party that it would smile on September 22, 2018.

At the event, Aregbesola addressed the salient issue of the state’s debt profile (of 171.3
billion) which currently stands at N143.3 billion; and is expected to become lighter by the
end of 2019 when the N41.4 billion Conventional and Sukuk debts will have been fully
liquidated. He commended his administration’s financial engineering which, for example, resulted in the payment of N18 billion and N4.99 billion as salaries and pensions (at
modulated rates) respectively in 2016 even when total receipts from the Federation purse for
that year did not exceed N5.01 billion. He told a stunned audience how a N25 billion loan was taken in 2014 to augment workers’ salary even as his government continues to bear the brunt of the financial recklessness of previous administrations in the state.

The governor
insisted that he has not “earned a dime in salary as governor of Osun.” Impliedly, those who hold contrary views had better produce evidence to support their claims. Otherwise, they
should simply keep their mouths shut forever.

According to Matthew Hassan Kukah, "every crisis is an opportunity for the qualities of
leaders for fairness and equity to be tested.' Give it to the governor! He has justified why the
state went the way of borrowing: for infrastructural development, not for investment more so,
as responsible governments all over the world ‘have no business being in business!’ His
intervention in Agriculture has been a huge success and road construction under this
administration has been impressively massive.

 While the state government remains  unwavering in its conviction that it’s the concessionaire, not the state, that has failed in the
"N60bn MKO Abiola International Airport project", that the venture has been a victim of
unfortunate setbacks is not only an attestation to the infrastructural deprivation the state has suffered in the past, it is also a justification for this administration's efforts at providing an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state.

Basically, had the state remained
the way it was prior to Aregbesola's inauguration as governor, the situation would certainly have been worse!

Contrary to popular expectations, politics in this part of the globe is seen and treated as a
form of business; a form of (return on) investment. Of course, that is why people invest so
heavily in political parties, campaigns and elections. In any case, this is where those who are
selfishly routing for the opposition to come back to power in Osun seem to be tasking our tolerance. Was there no hunger in the land when those revisionist forces and political hawks
were recklessly bastardizing a collective monument at designated Resorts? That those whose epoch was characterised by a history of contextual ignorance, evidential backwardness,
brazen profligacy and leadership paralysis emblematic of what Theophillus Danjuma would
rightly refer to as the 'de-development' of Osun are now grandstanding as if the state is a
conquered enclave is nothing but an insult to our collective intelligence.

Politics aside, the most comfortable and realistic duty of anyone desirous of developing
patriotism is to read between the lines of history. Why did I say so? Whatever anybody may want to say or do, that Aregbesola as a truly beautiful mind has done well for Osun in particular and humanity in general has never been in contest and that he has laid a solid
background for peace and development in the state is also settled.

 Through prudent
management of available resources, the governor has promoted the culture of hard work and productivity. He has curtailed waste, minimized frivolity and discouraged indolence. Right
from the inception of this administration, he has judiciously embarked on programmes and
activities that were destined to positively impact the lives of all, to the detriment of none.
Despite an over-bloated civil service which unarguably accommodates the largest number of
pensioners across the Southwest region, he deployed the taxpayers' resources to
the preservation of law and order as well as the enhancement of the economic prosperity and social well-being of the people. We all knew where the state was in terms of security before
Aregbesola came on board. Even in their sickening, sensibly unacceptable hypocrisy, the
governor's traducers now appreciate how sweet it is for Osun to be one of Nigeria's richest
and most peaceful states.

In spite of the national economic crunch, Osun remains one of the four states in Nigeria that have insurance cover for its civil servants, a situation that has further demonstrated the
administration's love for the welfare of its workers. But, while the opposition can continue to carouse the infectious cacophony of conceited affection that does its aspirations no good, this is not the time for APC as the party in power in Osun to underestimate the opposition's capacity for mistaken prescriptions and misguided intrusions. In like manner, the electorate
must ensure that those whose rules are not honest; whose politics is bereft of ideology; and those who are in deficit of ideas are not given the opportunity to freeze or paralyze democracy in the state. In the search for Aregbesola’s successor therefore, the electorate must
always be counselled on the need to beware of fake promises which are not likely to be in short supply under the present condition in which the state has unfortunately found itself.

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria ([email protected].­uk

O20, Okenisa Street,
Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

Photos from the event:

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